How to Buy a New Toilet for Your Home


Buying a new toilet for your home is an important decision that requires some research and planning. The right toilet can upgrade your bathroom, improve flushing performance, conserve water, and give your home a fresh new look. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about buying a new toilet, from deciding on the right type and features to proper installation and maintenance. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to find and install the perfect toilet for your needs and budget.

Assess Your Needs

Before shopping for a new toilet, take some time to assess your needs and bathroom setup. Here are some key factors to consider:

Bathroom Size

  • Measure the rough-in distance between the wall and the toilet flange (where the toilet bolts to the floor). Standard sizes are 10”, 12” and 14” but measure yours to be sure.
  • Consider the dimensions of your bathroom. A smaller elongated bowl may fit better than a round bowl in a tight space.
  • Make sure you have enough space in front of the toilet for comfortable seating and around the sides for cleaning.

Toilet Height

  • Standard toilets sit around 14-15 inches high. For accessibility, comfort or ease of use consider:
    • Comfort height toilets at 16-19 inches high
    • High efficiency ADA compliant toilets at 17-19 inches high

Flush Performance

  • Do you need a stronger flush to handle more waste or paper? Look for a higher gallons-per-flush (gpf) rating or powered flush.
  • Low-flow 1.28 gpf or high efficiency 1.0 gpf toilets conserve more water but may require extra flushing strength.

Special Features

  • Built-in bidet for added cleansing
  • Quiet-close lids, antimicrobial surfaces, heated seats, and other luxury features
  • Traditional two-piece or sleek one-piece bowl and tank
  • Touchless or smart flushing options

Choose Between Two-Piece and One-Piece Toilets

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to get a two-piece or one-piece toilet. Here’s an overview:

Two-Piece Toilets

This is the most common toilet style, with a separate tank mounted on the bowl.


  • Often more affordable than one-piece models
  • Wide range of bowl shapes and sizes
  • Easier to install and maintain since bowl and tank detach
  • Can replace just tank or bowl if one part fails


  • Tank-to-bowl gasket can leak over time
  • Not as sleek-looking as one-piece
  • More crevices and joints for dirt and grime to build up

One-Piece Toilets

With this style the tank is seamlessly bonded to the bowl for a sleek, contemporary look.


  • Streamlined, easy to clean contemporary design
  • No gasket leaks between tank and bowl
  • Often quieter flush than two-piece models


  • Significantly more expensive
  • Limited range of sizes and shapes
  • Harder to install, maintain, and repair

Choose Between Round and Elongated Bowls

Along with one or two pieces, most toilets come in round or elongated bowl shapes. Consider these key differences:

Round Toilet Bowls

  • Compact circular shape, fits in small bathrooms
  • Takes up less space, easier to clean around
  • Usually cheaper than elongated bowls
  • Can feel cramped, less comfortable than elongated

Elongated Toilet Bowls

  • Oval shape, provides more seating room
  • More comfortable, preferred for accessible/ADA bathrooms
  • Stylish look, matches modern rectangular sinks
  • Takes up more space, may not fit small bathrooms
  • Usually costs $20-50+ more than round bowls

Go with a round bowl if you have limited space. Opt for elongated for comfort or contemporary styling.

Choose Your Toilet Height

Toilet height is measured from the floor to the top of the bowl rim. Standard toilets typically range from 14-15 inches high. Here are some height options to consider:

Standard Height Toilets

  • 14-15 inch rim height
  • Must bend down more to sit and stand
  • Fine for average bathrooms and users
  • Often the most affordable option

Comfort Height Toilets

  • 16-17 inch rim height
  • Chair-level seat makes sitting and standing easier
  • Added comfort but minimal accessibility gain
  • Usually costs $50+ more than standard height

ADA Compliant Toilets

  • 17-19 inch rim height
  • Meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements
  • Easiest for disabled, elderly, or mobility impaired users
  • Most expensive, but may qualify for tax credits

Taller toilets are often called “comfort height” or “ADA height”. Go for the tallest your space and budget allows.

Choose an Efficient Flush System

There are a few main types of flush systems to consider:

Gravity Flush

  • Depends on siphon action to empty bowl
  • Common in older or cheaper toilets
  • Uses 3.5 gallons or more per flush
  • Prone to clogs and may require double flushing

Pressure Assist Flush

  • Uses compressed air to force water into bowl
  • Provides strong siphon action for bulk waste
  • Uses 1.0-1.6 gallons per flush
  • Noisy and higher maintenance than other systems

Dual Flush

  • Lets you choose light or full flush as needed
  • Half or full tank empties to save water
  • 1.0-1.6 gallons per light flush, 1.6+ full flush
  • Buttons may eventually stick or leak

Efficient Gravity Flush

  • Optimized flow channels and siphons
  • Provides powerful rinse with 1.0-1.28 gallons
  • Low maintenance, quiet operation
  • May require occasional double flushing

Go for an efficient gravity flush or dual flush system for the best combination of performance and water savings.

Understand Gallons Per Flush (GPF)

Toilets are rated by their gallons per flush (GPF), or how much water is used to empty the bowl each flush. Here’s an overview:

High Efficiency 1.0 GPF

  • Meets EPA WaterSense standards
  • Ideal for homes on septic systems
  • May require occasionally double flushing

Low Flow 1.28 GPF

  • Common minimum for new installations
  • Saves water over 1.6 GPF models
  • Provides decent flush with minimal clogs

Standard Flow 1.6 GPF

  • Traditional baseline flush volume
  • Reliable siphon action clears bowl
  • Not the best for water conservation

High Flow 3.5+ GPF

  • Found on older, non-conserving toilets
  • Wastes the most water per flush
  • Being phased out by water restrictions

In general, look for WaterSense certified high efficiency 1.0 GPF or 1.28 GPF models to get the best combination of water savings and performance.

Choose Between Tank or Tankless Design

Along with different flush systems, consider these styles:

Tank Toilets

  • Toilet has a standard tank mounted on the back
  • Tanks range from 1.0-3.5+ gallon capacities
  • Provides reservoir for multiple flushes
  • Most common and affordable style

Tankless Toilets

  • Flush valve attaches directly to water supply line
  • No tank needed; slight space savings
  • Water flows directly into bowl to flush
  • Limit of one flush at a time; less reliable
  • Much more expensive than tank toilets

For nearly all homes, a tank toilet is recommended for reliable flushing and water storage versus tankless models.

Compare Available Toilet Features

Beyond the basics, there are many features that help set toilets apart:

Bowl Shape

  • Elongated, round front, or round back bowls

Bowl Height

  • Standard, comfort, or ADA heights from 14-19”

Bidet Attachments

  • Built-in bidet cleansing with heated water

Flush Systems

  • Gravity, pressure assist, efficient gravity

Gallons per Flush

  • 1.0 GPF high efficiency to 3.5+ GPF high flow

Toilet Seats

  • Basic plastic or durable wood seats
  • Heated seats
  • Antimicrobial seats


  • White, bone, biscuit or black finishes
  • Wood, stainless steel, or colored tank lids

Flushing Style

  • Push button top mount flush levers
  • Side mount paddle handles
  • Touchless infrared flush activation

Prioritize bowl size, height, flushing performance, and water efficiency first, then compare comfort and convenience add-ons for your perfect toilet.

Shop Top Toilet Brands

There are a handful of major brands that dominate the toilet market. Here’s an overview of each:


  • Well-known for high quality and innovation
  • Extensive range, excellent flushing systems
  • Tankless, low flow, ADA, washlet models
  • Durability comes at a price; often expensive


  • Top seller, wide range of two-piece models
  • Reliable flushing performance and features
  • Numerous bowl and tank styles
  • Mid to high price points like Toto

American Standard

  • Key competitor to Kohler and Toto
  • Broad offering of affordable models
  • Powerful Champion flushing system
  • Quality close to Kohler without the cost


  • Direct-to-consumer brand, sells online
  • Contemporary one-piece toilets
  • High efficiency dual flush models
  • Value-focused pricing

For a balance of quality, reliability, and value, American Standard and Kohler are hard to beat. Toto offers the widest selection of innovative toilets if budget isn’t a limitation.

Compare Warranties

Toilets are long-term investments, so it helps to consider each model’s warranty coverage:

  • Bowl warranty – Covers porcelain cracks and defects
  • Flush mechanism warranty – Covers inner valves, seals, flappers
  • Seat warranty – Covers seat cracks; usually 1-5 years
  • Labor warranty – Covers installation work if needed

Common toilet warranty terms:

  • Porcelain bowl: 5-10 years, lifetime
  • Flush mechanism: 3-5 years
  • Toilet seat: 1-5 years
  • Labor: 1 year

Look for at least a 10-year bowl warranty and 5-year component warranty for your new toilet. This ensures it will last through years of heavy use with minimal repairs needed. Extended labor coverage is ideal if you may need professional help fixing any defects down the road.

Calculate the Right Toilet Size

Getting accurate bathroom measurements helps ensure you buy a toilet that fits well without looking too bulky or cramped. Follow these steps:

Measure Rough-in Distance

The rough-in is the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the center of the drainage flange on the floor. Standard sizes are:

  • 10” rough-in – Good for small bathrooms
  • 12” rough-in – The most common measurement
  • 14” rough-in – Allows more space off the wall

Use a tape measure to get your exact rough-in distance.

Measure Toilet Dimensions

Check the toilet’s overall length, width, tank height and bowl width. Compare to your available floor space to make sure it fits.

Check Doorway Width

Measure bathroom and doorway width to ensure you can fit the toilet through. Remove doors if needed during installation.

Allow Extra Room Around Toilet

Make sure to leave a few inches behind and on at least one side of the toilet for cleaning access.

Measuring precisely prevents buying a toilet that’s too cramped or doesn’t fit at all. This step helps avoid headaches during toilet installation.

Choose Your Price Range

Toilet prices cover a wide spectrum, from affordable to luxury models:

Budget Toilets Under $150

  • Basic two-piece low-flow 1.6 GPF models
  • Usually round bowl, standard height
  • Limited bowl, tank, and flush options
  • Quick DIY install, good starter toilets

Mid-Range Toilets $150 – $350

  • Broad selection of sizes, styles, features
  • Elongated bowls, comfort height seats
  • Efficient 1.28 GPF gravity flushing
  • Best balance of quality, price, and value

High End Toilets $350 – $600+

  • Sleek one-piece elongated bowl designs
  • High efficiency 1.0 GPF gravity flush
  • Automated hands-free flushing
  • Heated seats, bidet, UV sanitizing
  • Luxury comfort and convenience features

Set a realistic budget before shopping. Expect to spend $150-$350 for a durable toilet with efficient flushing and features from a top brand.

Find the Best Places to Shop

You can find toilets for sale at these retailers:

Home Improvement Stores

Lowes, Home Depot, and local home centers have a huge in-stock selection of major toilet brands and models. You can see and test toilets in person. Prices are competitive but usually list versus internet discounts.

Online Retailers

Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, and Hayneedle offer one-stop toilet shopping with expanded brand choices, user reviews, and discounted pricing. Retailers ship to your home.

Manufacturer Websites

Kohler, American Standard, Toto, Woodbridge and most toilet brands sell direct to consumers through their own ecommerce stores. Pricing is competitive, especially on sales.

Plumbing Showrooms

Specialty kitchen and bath showrooms offer high-end toilets you won’t find at big box stores. Get expert help from sales staff.

Cast a wide net shopping online and in stores to compare brands, pricing, and availability for your perfect toilet.

How to Install a Toilet Yourself

Installing a new toilet is a manageable DIY project for most homeowners. Here are the basic steps:

Turn Off Water and Flush Out Old Toilet

Shut off the toilet supply valve and flush to empty remaining water from tank and bowl. Use a sponge to soak up any leftover water.

Remove Old Toilet

Disconnect supply line and unbolt toilet from floor. Remove wax ring seal. Scrape off old residue and closet flange.

Install New Closet Bolts

Set wax ring on flange. Install new closet bolts in flange channel to secure bowl.

Set Bowl on Flange

Carefully set bowl on flange lined up with closet bolts. Press down firmly to seal wax ring.

Connect Water Supply

Attach water supply line to tank inlet. Tighten fittings gently.

Mount Tank on Bowl

Set tank on bowl so bolts poke up through mounting holes. Install washers and nuts then tighten.

Make Final Connections

Hook up seat, supply line, and activate water supply. Test for leaks and stable installation.

Follow all safety precautions, take your time, and reference included manuals or YouTube videos to handle a DIY toilet installation smoothly. Pay a handyman or plumber if you are uncomfortable tackling the project yourself.

Hire a Professional Toilet Installer

While a handy DIYer can replace a toilet on their own, hiring a professional has advantages:


Plumbers have installed countless toilets. They work efficiently and can troubleshoot any install issues.

Proper Equipment

Plumbers have the right tools to remove old toilets and handle heavy models. This minimizes risk of damage.

Code Knowledge

Plumbers understand the plumbing codes and ensure proper sanitary installation conditions.

Warranty Support

Many manufacturers require professional install for full warranty coverage.


You avoid potential injuries from lifting or working with hazardous waste materials.

Though pricier than DIY, a professional install brings peace of mind knowing your new toilet won’t leak or break shortly after setup. Get references to find a qualified local plumber upfront.

Find an ADA Compliant Toilet

For anyone with disabilities or mobility limitations, an ADA compliant toilet makes bathroom usage safer and more comfortable. Here’s what makes a toilet ADA compliant:

17-19” Seat Height

Higher seat makes sitting and standing easier. ADA minimum is 17”.

Elongated Bowl

Oval shape provides more seating room and support.

Tank Lever on Wide Side

Allows operation from wheelchair or seated position.

Easy to Operate Flush Control

ADA requires flush handle on open side, not behind seat.

Floor Space

Minimum 30” wide by 48” deep clear floor space in front of toilet.

An ADA compliant toilet provides independence and dignity for disabled users. Tax credits and cost assistance programs may offset the higher price of these models.

Find Toilets for Small Bathrooms

Just because your bathroom is cramped doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade the toilet. Compact size options include:

Round Bowl Toilets

Round bowls take up less length and width versus elongated.

10” Rough-in Toilets

The shorter rough-in measurement gives added inches of floor space