I am looking to buy a new toilet. Anything I should know? (gotchas...that sort of thing)

We use them every day and never think about them much.

But, alas, I am faced with replacing a toilet in my home.

While recommendations are fine what I am really interested in is whether I can just buy any toilet (within some reason…the stuff on the shelf at Home Depot kinda things) or if I need to be worried that they all differ a little and once I am installing one there will be all sorts of trouble? Things like how mounting bolts line up or whether the tile needs to be changed around it or the plumbing is sufficient or whatever.

If there is one thing I have learned from owning a home it is that nothing is as straightforward as you think it should be when it comes to home repairs and upgrades.

Get a toilet-bidet combo. Go for the heated water, adjustable force jet, and heated seat. Your starfish will love you forever!

You will sit to pee even if you don’t have to. :slight_smile:

I think toilets are fairly universal in how they set up to the floor unless you get something fancy like the bidet thingy. Depends on how they did your tile, did they shape it roughly to the old toilet footprint or tile right up to the hole? Do you want a round seat or an elongated seat is another choice.

Toilets have a measurement that is from the back of the tank to the bolts that attach it to the drain in the floor. in modern construction, there’s a standard distance for this and basically any modern toilet will fit. But you should measure your bathroom or you might buy a toilet that won’t physically fit.

Just went through this recently myself.
Not a whole lot of options (aside from cosmetic, style things):

  • (seat) height. Shorter are easier for shorter legs (kids, etc.). But if it’s just adults, then chair height.
  • there is a new option with Kohler at least, of this “power flush” instead of the old-style “flapper”. I opted to try it, and I have to say it works well: high velocity “push” of the water into the bowl, so the bowl drains better.

Be sure you pick up the “accessories” you’ll need:

  • the wax ring for the seal to the pipe in the floor. They now have these silicon funnel-like ring, and I’ve had good success with them.
  • a replacement hose for the intake water (but be sure to check the connector sizes. The connector to the toilet side is pretty standard, but there are options on the connection to the water pipe). Depending on how old the hose is, you might be able to get by re-using the old one. But as long as you’re replacing the toilet, it’s not that big of an expense.


My experience with many of these “low flow” toilets these days is they don’t clear the bowl so you flush again totally ruining the notion of a low flow toilet.

Unfortunately is it pretty much impossible to test this ahead of time.

Height is a personal preference but good to be aware of before installing. Don’t want to later on realize “Gosh, I didn’t know it sat this high/low.”
Elongated bowls are nice but you should take space into consideration. Again, don’t want to later on realize “Gosh, this thing really extends out into our space.”

Toto makes an excellent low flow toilet. We’ve had two of them, no complaints.

I like them but so expensive. I will spend more for something truly better but I cannot really assess if a Toto toilet is 3-10x better than something else.

I second the Kohler power flush. I recently got the Highline seat, elongated bowl and really like it. The flush cycle is about 2 seconds of high velocity water. I was a bit doubtful at how short the flow time is, but damn, it clears everything.

We had been having more and more issues with the bowl not draining well. I concluded the constriction was occurring in the “loops” within the toilet between the bowl and the pipe. I tried some things to try to clean the build-up, but never saw much difference. This is what prompted me to replace the toilet.

Since the build-up seemed to be in those “internal loops” between the bowl and the pipe, the “power flush” seemed like a good way to address this.
At Home Depot, it was only like $20 difference, so I decided to give it a shot. I may regret it when the time comes that I need to replace it. But so far I’ve been pleasantly suprized.

My husband was a plumber for many years, and one of the cheapest men alive. If he buys a Toto you can be sure it is a good value.

Generally, males prefer elongated bowls, to prevent body parts touching the inside of the bowl during use. So keep that in mind.

I replaced two toilets a few years ago and got Totos. I don’t regret a penny of the money spent. They are excellent and flush much better than the previous ones.

I have three Totos and a Kohler. Two of them are pretty new, and the other two I’ve had for years. They all seem to work. The Totos are a lot quieter – less “explosive” – and work well.

If you ever need to replace the “flapper” on a Toto, be aware that it requires a larger-than-standard flapper, which is apparently part of its magic.

The US standard is the center of the drain is 12" from the back wall and 15" if near a side wall. Toilets made for small bathrooms are designed to be used with a drain 10" from the wall. Most commercial type toilets are 14" from the wall.

I notice my current toilet (that I want to replace) has a warning against using tank cleaners (the chlorine tablet things you drop in the tank…or similar).

Is it just mine or do they all tell you the warranty is void if you dare to use one?

The only thing you really need to pay attention to is whether the toilet is a floor discharge or a rear discharge. The great majority of toilets are floor discharge, but there are some rear discharge types out there, and they are not interchangeable. The rest of it is just options, makes and models.

The Toto toilet in my parents’ house is one piece, meaning there’s no gap between the tank and the bowl, so it’s a little easier to clean. So that’s a consideration (although other brands may offer the one-piece design).

Near as I can tell there are only really three toilet manufacturers in the US:

  • Toto
  • Kholer
  • American Standard

That order seems to be the order of quality and cost too (from high to low).