The Ultimate Toilet Buying Guide
If you’re renovating your family bathroom, adding on an ensuite or creating a cloakroom, choosing the right toilet is paramount. Fortunately, there are countless different designs and styles of toilets to choose from, so there’s sure to be one that works perfectly in your space.
There’s a downside, though. With so many options, it can be challenging to determine which one is best for your home. What’s even more confusing is that you may never have heard of some of the types of toilet that are on the market these days, and even if you’ve heard of them, you may not know what they look like, the benefits they can offer, or how they differ from other types of toilet.
That’s why we’re bringing you this in-depth toilet buying guide so that you can make a well-informed purchasing decision.
The Different Types of Toilet
Whereas in the past, most toilets were pretty much the same in terms of design, times have definitely changed. Now, there are many different types of toilet available, and each one suits a different kind of bathroom. With this in mind, understanding the differences between each type is key, so here is a quick overview of your options:
If you were to imagine a regular bathroom, you’d probably bring to mind close coupled toilets. These fixture have a bowl unit that stands on the floor together with a cistern that is right behind the seat and that is visible and exposed. These toilets are known as “close coupled” toilets because the bowl and cistern and coupled closely together instead of the more old-fashioned toilet design with a cistern high up on the wall above the bowl.
Close coupled toilets have varying flush mechanisms. While some have a traditional lever, others now have flush buttons, or even dual flushes for water saving purposes.
Close coupled toilets suit all kinds of bathrooms since there are many different styles and shapes available. Whether you want a simplistic, sleek contemporary toilet, or a classically elegant toilet for a more traditional bathroom, you’ll find an ideal close coupled toilet for you.
If you’re looking for a really modern option, you might want to consider back to wall toilets. These are very similar to a close coupled toilet, but the cistern is hidden behind a WC unit or partition wall. If you want to create a contemporary aesthetic in your bathroom, you’ll find a back to wall toilet a perfect choice, and it’s also a good choice if you need to save space in your compact cloakroom or ensuite.
Bear in mind, though, that you often need to buy a cistern separately if you choose a back to wall toilet as they tend to be sold as separate components. You may also need to choose a separate WC unit depending on whether you’re going to go for that option rather than hiding the cistern behind a partition wall.
If you want to really create a dramatic modern look in your bathroom, wall hung toilets are perfect for you. These toilets look like they’re floating above the ground, and they have no visible pedestal or cistern. If you want a designer bathroom aesthetic, this type of toilet is just what you’re looking for, thanks to its simple, clean lines that maximise your space. If you opt for a wall hung toilet, you’ll need to remember that you have to buy a frame and cistern separately so you can install it.
If you’re keen to create a traditional look in your bathroom, a high level toilet or a low level toilet could be the ideal solution. If you were to imagine a classic Victorian or Edwardian bathroom, you would immediately bring to mind these toilet styles.
Essentially, they feature a cistern that is mounted onto the wall, either high up so that a pull chain is necessary to flush the toilet, or slightly higher than the toilet bowl so that a lever flush is possible. Either way, the toilet pan and cistern are connected by a long flush pipe that is exposed.
If you have a very compact bathroom or cloakroom, finding a toilet to fit in your space without it feeling too crowded or uncomfortable can be difficult. One way to do this is to choose a corner toilet. These toilets have a special close coupled design with the pipework designed in such a way that the toilet can fit into the corner of the room, thus saving valuable floor space.
Not only are there different types of toilet to choose from, there are also different styles to pick from too. These include:
- Modern and contemporary toilets – these toilets have a streamlined and minimalistic look that is ideal for modern bathrooms. With their clean lines, they look up-to-date and give any bathroom a cutting edge aesthetic.
- Round toilets – many toilets come with a round bowl, and this style is especially good for larger bathrooms where floor space is not at a premium due to the extra space that the curve takes up.
- Square toilets – if you’re looking for a more modern and space-saving toilet style, a square toilet could be just what you need. Thanks to the more angular shape, a square toilet has plenty of contemporary elegance, while the more geometric shape takes up less floor space and allows the toilet to fit into more awkwardly-shaped bathrooms.
- Traditional toilets – if you live in a period property or if you’re trying to recreate a traditional aesthetic in your bathroom, a Victorian or Edwardian-style toilet could be just what you’re looking for. With their classic good looks, these retro-looking fixtures look fantastic in a bathroom with a vintage look.
How to Choose a Toilet
Now that you know all about the different styles and types of toilet on the market, the next step to consider is how to actually go about choosing which one is the best option for you. Knowing what to bear in mind when making your purchasing decision is key, so here are some of the things to consider:
The amount of space you have available in your bathroom may dictate the type of toilet you can choose. If you have a large bathroom, this may not be such a significant consideration, but it may enable you to choose a more elaborate fixture that creates an eye-catching feature.
On the other hand, if your bathroom is especially compact, you will have limited floor space available within which to fit your toilet, so you’ll need to do some research to ensure that you’re choosing a toilet that not only physically fits into the space, but that also allows you sufficient room to move comfortably around it, and to fit in the remainder of your bathroom furniture, fixtures, and fittings.
In such cases, you may want to consider choosing a short projection toilet that doesn’t protrude so far into the room. With a shorter length bowl, you’ll be able to fit your toilet more comfortably into your space and give yourself enough room to move comfortably around it without compromising on style or comfort.
Who will be using the toilet
It may not be too much of a consideration who will be using your toilet if everyone in your family is healthy and of average height. However, if somebody very tall, elderly, or with mobility issues will be using the toilet, you may want to consider opting for a comfort height toilet.
Comfort height toilets are designed to have a seat that is slightly higher than that of a normal toilet, and that extra height makes it far more comfortable and easy to use the fixture as there is less pressure on the knees, joints, and lower back.
Of course, one key consideration you’ll need to bear in mind when choosing a toilet for your bathroom is its design. Are you keen to achieve a modern or traditional look with your new fixture?
As there is a wide variety of different classic and contemporary models to pick from, you’ll need to do your research well and browse the various options available to find a toilet that fits perfectly with your chosen décor and the other furnishings that you’ve chosen for your space.
Maintenance and Hygiene
Most people would rather avoid having to spend a lot of time on cleaning and maintaining their bathroom, and if you’d prefer to minimise the amount of time you have to put into cleaning your toilet, choosing a rimless toilet could be the ideal solution for you.
A traditional toilet features a protruding rim on the inside of the bowl, and the water is distributed around this rim during the flush to clean the bowl. With a rimless toilet, there is no such rim. Rather, the flush is a powerful direct flush from the back of the bowl that is powered around the bowl to clean it thoroughly.
As there is no rim, there’s nowhere for dirt and bacteria to hide, so cleaning the toilet bowl is a simple as just wiping it clean. It’s also a far more hygienic and sanitary choice for your bathroom.
Environmental and Money Saving Considerations
These days, more of us are aware that we need to do our bit to help protect our natural environment, and part of that involves trying to conserve water as much as possible. When you’re choosing a new toilet, you can make choices that will help you to play your part in cutting down on water usage in your home.
There are specific toilets that have been designed for water saving. These toilets usually have smaller cisterns, so they have less capacity to hold water and therefore use less during each flush. Although these cisterns are smaller, they still have plenty of power for each flush, so you won’t need to worry about cleanliness.
You can also choose a dual flush system for your toilet that will allow you to select from a short or long flush. That, too, can help you to save water when you flush. As many households today are also on water meters, water-saving measures like these can help you to save money on your bills too, which is great news for everyone.
What else do you need to consider?
There are a few more considerations to keep in mind when you’re choosing the right toilet for your home. Here are just a few of the things you should remember:
- Waste pipe position and direction – One question you need to ask yourself is where the waste pipe will be positioned and which direction it will point in. Some toilets have a waste pipe that goes directly down through the floor while others have a waste pipe to the side or out through the back of the wall. You need to choose the right configuration to suit your home.
- Is your toilet under a window? – this is something you need to consider as it will restrict the total height of your toilet once the seat is in place. It may also affect which cistern and cistern frame you choose.
- Bathroom door and shower door opening – when installing a toilet in any room, you need to consider its position in relation to other fixtures and fittings. Will there still be sufficient room to open the shower cubicle door or the bathroom door itself when the toilet is in position, or will the door hit the toilet?
- Have you considered a corner toilet for a small room? – If you have a compact bathroom, it can be difficult to find a toilet that will fit in your available space. However, there are corner toilets available that could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
If you’re in any doubt about which toilet to choose for your home, it’s best to speak to a professional plumber who can give you their expert advice.