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Don’t Buy the Wrong Toilet! Tips On Selecting the Right One For You

You just bought that new toilet, and now that it’s in your home, you don’t think it’s the best fit for your family. Oops. Now what? Surprisingly, if your toilet was purchased at a showroom, reputable, long-lasting toilet manufacturers may assist with a one-time swap-out, as a courtesy, but shipping costs are usually out-of-pocket to the customer. Obviously, avoiding the upset of either tolerating a toilet you don’t actually like, or the added shipping or restock costs is definitely best.

Hind-sight is always 20/20.

Let’s go thru some of the basics in shopping for a toilet:

Since all toilets are not made to fit all applications, and since all toilet waste holes are not installed at the exact same measurement, you should measure the space from the wall your toilet backs up to, to the center of the toilet’s bolt holes, which can be found at the floor of the toilet mount.This measurement helps us determine which toilet styles/options are right for


You also should consider whether your toilet has a banjo or pony wall (a small shelf-like area just above the toilet). If you’re not removing the banjo wall in your remodel, we’ll need its measurement from the floor to the shelf, in order to make sure your new toilet fits your specific application. Another thing to consider is whether you have a door near your toilet, which won’t allow clearance after a certain point. That measurement is very important as well. In these cases, sometimes the only toilets that will fit are those classified as “compact elongated” (see figure below). But again, you’ll need this measurement to know for sure.

What sort of toilet features do you want?

  • Elongated or standard front?

An elongated front allows extra room and hand-space, and the standard, round front is basically just that. Elongated toilets are generally around 5% more in cost. If you’re looking for a comfort-height toilet (which is explained below), you won’t be able to have a round-front toilet. Round fronts are reserved specifically for a standard height toilet.

  • Comfort-height toilets are approximately chair-seat-height:

But for many families, standard height is perfectly okay. Children’s bathrooms are generally standard height, while more and more master baths and powder rooms are leaning toward comfort height units, simply because of the more comfortable sitting design. For many adults, comfort-height toilets are easier to sit and stand from over standard toilets. This becomes an even greater concern as people age, as simple tasks like this can become more and more difficult with age, depending on lifestyle and other conditions. Check out some of Kohler’s comfort-height toilet designs.

  • Are you interested in one-piece or two-piece toilets? What’s the difference?

There is no real difference functionally; the difference rests in aesthetics. The two-piece design is exactly that: the tank and bowl are in two separate pieces, which are fastened together by the plumber during installation. (Most toilets in US homes today are two-piece designs.) The one-piece design offers a smooth, seamless transition from the tank to the bowl, making it one whole piece. Many folks prefer this design since it’s easy to clean, and the style is often much sleeker than its two-piece counterpart. Check out Kohler’s two-piece and one-piece designs.

  • Additionally, you can also choose concealed or skirted trapway toilets. A toilet’s trapway is basically the area at the lower, back of the toilet, and usually has an outline of the toilet’s “esophagus”. (See the difference of the toilets from the above photo to the photo below.) The trapway is usually what gets dustiest, so from a cleaning standpoint, folks love when these are concealed or skirted.

  • What type of flushing technology are you interested in?

Currently Kohler offers (8) various flushing technologies: AquaPiston, Class Five Single Flush, Ingenium, Class Five Dual Flush, Dual Flush Washdown, Powerlite, Pressurelite, and Numi. Explore Kohler’s flushing types here. The above 8) technologies fall into two categories, gravity and assisted. According to Kohler:

“Gravity flushing comes in two types: siphonic, which uses the flow of water and the s-shape of the trapway to create a siphoning action, and washdown, which uses the force of gravity to send all of the water through the rim and out. Assisted flushing moves water from the tank to the bowl and out of the trapway using electricity."

  • Would you be interested in a touchless flushing toilet? This mechanism is now available from Kohler, allowing you to flush the toilet with just a wave of your hand over the toilet’s special tank sensor. This means lots less bacteria getting onto your family’s precious hands, minimizing the spread of germs. You may be able to convert your current toilet to touchless flushing, using Kohler’s touchless flushing kit. Ask one of our representatives to see whether your current toilet would accept this modification. Kohler also has some ready-made models, fully loaded with this touchless feature already installed.


So, now that you’re ready to purchase, be careful where.

Did you know that a toilet can look exactly the same on the outside, but have different internal components, a smaller throat, poor glazing, and a different number of flushing spray-holes under the rim?

These units will have the same model number, and may look identical, but will have what seem like minor differences, but these actually make a huge difference in the long run.

A smaller throat, less spray holes under the rim, and poor glazing will cause waste not to flush well, and may cause clogging. In addition, most folks don’t realize it, but these components are extremely important in how clean the toilet stays over time, as contents won’t flush completely, leaving waste stuck on the bowl wall. Gross!

Always make sure your toilet is showroom Grade-A,

otherwise, you’ll need to buy a plunger with it.

Lastly, and we believe most importantly, we have to end this article with a word of caution:

DO NOT BUY TOILETS FROM NON-REPUTABLE SOURCES. Trying to save a buck on a toilet doesn’t usually pay off in the end.

Do not skimp here. It’s not worth it. See our article on buying plumbingware from the wrong sources. The aggravation you will save by buying smart will pay dividends in the end. Toilets are heavy, bulky units, and are not easily returned. Know what you are buying ahead of time by visiting a local dealer showroom.

- View Kohler's "How to Shop for a Toilet" for other great tips. -

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