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An Introduction to Toilet Types

Toilet shopping? We're your guide. Learn about the various types of toilets on the market

Learn about all the types of toilets on the market

Out of all home fixtures, our toilets probably get the most use. It’s not called the busiest seat in the house for no reason. No matter what else goes on throughout our day, we will always spend a significant portion of our time seated on our favorite throne. We generally don’t give it a second thought; rather it’s a place where we do our thinking about other things while we do our business. It’s only when we are updating a bathroom that we stop to think about the various types of toilets, and which type of commode best accommodates.

Popular Potties: Today’s Trending Toilets

Two Piece-Flushing Toilet: These are the most common and popular toilet models in the US. and many other countries. The bowl and the toilet tank are separate and come in two pieces which are attached before or after installation. They are the most efficient and reliable toilet type. They may be a little more difficult to clean than some others because dust, dirt and debris tend to collect around the connecting features.

Two-piece toilets have the advantage of being long-lasting, as individual parts can be replaced as needed. Bowls can be round or elongated.

One-Piece Flushing Toilet: These are made out of one solid piece of material with the tank, bowl, trapway, and generally the seat itself, all together. This makes cleaning easier, as there are no corroding connections to clean around, or crevice between the parts.

 One-piece toilets are rising in popularity for their sleek, modern appearance and easy installation. Their more compact size makes them ideal for smaller bathrooms. The flushing system works the same way in a one-piece toilet as it does in the two-piece.

Wall-Hanging Toilets: These are a great option for those with limited space, as the toilet tank itself is hidden inside the wall. They also have a minimalistic aesthetic appeal, which is currently trending, and can be placed anywhere in the bathroom near a water source. They hang off the wall to hover above the floor with no base.

One drawback of a wall-hung toilet is that repairs necessitate having to get inside the wall, so typically would require a plumber.

Smart Toilets: Smart toilets have technological upgrades such as automatic flushers, bidets, motion-detected lighting, dryers, and even heated seats. Some come equipped with built-in self-cleaning wands.

While these are luxurious and futuristic, and might make your time taking care of business a little more fun, the higher number of advanced options these models have, the more there is to go wrong, and repairs may be costly.

Corner Toilets: These are made specifically for bathrooms where the toilet must be fit into a corner space. Also called a triangle toilet, these are not very common, but necessary in some spaces, especially when older homes are being remodeled and spaces that were once closets are transformed into small bathrooms.

Low Water Usage or “Low-Flow” Toilets: These are more eco-friendly, water-saving toilets that use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, versus the traditional toilet’s seven gallons per flush. These are helpful for lowering water bills, and lowering a household’s carbon footprint. The downside of these toilets, is their tendency to clog more easily, which often necessitates a second flush, causing them to not function quite as water-efficiently as you might wish. They also need more frequent cleaning in the bowl, since less water means less bowl rinsing during flushes.

Dual Flush Toilets: These models offer two separate flushing options, one for solid waste, and one for liquid waste only, allowing you to save unnecessary water usage.

Toilets have advanced in designs and technologies over the years and continue to advance. If you are planning to purchase a new model for your bathroom, it’s important to be familiar with your options. And while clearly you can’t try out a model in a display room, it’s still possible to make a choice based on the amount of space in your bathroom, the amount of water you want to use for flushing, and how much or how little new technology you’d appreciate. Consider all the options and then decide which toilet type is your most beautiful bowl, or comfortable commode!

Resources — Flush Guide, Home Awakening, The Spruce