There is more than meets the eye when choosing a new toilet
Helping someone remodel a bathroom can be a very personal experience. During the course of the project I tend to learn things about people’s personal preferences and hygeine habbits that they don’t even share with their closest friends. Like the lady that complained that her bidet “Didn’t give enough penetration” (yes that actually happened).
So it should not be surprising that many people spend a considerable amount of time and energy worrying about which toilet to buy. Unfortunately there is more than a little misinformation out there in the world. Normally their concerns can be broken into four basic categories.
My Friend’s Counsin’s Hairdresser said “Don’t get a water saver toilet, they don’t work”
Well I have bad news, and I have good news for you. The bad news is they are all water savers, the good news is manufacturers are getting a lot better at using less water.
You see about the same time Marty McFly was trying to get Back to the Future, state and federal governments were trying to find ways to conserve water. One of the ways was to start mandating lower flushing toilets. I still remember as a kid my mom going to the hardware store and picking up the new low-flow toilet that would take us from a 3.5 gallon per flush to a 1.6 gallon per flush.
The problem was those manufacturers back then just lowered the water levels, they didn’t engineer anything else so we all ended up with toilets we had to flush three times to make them work. This made about as much sense as saying “I’m going to use less gas in my car by going to the gas station less often.” Although folks had the option of buying commercial vaccum flush powered toilets. Of course like any technology from 1985 we have come pretty far since then.
About the same time along came Toto from Japan who had been saving water for years. All of a sudden we had working toilets that didn’t sound like a fighter jet taking off in the bathroom. They did this by making the flush valve larger and widening the drain at the bottom of the toilet. Naturally it took a few years but these days, the minute someone invents a better mousetrap, someone else invents a better mouse. This means Toto doesn’t have to be your only choice, though. Kohler and Duravit do a terrific job too. To get a good flush these are the features you want to look for.
- Oversized Flush valve
- Oversized Drain, glazed all the way through (helps eliminate build up)
- An extra sanitary glaze in the bowl (acts like a teflon coating and keeps things moving and easy to clean)
- Some kind of rim jet rinse
- Siphon jet in the bowl.
I have a problem with the height of my toilet at home: My feet dangle / It’s too hard to get up
This is a pretty easy one to solve. You see back in the day most toilets were only about 14″ to 15″ high (very hard to get up) so people went out and bought ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) height toilets which were 17-1/2″ to 18″ high. These were considered too high by many people and their feet would dangle like a preschooler.
These days most toilets are made “comfort height” or “chair height” which still meets commercial ADA standards but is a comfortable 16-1/2″ to 17″ high.
Okay so we know it flushes, and I can sit comfortably, but I hate cleaning around the darn thing
Well, isn’t that the maids problem? (I’ve had customers say that to me…must be nice) For the rest of us, however, we might wat to consider a one pice toilet with a skirted base. A one piece toilet has no seam (a.k.a. dirt catcher) between the tank and bowl. A skirted bowl means less surface area to clean under the toilet. Kohler is lacking in the skirted department, but Toto and Duravit have plenty to offer.
For the ultimate in cleanability you could try a wall mounted toilet, but that would require some major construction. Toto and Duravit both have a wall mount that will fit in a normal 2×4 wall, although Duravit is the leader in this area.