It’s not every day that you buy a toilet. Generally, toilets are bought and installed as part of an overall bathroom project – either new construction or remodel. But toilets do wear out. Or you might want to replace one for any number of reasons. Here are a few things to consider.

The Big C’s – Conservation and Comfort


Toilets account for about 30% of water consumption in U.S. homes. So conservation is a major issue. The U.S. Department of Energy limits new toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush. California law requires only 1.28 gallons per flush. The reason that is important to Illinois homeowners is that toilets satisfying that standard carry a WaterSense label. So if you are seeking a toilet that uses the least amount of water, check for that label.

Dual-flush toilets offer another way to save water. These toilets let you choose a partial flush for liquid waste or a full flush for solid waste. Some WaterSense models offer a dual flush option.


Standard toilets rest about 14” inches or 15” above the floor. Most toilets sold today are referred to as comfort height, which is about 16-1/2” above the floor. Finally ADA compliant toilets sit 17” to 18” above the floor. Remember that the seat will add another inch to the final seating height. Riser seats are available to increase the seating height for those with bad knees or a bad back. If you are considering a higher toilet, think about installing a grab bar as well.

Types of Toilets

There are two types of toilets: pressure-assisted toilets and gravity-feed toilets. Each has pros and cons.

Pressure-assisted toilets use pressure to force waste out through the bowl. These toilets require at least 35 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure, so make sure your home has that. These toilets displace waste with the fewest clogs, but are noisy.

Gravity-feed toilets rely on gravity, as the name suggests. Water drops from the tank into the bowl to remove waste. These toilets can work with as little as 10 PSI. These toilets are quieter, but, especially for lower cost models, might not work as well as pressure-assisted toilets.

Other Considerations

Bowl shape. Round bowls take up less room than elongated bowls. But elongated bowls may be more comfortable and also tend to soil less.

Two-piece design. Some toilets come in two pieces, with a separate tank that bolts onto the bowl. These toilets may be less expensive, but they can be harder to keep clean because the seam between the tank and bowl can become dirty.

Color. Toilets come in a variety of colors. Choose one you like, but bear in mind that some colors are fashionable for only a short period of time.