How to choose a toilet

If you apply the energy conservation law to a human body, then the wisest thoughts must enter one’s head while sitting on a… toilet seat.

Today, we’ll talk about choosing a toilet – a convenient and technically advanced set that will best suit you.

It is worth pointing out that if your toilet pan has cracked, it will probably be impossible to fix it. The cracked porcelain or ceramics cannot be mended. All you can do in this case is measure your bathroom and the old toilet set, then head to the bathroom shop for your new purchase.

But first, let us dig into history a bit.

Sir John Harington invented the first flushing toilet, on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries. The inventor called his device Ajax, after the ancient hero, and presented it to Queen Elizabeth I. However, back then, this handy appliance could only be afforded by the well-to-do. The price for such toilet was remaining quite high at the time. But its universal adoption was stalled by the missing water supply infrastructure in the English capital rather than by the expensiveness of the plumbing.

Back to our days.

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine our day-to-day life without this plumbing wonder. Today, choosing the best option for this piece of plumbing is anything but simple. The wide range of products and the variety of toilets available today makes buying one a serious business. No matter whether you are buying plumbing equipment or bathroom furniture, you should treat the matter responsibly. Mind you, you are not buying new outfit that will last for a year, you are investing in something you will be using for the next 5–10 years.

So how can you make sure that the toilet of your choice suits both you and your family members?

First, toilets vary in materials and installation method.

 

We usually expect three key functions from a toilet:

  1. Quality flush;
  2. Quick fill of the cistern;
  3. Silent flow of water inside the cistern.

And on top of this, we expect the toilet to be robust and durable.

First things first.

How to assess the performance of a toilet flush? What conditions determine its quality? The most important one is the smoothness of the glazing. Porous glazing can accumulate dirt and make it harder to keep the pan clean. You will have to use a brush more often, which is not exactly pleasant. Smooth glazing will ensure a quality flush. Cistern volume does not seem to affect the outcome of this operation.

Shut-off valves determine how quickly and silently water will fill the cistern. They operate in more or less the same way in all modern toilets. You should give preference to trusted manufacturers here. Their products fill the pan within seconds and silently too. This is especially important when several people live in the same house, which leads to waiting for the cistern to fill after another person has used the toilet.

Here is another key factor. If you are trying to save water using a water meter, it is best to choose a toilet equipped with a dual-flush, with both a short and a long flushes. A dual-flush toilet is going to cost you more, but according to experts, it will be more cost-effective in the long run.

Pan shape

Pan shape

Toilet pans can be of different shapes, such as with an inclined back surface, shelf style and washdown pans.

Pan shapes may have their own advantages. If you accidentally dropped something in the pan, like your mobile phone, the shelf style pan will probably retain the object, for example

European manufacturers tend to think shelves are somewhat anti-sanitary (they have a point here), so they produce washdown pans. If you take a closer look at such pan, you can see its internal surface is narrowing towards the back. An important detail of any toilet pan is the availability of the anti-splash feature. The bottom opening must come at a slight angle and the water should not be deep there.

Toilet pans also differ by size and shape – elongated, round and square. Take an opportunity to sit down on the pan and consider whether it is convenient to sit on, as even 5 cm will mean a lot when it comes to usability.

Also pay attention to extra options. There are quite a few innovations in the market today. Don’t forget everything comes at a price though. So decide from the start whether you really need a heated toilet seat or whether you are keen on listening to music coming from inside the pan.

Material.

Toilets also vary in material they are made of. Usually we are talking about ceramics or porcelain. Ceramics is the cheaper option of course. The main component of both ceramics and porcelain is clay. Porcelain contains a reduced amount of clay though, due to the addition of strengthening agents such as quartz.

Porcelain is a more dense and strong material, which makes it more durable and gives it some additional benefits — it is easily washed and does not retain spots or scuff marks. Such toilet will always be clean and shiny white.

Experts say that ceramic toilets are to be avoided. Showing little resistance to water, ceramics is susceptible to moisture build-up over years. Eventually it will develop cracks and spots on the surface. Porcelain toilets are quite different in this regard. They are resistant to cracks and moisture.

It is hard to spot a difference between ceramics and porcelain with a naked eye. So if you wish to identify the material a particular model is made of, do read its technical data sheet and inquire about the certificates.

Soil pipe.

The soil pipe is a source of many doubts – should it be straight or angled? The European standard implies a straight pipe. We can suggest the following tip: if your plumbing system is old, the outdated, angled pipe will fit into it. However, if you renovated your plumbing with plastic pipes, you can buy a toilet equipped with either type of soil pipe.

In other words, your choice of toilet will greatly depend on the type of plumbing system in your house. So it will never hurt to consult a plumber before making a purchase as a professional advice might guard you against potential negative consequences and unforeseen expenses.

Toilet seat.

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You have probably got the main idea of choosing a toilet by now.

You should also opt for a hard seat with anti-bacterial protection. It should be made of a hard material – duroplast. Such seats are better than traditional ones, although they are also more expensive. People often buy soft foam toilet seats. This is an outright bad choice due to the seat’s anti-sanitary properties. Such seat will serve as a germ farm.

Tip: prior to pressing the flush button, lower the lid to keep harmful germs away.

Duroplast is a strong material possessing certain anti-bacterial properties. But it is very fragile too. So if you accidentally drop the lid onto the pan, it can split or crack. To prevent this, it is recommended to buy seats with hydraulic shock absorbers installed under the lid (microlift).

This device will be indispensable if there are young children in the house. A lid equipped with microlift will smoothly go all the way down without making the distinctive bang.

Installing the toilet set.

Toilets are usually mounted directly onto the floor. This is considered classic. But there is also an option for wall-hung toilets. These models are mounted on a concealed frame attached to the cistern, the so-called installation frame. They are mounted on the wall on two anchor bolts capable of withstanding the load of up to 400 kg. This seems to be more than enough. Actually, enough for inviting a small African elephant cub over to your house. This method of installation seems to make cleaning the bathroom easier, besides, it looks more interesting.

Today, many people prefer this way of installing plumbing equipment. This includes other pieces of equipment, not just toilets. This type of fixture fits more smoothly into the modern bathroom interior design.

Based on what we said above, you can draw the following conclusion. In order to choose a toilet set that will not let you down eventually, you need to ensure that:

  1. It flushes well.
  2. Its cistern fills quickly and silently.
  3. It has a comfortable pan.
  4. It is equipped with a quality flush system.
  5. It has a double flush.
  6. It is made of porcelain.
  7. It features a modern lid equipped with a microlift system.

 

This is the perfect combination. In reality, you could sacrifice one or more options in favour of something less fancy. You could also opt out of extra features. You get to choose.

Prices for toilets are based on the quality of the material and on the design, and tend to depend on how far the manufacturer is located from the end user. The cheapest ones are made of faience. The most expensive ones are made of porcelain.

Final tip: since it is virtually impossible to choose a high-quality and convenient toilet merely by its looks, it is worth asking around about the toilets that your friends and relatives have installed in their homes. Find out their pros and cons to make the choice of toilet for your own home substantially easier.

If chosen reasonably and operated carefully, a toilet can serve you virtually for a lifetime.

I’m looking forward to your comments on how to choose the right toilet. You can definitely come up with fresh ideas.

Good luck and enjoy your shopping!