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How to Shop for a Toilet

High-tech toilets, low-flow loos—there’s a perfect throne out there for you. Here’s how to find it.

Everything you need to know about choosing the right toilet.


Where is the toilet going?

Maximize space in a lesser-used powder room with a smaller, round toilet bowl. For heavier traffic, go with a comfier oval (or elongated) bowl.

Who’s using it?

Kids may have better luck with a shorter model, while aging adults may need a higher toilet with room on each side for safety rails.

Already removed the old one? Scrape up any remaining wax and examine the flange—that’s the rubber piece that connects the toilet to your pipes. Look for cracks and crumbly bits. If you see any, you’ll need to buy a new flange. (Removing the existing toilet before you shop isn’t a must; you can take measurements with it in place.)

What’s the flooring situation?

If you’re sure that past remodels have layered new flooring on top of old, or if you’ve removed the existing toilet and found layers of flooring that rise above the flange or bolt holes, call in a plumber. The fix might be as simple as a flange extender piece—or as tricky as adjusting the flooring.

What about the paint?

Your new toilet’s tank size might be different from that of the old one, meaning a few paint touch-ups are in order.


The distance from the wall to the center of the “rough”—that’s plumber-speak for the hole in the ground. (Don’t include baseboards when you measure.) The opening’s direct center aligns with the bolts on each side of it, so use those as a guide if you’re not ready to pull off the old toilet just yet.
The door clearance, especially if you’re upgrading from a round bowl to an oval one. Make sure the bathroom door won’t swing into the toilet (or the knees of someone on it!).
The thickness of your flooring, if you’ve pulled out the old toilet.


The measurements
A measuring tape
Photos of your bathroom space and finishes (load them onto your phone or tablet)


If your existing rough is more or less than 1 foot away from the wall, tell your salesperson. You may need a special model or plumbing adjustments.

Consider a toilet with a slow-close seat. Dampers in the hinges enable the lid to close itself—no more slams!

All toilets in the U.S. flush with a maximum 1.6 gpf (that’s gallons per flush). To save water, look for high-efficiency models with a 1.28 gpf rate (the rate of all Delta models).

Think about a techy toilet. Delta toilets with FlushIQ™ Technology not only offer a touch-free flush, but also overflow protection and leak detection.

Traditional toilets rise 14 to 15 inches off the ground. ADA-compliant “chair height” models are 16 to 17 inches off the floor. The latter are more comfortable for most adults.

If space around your toilet is too tight to clean, look at skirted (concealed trapway) models for easier wipe-downs.

Try out traditional flushers or go with a hands-free option. And make sure younger kids can reach and operate the one you like best.

Find out whether the toilet is covered by a warranty, and ask about overall durability and performance.

The store that sells your new toilet should have all the supplies you need to remove the old one, such as a wax scraper, a sponge for wet messes and latex gloves for the dirty work.