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Toilets: Points to Ponder Before You Buy

Rough-in Toilet Measurements

When shopping for toilets consider the rough-in toilet valve measurements. The standard rough-in measurement is 12″. To determine whether this size will fit for your toilet installation, measure the distance from the center of the toilet bolt holes to the finished wall. A 10″ rough-in toilet is a solution for tighter spaces, whereas the 14″ will address a larger gap between the toilet bolts and the wall.

Mount, Shape, and Style

Style has become a definite factor when you shop for toilets. While there is nothing wrong with a conventional model in one or another shade of white just like the one you probably grew up with, toilets are now being designed to match every bathroom décor and even a variety of color schemes. You can even coordinate your toilet flush handles with the finish of your other fixtures.

How about mount? Does your taste tend toward one-piece toilets, two-piece toilets, or wall-mounted toilets? Before you decide, you'll want to research the pros and cons of each option. If contemporary is your style, the sleek new wall-mount models are definitely something to consider.

Perhaps the easiest decision is shape, because you have only two options: round or elongated. Elongated is considered more comfortable, while round may be more appropriate for a small bath (or you may simply prefer this more traditional shape).

Environmental Factors

Concerns about our planet are making us more aware of our water usage, especially in the bathroom where most household usage takes place.

Look for toilets labeled with the WaterSense logo. This certifies that a particular toilet meets the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for low-flush, much like ENERGY STAR does for appliances, light bulbs, and other household products.

There have been a lot of exciting developments in water saving toilets since low flush became the norm. These include dual-flush toilets, composting toilets, and urinals designed for residential use (urinals are naturally low-flush, and new waterless urinals are becoming popular for even more water savings).


When it comes to toilets, the major accessibility consideration is height. If you are purchasing a toilet that will be used by family members with any type of limited mobility, choose from the many attractive ADA-compliant toilets that meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These toilets are an inch or two taller in rim height than the usual 14″ or 15″ models.

Think ahead during a renovation if you plan to stay in your home as you get older. It's much easier to install an ADA toilet during your renovation, even if you don't need one yet. If you prefer a standard height model (or you aren't replacing your toilet at all), you have the option of purchasing raised toilet seats made just for this purpose. Here's a great tip from our consultants: Taller toilets are more comfortable for tall people of any age.

Learn more about How to Choose a Toilet or about the Benefits of Bidets.