There is more to choosing the right toilet than mere aesthetics, there are more practical considerations such as where your existing soil pipe is and whether you have a constant flow of water to the toilet.
Cost is an obvious consideration to take into account. You can find a toilet for less than £100 up to those running into the thousands of pounds. Since the toilet is one of the most used items in a bathroom, it is advisable to not base your decision primarily on price as it is more cost effective in the long run to pay that little bit extra to get a better quality product that will last you decades, if properly cared for.
Modern toilets are often of the low-flow variety, using up less than half as much water per flush as the older style toilets. This makes them environmentally friendly and will also help cut down on your water bills.
Close-coupled toilets give a more contemporary look to a bathroom with the cistern at the back of the toilet bowl which flushes straight through the pan. There are two main styles, open backed and back to the wall.
Open backed toilets are especially useful for when you can't move the existing soil pipe as they provide space at the back of the toilet pan where the soil pipe can be connected from any direction. If you opt for a design where the whole toilet sits against the wall, cleaning is a breeze without any awkward nooks and crannies. With rimless toilets, good hygiene is improved further.
Back to wall toilets are a more modern option, similar to close coupled toilets. They are a good space saving option for those with smaller bathrooms or used in cloakrooms.
The cistern can either be placed inside bathroom furniture or installed behind a false wall.
Wall hung toilets are the best of modern technology and design. The toilet bowl is hung on the wall making it appear as though the toilet is 'floating".
The plumbing and cistern are concealed in the wall which makes it easy to clean and gives a clean, polished finish.
Don't worry about safety either - a decent wall hung toilet can hold around 200 kg in weight.
Since we are on the topic of wall hung toilets, in order to install a toilet inside the stud wall, you will need a WC frame - they come in different heights able to accommodate various weights.
The waste pipe in incorporated into the frame with frames including a flush plate which is connected to the concealed cistern (activates the cistern and allows flushing), this allows for easy access for cleaning.
It is essential that the frames be ISO 9901 and CE approved product and you should only have them fitted by a professional and experienced installer.
With low level toilets the cistern and pan are separated by the flush pipe in a more traditional fashion but at a much lower level making a great option for those who have an existing window above or perhaps some shelving.
These work very well in en-suites or small cloakrooms due to their more compact size.
High level toilets are what we picture when thinking about traditional toilets from the past with a high mounted cistern, long pipe and chain pull flush.
They can instantly transform your bathroom, adding a touch of period charm and vintage authenticity. With these toilets, gravity does all of the work so that you get a strong flush with less water.
A rimless toilet is a modern type of toilet where the toilet rim has been removed so that the toilet bowl has a smoother finish with no nooks or gaps for dirt to build up making it an excellent option for those concerned with high levels of hygiene - there is nowhere for bacteria or limescale of build up.
This design also ensures that the water can reach higher around the toilet bowl during flushing so although it looks like a super powerful flush it actually uses less water so is more economical in the long run.
A corner toilet is no different than a close coupled toilet but it has been specifically designed to fit into the corner of your bathroom. The cistern is in a triangular shape to achieve this but everything else about the toilet is the same a regular one.
They are perfect for small bathrooms, cloakrooms and en suites to maximise the available space although it should be noted that they can be tricky to install the waste pipe into a corner.
When space is at a premium, short projection toilets are the ideal solution. They take up the minimum amount of space and enable you to turn even the smallest room into a bathroom.
A toilet pan that projects less than 650 mm is considered short projection - the projection is the distance from the front of the pan to your wall. This is usually down to the narrow cistern design - this doesn’t impact the efficiency of the flush.
A WC unit (or toilet unit) is a toilet pan that is connected to a back to the wall vanity unit which conceals the cistern - you will get the unit, toilet pan and cistern together.
They are great for small bathrooms if you choose a slimline version. You can opt for a push button flush or more traditional lever handle. They come in a range of styles, materials and finishes.
WC units make it simple to hide the cistern without any building work and enable you to still have easy access for maintenance or repairs.
Combination Units are clever little space saving concepts where you have a toilet, basin and storage cupboard combined into one unit. They are essentially a more advanced version of a WC unit.
Not only do they provide storage but are designed to hold a concealed cistern so hide all the nasty plumbing leaving you with a cleaner looking bathroom. They also save money as you aren’t paying for a separate sink, basin and vanity unit which can get costly.
WHAT IS A COMFORT HEIGHT TOILET?
Also known as 'right height' toilets, comfort toilets are gaining in popularity. Designed 2-4 inches taller than a standard toilet, they offer a more comfortable sitting position especially for those who are taller, disabled or elderly as they put less pressure on your lower back and joints.
Keep in mind, however, that for those without joint problems the comfort height toilet can be uncomfortable for shorter people and children may need a step stool to get then on and off the seat. The feet can also dangle from the seat slightly which can affect circulation if sat on the toilet for too long and because they prevent you from sitting in a more natural squatting position, it could make going to the toilet more difficult and cause constipation.
WHAT IS DUAL FLUSH?
You may have heard of it but are not sure what it means. A dual flush toilet is the same as any regular toilet except it has a water saving design created with an interval flush valve that allows two separate flushing volumes for disposing of waste. This type of cisterns gives you the option of a full (usually 6 litres) and a half flush (around 3 litres).
The first type of flush valve is a toilet siphon which is triggered by the toilet handle, the other is a dual flush drop valve which can be operated by either a lever handle or a push button. Cutting down significantly on your water consumption is both good for the environment and will help reduce your water bills.
Most modern toilets you purchase will include a seat but if that is not the case or you simply don't love the seat it came with, here we'll outline the basics in picking a new toilet seat.
Round, oval and d-shape/square are the most commonly found toilet seat shapes in the UK. Most will be oval shaped but it is important to check which type will match your existing toilet model before purchasing.
There are two types of toilet seats, standard close and soft close:
Standard close toilet seats are those you will likely be most familiar with, they come in a variety of materials and finishes typically plastic or wood. They are easy to fit and can fit almost any standard toilet. Plastic seats are very popular and are cheaper than wood, they can also be moulded into almost any shape. Traditional style toilets look better with wooden seats for that classic look.
Soft close toilet seats are a more modern innovation that have been designed with a mechanism that allows the seat to close gently without banging against the toilet bowl when you let go of it. They help prevent wear and tear of your seat as well as avoiding trapped fingers. Care must be taken, however, not to attempt to force the seat down as this can damage the hinges.
Many newer seats come with a quick release mechanism which makes the often awkward and messy job of cleaning your toilet a breeze.