You may be surprised to learn that deciding on a type of toilet can be challenging, especially if you’re on a tight timeline with your bathroom remodel. Since some toilets can last 50 years or more, this can be a huge decision to make. However, we’re gathered 19 types of toilets you can consider and outlined them for you to give you a good idea of what is available on the current market and this can help you narrow down your choices to pick the best one to suit your tastes.
Picking out a type of toilet that is a solid fit for your space while meeting your needs can take some research on your part, but you have many options available. The toilet by Wiennat Mongkulmann / CC BY-SA 2.0
19 Popular Types of Toilets
The first decision you have to make when it comes to your types of toilets is the type. The toilet type is the basic method your toilet uses to flush and dispose of waste. The type of toilet you pick out will help define your bathroom space and make it easy to use. The most popular choices are as follows:
1. Back-to-Wall Toilets
This is a very contemporary style choice, and they work to save space. This toilet is also very easy on the eyes and simple to maintain and clean. The toilet bowl gets attached directly to the wall, and the cistern gets hidden in a piece of furniture or directly into the wall. This means that you’ll most likely have to call in professionals to help you install it, even if they’re less expensive and easier to install than wall-hung units.
Bidets have been popular for decades in other countries around the world, but the United States is also seeing a huge popularity surge with bidets. A toilet with a bidet has a plumbing feature that is especially designed to help you clean up after you use the toilet, either in place of toilet paper or in addition to toilet paper.
You can add a full bidet next to your type of toilet or get an add-on model that you integrate into your existing toilet. Add-on models are very popular to use with smart toilets. They usually combine warm and cold water cleaning nozzles with a dryer.
3. Double-Cyclone Toilet
A double-cyclone toilet is newer technology that isn’t immensely popular. The toilets use a smaller amount of water per flush, but they offer a huge amount of flushing power each time you use it. Inside of using smaller holes in the bowl’s rim to flush like most other types of toilets do, you get two nozzles along the rim to give you the flush for this toilet. The nozzles will give you a much more efficient flush. The water savings with each flush is very minimal, but they can add up to a nice portion of your monthly water bills.
4. Dual-Flush Toilet
This is another type of toilet that is quickly gaining popularity due to the water-saving benefits it offers. Dual-flush toilets are a mixture of pressure-assisted toilets and gravity-feed toilets. You can pick between a full flush or a half flush each time you want to empty the bowl.
A half flush will clear the toilet using the gravity-feed system. You can use this type of flush for liquid waste. If you have solid waste, you should use the full flush to clear it out with the pressure-assisted system without having to use a drain cleaner. These toilets are very quickly gaining on pressure-assisted and gravity-feed toilets.
5. Eco-Friendly Toilet
This type of toilet is another that is quickly catching on throughout the United States. Part of the reason for this is because there are laws in place that regulate how much water your toilet can use per flush. In the United States, any newly installed toilet has to use 1.6-gallons of water per flush or less. If you’re someone who wants to have better water efficiency, you should consider using this toilet type to use less water.
This is what you call a flushometer flushing mechanism. You won’t find these types of toilets used in residential bathrooms, but it’s much more common to see in commercial building bathrooms to help keep up with the demand. This is the flushing mechanism you find in tankless toilets. The advantage of this system is a higher flush pressure that you need for heavy use in commercial settings. A stronger flush would be very beneficial in residential bathrooms, but these toilets also need a much larger water supply than you have in your home.
7. Gravity-Feed Toilet
The most modern and most common type of toilet in the United States is the gravity-feed system that uses gravity to flush down your waste products. A toilet tank will hold the water that drops down into the bowl when you press the flush valve. The water moves through the toilet bowl and pushes the waste through your trapway.
A lot of gravity-feed toilets use a siphoning action in the bowl. The flush’s motion gets designed to help clean the bowl out after you use it. These toilets are notable because they have a very quiet flushing action. They have a very small list of moving parts that means the repair process is easy and you’ll have minimal maintenance.
8. High-Level Toilet
A high-level type of toilet will help give you a nice traditional design style in the bathroom. They get a cistern that is fitted very high on the wall, and you have to either reinforce it or it has to be solid to avoid any problems. These toilets have a much longer chrome flushing pipe with a longer pull chain to give it a gorgeous design.
9. Low-Level Toilet
Very similar to a high-level toilet, this type of toilet will lend a much more vintage look to your bathroom. The cistern gets fitted at a much lower level, and this ensures that you have a shorter flush pipe. The flush mechanism will operate with a lever to give it a classic design.
10. One-Piece Toilet
Just as the name suggests, this type of toilet gets made from a single piece of material. They’re usually ceramic, and the material includes an integrated tank, bowl, and trapway. Most also have a toilet seat too. The one-piece design on this toilet type makes maintenance and installation much easier. It also ensures that you get a seamless fit between your tank and the bowl, and this makes the cleaning process easier.
11. Pressure-Assisted Toilet
The highlight of this type of toilet is the very powerful flushing action. It comes with a system of pressurized air that forces the water from the tank into your bowl with a lot more power then you’ll get from a gravity-fed system.
This is a much louder flushing system than a gravity-feed toilet, but it’s a lot more efficient too. Waste gets flushed a lot faster and with more force. This means that clogs are a lot less common with this type of toilet. They’re a nice choice for bigger families where you use the toilet a lot.
12. Smart Toilet
Smart or intelligent toilets have innovative designs that help to redefine what a toilet can do and what a toilet is. Most smart toilets have a touch-screen control panel to them or a remote that lets you switch the toilet seat’s temperature or flush the toilet itself.
Additionally, most of these toilets have a bidet to allow for warm-water cleansing. The touch-screen on this type of toilet will also control the cleansing settings at will. Finally, smart toilets usually have a very streamlined design to them. The tank usually gets hidden to create a very sophisticated look and feel.
Smart toilets are catching on because they pack a whole host of features into the toilet itself that make the toilet seem much more high-end. ceramic smart bidet toilet, plumbing fixture in a tiled bathroom by PickComfort / CC BY 2.0
13. Single-Flush Toilet
As the name suggests, this toilet comes with a single flush setting. All you have to do is push down the flush valve and the toilet will deliver the same size and pressure flush every time. This is the most popular toilet out of any on the market, and they come in the widest ranges of designs.
14. Touchless Flush Toilet
A touchless flush type of toilet is very commonly seen when you enter public restrooms. Instead of pushing a button or lever down, the toilet will flush by itself when it detects you’re done using it. A lot of residential touchless toilets have a motion sensor installed on the top of the tank. You can wave your hand above the sensor to trigger the toilet to flush the contents.
The biggest benefit of this type of toilet is cleanliness. It helps to minimize the spread of germs since you won’t have to touch the toilet when you use it. A lot of touchless flush toilets are also battery operated. It’s possible to convert most single and double-flush types of toilets into a touchless one.
15. Two-Piece Toilet
A two-piece type of toilet can come in two pieces and have you put it together. The two pieces include the toilet bowl and the toilet tank. You can buy them as a set together or mix and match to your desired preferences. You typically have to purchase a toilet seat separately.
Even though this is more difficult to clean, this type of toilet is typically much more efficient. They also last longer than most toilets because you can easily replace the individual pieces as needed. The longevity and simplicity of this toilet have made them the single most popular choice in the United States.
16. Upflush Toilet
These types of toilets remove the need to drill holes in your bathroom floor to install a more complex plumbing system. These toilets are virtually fully mobile and they can fit anywhere on your property.
The biggest difference between standard toilets and upflush toilets is the discharge system. This mechanism has a macerator toilet unit with a smaller pipe. The macerator will process any solid materials like toilet paper and human waste. As a result, you have a mixture of material to flush and the water moves it through the upward pipe and into the sewage unit. The discharge pipe can be as small as ¾-inches, and it can solve many structural problems. It has a fine slurry that a pump moves into the sewage system, holding tank, or septic tank.
Urinals are types of toilets used strictly for liquid waste, and they’re wall-mounted units. You’ll find them in commercial settings for the most part, but you can also find residential ones for home use.
18. Wall-Mounted Toilet
This type of toilet isn’t a common fixture in residential bathrooms, and it’s much more common to see them in a commercial setting. The toilets have a wall-hung toilet bowl and a flush plate that mounts right to the wall. The toilet tank gets hidden behind the wall, so you’ll need a professional company to come in and assist you.
The main reason many people consider installing this type of toilet is because it has a much smaller size. The toilet style is the top choice for smaller bathrooms where your floor space is at a premium. These toilets can save roughly a foot of floor space, and they streamlined design makes them very easy to clean.
19. Waterless Toilet
Self-contained types of toilet like this one are available for situations without plumbing and water. They’re quite uncommon in permanent houses, but you find them used a lot on worksites, while camping, during remodeling projects, and in other instances.
As the name suggests, this toilet doesn’t use water. It collects waste in a receptacle that is under the toilet seat. Composting toilets are a type of waterless toilet that are seeing a huge popularity surge due to tiny home, off-the-grid, and green living movements.
Toilet Design Considerations
You can choose from a huge range of dimensions, colors, toilet seats, bowl shapes, flush handles, and trapway styles when you pick out a type of toilet to help customize it to your wants and needs.
The bowl shape is an important design factor that relates to the comfort of your type of toilet and the dimensions. It’s possible to pick out a custom toilet bowl that has specific measurements to suit your personal preferences and needs. However, it’s more common to pick between three main bowl shapes. Each has several measurements. The most common ones include:
Compact Elongated Toilet Bowl
A compact elongated bowl is a combination of a round-front bowl and an elongated bowl. They offer the same round footprint that you’ll get with a round-front bowl and the additional seat space that an elongated bowl offers.
Elongated Toilet Bowl
An elongated toilet bowl has a rough oval shape. The added length is the key benefit. Most of the bowls are roughly two inches longer than a round bowl, and they top out at 18 inches. The additional length makes it more spacious and comfortable.
Round-Front Toilet Bowl
As the name suggests, these bowls have a rough round shape. They’re not as comfortable or as big as an elongated bowl, but they take up less space. They’re a solid option if you have a smaller bathroom and space is at a premium.
Traditionally speaking, a lot of toilets come in off-white or white coloring. White toilets are still very standard, but you can now pick out types of toilets in virtually any color you can imagine.
You can request exotic colors, bright colors, or patterns, but most people choose a much more subdued tone. Common colors include lighter shapes of yellow, blue, brown, gray, green, or pink. The color you pick out can do a lot to set the mood of your space.
Your toilet dimensions can vary largely based on the height of the seat and toilet bowl. Toilets do come in a range of widths and lengths, but there is less room on this measurement than you have with toilet height. Your toilet height affects the look of the toilet as a whole, and it also impacts the comfort level.
Anyone who has limited mobility might choose to have a higher toilet that requires less bending, and they may pair it with a walk-in tub to make the bathroom safe. Another option is to get a raised seat. If you have kids, you may want something with a lower seat that is easier for them to get on and off. You can break your toilet height down into a few rough categories:
- Chair Height – This type of toilet comes with a bigger profile design with a seat that is roughly the height of a chair at 19 inches.
- Custom Height – This is typically a wall-mounted type of toilet that is easier to adjust the height compared to a two or one-piece standard toilet design.
- Standard Height – This is a lower-profile design that offers a maximum height for your seat of 17 inches, but it usually sits around 15 inches.
A lot of wall-hung types of toilets can get mounted between 15 and 30 inches to help accommodate people of all preferences and sizes.
You have a few options available, and the most popular include:
- Remote – You flush your toilet by pushing a button on your touch-screen control pad or via remote control.
- Side – A button or lever is on the left or right side of the tank.
- Top – Your button will be on the top of the tank. A lot of dual-flush toilets use two top-located buttons to allow you to flush after each use.
- Touchless – There is a motion sensor installed in your toilet, typically on the top of your tank. You wave your hand in front of it to flush.
- Wall – The button to flush the toilet is on the wall. You typically only see this with wall-hung types of toilets.
Most two-piece types of toilets come without a seat, and you have to purchase one separately. Even the majority of two-piece toilets that come with a seat usually offer a removable seat that you can replace with a better one that matches your preferences and needs.
Along with purchasing a toilet seat that matches your toilet’s color and complements your bathroom’s decor, you want to find one that matches the shape of your toilet bowl, no matter if it’s compact elongated, round, or elongated.
You also have to decide which material you want to use. The most common materials include polypropylene, plastic, molded composition wood, cushioned vinyl, or real wood. Any household that has smaller children may choose to go with a slow-close lid. They improve your safety levels by not slamming, and they’re also quieter.
If you go for a luxury toilet seat, they have deodorizers and heated surfaces. Bidets offer a warm water stream and warm air dryer, and they’re other options to consider.
The toilet trapway is an important component to your type of toilet, and it functions to connect the bowl to your plumbing system. A high-quality trapway ensures that you won’t have issues with clogs. It also ensures a smooth functioning with your toilet so that waste gets to your sewer line without issues. All types of toilets have an S-shaped trapway, but you can choose from different styles, and we outlined them below.
Concealed Trapway Toilet
The standard S-shape isn’t always available on a concealed trapway type of toilet. Instead, the toilet’s side is a smoother surface. They have low-profile caps to cover bolts that attach your toilet to the floor.
Exposed Trapway Toilet
The S-shape on your exposed trapway is visible if you look on the side of the toilet. Caps will cover the bolts that attach your toilet to the floor.
Skirted Trapway Toilet
The S-shape won’t be visible on this type of toilet. It’s very similar to a concealed trapway, but it offers uniform sides from the base up to your toilet bowl. There are no exposed bolts on this toilet type.
Installing Your Toilet
How difficult it is to install your toilet will largely depend on the type of toilet you pick out. It’s not considered to be a very difficult DIY project, but it’s best to leave this process to anyone with minimal DIY experience. Installing the tank by Timothy Freund / CC BY-NC 2.0
If you’re not handy, it’s a better idea to call in a professional to handle the process for you. One-piece toilets are generally easier to install than a two-piece setup. However, you can install a two-piece system with very little DIY experience.
Wall-hanging types of toilets are ones that you want to leave to the professionals when it comes to installation. The toilets usually hide the tank inside of your wall, so the whole process is much more complicated than connecting the toilet to your plumbing system. The installation difficulty also depends on whether you want to replace an existing toilet, remodel the whole room, or if you’re building a new bathroom from scratch.
Cost and Budget
The cost and your budget are two of the most important considerations to keep in mind when you’re looking for a type of toilet. One-piece toilets have a lower price point than two-piece setups. Wall-mounted types of toilets are usually more expensive than two-piece toilets. You have to factor in additional features if you want them because toilets that come with bidets or warming features will cost more than a standard setup.
The overall style of your toilet also factors in. There’s a broad price gap between budget toilets and higher-end options. The installation process is another thing to keep in mind. You can save a decent amount of money if you install them yourself. Hiring a professional will cost considerably much more, especially if you have to bring in a plumber and electrician along with your general contractor.
Location and Room
Space planning is something huge that you should keep in mind when you’re purchasing and installing a new type of toilet. Think about how your bathroom fixtures and your new toilet will look when you get them all installed. Think about how much space you’ll have left in the bathroom after you finish the installation process.
You should leave a minimum of 21 inches of free space in the front of your toilet. You should also try to leave 15 inches of space from the center of the toilet to each side before a fixture or wall.
Along with space planning, you want to consider the location of your type of toilet in the bathroom. Will it still look nice in this space when you add appliances like a bathroom vanity, sink, and a bathtub or shower? Along this line of thought, you should consider how the design of your toilet works with the rest of your bathroom decor as a whole.
One very popular option is to buy a toilet as part of a full bathroom collection. This will help to ensure that each of your bathroom appliances, decor, and fixtures match well. You can find bathroom collections in several colors, styles, and more that span from contemporary and modern to rustic and traditional.
Other Factors to Consider
You can keep a few questions in mind to help ensure that you pick out the best type of toilet possible. They include:
- Who will use your toilet? If you have anyone with mobility issues that will use your bathroom, you may need to have a taller chair height to make sitting to standing and standing to sitting easier.
- Where is your bathroom located? Is your new type of toilet going in your primary bathroom, a kid’s bathroom, or a guest bathroom? A lot of people spend more money on a primary bathroom toilet than to do with one for the kid’s room or guest bathroom. You may want a smaller child-sized setup for your kid’s bathroom.
- What will the installation entail? Are you going to replace an existing toilet with a new one, build a new bathroom from scratch, or remodel your bathroom? Replacing the toilet requires that you get one that is roughly the same size to help ensure that you don’t get any gaps in your plumbing on the floor level.
We’ve outlined 19 types of toilets that you can consider installing in your bathroom. Doing so can help you upgrade your space, make it more accessible, and ensure that you get a comfortable area whenever you need to use it.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.