Wednesday, 12 November 2008 | Tags: , , , ,

Updating the bathroom is high on the list of home renovation projects. If you're remodelling, you'll be looking at options for this mandatory yet unglamorous item. Here are some things to know about buying a new toilet.

The Basics

  • Toilets have a wide price range: anywhere from $200 to $2000 or more.

  • It’s now law in Canada that all new toilets are “low flow”, which means they use no more than 1.6 gallons (6 litres) of water per flush in order to conserve water.

  • Aside from style, the toilet’s flushing system is a big distinguishing factor:

    • Gravity-fed flush is the most common, most affordable option. Water runs from the tank into the bowl to rinse the bowl clean.

    • Pressure-assisted toilets add a burst of compressed air to propel water and empty the toilet bowl. These extra and more expensive parts mean there’s more potential for breakdown.

  • Two-piece toilets are the most common: the tank and bowl are bolted together.

  • One-piece units are sculpted together, giving it a modern, streamlined look. They’re easier to clean because no grime gets in between the bowl and tank. However, one-piece toilets tend to be less efficient flushers.

  • Round bowls fit better in a smaller space.

  • Elongated bowls will give you an extra two inches, making it a more comfortable throne.


We tested these four toilets for comfort, flushing power, and best design for looks and cleaning.

  • Caroma Royale dual-flush: $350
  • American Standard one-piece: $440
  • Kholer Cimarron two-piece with pressure flush: $500
  • Toto Carlyle Gmax one-piece with pressure flush: $700

Flush Test

We attempted to flush 3 ping pong balls and 5 small sponges down each toilet. Don’t try this at home!

  • The only toilet to successfully expel our imaginary waste was the Kohler.

  • Though the Caroma dual-flush is designed to save water, it actually required the most flushes to get any results, which we think goes against its water conservation angle.

Comfort Test

  • The Kholer again was the sit-down winner for comfort. Some of the others felt either too small, too big, or too hard.

Design/Clean Test

  • The one-piece toilets were definitely easy to clean, but with so many other toilet nooks and crannies aside from the tank-throne area, it only made the job slightly easier.


Comfort, design and flushability are the main things to consider when choosing a new toilet. Our top pick was the Kohler Cimarron, the two-piece toilet with pressure flush.


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