Choosing a Toilet

There are lots of things to think about and consider when choosing a new toilet. It’s also one of the most important decisions you’ll make during a bathroom design process.

You can prioritise luxury, flexibility or design choices when choosing the toilet; that’s entirely up to you.

Read on to find out more about what matters most when choosing your new toilet.

Consider the Plumbing

The first way to narrow down your choice of a toilet is to consider the plumbing. The way in which your current toilet is plumbed and how it’s spaced within the layout of your bathroom will dictate which kind of toilet would be realistic to replace your current one.

Trap Configurations

A plumbing trap is a bend in the channel from the base of the toilet through which waste is pushed out into the drainpipe.

This system traps some water at the bottom of your toilet pan which prevents foul-smelling sewer gases from passing through drain pipes into your home.

Two common trap configurations are:

  • S-trap – the most common in ground-level installations which connects into the floor;
  • P-trap – often installed in top floors which connects into a wall.


You need to make sure that a toilet is suited to the space you have available. Measure the ‘rough-in’ – the distance between the wall and the waste outlet, and also measure the wall space behind the toilet.

An S-trap toilet is usually set-out 140mm while a P-trap is set-out 185mm. These set-out measurements should be within 20mm of the set-out measurements of your new installation.

If there is a cabinet or shower near the toilet, remember to leave enough space for any drawers and doors to open.

Water Supply

Check where the water supply tap to the toilet is located. In older homes, the water supply taps are often located up high which might be in the way of a new cistern. If the water supply is located down behind the toilet, this could obstruct the toilet bowl with a back-to-wall type of toilet.

Seat Options

Toilet seats are available in round and elongated shapes and in a range of sizes. A gentle slow-closing motion protects the seat from damage by sudden falls.

Seats with quick-release buttons enable the seat to be removed easily to make it easy to fully clean the area around the seat’s hinges.

Water Efficiency

Old, single flush toilets use about 11 litres of water for every full flush. That’s a lot of water literally down the drain!

To conserve water, and to save on your water bills, check on the water efficiency rating of the toilet you are considering.

According to the WELS scheme, a 3 STAR rated toilet uses 6 litres of water for a full flush, while a 4 STAR rating uses 4.5 litres.

Rimless toilet bowls help prevent germs from collecting. But be sure to check how effective and strong the flush is in cleaning the bowl.

Types of Toilets

Close-coupled: With a closed coupled toilet, the cistern is located directly behind the toilet bowl and is joined with the pan to hide the flush pipe. The flush button is on top of the cistern.

A closed coupled type of toilet is a standard type of toilet fitted in most houses, which makes it the easiest and therefore most economical to install.

Back to wall: A back to wall type of toilet is one solid unit that is set flush against a wall. The back of the cistern is above the toilet pan, allowing easy access if there is a need for repairs. Unlike a close coupled toilet, there is no gap or space between the toilet and the wall. This prevents dust from accumulating in an otherwise difficult to reach location.

Installing a back to wall toilet may require special plumbing as it does not fit standard water inlet options.

Wall faced: With a wall faced toilet, the cistern is built into the wall which makes operation very quiet. All plumbing is hidden under the floor or within the wall. Being floor-mounted, an S-trap configuration makes it an easy replacement for standard installations.

Fitting the cistern into the wall, however, does need special installation considerations which may not always be possible especially if there is no space inside the wall. Repairs to the cistern will also likely be complicated without easy access.

Wall-mounted: This kind of a toilet is mounted on a wall off the floor, thereby eliminating the need for a toilet foot or base. This helps present a spacious clean bathroom. The pan can be installed at a height suiting the occupant which makes it particularly convenient for disabled people. Like a wall faced toilet, the cistern is installed within the wall which also makes it very quiet to use.

A wall-hung toilet requires a special frame to be attached within the wall, and requires additional space for fitting the in-wall cistern.

Modern toilets offer more in the way of features and design options than ever before, so be sure to check out all the options on the market today and find the one that works best for you.

Doing so will enable you to take your bathroom a step closer to completion and how you want it to look and function going forward.