Plugged toilets are memorable, for all the wrong reasons. And it's the number one problem on the minds of consumers when they buy a toilet, according to a nationally representative poll that plumber manufacturer Kohler shared with Consumer Reports. Second on the list was cleanliness inside the bowl after flushing. Clogged toilets are also pretty important to us and the most heavily weighted part of our toilet tests.
To test toilets, we flush a measured mix of baby wipes, sponges, plastic balls, and tubes to see whether they will clog. We found major differences in flushing ability, even across models of the same brand. Though several Kohler single-flush models aced our tests, the Devonshire K-3488 was at the bottom of our Ratings. Some models' bowls were cleaner than others after flushing. Think twice about toilets where the drain hole in the bowl is deep. Our testers found that the relatively small water spot that results is less able to resist stains and odors than the larger water spot that typically occurs with shallower drain holes.
Our latest evaluations include a drain-line carry test that measures how far the flushed water and simulated waste move in one, two, and three flushes. With some toilets, the water carried the waste to the end of a 75-foot pipe in just one flush. But others fell far short of that, even after multiple flushes. This is important if you've experienced drain-line clogs in the past.
Fortunately, all models in our most recent toilet tests scored excellent on liquid waste removal, a first. Previously some dual-flush models had been mediocre at removing liquid waste in the partial flush mode, though they did a fine job of flushing solid waste in the full-flush mode.
—Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman