Almost one-third of the water we use in our homes is flushed down the toilet. That’s why federal standards limit new toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush. California, which is currently experiencing a drought, has even tougher standards that limit toilets sold in that state to 1.28 gallons per flush. All of the toilets in Consumer Reports’ tests meet the federal standards and about a third meet the stiffer California standard. With water use at such a premium this summer, here are the stingiest toilets from our tests.
When shopping for a replacement toilet look for the WaterSense label that is carried by high-efficiency toilets.The best WaterSense toilets we tested flushed just about as well as the 1.6-gallon models. Two of the top WaterSense toilets in our tests are sold at Lowe’s, the American Standard Clean 2514.101, $240, and the Aquasource AT1203-00, $100, a CR Best Buy. Both were very good at solid waste removal and bowl cleaning and quieter than many models. We also recommend the Toto Eco Drake CST744E, $380, as well as two WaterSense models from Kohler. Only one dual-flush model made our list of top toilet picks, the Glacier Bay Dual Flush N2316, $100, a CR Best Buy sold at Home Depot. It uses only 1.10 gallons in the liquid flush mode and is very quiet.
Shopping for a toilet
In addition to checking for the WaterSense label, here’s what else to look for when shopping for a toilet.
Height. Compare two toilets, and you may notice is that the rim of one bowl sits higher than the other's. That “comfort height” of 17 to 19 inches, compared with the standard 14 or 15 inches, is easier on aging joints.
Shape. A round bowl takes up less space than an elongated one, but an elongated one allows more seating room. It also tends to soil less and corral odors better.
One piece or two? Most toilets sold are two-piece models, with a separate tank that bolts to the bowl. They tend to cost less but can be harder to clean because the seam between the tank and bowl traps grime.
Color. You’ll find toilets in exotic colors, but 85 percent of buyers still pick white—and for good reason. Some colors may be passé in a few years and could affect home resale value.
—Adapted from Your New Home, published by Consumer Reports