Shopping for a toilet isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. They all look basically the same, and that doesn’t make it easy to compare models. Not to worry. Consumer Reports just completed its latest toilet tests and can tell you which toilets do the best job, which are the quietest, and which are the easiest to keep clean.

Federal standards limited residential toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush more than 20 years ago, replacing toilets that typically used 4 to 5 gallons. That water-saving move was an adjustment for those consumers who would associate an abundance of water with flushing power. But as we discovered in our tests, the amount of water doesn’t always correlate with flushing performance.

In fact, we found that single-flush toilets, many of which use 1.28 gallons per flush, outperformed dual-flush models, which use 1.6 gallons for a full flush (and 1.1 or less for a partial flush). Improvements to the flushing mechanism have reduced water volume without sacrificing performance.

Here are the best toilets from our tests and tips on the bathrooms for which they're best suited.

Best Overall

The St. Thomas Creations Richmond ECO, $350, does everything well. It's powerful, uses 1.28 gallons of water per flush, and operates quietly, making it a perfect choice for a master bath. The ECO performed well in our a drain-line carry test, which measures how far flushed water and simulated waste move in one, two, and three flushes. That's important if you've experienced clogged pipes in the past. Consider this model if you need a toilet for bathroom on a high floor or in the back of the house farther from the sewer hookup.  

Most Powerful

The Kohler Highline Classic K-3493, $425, uses compressed air to boost its flushing performance—a feature you'll both see and hear. It's the most powerful model in our ratings, as measured by its ability to remove solid waste, and that power helps it self-clean the inside of the bowl nicely. But the compressor also makes the Kohler Highline the noisiest model in our ratings—hardly a feature you want near rooms where your family gathers or entertains. Still, this model is a perfect choice for bathrooms where noise isn't your primary concern. 


For more information see our toilet ratings and buying guide.
 

Top One-Piece

Most toilets are made of two pieces, which means there's a seam between the bowl and the tank that can collect grime. One-piece toilets like the Delta Turner C43908-WH, $170, are easier to keep clean and some homeowners prefer them for that reason. The inside of the Delta Turner was also a cinch to keep clean between uses, earning an excellent score on the bowl-cleaning test in which we observe how clear incoming water leaves the bowl. It flushes quietly and is very good at solid waste removal.

Quietest

The whoosh of water in a toilet is always going to make some noise, but you want one that's as quiet as possible. That's especially true for first-floor powder rooms, or any bathroom near the kitchen, dining room or other gathering spots. The American Standard Acticlean, $400, takes top honors in our noise test, and is a solid all-around performer. It excelled at self-cleaning and even has a built-in dispenser for liquid toilet bowl cleaner.  

Best Value

While you don't have to spend top dollar to get a great toilet, our testing does reveal the best performance typically comes from models costing $250–$425. One exception? The Aquasource  Henshaw LO2EC08W, $100, from Lowe's. It dispensed with waste easily, did its business quietly, and kept the bowl clean, for less than half the cost of most models in our ratings. It's not bad looking, either, and is a reliable choice that'll save you a few hundred dollars.