It’s the stuff of a bathroom designer's dream: A sleek, space-saving toilet, absent that unsightly tank, which can be installed at precisely the right height for you. Plus, the nature of the design—a wall-mounted toilet doesn't contact the floor—makes it a breeze to keep the area around it clean.

These elegant commodes hide the plumbing and working parts. The tank, made of lightweight plastic and styrofoam, lives behind the wall, cradled in a cast-iron or steel carrier that gets installed between two studs to provide support. The bowl floats above the floor, anchored through the drywall to the carrier.

If it all sounds a little exotic, that's because these fixtures are far from standard. It's easy to understand why: Installing a wall-hung toilet requires invasive and intensive reconstruction, and once it's in place there's no removing the lid of the tank to fiddle with a finicky flapper—the mechanicals are buried in the wall. It's possible in some scenarios to install an access panel for repairs, but that's a very custom solution.

Still curious? Read on for the pros and cons you'll want to weigh before tearing up your bathroom wall.

Built to Code
With their compact size, wall-mounted toilets offer more flexibility when designing or updating a bathroom. “These toilets can meet building-code clearances where floor mounted toilets might not,” says John Banta, the CR test engineer who oversees Consumer Reports’ toilet tests.

In some municipalities, buildings codes require at least 21 inches in front of the toilet. Wall-mounted toilets can save as much as 10 inches by moving the tank into the wall. And the bowl itself can be adjusted to sit anywhere from 15 to 19 inches off the ground.

Rules for Remodeling

A Costly Alternative
Wall-mounted toilets come at a premium over standard toilets. Expect to pay several hundred dollars more for this type of fixture, not counting the cost of professional installation—this is not a do-it-yourself project, notes Banta. "Already you're paying more for this type of toilet, and depending on your circumstances, you might spend several hundred more to move the supply and waste lines or to reconfigure the studs," he says. "It could easily be three times more expensive to switch from an existing floor to a wall-mounted toilet."

Down to the Studs
Installing a wall-mounted toilet requires opening a wall, rerouting the waste pipe, and, if you plan to keep the same flooring, patching the tile under your old toilet. You also need to know whether your framing consists of 2x4 or 2x6 studs when choosing the tank, as manufacturers make carriers for both types. "If you're installing one of these in an older home, you would likely need to rework the studs to get them in the proper location for the carrier," says Banta.

Relatively Easy Unclogging

During installation, the tank and the carrier are mounted to the studs and concealed with drywall, with an opening for the flush buttons. Access to the tank is through this opening. If something stops working after installation, the flush panel pops off and an adult-sized hand can reach inside to fix the plumbing.

How We Test Toilets

To develop our toilet ratings, CR test engineers put the fixtures through a battery of tests involving waste removal, bowl cleaning, and drainline clogs. To test solid waste removal we dump marble-sized plastic beads, weighted sponges, and filled water bags into the bowl and measure how well each flaush handles our simulated waste.

A toilet's bowl-cleaning abilities are tested by painting a line along the inside of the bowl and judging how much of the paint remains after flushing. Finally, we observe how well a toilet pushes waste through the drain, once flushed. That matters if your waste line travels a long way to the sewer.

We put our first batch of wall-mounted toilets through the same test criteria we use for floor-mounted toilets—though we built special jigs for each tank carrier. Generally, the wall-hung fixtures performed about the same as standard toilets.

Here’s an overview of the models we tested.

Kohler Veil K-6299

with the Kohler K-6284-NA in-wall tank and carrier system
Total cost for bowl and tank: $900

The priciest of the three wall-mounted toilets we tested, the Kohler Veil dual-flush toilet removes solid waste and cleans the bowl well. But it doesn’t resist odor and stains as well as other models. Kohler claims that the bowl saves up to 12 inches of space over the manufacturer’s floor mounts. The Veil meets standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (it's ADA-compliant) because it can be placed at a height of 17 to 19 inches, often called comfort height. It’s certified by the EPA as a WaterSense toilet. Kohler offers the toilet in white, dune, biscuit, almond, and black.

Toto Aquia CT418FG#01

with the Toto DuoFit WT151M / WT152M in-wall tank system
Total cost for bowl and tank: $700

According to Toto, the Aquia bowl saves up to nine inches of floor space compared to its standard counterparts. When paired with the DuoFit tank, the Aquia is a dual-flush system that cleans its bowl, removes solid waste effortlessly, and resists soil and odors well. This model is also ADA-compliant and certified by the EPA as a WaterSense Toilet. It also meets California’s Green Building Standards, CalGreen. Toto only offers one color, cotton.

Duravit Starck 3 2226090092

with the Geberit 111.335.00.5 UP3 20 in-wall tank system
Total cost for bowl and tank: $700

Designed by noted French industrial designer Philippe Starck, the Duravit Starck 3 has an antibacterial ceramic glaze that the manufacturer claims helps the bowl retain its unsoiled surface. In our tests, when paired with the Geberit tank system, flushing removes solid waste and cleans the bowl effectively, though it doesn’t resist soil and odor. This bowl is not certified for EPA’s WaterSense program, though the Geberit tank and carrier is. The fixture comes in white only with the ceramic glaze.

For more on this model, check out CR's full toilet ratings.