A white Kohler sink (left) and water-saving toilet installed in a bathroom
Photo: Kohler

Imagine dumping an entire 5-gallon jug of drinking water into a toilet, then another single gallon of water on top of that, for good measure. Yep, that's about how much water older toilets use every time you push down the handle.

If you still have an old toilet, you’re not only wasting water but also flushing money down the drain—up to $110 a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Federal standards require new toilets to use just 1.6 gallons per flush, and toilets that qualify for the EPA's more stringent WaterSense designation use only 1.28 gallons. And even now, with those standards in place, toilets are still the biggest water-consuming product in your home.

But is 1.6—or 1.28—gallons enough water to do the job?

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“Many of the 1.28-gallon toilet models have excellent or very good performance for solid waste,” says John Banta, the Consumer Reports engineer who oversees our toilet testing. “In our tests, many WaterSense models perform just as well as—if not better than—some higher-gallon toilets.”

Below, CR members can read about highly rated WaterSense toilets, listed in rank order. All cost $200 or less. All of them use 1.28 gallons per flush, with the exception of the very efficient Niagara Conservation Stealth that uses only 0.8 gallon. For more choices, check our full toilet ratings and recommendations.

To evaluate how well a toilet cleans its bowl, CR test engineers leave a measured paint swatch on the inside of the bowl to see whether the toilet is actually sending water all the way around the interior when it’s flushed. If a lot of the paint remains on the side of the bowl, then—you guessed it—the toilet isn’t so great at cleaning the inside of the bowl.

A water-saving toilet
Photo: Delta

Water-Saving Toilets for $200 or Less

Top Picks

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Solid waste removal
Bowl cleaning
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Solid waste removal
Bowl cleaning
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