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How do I go about choosing a toilet?

As with any bathroom feature, when choosing a toilet, you have many options. Every home is different, and what you need out of a toilet will differ from the needs of others.

To choose the right toilet, the first thing you’ll want to determine is your “rough-in” measurement. This is the length of space from the wall to the center drain where the toilet will be attached. The standard length is 12 inches, but it’s important to know your rough-in distance, as store clerks may ask this measurement when helping you find the right toilet.

Next, you should choose your bowl shape. Most toilets have elongated bowls, but round bowls can be useful if you’re trying to save space. Toilet height is also important. Most toilets are 14–15 inches, but a taller toilet, even an inch taller, can be very helpful to the elderly and users with disabilities.

There are also several different styles of toilet. You’re probably most familiar with the two-piece toilet, with a separate tank and bowl. These are the most common toilets, with lower starting costs and easily replaceable parts. However, there are also the one-piece and wall-mounted options. Though they cost more initially, one-piece toilets save space, are sleek and easy to clean. Wall-mounted toilets are also more expensive, but are far more wheelchair accessible. However, they obviously need a strong wall to mount onto, and the drain will be inside of the wall, which can complicate maintenance.

If you're tired of constantly hearing the lid slam down on the seat, find a toilet that sports a soft-closing seat and lid. The handle placement is another aspect to keep in mind. Most toilets position the flush handle on the side of the toilet tank, but a button is another popular option. These flushing buttons are usually located on top of the tank in the center. Some offer the ability to flush at different water rates for liquids and solid waste. If you want to go more traditional, choose a side handle, but if you're feeling adventurous, try something new, like a top button.

Water-saving versions of all of these models are available. Ask your retailer about water-saving options, as well as advice on DIY installation, if that’s what you prefer.

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