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What Are The Top Toilet Brands Out There?
That's an inevitable question every first-time buyer have in mind when looking for the best toilet to buy. A valid question, no doubt about it. But the more important questions are what kind of water closet are you looking for and at what price range.
Every brand will have one or more best-selling models in its respective range. Some are good with the traditional 2-piece tank and bowl, others may have made their name with the higher-end design. And some specialize in meeting specific needs such as to solve a small space problem or to alleviate the inconvenience with regular toilets.
Whatever your needs and budget may be, there is no lack of options available. But since this article is about toilet brands, let's not get too deep into the various toilet types, designs, and their respective pros and cons. If you want, spend the next 5 or 10 minutes to browse through this site, and you should be able to pick up a thing or two that will help you in your search for the best toilet.
So, let's begin.
Popular Toilet Brands
As you do your search, these brands are impossible to evade your radar. And you are most likely to end up with one of them when the features and price come within your expectation. They are so popular you may have heard of them even if this is your first time buying a toilet. So here they are, not in order of popularity.
- TOTO USA, Inc
- KOHLER Co.
- American Standard (A business unit of LIXIL Corporation)
- Mansfield Plumbing (A business unit of Organizacion CORONA)
- Duravit USA, Inc
- Gerberit North America
- Villeroy & Boch USA, Inc
- Laufen North America
Except for TOTO, which is Japanese, the other 3 at the top are American companies, or at least they are started by Americans but got acquired later by foreign entities. And KOHLER is still 100% American own. The other 4 are European companies with a strong presence in the local market.
All the above companies have a long history in toilet making, dated as far back as a century. They know a thing or two about making toilets for sure. And it all depends on your budget and preferred toilet types, do expect the prices to be a little on the high side. But you can sure bet on them for peace of mind in terms of quality and service support.
Toilet Types & Common Sizes
Nothing will make sense if you do not know the various toilet types, features to look out for, and their respective price ranges. Unless you are doing a direct replacement, with just the brand alone, it's almost impossible to make an informed decision.
There are easily over a dozen types and variations, from the most common gravity flush right up to the fully automatic intelligent models. It will be easier if you can at least narrow down the variation you prefer before hitting the store. You will save time and be less confusing when presented with tens of toilets on display, be it online or offline.
Determine what you want first (variations) before choosing the type and style.
Assuming you have no prior knowledge or experience in buying a toilet, these are the attributes you can decide first before your shopping, regardless of toilet brand.
- Bowl Shape – Elongated or Round
- Seat Height – Regular or Comfort Height
- Flushing capacity – (1)1.6 GPF, 1.28 GPF, or 1.0 GPF
- Exposed or Concealed Trapway (Skirted)
- (2)Rough-in size – 10″, 12″ or 14″
- If you choose a single flush, 1.6 GPF (gallon per flush), most vendors will not ship to some states like California, Colorado, and Texas as it is forbidden by law. These states mandate that only a maximum of 1.28 GPF of flushing capacity is allowed.
- You can't choose rough-in size if you are buying for replacement. You must buy back the same rough-in as your old toilet, or it won't fit. Check out this article to find out how to measure the rough-in. The most common rough-in size is 12-inch.
Once you are clear with the above attributes, you can compare the features and styles of your liking. That's when the shopping fun begins with choosing which brand has the best to offer.
But before you are all set to zoom-in to the most promising brand, a little note to bear. There are two types of flushing system you need to know, and you should always go for the siphonic system. Here's an article about the difference between Siphonic and Washdown toilets.
Most toilets, if not all, sold in the United States are siphonic types. But do pay extra attention if you are going for a European brand. In Europe, the washdown is the standard flushing system. So, just in case.
Typically, a regular toilet size is about 27 to 30 inches long (front to back dimension) and the bowl is about 14 to 16 inches wide. If you have no issues with space, these are the norm in most homes.
A compact toilet would size about 24 to 27 inches in length, and 14 to 15 inches broad (bowl). Good for small spaces, especially for those who live in an apartment with a tiny bath or powder room. If you need a small toilet, here are some small toilets recommendation, with the shortest length going at 23 inches.
Unless you are having it at some odd places, the toilet height is never a problem for most installation. A typical tank and bowl closet is about 27 to 30 inches tall.
Two-Piece Toilet, Single Flush or Dual-Flush
This is the most common (or basic) toilet type and cost about $200 to $400. You can get both exposed and concealed trapway for a 2-piece model with most brands. The skirted ones will cost more with some brand going as high as close to a thousand dollars.
The popular brands/models in this category are:
One-Piece Toilet, Single Flush or Dual-Flush
You will love the overall appearance compared to the two-piece, and it is easier to maintain and clean. Performance-wise, they are similar to the two-piece. The disadvantages are, it's heavy and bulky to handle during installation. And try not to break any part of the body, or it would simply mean you have to replace the whole toilet.
Also available in both concealed and exposed trapway.
Generally, the one-piece closet costs more than the two-piece. You can expect the price to be in the range of $300 to $600, and some models can fetch up to a thousand bucks.
KOHLER has a range of beautiful one-piece toilets. And you can also find several best selling TOTO one-piece toilets in this review. American Standard has quite a variety too, and you might find a few good ones with decent user reviews on Amazon.
Wall Hung Toilet, Dual Flush
Wall hung toilets are great if you want more of the precious bathroom real estate. The hidden tank offers you a clean and more streamlined look, and it can save some serious front-to-back spaces. Typical size is about 20 to 22 inches from the wall to the front tip of the bowl.
An excellent choice for a small bathroom if you have the budget. The hardware (bowl and carrier system) is inexpensive. The bulk of the cost is in the installation – Labor plus building material. A complete installation can easily cost you around 2 to 3 thousand dollars.
Cleaning is a breeze with a wall-mounted toilet with a lot less surface area to take care of compared to a floor-mounted model. And almost all wall-hung toilets are dual flush.
The popular brands are TOTO, Duravit, Villeroy & Boch, KOHLER, and several other European brands. They offer complete systems, which includes the bowl, in-wall carrier and flushing system (including the flush plate). Or you can purchase the bowl and carrier separately, even from different brands as long as they are compatible.
Geberit is the de facto leader in in-wall carrier system for wall-hung closet. Its carrier system caters to a wide array of applications and toilet brands which include TOTO and Duravit. Here's a complete Geberit In-Wall Carrier review.
Automatic Toilet (aka Smart Toilet)
Also known as shower toilet, tankless toilet, intelligent toilet, or electric toilet. The appeal of such a toilet is the hands-free operation, which includes the bidet and self-cleaning function.
Hygiene, comfort, and convenience are the 3 main attributes that make a smart toilet ever so attractive to the middle class.
If you love how neat a wall-hung closet looks, but don't intend to do a remodel, this could be your best option. Usually comes with a standard 12-inch rough-in, you can easily replace your existing one- or two-piece crapper with a tankless smart toilet.
But the size is not as compact compared to the wall-hung toilet though. The overall length ranges from 27 to about 30 inches. So, if 27 inches is still a little awkward for your small bathroom, you may have to abandon the idea.
Even if you are prepared to remodel your small bathroom for a wall-hung smart toilet, size may still be a problem. Unless you opt for the Axent.One Plus, or the Grohe Sensia Arena wall-hung smart toilet which has an overall length of only 23 inches. And that's the shortest length for a smart toilet.
If space is not much of an issue, you can also find other wall-hung smart toilets from the other brands such as TOTO, KOHLER, Duravit, and more. The typical bowl size for a wall-hung smart toilet is about 27 inches (front-to-back), 15 inches broad and 18 inches tall.
You can find out more about Smart Toilets in these reviews:
- AXENT.ONE C PLUS – Swiss Made Intelligent Toilets
- TOTO Neorest Toilet All-Inclusive Comparison + Unbiased Review
- TOTO Neorest Vs KOHLER Veil – Astounding Features Comparison
Other Brands And Best Sellers
Other than the big multinational brands mentioned above, there are smaller local companies that also offer great quality toilets and customer service. These companies cater to more specific market demands which are generally being ignored by the megacorps.
Whether you need an extra small or extra tall toilets, these companies will have you covered. And of course, they do offer regular toilets as well for the mass market.
So if you are looking for the smallest, the tallest toilet, or a style that you like, you may be able to find what you want with these companies.
- Swiss Madison
- Woodbridge Bath
- Luxury Modern Home (Brands: Galba, Carus, Julius & more)
- Convenient Height Company
- Signature Hardware
Of course, there are more than those listed above. If you like an overall view of all the toilet brands and companies, Amazon has a pretty comprehensive listing of toilet brands in the United States. Not exhaustive though.
Meeting Your Specific Needs
So the types of toilet you learn about may have taken you a step closer to a purchase decision. But still, there are other considerations and preferences you may have before finally deciding on the best brand and model.
For example, you may want a toilet that is easy to clean and maintain, or one that can self-clean. Or perhaps you want to see a leaner water bill every month, so a water-saving model will be ideal. And if you live in a downtown apartment where the bathroom space isn't that generous, a space-saving toilet is not an option.
Or perhaps, you need a comfort height toilet to alleviate the pain on the knees when sitting down or getting up from the throne. Whatever your reason is, you should be able to find a toilet that meets your expectation.
So here are the toilets, designed to address your whatever needs.
Toilets That Are Easy to Clean & Maintain
The first thing you should look out for in a toilet is its exterior design. An easy to clean toilet will have more flat surfaces than one that is packed with nooks and crevices. The worst toilet to clean is a two-piece with exposed trapway.
A one-piece and skirted design is a lot more forgiving to clean. There is no joining area between the tank and the bowl. And the trapway is wrapped with a ceramic skirting with all the flat surfaces. But the easiest to clean toilets are the wall-hung models. The image below says it all.
Next is the bowl rim design. Choose the one with a rimless bowl, and you will never have to jet spray underneath the rim to clear away debris, limescale or grime. TOTO is well known for its Tornado flushing system which uses a rimless bowl.
Recommended brands and models:
- TOTO Legato One-Piece & Skirted with Tornado Flushing
- TOTO Eco Soiree One-Piece & Skirted with Tornado Flushing
- TOTO Aimes One-Piece & Skirted with Tornado Flushing
- KOHLER Corbelle Two-Piece & Skirted with Tornado Style Flushing (rimless bowl)
- American Standard Boulevard One-Piece & Skirted with Conventional Flushing
- American Standard Tropic Flowise One-Piece & Skirted with Conventional Flushing
- Axent Dune II One-Piece & Skirted with AST Flushing
Looking through all the recommended models, you should have an idea what an easy-to-clean toilet looks like. The idea is to have less hidden areas for dirt accumulation, and the more flat surfaces there are, the better.
The trend now is towards a 1.0 GPF, or at least be at 1.28 GPF. The big brands are taking the lead, and you shall see more 1.0 GPF toilets in the not too distant future. In fact, you can get them now from any of the 3 main makers. And TOTO has the widest selection, you will be able to choose from any of their product family.
So gradually, the 1.6 GPF models might go the way of the dinosaurs if more states follow the California Energy Commission which mandates that all toilet flushes must be no more than 1.28 GPF.
Highly recommended to go for a TOTO because of its impressive track record in water conservation and environment protection. Its latest range of Neorest intelligent toilets is all 1.0 GPF rated.
Otherwise, the 1.28 GPF is a good flush rate if you are skeptical about the flushing power of 1.0 GPF. All toilets that carry the WaterSense label are 1.28 GPF or less. So look out for the label if you want a water-saving toilet. Similarly, all toilets that comply with the California Green Building Code (Calgreen) are at most 1.28 GPF.
Here are the recommendation for TOTO's water-saving toilets.
- TOTO Drake II Two-Piece toilets (Review)
- TOTO Carlyle II One-Piece & Skirted toilets (Review)
- TOTO Ultramax II One-Piece toilet 1.28 GPF (Amazon page)
- TOTO Ultramax II One-Piece toilet 1.0 GPF (Amazon page)
If you would like to explore more brands that carry the WaterSense label, you can search on the Environmental Protection Agency official website.
Space Saving Toilets
To install a toilet in a bathroom, you must first meet the minimum space requirement. So that you can do your business with comfort and have the space for maintenance. And most of all, the toilet wouldn't look awkward like out of proportion with other fixtures in your tiny bathroom.
Here's how you determine the minimum space according to the local building code.
When space is a problem, a compact toilet isn't a choice. Of course, there are many ways to skin a cat, the ultimate would be to remodel your bathroom for more space. That would be costly, and you have to endure several days of dust, noise, and inconvenience.
But if a small toilet is the best and only option, you can find some useful information in this “15 Powerful Small Toilets” article. In it, you will also be provided with recommendations of the various toilet types and models.
How do you define a self-cleaning toilet? Is it one that requires very little to no effort of keeping it clean, or one that will sterilize itself (preferably) around the clock? Whatever, but if the latter sounds like a good idea to you, there are no others that comes close to a TOTO Neorest smart toilet.
But no matter what, no toilet can clean its exterior by itself, not even the TOTOs. In general, or rather the low-tech method is to auto dispense a cleaning agent into the bowl after every flush. Or you can push a button to start the cleaning any time you wish. Such toilets are less costly than the Neorest or the likes but priced slightly above the regular one-piece.
In the case of TOTO, its Neorest toilets are equipped with eWater+ or electrolyzed water to sterilize the bowl after flushing and on an 8-hour schedule. Very interesting concept, especially how it turns ordinary tap water into a cleanser and back. You can find out more in this TOTO Neorest review.
So here are the two self-cleaning toilets from American Standard and KOHLER which self-dispense a cleaning solution into the bowl with or after a flush.
Toilets Designed For The Elderly and Handicap
You know the struggle, especially when you are in your 50s or 60s. But age is no barrier when you have a knee injury or a mobility issue. Or perhaps you have a Shaquille O'Neal kind of physique, then even a comfort height toilet offers no comfort at all.
A comfort height or an ADA compliance toilet is one that has a seat height of at least 17 inches measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat. The maximum seat height is 19 inches, according to ADA requirements.
With that height range, it is designed to let you sit down and get up easier. But that's not always the case. If you are physically short, you probably won't need such a toilet. The regular height toilet will be a better choice then.
And just when you think you might need an 18- or 19-inch tall bowl toilet, be prepared for disappointment. None of the major brands can help you. Most, if not all, ADA or comfort height toilets out there are 17 inches high. Which is just right for most people who fall under the average height category.
The closest is perhaps with a wall-hung toilet where you have a span of 15- to 19-inch you can adjust and fix the seat height with the in-wall carrier. That will be excellent for the elderly or disabled in terms of safety and barrier-free access if you have the budget.
So before you begin your hunt for an elderly-friendly water closet, get a dose of reality with comfort height toilets in this article. And if you really need more than what the ADA defines, you might want to look into this 21-inch tall seat Convenient Height toilet.
Integrated Bidet Toilets
This toilet class is trending smoothly over the last few years. Some say it is a cost bridge between the high-end tank-and-bowl and the smart toilet. Whatever. For sure, the ability to enjoy the features of a full-fledged intelligent toilet at a lower cost is well received by many.
And if you still find the price a little high to stomach, you can adapt your existing toilet with a bidet at an even lower price. But of course, that will depend on what bidet brand and model you use. Some model can cost as much as your high-end one-piece toilet alone. And provided you are OK with how it looks, it won't be as beautiful as when the bidet is an integral part of the toilet.
So basically, an integrated bidet toilet is simply a toilet fitted with a bidet (duh). Models like the TOTO G400, Bio Bidet IB-835, and *Axent Primus are examples of such a toilet. And they cost around $2000 apiece.
However, don't expect the features to be as comprehensive as a smart toilet. But you can still get most of the bidet features like a heated seat, warm water, air dryer, deodorizer and similar wash mode as the shower toilets. And the TOTO G400 is the only model that has an auto open and close seat.
*The Axent Primus toilet sold in the United States may be a different model from the one in Europe. The price is suspiciously low on Amazon for a bidet toilet combo. So please verify and confirm with Axent USA before buying.
A standard installation cost would be anywhere between $130 to $200 for a regular tank and bowl toilet. A good place to check on installation cost will be Amazon Home Services.
Usually, the service will include the necessary materials, like flanges, bolts & nuts, wax ring, and a flexible water supply line if these do not come with the toilet. And you may have to buy the toilet seat separately for some toilet brands. So please check if the water closet you are buying, does it comes with a seat or not.
And if it is for a toilet replacement, the service will include hauling away your old toilet. This is important to note if you are thinking of doing the installation yourself and then wonder how to get rid of the old crapper.
The cost may vary according to the toilet type or if there are any non-standard or special parts required. For example, if your rough-in is not the standard 12-inch, and the toilet you bought doesn't cater for that, then an offset toilet flange will be required. Or the charges can be a little more if it is a one-piece and skirted model, which can be a challenge to install.
An electric toilet will cost more because you may need to install a power supply point at the toilet location. And you must communicate with the plumber about the toilet type so that they can provide a precise quote. The installation can then go on smoothly when the plumbing guys know what to prepare and expect.
Finally, always make sure the toilet is in your hands and in good condition before you make an appointment with the plumbers. Don't assume the arrival date, there can be delays along the way. Or the toilet may arrive broken, and you only get to know when the plumber unpacks the goods. They may charge you for the time and travel even for no work done.
Budgeting (Wrapping Up)
Your search for the best toilet will depend on your budget and requirements. You just need to start with the common features and then proceed with the toilet type that appeal to you before deciding on the brand.
Now the question is, what should your budget look like?
Without getting into the details like cost of shipping and installation, if you are looking for a regular tank and bowl, you can set aside $500. That will pretty much give you a sizeable range of two-piece, exposed or concealed trapway models.
Prices start around $200 with a basic two-piece single flush. You should be able to find one with brands like American Standard or TOTO, even with some models going under $200. These are the exposed trapway type.
And with the $500 budget, the skirted or concealed trapway models will be included for your selection. Models such as KOHLER Corbelle, TOTO Aquia IV, and American Standard Town Square are some popular choices.
Even some of the compact models which are one-piece, dual-flush, and skirted are priced around $300, like the Swiss Madison Sublime II, or slightly above $500 for the more popular Galba by Luxury Modern Home.
And if you like the idea of one-piece for easy upkeeping, you might be able to find some of TOTO's model at around $500 as well. You can even get it at under $500 with the other brands like Swiss Madison and Woodbridge Bath, which are regular size, one-piece, and skirted.
If you have a bigger budget that is anything from $1000 to $3000, then the range will stretch into the wall-hung models (including installation cost), the integrated bidet toilets, and the higher-end tank and bowl. Or almost any of TOTO's Washlet+ toilets which come with a bidet of your choice.
Above $3000 to an open budget, you will be venturing into the shower toilets range. Other than one that is made of pure solid gold, the Neorest NX2, the latest from TOTO cost only a measly twelve thousand dollars.
Jokes aside, but a $3000 budget won't get you far with those high-tech toilets from the well-known brands. You are probably touching the low to mid-range models at $4000. The high-end models start at $5000 and beyond. And it all depends on the brand and model you have set your eyes on.
There you have it, toilet brands and their series of best selling toilet types. Hopefully, this will give you a head start and save you time on your hunt for the best toilet. And you are most welcome to leave your comments or questions you may have below.