Toilets & Bidets Buying Guide

Where to start

Toilets certainly aren’t the most glamourous item in a bathroom but considering we use them on average of 2,500 times a year, we need to ensure we make the right choice.

Before we begin our guide to toilets and bidets, there are some key questions you should ask yourself:

1. Which type of toilet?

In functional terms, most wc’s do the same however there are lots of attractive, cleverly designed toilets for you to choose from. There’s close coupled, back to wall, corner and wall hung toilets. You might already have a preference but if you’re not sure then don’t worry, we’ll explain more about each type further on in this guide.

If you’re on a water meter and are hoping to cut your water bills, then you’ll probably want a toilet with an eco-flush so you can choose between a long or short flush. Please note that period style toilets usually have traditional side lever flushes instead so you won’t have as much flush variety.

2. Where is the overflow pipe?

The waste outlet used to be an important component to consider when choosing your toilet as its shape (S or P) defined whether you could connect to the soil/overflow pipe in your bathroom.  Nowadays a range of flexible pan connectors have removed this challenge so the fact that most modern toilets have P traps won’t restrict your choice.

That being said, a back to wall or wall hung toilet will rarely be found with an overflow pipe located in the floor as it will be almost impossible to plumb in a slightly manner.

Your options

Choosing the right toilet

Given that function changes little between toilets, style is an important consideration when it comes to choice. Well talk through the different types available so you’re clued up on which suits your needs. 

Close coupled toilets

The most popular style of toilet in the UK, with the cistern located on the back of the pan and flushing directly through the connecting point (coupled and close)

Pros: Close coupled toilets are easy to fit and practical.

Cons: They’re usually 80cm high and taller than back to wall and wall-hung toilets which could be tricky if you’re trying to fit your toilet underneath a large window or don’t have much wall space.

Cost: £60 - £250

Back to wall toilets

Rather than having the cistern attached to the toilet bowl, it’s hidden inside a cabinet or inside the wall itself. The back of the toilet bowl is fixed to the wall, making this style of toilet a great space saver.

Pros: Unlike wall hung, back to wall toilets don’t require a support frame to install. Great for modern, contemporary bathrooms.

Cons: You might need to buy a separate concealed cistern and fitting it within your wall, which may mean your installation will be slightly higher.

Cost: £60 - £230

Wall hung toilets

As the name suggests, these toilets are hung from your wall. They have their cistern hidden within the wall and the toilet pan can be fixed at a height of your choosing.

Pros: Very easy to clean as the pan isn’t attached to the floor so you can reach right underneath it. In turn, this makes your bathroom seem more spacious. They also always come with a quick release seat mechanism to allow you to change the seat without you needing to remove the toilet from the wall.

Cons: You will need a wall frame to install this type of toilet.

Cost: £160 - £230

As well as the three main types of toilets, there are also bidets to consider.

Bidets

Bidets are small basin fixtures that are used for hygiene after using the toilet. They are extremely popular in Japan and across Europe.  You’ll need to install a bidet tap as they have a directional spray and have specifically designed for bidets rather than sinks.

Pros: Good for personal hygiene and has the added benefit of minimising the amount of toilet paper that is used.

Cons: If you only have a small bathroom you might feel your bidet makes the room seem crowded. If you opt for a wall hung bidet, you’ll need to fit a support frame.

Cost: £60 - £320

Typical Sizes of Toilets

The typical height of a toilet is 420mm including the additional height of the seat. However, our wall hung toilet range reach as low as 320mm which is a great option for those who may encounter mobility problems. They also have the additional benefit of an adjustable height so these are suitable for a variety of ages. You can view our wall hung toilet range here.

We appreciate that width rather than height is more of a concern if you have a bathroom that’s on the cosier side of the spectrum so our narrowest toilets are our Wall Hung Toilets which come in at 320mm wide. The options in this range can be viewed here and the width of bathrooms.com toilets range between 320mm wide to 505mm.

Commode Shapes

You may not haven’t given much thought to the overall shape of your toilet as this bathroom item definitely falls in to more functional than style requirements. However, if you’re giving your bathroom a complete facelift then choosing an item that complements the rest of your scheme will work wonders. More modern shapes can be found as circular, square or rounded (see here). Victorian and Edwardian toilet styles offer more of a traditional bathroom feel.

Corner toilets are a great choice if you’re looking to update a cloakroom, ensuite or small bathroom. Our Metro Compact version is ultra-streamlined with clean, curved lines.

What else?

Please keep brief as we’ll be covering a lot of these in more detail in the ‘how-to’ content.

Other things to consider

Flush mechanisms

There are two main types of flush; a traditional side lever or a push-button dual flush. Our Edwardian and Victorian toilets have side lever flushes, but our other toilets like the Essential Designer Close Coupled Toilet have an eco-flush, which is a push-button dual flush.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, push-button dual flushes are better for the environment and your water bills as they have two buttons, one for a long flush and the other a short flush.  Most of our toilets have a 3 litre short flush and a 6 litre long flush but this can vary depending on the toilet chosen.

Toilet seats

Whichever toilet you end up choosing, it will come with either a d-shaped or square toilet seat. The shape you get will depend on the toilet’s design. Most of our toilet seats are made from white polypropylene which makes them durable and easy to clean. All of our back to wall and wall hung toilets come with concealed quick release hinges which allows for easy maintenance and cleaning.

To see if the toilet you’ve chosen comes with a soft close toilet seat or a standard seat please check out the product description.  With a soft close seat, you give them a gentle nudge and they close slowly and quietly. If your chosen toilet doesn’t come with one you can purchase one separately.

You can of course replace your toilet seat anytime. Perhaps you want to customise your toilet or fancy a luxury seat made from oak and benefit from the comfort of a warmer seat? Toilets might not be the most glamourous item in the bathroom but it can be argued that they’re the most versatile. You can expect to pay between £30 - £80.

Styling & Installation: In the ‘Complementing your style’ section, please give an overview of toilets & bidets that go well aesthetically in a bathroom of the given ‘style’. In the ‘Installation’ section, please answer the plumber question and explain if any other professional advice should be sought.

Styling & Installation

Complementing your style

As mentioned earlier, you can mix and match styles in your bathroom if you wish or you can go for items from the same range. To help you on your way, we’re going to suggest some toilets for the most popular styles of bathrooms.

Toilets for contemporary and modern bathrooms

With a modern bathroom, make a statement with the Aalto Signature Back to Wall Toilet. Other contemporary options include the Metro and Maderno close coupled toilets.

A modern, wall hung toilet such as the Janssen Signature is a bathrooms.com exclusive and is one of our most luxurious with its supreme quality and finishing. There are other chic matching items such as the Janssen Signature Wall Hung Basin and Bidet.

Toilets for country and seaside bathrooms

You’re probably looking for a toilet that wouldn’t look out of place in a farmhouse or country cottage. We recommend you opt for a simple but stylish close coupled toilet. The Essential Designer Close Coupled Toilet with soft close lid is a good choice as it suits bathrooms of all sizes and budgets. If you want something even more timeless, then the Edwardian Traditional Standard Close Coupled Toilet is a great choice.

If you’re going for a seaside theme you could look to the Italian design inspired  Rinaldi Signature Back to Wall Toilet (plus there’s a matching bidet!).

Toilets for spa style bathrooms

The Rinaldi Signature Standard Close Coupled Toilet and the Maderno Signature Close Coupled Toilet  both have unique silhouettes and look like they belong in a boutique hotel.

There are lots of spa-inspired combination units to complete the look. They combine a toilet, sink and cabinet – giving you plenty of storage space for your preening essentials. The Wall Hung Combination Unit Set is super sleek yet practical too.

Toilets for traditional bathrooms

Timeless design meets modern functionality with the Edwardian Traditional Close Coupled Toilet and the Victorian Designer Close Coupled Toilet.  The Victorian’s light oak toilet seat not only looks great but it also comes with a soft close feature.

Which toilets flush well?

Toilet design has improved greatly in the last decade or so with larger flush valves and traps. This should mean that whichever toilet you choose, it should flush well the first time.

In regard to water pressure, this will only dictate the amount of time your cistern takes to fill.

Which toilets do plumbers recommend?

A plumber will be able to make recommendations based on the flexibility and limitations of your bathroom and align these to your product choices. It’s always advisable to speak to a plumber for expert advice but alternatively you can always give one of our friendly Bathrooms.com team a call on 01525 300830.

If you’re looking for the most purse friendly option, then consider the Essential Basic Close Coupled Toilet. If you wish, you can upgrade to a soft close lid.

You need to make sure you have everything your plumber will need to fit the toilet when they arrive so when you add your chosen toilet to the basket make sure you pay close attention to the ‘You will also need’ message that pops up. For instance, you may need a Toilet Floor Fixing Kit or a Concealed Cistern.

For further advice, you might want to check out our guides to the best bathrooms for people with mobility problems and for families with young children.

Summary

There are so many smart yet functional toilets to choose from now you’re well equipped with the technical and product knowledge needed.

If you need help choosing your sink, bath, and bathroom furniture, please check out our other handy guides.

IMAGE OF CONTEMPORARY BATHROOM SCENE


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