Tips for buying a toilet

The toilet might be the most neglected yet most important thing in every household. We spend hours selecting the shade of paint on the wall or thickness of the glass but tend to forget the toilet. Toilets are a long-term investment. It can stay for decades if you choose the right one.

So, if you are updating your bathroom, make sure you do your research to find a toilet that is efficient and fits your bathroom well. Here we explain the plumbing terms for your convenience, so that you know the things to consider while buying a toilet.

Typical construction of a toilet

Toilets have two key elements, a cistern, and a bowl or toilet pan. The cistern is the water tank that holds the water for flushing out the toilet, and the toilet pan is where you sit. When you push the flush, water from the cistern flows into the bowl to clean out the waste.

The S trap, P trap and skew trap

While looking for a toilet, you may come across terms like S trap, P trap, or skew trap. These are types of set-out, the pipe where the waste exits the toilet bowl. The names come from the shape of the pipe used in each type.

S traps are most commonly found in Australian households. Here the pipe exits at the bottom of the pan and goes through the floor to connect the sewer.

P trap exists at the back of the toilet bowl and goes through the wall. The toilets that are hung on the wall contain P traps.

In skew trap toilets, the outlet can be on either side of the pan. It is the least common type of set-out and is ideal for tight spaces.

If you want to update your toilet model without renovating the whole bathroom, you will need to stick to the type of set-out that already exists.

Types of water inlets

The water inlet allows the water to flow into the cistern, and can be located at the bottom of the cistern or the back. You can see the bottom inlet because the plumbing is exposed. However, when the inlet comes from the back, it remains concealed. The latter is a sleeker design, and easier to maintain. However, you should hire a plumber to install a toilet that comes with a back inlet.

Toilet designs and seats

The design of the toilet and its seat has evolved through the decades. If we look at our options today, we can find four main types of toilet design. They are two-piece or connector toilets, close-coupled toilets, back-to-wall toilets, and concealed cistern toilets.

Two-piece toilets are most common, where the cistern and the toilet bowls are separate and connected with a pipe. These toilets are easier to handle and less expensive compared to other models. In close-coupled toilets, the cistern and the toilet bowl are connected without any gap in between.

The third option is back-to-wall toilets. These are more expensive than the other two models. In this model, there is no gap between the cistern and the toilet bowl, and the cistern is attached to the wall. The most contemporary design is where the cistern is concealed behind a wall (or sometimes a cabinet). These toilets give a seamless smart look to the bathroom.

Bidets and Smart toilets

Bidets are usually easy to install, but some models require plumbing expertise. If you plan to attach a bidet to your existing toilet, make sure it is compatible. Some types of bidets may require total replacement of the seats.

Smart toilets are a great innovation in recent times. You can control the temperature and pressure of the water that comes out of the bidet. It also comes with an option to warm the toilet seat. Some smart toilets even have LED lights.

You may need a plumber

The plumbing terms may seem overwhelming at the beginning. However, if you look at the different parts of a toilet, it is not that difficult to understand. Usually, the cistern and the toilet bowl do not come as a set, so ensure compatibility before buying. Most basic toilets are easy to install; however, if you are not confident, seek help from an expert.