Remodeling your bathroom?  Replacing an old toilet and want to add a bidet seat?  In this article, we’ll discuss everything you’ll need to make an informed decision when purchasing the right toilet and bidet combination. 

Remodeling your bathroom?  Replacing an old toilet and want to add a bidet seat?  In this article, we’ll discuss everything you’ll need to make an informed decision when purchasing the right toilet and bidet combination. 


Toilet "Rough In" Length

Diagram illustrating rough-in distance and hold down bolt

First time bathroom renovators often overlook or incorrectly record the most important measurement when planning to install a new toilet. That measurement is the toilet “rough in.” This refers to both the area where the waste outlet hole is placed to sit beneath the toilet, as well as the rough in measurement, which determines which toilets will or will not work in the space. Usually, this measurement is 12 inches (30.5 cm), but manufacturers also offer toilets to accommodate 10 inch (25.4 cm) and 14 inch (35.6 cm) toilet rough in measurements that may be needed due to construction mistakes or awkward floor joist placement.  To accurately obtain this dimension, start at the back of the toilet and measure the distance to the center of the waste outlet hole on the underside of the bowl.


Things to Consider

diagram comparing elongated, and round toilet

When selecting a toilet, determine which particular size fits the household’s wants and needs.  Bowl sizes usually come in two shapes: round or elongated.  While round toilet bowls are more circular, elongated bowls are more oval.  Round toilet bowls are typically found in older toilets, while elongated bowls are a newer development and are considered a more modern look.  Round toilet bowls result in a smaller toilet, which helps conserve bathroom space. Elongated bowls have more capacity, resulting in less chance of clogs or overflowing.

diagram comparing regular toilet height, and comfort toilet height

Toilets usually come in a standard height or a comfort height.  Comfort height toilets are usually two or three inches higher than the standard.  Two or three inches may not seem like a big difference, but in fact, the extra height makes it easier for elderly or tall people to get up and down from the toilet.

verity of different toilet colors

After the bowl and height size has been determined, select the right toilet color for the style of the bathroom.  White is still the most popular color, but manufacturers offer a wide range from beige, pink, blue, black, green, and more. 


Toilet types

a one piece toilet a two piece toilet

Toilets typically fall under two categories: one or two piece.  A one-piece toilet has its bowl and tank molded together as one seamless fixture.   The two-piece toilet is comprised of a separate bowl and tank which are bolted together during installation.

One-piece toilets have significant advantage in cleanliness as they do not have a gap where the tank and bowl components meet. This eliminates difficulty in cleaning hard-to-reach areas that may harbor germs and stains.  However, parts for one-piece toilets are usually more expensive to replace.

Many homeowners prefer the sleek, low-profile of one-piece toilets as a contrast to the more traditional and taller two-piece toilet. However, two-piece toilets are still more prevalent and offer a larger variety of styles and colors to the buyer.  Comparable two-piece toilets cost less than their one-piece counterparts.

Brondell Swash 1400 installed on a bidet seat

Bidets seats fit two-piece toilets best.  One-piece toilets often have less space to work with between the tank and toilet seat which causes problems for bidets.  Two-piece toilets offer lots of room for bidet seats to fit properly.


Flushing Capability

close up a toilet's dual wash button

Nowadays, the maximum amount of water a toilet can use in the US during a flush is 1.6 gallons, which is far less than toilets in the past.  Consider purchasing a toilet that is specially designed to conserve water with a dual-flush mechanism.  Dual flush toilets handle waste differently by giving the user two levels of flushing: less water for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.

For years, homes used only one kind of toilet: the gravity-flush toilet. These toilets use the weight of water to provide flushing power. The flushing mechanism is simple, which means these toilets are low maintenance, and gravity-flush toilets are perfectly adequate for many people. However, once toilet manufacturers began looking for ways to conserve water, they devised new ways to create flushing power, which resulted in assisted-flush or pressure-flush toilets. These toilets use air to increase flushing pressure, which results in a more powerful, efficient flush. 

commercial toilet with a flushometer

Commercial toilets use a flushometer, a device for flushing toilets and urinals that utilizes pressure from the water supply system rather than the force of gravity to discharge water into the bowl.  It is designed to use less water than conventional flush toilets.


Bidet Faucet

traditional bidet with faucet

Bidet basins feature a stand-alone design, and are positioned close to the toilet for convenience.  They feature a ceramic or porcelain construction, and installation tends to require extensive plumbing skills.  These units rely on basic plumbing principles to spray water onto the user from below.  They may feature a horizontal spray, which shoots water out from below the rim, or a vertical spray, which travels upwards from the center of the bowl.  Basin-type bidets feature warm water only if they are located close to a hot-water line, and may feature a lever or push-button operating mechanism.  One drawback to these units is that users must travel from the toilet to the bidet, which can lead to awkward or messy situations.


Electronic Bidets Seats

series of bidets from different manufactures

Electronic bidet seats rely on electricity to heat water and to control the desired spray pattern.  Because of the convenience of electric heating, these units do not need to be placed near a hot-water line.  Bidet seats replace standard toilet seats, allowing the toilet to serve as both a toilet and bidet.  There is no need to move from one fixture to another, which helps to increase convenience and keeps messes to a minimum.

Electronic bidet seats can adjust water temperature and pressure based on the demands of each user, and often feature a special blower to dry the skin after each use.  Some include a wireless remote control, as well as a soft-close seat and lid to prevent slams. Others include a heated seat for added comfort during cleansing.


Non-electric Bidets

series of non electric bidet and hand held sprayers

Non-electric bidets feature a lower cost than basin-type bidets or electronic bidet seats.  Although cold water only options are available, some may also have hot water connections.  The non-electric bidets that have both hot and cold water hookups allow users to experience warm water cleansing without electricity.  The closest hot water source is typically a nearby sink.