How to pick a better toilet

When you make changes to your bathroom, the toilet is an important part of the equation. What is there to consider? The shape and style, right? And whether it will fit the right distance from the wall. But oh, there is so much more.

Not all toilets perform the same. Consumer Reports tested to see if they effectively wash away debris, whether the bowl is left clean after a flush, and how water-efficient they are.

What makes one toilet better than another? To illustrate, testers selected two toilets that cost the same – $150 – but one is a recommended model, and the other has the lowest score in their ratings.

The Mansfield Alto just got fair marks for waste removal. In several tests, the sponge debris stayed in the bowl. But the Delta Prelude does its main job very well. The little test sponges won’t be coming back.

And how clean is the bowl surface afterward? One test is to draw a water-soluble marker ring around the inside of the rim to see if one flush can wash it away.

The Mansfield bowl was only “fair,” with markings left behind after each flush. A good performer has the power to rinse away most of the debris, most of the time. The recommended Delta model did an excellent job, powerfully rinsing the ring away.

When you shop, check out the efficiency rating. The Delta uses less water than the Mansfield; just 1.28 gallons per flush versus 1.6.

If you have a toilet from before 1990, you can save 19 gallons per person, per day by switching to one with the EPA’s WaterSense sticker on it.

And to find out if yours is leaking and needs to be fixed or replaced, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. In 15 minutes, if there is color in the bowl, you’ve got a leak.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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