If you’re remodeling your bathroom, building a new house, or just need to get a new toilet, there are a lot of things you’re considering, like which kind of toilet you should install, which brands are reliable, and which ones are water efficient and stylish.
Today, we’d like to help you out with a bit of exploration into the world of toilets, their history, the types of toilets you may consider installing, and how to save space in tight bathrooms. We’re also going to take a specific look at the best corner toilet options for 2019.
A Brief History of Toilets
It’s commonly believed that Sir Thomas Crapper invented the toilet. In reality, the first flushing toilet dates back nearly 3,000 years ago, to the Minoan civilization, or possibly earlier.
Some interesting points in the history of toilets include these fascinating, and sometimes humorous, facts:
- Various manifestations of the toilet were initially invented for royalty throughout the ages.
- It’s believed that the first flushing water closet dates back to the usage of King Minos of Crete.
- When the tomb of a Chinese King of the Western Han Dynasty was unearthed, they found a toilet that dates back to somewhere between 206 B.C.E. and 24 A.D.
- Outhouses and latrines in ancient Rome worked in conjunction with a system of sewers that ran throughout the city and poured into the Tiber River. Back then, of course, no one knew that human waste was a carrier of disease and bacteria.
- Ceramic or metal bowls were used during the Middle Ages for relieving yourself and were called chamber pots. These nasty receptacles were often emptied out of upstairs windows onto the streets below.
- In 1596, Sir John Harrington, a writer and the notoriously saucy godson of the queen, invented and installed a flushing toilet for Queen Elizabeth I.
- The first patent for a flushing toilet was given to Alexander Cummings in 1775. By trade, Mr. Cumming was a watchmaker and musical instrument inventor.
- Only three years later, in 1778, Joseph Bramah was granted a patent for the first truly practical water closet.
- The first hotel to have indoor plumbing was the Tremont Hotel of Boston. They installed eight water closets, built by Isaiah Rogers, in 1829.
- Hotels with indoor plumbing were inaccessible except by the wealthy until about 1840.
- While Sir Thomas Crapper was not the inventor of toilets, he was instrumental in advocating for better sanitation, and getting toilets into more places than ever before through the world’s first toilet and bathroom showroom.
- You can still see some of the Thomas Crapper and Company manhole covers in Westminster Abbey in London. They’re considered a tourist attraction.
How Does a Toilet Work?
A series of components work together in the toilet.
The major parts of a toilet are:
- The bowl
- The water tank
- The siphon
- The toilet seat
The major parts of the toilet tank are:
- Handle arm
- Fill valve
- Flush valve
- Refill tube
- Float arm
- Drain hole
- Float ball
- Overflow tube
Toilet bowls do not have moving mechanical parts, but they still use a complex system of parts that work together in conjunction with gravity and water.
Toilets require a siphon, which is created through the bend on the back of the inside of a toilet. This helps with the water flow.
If you’ve ever looked behind a toilet, you’ve noticed the pipe that’s connected to the bowl, with a U-bend in it. This pipe leads down and out to the septic tank or sewer system.
A rush of water is produced by the flushing of the toilet. This rush pushes water and waste out of the toilet bowl, and the air that’s trapped stops the siphoning process from continuing endlessly.
Most toilet tanks hold about two gallons of clean water. This water empties out of the tank when a toilet is flushed and pushes the waste down the pipe out into the sewers.
To trigger the flushing action, either a button, on water efficient toilets, or handle on standard toilets is pushed.
Once that flushing action has been triggered, the chain – connected to both the flapper and the flush valve – gets pulled up by the arm attached to the handle, and the water and waste flush out through the piping.
Finally, the bowl of the toilet refills from the tank at the top of the toilet, and it’s ready to be used again when needed.
What Kinds of Toilets Are There?
While there are technically a large number of types of toilets, we’re going to take a look at the practical types and options, to help you better understand what the best choice is for your new toilet.
Standard Flush Toilets
The most common variety of toilet you’ll find in public and private bathrooms is the standard flush toilet. These generally come in either a one-piece or a two-piece option.
One-piece and two-piece toilets are fairly similar. They do have some differences, however.
- Once-piece toilets are easier to clean than standard toilets, as they don’t have that space between the bowl and the tank, which is one of the most overlooked bacteria growth areas.
- One-piece toilets are generally smaller than two-piece toilets, and therefore are easier to fit into a smaller bathroom.
- One-piece toilets are lower to the ground and work well for shorter people, and families with children.
- One-piece toilets have fewer parts exposed to the elements, which means they don’t corrode as much. This is one of the reasons that one-piece toilets don’t require as frequent replacement as two-piece toilets.
- Two-piece toilets may be easier to install for anyone working alone on the installation, since the pieces individually weigh less than a one-piece toilet.
- Two-piece toilets are generally taller than one-piece toilets and are therefore better for adults and those with mobility issues.
- Two-piece toilets generally are less expensive than one-piece toilets.
- Two-piece toilets are more prone to leaking than one-piece toilets.
Other Varieties of Toilets
Besides the traditional standard flush toilets, you may come across some of these options.
Wall Hung Toilet
- Wall hung toilets are great for small bathrooms, as the toilet bowl is mounted on the wall, and the tank is hidden inside the wall.
- Wall hung toilets can be placed anywhere near a water source, unlike other models that have to be placed in more specific locations throughout the water closet.
- Wall hung toilets do tend to be more expensive in the long-run, however, because they require more repairs that most of us cannot conduct ourselves, since the tanks are hidden in the walls.
The most comfortable toilets, providing the most functions, are smart toilets. These can include a whole host of exciting features:
- Motion activated lighting triggers
- Hands-free flushing
- Heated seats
- Self-cleaning wands
- Dual-flush systems
- Warm-air dryers
- Deodorizing seats
One of the eco-friendliest toilet options is the composting toilet. These typically are seen in places like motor homes, boats, cottages, tiny homes, cabins, and other mobile-type homes.
- Composting toilets conserve water. In fact, they don’t use any water for flushing at all.
- Composting toilets create compost from waste that can be used as fertilizer on non-edible plants.
- Compost toilets use aerobic bacteria to break down and decompose waste.
- You may require a licensed professional to haul away the compost in the end.
- Most composting toilets use electricity for powering a heater or fan for the composting process.
- Composting toilets are great for use in remote areas.
How to Save Space with Toilets
If you have a small bathroom space you’re working with, you can’t live with a large toilet. But there are some toilets specifically designed to save you space. One-piece toilets, for example, are smaller than standard two-piece toilets, and wall-hung toilets require only the space necessary for the bowl.
One of the most space conserving toilets, that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, is the corner toilet.
What Is a Corner Toilet?
A corner toilet is a type of flush toilet designed for space efficiency. They are, in essence, the same thing as a close-coupled toilet. The corner toilet, however, is designed to tuck neatly into a corner, projecting diagonally out of the corner.
The tank is shaped like a triangle, which means it tucks neatly away, freeing up more space in the bathroom. Corner toilers work the same way as a standard flush toilet, using water and gravity to make the various components work. They come in standard and dual-flush models.
The Best Corner Toilets This Year
We’ve looked through the reviews by many to find this collection of the best corner toilet options for your 2019 remodel or upgrade.
As you look, be sure to read up on these features on each toilet before buying:
- Water consumption – How water efficient is it?
- Bowl shape and size – Will the seat be easy to replace? Will the seat be comfortable?
- Height – Is the commode going to be the right height for your family members?
- Budget – Will the toilet fit your budget?
American Standard Cadet 3 Right Height Elongated Flowise Two-Piece…
This simple toilet ranks highly with customers. This toilet from American Standard has a triangular tank, with an easy-to-clean vitreous china finish in bright white. You can get this model in either a one-piece or two-piece and elongated or round front bowl options.
Though this toilet isn’t specifically a water-efficient toilet, some stated that a light push on the flushing handle uses less water than a full-fledged hard push flush.
Sheffield Corner 2-Piece 0.8 GPF/1.6 GPF WaterSense Dual Flush Round…
Another great toilet from Renovator’s Supply, the dual flush round ceramic toilet is equally space efficient as the Biscuit China model.
This model from Renovator’s Supply has a bit more modern feel, which means it’s perfect for any upgraded bathroom in which you need to save a bit of space.
The seat height for this toilet is 15-inches and has a scratch and stain resistant surface in a bright white.
This toilet has a top of tank push-button dual-flush system that uses only 0.8 gallons of water for lesser flushes, and 1.6 gallons for heavier flushes.
Finding the Right Toilet for Your Powder Room
Compare, contrast, and be sure to look thoroughly over your options before you choose the toilet for your remodel, new home, or replacement. Read some reviews on specific models and take some measurements to be sure you’re getting the right size and style to fit your needs. You’re sure to find the right corner toilet, or another style of toilet without a lot of time and effort that way.