When the time comes that you decide to install that second bathroom or a powder room in your Toronto home, it’s tempting to just pop out to Home Depot or Rona and pick up whatever toilet is on the specials rack. That’s not necessarily a good idea though, as homeowners have found on more than one occasion. Whether you’re doing the toilet plumbing installation yourself or getting a professional in to do it, it’s good to know what you need before buying the items.

We took a look at some of the toilets available, and came up with these criteria to help guide your buying decision:

 #1: Height

Toilets typically come in two different bowl heights – standard and chair height. Standard is fine for young, healthy people of regular size, but if anyone in your household is particularly tall or has leg or back issues, you want the taller toilet. Where standard toilets are between 14 and 15 inches high, the chair height toilet is around 18 inches. This is great for anyone who has difficulty sitting down and standing up. So when you decide to remodel your bathroom, consider all the options you need for your household.

 #2: Bowl Shape

This might sound like an obvious aspect of a toilet, but in fact, you do get different bowl shapes, and for good reasons. To decide between a round or elongated bowl, the first thing to consider is the amount of space you have for installing the toilet. The two types offer different benefits, with the round bowl using less space while the elongated bowl has more seating space and is more comfortable—particularly for larger people.

 #3: Flush Mechanism

This one’s the biggie and the main reason why you need to make sure you get the toilet you want or you’ll be forever cursing your choice. Flush mechanisms are measured by the weight of waste matter they can remove, so evaluate your family’s needs carefully before deciding, otherwise, you’ll be doing double flushing all the time. Typically, the higher the rating the more waste the flush can dispose of, and there’s a significant difference between the low end (350 g) and the high end (1000 g). The upper ratings also offer better clog resistance.

 #4: Water Usage

With the cost of water creeping up on a regular basis in Toronto, the water efficiency of your toilet is a long-term factor to consider. Since the province implemented a maximum flush capacity of 6 liters, most material suppliers only offer toilets that comply with the standard so take this into account when you choose your flush mechanism, too. Lower water usage of 4.8 liters is better for water conservation but less convenient for toilet performance. Plumbers in Toronto generally consider the dual flush to be the most useful option because you can select whether to use a full flush (for solid waste) or a lighter flush for liquids only.

An additional benefit of buying the right toilet is that you could qualify for the provincial rebate for part of your costs. Check out Home Depot’s calculator tool to see if you do, or contact your local plumber for advice.