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If you haven’t updated your commode lately, you may be surprised to find that today’s toilets are, ahem, flush with improvements, including new coatings, new flappers, and even flapperless designs.
And in our tests, we discovered that the amount of water used doesn’t always correlate with flushing performance. Basically, toilets are more water-efficient than ever, and new bowl shapes and water-delivery mechanisms help remove waste completely. “Many new toilets also now come as kits that have a seat and installation hardware included,” says John Banta, the CR test engineer who oversees Consumer Reports’ toilet tests.
Below are the best toilets from CR’s latest tests of more than 40 models. In our labs, we connect each toilet to a specially built plumbing system that measures the volume and flow of water into and out of the toilet. In the crucial solid waste removal test, our tester uses a 5-gallon bucket filled about a quarter full with simulated waste: 160 solid polyethylene balls, seven sponges with #10 screws pressed in for realistic weight, and nonlubricated latex condoms filled with water.
If that sounds a bit extreme, it’s meant to be: Because very few toilets can remove the simulated waste in just one flush, we’re able to get differentiating data to score each toilet. Our tester notes how many flushes each toilet requires to finish the job. That data, along with results from other tests, allow us to separate the good toilets from, well, the crappy ones. The best in our tests can do it all in one go; the worst clog with the first flush.
CR members can read on for details on the best toilets you can buy right now, based on our latest tests, as well as see how all the tested models perform in our toilet ratings. For more information as you shop, see our toilet buying guide.