Regarding toilets, there are many types of fixtures according to the evolution of each market and its preferences which may vary depending on the purchasing power, customs or even ethnography or physiology. Buyers should plainly identify these fixtures and what underpins them to take an informed decision.
Western (sitting) toilets
The western toilet developed from very early as sitting toilets so people could rest over the fixture to dispose. Some toilets in this category are one piece, two piece and wall hung toilets with a minimum bowl height of about 38 cm up to 48 cm. All modern sitting toilets have a water seal so they flush themselves with their valves that are placed inside the tank and make a set with the seat lid, tank, flushing valves and bowl. This is where most of the fluid engineering has been focused in the past century with real breakthroughs such as Wash down, Siphonic, Rimless, Vortex flushing systems, among other inventions, to ensure a better experience in comfort and hygiene.
Eastern (squating) toilets
On the other hand, we have the squat toilets which are very common in Asia, especially in China. These type of toilets are generally cheaper than sitting ones since they are more basic and consist of a pan in the floor where people squat to defecate which is alleged to be the best way for human beings to defecate since this is a more natural posture rooted to our primitive beginning.
Some come with a separate water tank or flush valve and flush as western toilets by activating a lever. Others are just dry toilets with a hole in the ground resembling an old latrine.
Two pieces toilets
Two pieces toiletsare made of two parts: tank and bowl and they normally go in two separate cartons. They are assembled by the plumber in the construction site. 2 pcs toilets are normally cheaper than one piece and the production is more massive.
They may need special attention, particularly in the joint between tank and bowl where the rubber may crystallize in time.
One-piece toilets are made in a single piece. They are the evolution of the traditional two pieces toilets. They evolved to have no leaking because they have no connection between tank and bowl where water could find its way out and to be easier to transport in just one carton per set instead of two, though heavier and larger. They are normally more expensive because they are solidly constructed in one piece where there are no joints and gaps between tank and bowl where dirt can accumulate. They require less maintenance and the cleaning is easier.
Conceal cistern/wall hung toilets
This type of toilets is normally P-trap and have a Wash Down flushing system.
They come with concealed cisterns (see picture on the left side) which makes them more beautiful because the tank is not at sight due to it is hidden in the wall. These types of toilets are more expensive since users must buy both the cistern and toilet.
There are some floor standing toilets with concealed cisterns, but the most distinguishable toilets with concealed cisterns are wall hung toilets due to they offer a cleaner sensation to users because people can mop under it which is impossible in traditional floor standing toilets. These floating toilets are also more sophisticated.
The bowl or pan of the toilet is the lower part of the toilet where two main functions are performed: water flushed by the tank and waste is removed. There are 3 key elements when talking about bowls: design, comfort, and performance satisfaction.
Bowl shape and height
Regarding toilets, the bowl is one of the most important elements for human comfort since it is where they sit so people look for a comfortable “chair” where they may spend many hours of their lives. The features involved in the comfort are shape (Round or Elongated) and height (Standard or Chair Height).
Elongated toilet bowls are more comfortable when sitting, specially for men because the bowl is longer so there is more space in the bowl. This type of toilets is more difficult to install in small bathrooms due to total length is larger than round ones.
We normally classify the bowl shape as elongated when the size of the bowl from the toilet hinges to the edge is longer than 18.62” or 47.29 cm. But some 17” count as well because it really depends very much on the actual shape of the bowl.
Round bowl toilets are smaller in the total length than elongated then they are preferred for economical mass built apartments in developing countries where apartments are designed very small for large groups of people and so are their bathrooms. This restricts round toilets only to these small mass-built apartments due to elongated bowl toilets don’t fit in those bathrooms.
Chair height: (more than 17”)
Chair height toilets are those which bowl height is at least 16.3” without the seat. Since the ADA (American Disability Act, an USA law to make spaces friendly to disabled people) requires more than 17” height toilet bowls, it is acceptable to include the seat to make it an ADA compliant toilet due to people normally use the seat (not included the lid) and the seat increases 1”.
ADA toilets are also called Chair Height toilets because people with wheelchair can easily approach the bowl. These ADA toilets are comfortable not only for people with disabilities but also for some ethnics which average body height is more than normal such as American or Europeans. These are much required for those countries because tall people can seat comfortably.
Standard height (Less than 17”)
Standard height toilets are those which bowl height is less than 17”. They are normally 38, 39, 40 or 41 cm height regarding the bowl height. These are considered normal toilets in countries with low average body height like Latin America, Asia and so on. These toilets are also called familiar toilet because the height takes into consideration many members of the family who are smaller, for example children.
Bowls design is also key feature in the consumer buying process since they may like something modern as a skirted trapway or traditional such as visible trapway. It depends very much on the consumer preference on the area or country. So, we have predominance of traditional toilets in States like Texas or Georgia but in Florida the Modern skirted toilet is much preferred regarding the USA.
In other countries such as Latin American countries, we can easily find both styles but a predominance of visible traps for low budget toilets. Modern skirted toilets are regarded as luxurious.
Skirted trap toilets are those which trapway is covered by a glazed ceramic wall, so the trap is not visible. This type of toilet is considered more sophisticated and easier to clean due to its flat vertical skirt prevents the accumulation of dust on comparison to the visible trap toilet which bended trap usually accumulates dirt. The skirt is more reachable for people to clean as well.
Traditional visible trap toilets are the first siphonic toilets to appear on scene in the market. Their main characteristic is that the trap is noticeable.
Toilet flush performance satisfaction is noticeable in the bowl evacuation way. Some toilet bowls may flush in one way or another through their water jets and it affects the consumer perception because that flushing is visible in the bowl. People can see how water cleans the bowl, how well the waste is removed and so many other variables. On this regard, we have several flushing types: Multi-jet Rim, Rimless and Vortex. Each of them offers different consumer perception and satisfaction.
Multi Jet Rim
Multi Jet rim toilets consist of several small vertical jets in the bottom of the rim bowl where tank water exists very quick running down the bowl and into the trapway. These toilets are the most common ones and the standard in China.
There are some designs which may have no jets but an opened rim instead which are normally produced by Latin American factories for economical mass production toilets.
Rimless bowl toilets are those that do not have rim where water can run through. Instead, they have two big water outlets in the back which flush water through the front of the bowl and then into the trapway.
They have the advantage of having no rim because small multi jets in the rim usually get stuck in time with water mineral accumulations.
The Rim in the toilets also accumulates bacteria underneath then rimless toilets are more hygienic in comparison. Picture of rimless toilet LX-2761 for reference:
A Vortex is mass of water that spins round so fast that it pulls downs into the center. This effect is achieved by toilets which have only two or three big jets below the rim in a horizontal way, so water runs throughout the bowl and into the trapway. These toilets may be the most hygienic of all because they bowl is rinsed by water completely and several times.