A Guide To Buying A Toilet In Pittsburgh

Buying a toilet is not as simple as you might think it is. We’ve put together this toilet buying guide to help educate you about your choices and help you make the right toilet purchase for your bathroom.

Low Flow: What You Should Know

Water usage standards have changed a lot in the last several years, and low flow toilets are now more than a novelty: they’re a standard. Toilets that use only 1.6 gallons per flush are the federal standard and are available for sale basically everywhere that toilets are sold.

Low flow toilets have come a long way since the early days. Long ago when low flow toilets were relatively new, these toilets developed a reputation for being, shall we say, less than effective. Low flow toilets back in the day had a way of not flushing everything down on the first try.

Those times are gone now. The low flow toilets of the present are now more effective flushers and water savers. Many toilets now use less water than the federal standard, and because of creative design choices, low flow toilets now ensure that one flush does the trick. Here are a couple ways that toilets have changed since those early low flow designs:

  • Pressure assisted toilets. Whereas most of the toilets in the U.S. rely on gravity to pull the water down through the pipes, pressure assisted toilets keep the water in a pressurized tank that actually pushes the water down into the bowl when it flushes. These powerful toilets are good at what they do, but they’re also louder, more expensive and can be more difficult to maintain, so do your homework before settling on a model.
  • Dual flush toilets. These toilets were created based on the idea that liquid and solid waste need different amounts of water in order to clear the bowl. Toilet users are given two flushing mechanisms and their choice of a big flush (solid waste) or a small flush (liquid waste).

If you want to know more about low-flow toilets, how they’ve changed and which ones are the best buys, we recommend taking a look a the Consumer Reports guide about today’s low flow models.


Looking at the type of toilet most people buy, it sometimes seems like there’s only one standard model of toilet in the United States. The reality is there are many different styles and designs. Some toilets are interesting novelty objects, others have very practical positive features. Here are a few of the different types of toilet you might consider purchasing:

  • Elongated bowls. These toilets have bowls that are about 2-inches longer than standard bowls. They’re comfortable to sit on but can get in the way in small bathrooms.
  • Tall throne. These toilets are taller than standard toilets and can be easier for adults to stand up and sit down on, but parents of potty-training children will want a shorter option elsewhere in the house.
  • Wall-mounted and wall-faced. Wall-mounted and wall-faced toilets hide the cistern inside the wall so the toilet produces a quieter flush and takes up less space in the bathroom. These toilets have a comparatively sleek design and are a lovely option in smaller bathrooms.
  • Pull-chain. Pull-chain toilets, though rarely seen, still exist today. In fact, Signature Hardware carries an entire line of these toilets. Like wall-faced and wall-mounted toilets, pull-chain toilets put the cistern in an out of the way place, which makes this type of toilet a perfect choice for a small Victorian-themed or Steampunk bathrooms.

Practical Considerations


Whatever toilet you choose, it’s very important to pick one that fits in your bathroom. Before you buy, measure the toilet rough in to give yourself an idea of how the toilet will fit in the space. To measure the rough in for your bathroom, measure the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the middle of the outlet pipe in the floor, where waste water goes when it’s flushed.

If your bathroom is like many other bathrooms, the distance will be 12 inches and you can buy a toilet that fits a 12 inch rough in. If your rough in space is smaller or larger, be sure to take this into consideration when you’re buying a toilet. Find a toilet that fits your rough in. If you’re thinking about buying a toilet with a funny seat or a strange design, have your plumber do your rough in and check it against the model you want to buy.

Colors: Yay or Nay?

Colored toilets are kind of like pull chain toilets; you just don’t see them as much as you used to. Even so, they’re still out there and are sold by some major toilet manufacturers. We’re bringing up the color issue now simply because you should be aware of your options. Colored toilets are a must-have in retro bathrooms. If you’re taking on your own retro-themed bathroom renovation, ask your local toilet suppliers about their color options. Classic pink, aqua and blue are commonly available colors.

Buying a Toilet in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a big place and there are a lot places where you can buy toilets. We’ll only mention a few of them here today. Below are stores found in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area that have show rooms where you can look at various models and speak with sales representatives about your options:

Finally, don’t forget to call Terry’s if you need help installing your new toilet after it’s been purchased. You can also call us for guidance if you need help with the roughing in process. We look forward to helping you purchase the best toilet for your needs!