Top Toilets

Consumer Reports tests two dozen toilets and can help you find a good one and save you money.

Buying a toilet has become more complicated.

You have to decide between gravity-flush and pressure-assisted models.

"While most use the standard 1.6 gallons per flush, you'll find more and more that are designed to use even less water-including dual-flush models." said Consumer Reports' Bob Markovich.

Consumer Reports went to great lengths to find the best performers.

In all, testers evaluated 25 toilets.

Testers fill the bowls with blue dye to see how well the toilets remove liquid. Then flush.

"You want a toilet that removes all the blue-dye and replaces it with fresh water," said Markovich.

The Toto Ultramax two, equipped with a water-saving 1.28 gallon tank, couldn't get the job done.

"It took two flushes-or 2.6 gallons. So much for saving water!" said Markovich.

And some dual-flush toilets that tout water-saving didn't do a great job either.

To assess solid waste removal, testers fill toilets with 160 plastic balls, two latex cylinders, and seven sponges weighted with screws.

This one clogged almost half the time.

When all the tests were done, Consumer Reports named several very good performers Best Buys.

Among them-the Gerber Avalanche for $300.

It has a standard 1.6 gallon tank.

A second toilet-the Kohler Cimmaron-uses even less water, and also costs $300.

Don't know if it's worth repairing your broken toilets?

Consumer Reports says it depends.

Toilets installed before 1995 waste a lot of water-as many as 3.5 gallons per flush-so you want to replace them.

However, most standard 1.6 gallon models are worth fixing-that is, unless the bowl is cracked.

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