In this Guide
- Best Flushing Toilets 2019 Reviews
- Powerful Toilets: How to Choose the Best One for You
- What’s Next?
We’ve scoured the market to find the top toilets with the best flushing power. In addition to looking for all the elements we’ve mentioned that contribute to strong flushing power, we took an in-depth, comprehensive look at buyer reviews of all models we reviewed, to check how they performed in the real world.
Below, you’ll find our own in-depth reviews of all the winners…
Best Flushing Toilets 2019 Reviews
1. TOTO Drake (Series I) Elongated Toilet
In our opinion, the most powerful, best flushing toilet is the TOTO Drake. It’s also our most budget-friendly pick. It’s a standard, elongated, two-piece, 12” rough-in toilet.
This one falls into the “transitional” design category, which means it works with both contemporary and traditional decor styles. It’s a good choice for people who like the standard height and feel of older (non-ADA) toilets, but with modern power and elongated comfort.
Despite the low price tag, the Drake is a powerful flusher. If you’re coming from an older, frustrating toilet, you’ll find it very refreshing. It’s also quite affordable, since it’s been on the market for a few years! We’re not alone in loving it, either. Consumer Reports recommends it year after year. We think it’s the least you can pay for a true two-piece powerhouse.
While we’re primarily including the Drake for its flushing system performance, it also has a great form factor. It’s a good example of “transitional” design, since the tank has the general silhouette of an older toilet with a slimmer, less ornate look. However, for a two-piece toilet, it looks sleeker than usual.
As a result, it fits in practically anywhere. That’s why it’s such a great budget buy! You don’t have to spend a premium to find something that works in your space. There are also 6 finish options to choose from. It’s one of the most versatile two-piece toilets on the market, as far as looks are concerned.
Of course, for this guide, we’re mostly concerned with performance. Luckily, the Drake delivers in that department as well.
It has an enlarged 2 1/8” trapway, which has been computer-engineered for maximum waste removal. It also has a 3” flush valve, as opposed to the usual 2” component. The combination of these system tweaks and the elongated shape of the bowl make for a very impressive flush indeed.
The rim of the bowl also features a siphon jet design, which essentially fires down the sides. The water system clears out waste forcefully, and does a decent job cleaning the bowl while it runs. It takes everything in the water, so to speak, and leaves very little around the bowl. We can’t imagine needing two flushes on this toilet!
For something so powerful, it’s a noticeably quiet system. That’s one reason we recommend this instead of the Drake II. The Drake II performs well, but is a bit on the aggressive side where noise is concerned. This toilet works just as well, and even more quietly.
It’s fast, too! The whole flush happens pretty much instantly, and there aren’t as many stages in the flush system as you see on an older toilet. That’s not necessarily a big benefit in practical terms, but it certainly makes this one more satisfying to use.
You’ll save water by using this to flush, too. It only uses 1.6 GPF (gallons per flush), so it’s WaterSense-certified. The savings can be pretty significant when you move from an old toilet, too. We haven’t found any other low-flow toilets for this price that flush this powerfully!
Perhaps the biggest problem with other inexpensive toilets (especially two-piece models) is reliability. Most other options at this price break easily, or have crappy internal components that need to be replaced quickly. The Drake is much more reliable than anything else for the price.
You can see that in online buyer reviews, as well as assessments from professionals like us or Consumer Reports. People who own these are overwhelmingly positive in their feedback, even after years of using their toilets. It’s covered by a 5-year warranty, just to be safe.
Since this is an older model, it’s very affordable. It’s half the price of our top pick in this category, the American Standard! This toilet’s ideal for people who want powerful flushes without breaking the bank.
Depending on the finish you choose, you may need to add a toilet seat in. Annoyingly, they’re not always included. The soft-close component from Toto matches this toilet perfectly, and it’s very inexpensive.
This version of the Drake isn’t ADA-approved. It has a lower seat than the certification requires. If that’s something you need to be concerned with, have a look at our other picks. We’ve included this toilet because many people actually prefer the lower seats on older toilets.
The Drake is a great performer for the price, but there are definitely some differences between this and our more expensive recommendations. The Drake’s system doesn’t clean the bowl as well as the Ultramax, to start with. It doesn’t have quite as impressive a flush as the American Standard, either.
There’s a ridge in the bowl which tends to make things look dirtier faster. It’s a curious design choice, but far from a deal-breaker. And like all two-piece toilets, the Drake will be trickier to clean than a one-piece toilet.
2. TOTO Ultramax II 1.28 GPF Universal Height Toilet
For those who live in a water-restrictive state—like California, Texas and Colorado—using a standard 1.6 gallons per flush simply isn’t an option. Many states have imposed restrictions on water usage in bathroom fixtures—including toilets. Check your local rules before buying!
California and Texas have both mandated that all new toilets installed in their states cannot use more than 1.28 gallons per flush. As more and more states follow suit, and as more people become water-conscientious, we thought it was important to include an ultra-low-flow model.
Toto’s Ultramax II is the most contemporary toilet in this guide, where looks are concerned. If you’re going for a sleek, modern look, it’s your best bet. The one-piece tank is particularly sleek!
It also looks good inside, since the elongated interior of the toilet is protected with a coating of Toto’s SanaGloss. SanaGloss is a super smooth “ionized barrier” used to help keep the toilet clean and repel bacteria and mold.
It’s also our recommendation for those looking to check their impact and save the most water with their new toilet. While it’s a standard 12” rough-in, elongated shape, it uses 25% less water per flush than our other recommendations! It’s the most powerful ultra-low-flow model we’ve come across to date.
It uses even less water than the Drake! While all our recommendations in this guide meet the EPA’s WaterSense guidelines for conservation, this system goes even further. At 1.28 GPF (gallons per flush), you’ll save 1/4 of your water costs over the average modern toilet, and even more if you’re upgrading from an older toilet.
Unlike most other ultra-low-flow toilets, this system still flushes like a champ. In some ways, it actually has better flushing technology than the Drake, considering that it does the same job with less water! The Ultramax II uses a dual-nozzle design to create a double cyclone in the bowl.
Between the cyclonic system design and the elongated shape of the bowl, this thing’s flush clears waste way more effectively than any other 1.28 GPF model. That’s partially because it uses the same 3” flush valve and 2 1/8” trapway as the Drake. It’ll flush anything in the trapway in one try, and only occasionally needs an extra flush to remove debris from around the bowl.
It’s ADA-compliant, unlike the Drake. While we think the Drake is a nice option for those who prefer older toilets and their shorter height, the Ultramax II is the better choice for accessibility. Even if you haven’t used something at ADA height before, you’ll probably find that it’s a lot easier to get up from. Check in a store if you’re not sure!
This toilet has Toto’s latest SanaGloss glazing inside. We generally prefer to buy toilets with these improved glazes inside, although some other companies have put out glazes which aren’t all that impressive. This toilet works very well, if not miraculously well. It certainly helps the bowl stay cleaner!
The other benefit of having the special glazing inside is that you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals or brushes to clean your toilet! There are no holes or seams on the rim, either, which makes it stay clean-looking for longer than the Drake.
You don’t need to buy a seat separately. This one includes a matching soft-close toilet seat out of the box, and it’s perfectly serviceable.
It’s covered by a 5-year warranty–same as the Drake. And like all one-piece toilets, there are fewer components to go wrong.
With a lot of Toto toilets, we’ve found, the toilet itself is great, but the guts inside the tank of the toilet aren’t super high-end. The Drake we’ve reviewed above is one exception, but this toilet definitely isn’t constructed as well. We did see some reports online of buyers needing to replace internal system components after a year or so. Still, this system is close to the top of our rankings in terms of reliability. In most cases, Ultramax II’s don’t have any issues.
Quality control isn’t spectacular, either. That’s increasingly a problem, even among high-end manufacturers like Toto, Kohler, or American Standard. Be sure to check yours for damage, hairline cracks, or missing/damaged components when you get it!
We also heard from a few buyers who got Ultramax II’s with poorly-aligned holes in the base. Sometimes, you can work around issues like these. Other times, you’ll have to get a replacement. Be sure to check the holes.
As long as you do a careful inspection and check your unit, you should be fine. Amazon is very good at providing replacement units, which is one reason we link to them in our reviews!
No toilet model using this little water will be completely clog-free, although this does come close. Rather than any real problem with clogs in the system, we’ve found that the difference is that this toilet’s flush doesn’t always get the bowl completely clear of marks: you may have to do a second flush to clear skids.
The angle of the lid on the toilet tank makes it hard to store anything there. That’s no dealbreaker for us, but we know some people are fond of keeping tissues or candles on their toilet tanks. If you’re attached to having tank storage, you may want to look for another option.
The Ultramax II’s bowl is relatively shallow, and some men who have reviewed this toilet online were dismayed to find themselves taking the “plunge”, so to speak. That’s not something we’ve encountered personally, but if you’ve found yourself dealing with that in the past, one of our other picks will give you more clearance.
You’ll also find that having a shallower bowl and less water in it make for a louder toilet flush. This one’s not unpleasant by any stretch, but the flush does have a harsher sound to it than the Drake or the American Standard.
There are only two finish options for the Ultramax II: white and linen. You don’t have nearly as many options as with the Drake toilet.
3. American Standard Champion 4 Toilet (Updated Model)
American Standard’s Champion 4 is another Consumer Reports top recommendation, and it’s been featured in our buying guides for several years now. The model we currently recommend is the updated version of the original Champion 4. It’s a standard 12” rough-in, elongated toilet like our other picks.
If you’re looking for a toilet with maximum waste removal, this is where the buck stops. The Champion 4 has a larger trapway and flush valve than any toilet we recommend. It achieves the top mass removal score in lab tests, and it’s your best bet if you never, ever want to deal with a clogged toilet again.
This is as clog-proof as toilets get. We can’t imagine how you’d manage to jam up a Champion 4! It clears a 70% larger mass per flush than the industry standard, and achieves a ludicrous 1000g MaP score. MaP scores are an objective lab analysis to measure the mass a toilet can clear with each flush.
Basically, anything you’re capable of producing, the Champion 4 is capable of sending on its way. This is one of those toilets that’s an unlikely YouTube star, since so many people have filmed themselves flushing golf and tennis balls down it.
There are some concrete reasons why it does so well. It has a massive 4” piston-action flush valve, and the 2 3/8” trapway is the biggest on the market. Between those two design elements, you’re looking at a flush system that trounces the competition.
You won’t have any issues with clogging one of these. That’s why it’s our top overall pick, especially for families, guest bathrooms, or anywhere else clogs have historically been a problem. It has an ungodly amount of power in the flush.
Like the Ultramax II, it has a special glazing to keep things clean. While it’s American Standard’s proprietary coating rather than Toto’s, it does pretty much the same thing. The EverClean surface wipes easily clean without needing harsh cleaners, and the flushing action does a great job of removing debris from daily use. It’s the best of the three in that department!
The Champion 4 is WaterSense-compliant, while using more water per flush than the Ultramax II. It still saves quite a lot of water over any older toilet you might be replacing. Plus, it performs wildly better than a lot of toilets that use several times the amount of water to flush.
It’s ADA-compliant, and the height is very comfortable to sit on. You can also get this at the lower 15” height, if you want something closer to a traditional toilet. It’s always nice to have height options, especially when you’re trying to find the best of the best! In this case, you can get the ultimate flushing power in whichever height you prefer.
We think the Champion 4 looks fantastic, too. It’s a nice, transitional design that works well anywhere without drawing attention to itself. It’s simple, streamlined, and unobtrusive.
Unlike the Ultramax II, it allows for storage on the tank, since the lid isn’t sloped. If you’re the sort of person who keeps tissues back there, you’ll appreciate that extra tank space.
While there are always going to be occasional issues with broken toilets during the delivery process, the Champion 4 has the best quality control and reliability on the market right now. It’s a very reliable performer for the long term. Plus, it’s covered by a 10-year warranty, so there’s no need to think about adding any extra coverage.
The one feature on this that’s a let-down is the lid. Sure, it’s nice to have the lid included, and it works pretty well out of the box. Still, American Standard have cheaped-out and used poor lid materials. Some long-term owners report that the lid loses the soft-close function after a few years.
Some of the “drop zone” is above the water line, like on the Ultramax II. So, skids may be unavoidable sometimes. Thankfully, the flushing action usually clears them without issues. This one’s certainly less of a pool than older models, though.
You won’t save as much water per flush as you would using the Ultramax II. This uses the maximum allowed under WaterSense guidelines (1.6 GPF).
It flushes very forcefully, so make sure you’re not sitting while you pull the lever. Otherwise, you might get splashed!
This is the priciest toilet we recommend. You definitely get what you pay for in flushing performance, but the Toto Drake is a much more affordable choice if you’re on a budget. On the other hand, the American Standard has much longer warranty coverage, so it ought to be a solid long-term investment. Just be sure you have the budget for it in the first place!
Powerful Toilets: How to Choose the Best One for You
If your old toilet has an anemic flush, you’re not alone! It’s common for older toilets to suffer from lower flushing power. Though modern toilets use less water than older counterparts, manufacturers have introduced technology to add flushing power to low-flow models!
So the good news is, if you’re replacing your current toilet with a new model, it’s possible to improve flushing power while still reducing your water bill—and your environmental footprint. That’s a win-win situation! You’ll see a lower water bill at the end of the month, and be able to put your plunger away–maybe for good!
But what makes a more powerful toilet? Flushing power can come from a few different elements, including the size of the trapway (the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl), the glaze on the trapway, or the flushing assistance mechanisms inside the tank. It can all get pretty complicated for the average shopper to sort through, so we created this guide to help you out in your search!
We’ll discuss all the features and design elements which can help a toilet stay clog-free. We’ll give you a sense of how powerful our recommendations are compared to older toilets, and talk you through all the reasons we think they’re worth an upgrade.
Large Trapways and Valves
Look for large trapways and flush valves, to start. The size of the trapway and valve often have the biggest effect on performance. Of course, you want all the other components to be well-designed. Still, the size of the passageway out of your toilet will often dictate how effective the flush is at removing waste.
The standard is 2″, but many of the most powerful flushers use larger openings at 3-4″. The larger, the better! With that said, trapway size isn’t an objective measure of performance. It just so happens that larger trapways generally go hand in hand with improved waste removal.
Bulk Removal Ratings
There’s actually a spec that you can use to measure flushing power objectively. Not all manufacturers list theirs, but it’s helpful when you can find it. Check for bulk removal ratings, where listed. American Standard’s usually top the rankings, but other manufacturers are starting to compete for bragging rights. That’s good news for you, since you’ll soon be able to compare toilets much more scientifically!
We’ve found that low-flow models can often be the unexpected winners in terms of a thorough flushing cycle. You might think that cutting down on water would adversely affect flushing power. However, in order to compensate for lower water usage, manufacturers tend to put a bit more effort into engineering these toilets. The resulting models use less water, but do more with the water they do use. They also incorporate gravity assists and other innovative design tweaks to help remove all your waste. So, they often work better than standard flow models!
You can see how much water a toilet uses by looking at its GPF rating (gallons per flush). Most traditional models use 2.5 GPF or more! These days, you can find some excellent designs at 1.5 GPF, or even 1 GPF. That adds up to lots of savings for you, as well as improved performance.
Be sure to think about whether you have strong preferences about height, design, and so forth. Many folks prefer a “comfort height” toilet, which follows ADA guidelines. These models are set at a taller height, which makes them easier to get up from. You can also choose a standard height model, if you’re fond of your traditional throne.
As you think about aesthetics, be sure to consider all the different things that go into the look of a fixture. Think about color, curves, lines, and all those visual elements. You should also think about whether you want a round or elongated bowl shape. Elongated bowls are now considered standard. Elongated designs tend to clear waste better, and they are often more comfortable. Nearly every model sold today comes in a standard elongated version, with a round option by request.
All the toilets in this buying guide flush powerfully, thoroughly, and efficiently. So, no matter how much money you can afford to spend or how much water you’re prepared to use, rest assured that you’ll get a great flush. Which model should you buy, though? If you’re looking for the absolute best–the most powerful flushing toilet at any price, get the American Standard Champion 4. It’s got the best reputation on the market from professional reviewers, homeowners, and plumbers. This thing is lab tested to flush away the competition, and the price is the only real complaint we have for it. Limited by water restrictions in your state, or looking to shave money off your water bill while helping the environment? The Ultramax II is the only water-saving toilet that can compete with the Drake and the Champion 4. It flushes like a beast, and it saves 25% of your water usage. Don’t expect it to do as good a job cleaning around the bowl as the models that use more water, though. Lastly, if you’re on a budget or simply want a more affordable model than the American Standard, the Toto Drake is a value-priced champ. It does an excellent job clearing the bowl, and it’s much more reliable than other inexpensive options. However, it doesn’t have quite as nice of glazing as our pricier picks, and it can’t compete with the Champion 4 for sheer mass removal. When it comes to choosing the most powerful flushing toilet there’s a lot of competition out there, but we’d say the American Standard Champion just pips the others at the post because of its affordability and timeless style. Looking for more ways to conserve water without sacrificing flushing power? Check out our favorite Dual Flushing Toilets. If you like the design of these models, you should check out our favorite One-Piece Toilet or visit Best Toilet Reviews now!
All the toilets in this buying guide flush powerfully, thoroughly, and efficiently. So, no matter how much money you can afford to spend or how much water you’re prepared to use, rest assured that you’ll get a great flush.
Which model should you buy, though?
If you’re looking for the absolute best–the most powerful flushing toilet at any price, get the American Standard Champion 4. It’s got the best reputation on the market from professional reviewers, homeowners, and plumbers. This thing is lab tested to flush away the competition, and the price is the only real complaint we have for it.
Limited by water restrictions in your state, or looking to shave money off your water bill while helping the environment? The Ultramax II is the only water-saving toilet that can compete with the Drake and the Champion 4. It flushes like a beast, and it saves 25% of your water usage. Don’t expect it to do as good a job cleaning around the bowl as the models that use more water, though.
Lastly, if you’re on a budget or simply want a more affordable model than the American Standard, the Toto Drake is a value-priced champ. It does an excellent job clearing the bowl, and it’s much more reliable than other inexpensive options. However, it doesn’t have quite as nice of glazing as our pricier picks, and it can’t compete with the Champion 4 for sheer mass removal.
When it comes to choosing the most powerful flushing toilet there’s a lot of competition out there, but we’d say the American Standard Champion just pips the others at the post because of its affordability and timeless style.
Looking for more ways to conserve water without sacrificing flushing power? Check out our favorite Dual Flushing Toilets. If you like the design of these models, you should check out our favorite One-Piece Toilet or visit Best Toilet Reviews now!