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7 Questions You Didn’t Know You Need to Ask About Toilet Bowls

October 7, 2022 · Paid Partnership with Saniton

Choosing a toilet bowl doesn’t have to be complicated if you ask the right questions.

We confess that the toilet bowl is the last on our list of bathroom fixtures when we’ve got the wall tiles and vanity design to decide on. Not to be dramatic, but toilet bowls are the unsung heroes of the house – where else would we go to answer nature’s call?

Apart from matching your bathroom interior and hitting the sweet spot in your budget, there are a couple more things you should consider before picking a toilet bowl, such as water efficiency, hygiene and comfort. With the right one, you can also reduce the woes of cleaning and maintenance.

Homegrown sanitary ware brand, Saniton, is an expert on the topic – they’ve supplied their products to countless Singaporeans’ homes for over three decades. We just had to ask them 7 questions about toilet bowls that you should too.

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1. What should I look out for when choosing a toilet bowl?

The usual focus is on price, design and the strength of the flush.

More savvy/experienced homeowners also look out for easy-to-clean features such as rimless design, whether the seat cover is removable and what material it’s made of.

But technical features such as the type of flushing system tend to get overlooked, which we’ll discuss in detail below.

2. What are some of the common types of toilet bowls and how should I decide on which to install?

Types of Toilet Bowls

There are four common types, each with its pros and cons. It’s important to think about factors like maintenance and how much space you have for the toilet bowl, among other things.

Types of toilet bowlsProsCons
  • Typically more budget-friendly than one-piece models
  • Easier to assemble than a one-piece
  • If the cistern is damaged, it can be easily replaced without having to remove the whole toilet bowl
  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent dirt build-up at the intersection between the cistern and the bowl
  • Durable
  • Easier to clean as the cistern and bowl are one seamless unit
  • Costlier as its design is more difficult to manufacture
  • Trickier transportation as it cannot be disassembled
  • If the cistern is damaged, you have to replace the entire toilet bowl
  • Sleek and compact as the cistern is concealed within the wall
  • Easier to clean
  • Costlier to install since the cistern needs to be concealed
  • Repairs may be complex and more expensive depending on the damaged section
  • Sleek and compact as the cistern is concealed within the wall
  • Fuss-free cleaning as the bowl is elevated above the floor
  • You have the flexibility to install it at a non-standard height
  • Costlier to install since the cistern needs to be concealed
  • Maintenance may be more difficult if choking/clogging issues crop up

Saniton’s Family Care series offers a variety of these toilet bowl types that are available for viewing at the Saniton showroom so you can get a feel of how they differ for yourself.

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You can view models like the Ixia one-piece toilet bowl on the left, and the Brassica back-to-wall toilet bowl on the right

Permits for hacking

You should also consider ease of installation and whether you need to obtain special permits since this might limit your options. Installing the concealed cisterns for wall-hung and back-to-wall toilets may require additional permits if you stay in an HDB. If you’re a condo owner, check with your management/respective MCSTs.

Trap type

Your toilet bowl trap – part of the toilet bowl that makes sure waste passes through to the drainage pipe while preventing sewer gases from escaping into your bathroom – comes in two types: an S-trap and a P-trap.

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S-traps connect to the drainage outlet on the floor, while P-traps connect to the drainage outlet on the wall. Knowing the position of your drainage outlet will also help you decide which toilet bowl type to go for.

Since most HDB flats have the drainage outlets on the floor, you can easily install a floor-mounted toilet bowl (whether one- or two-piece), which typically comes with an S-trap.

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Wall-hung and back-to-wall toilet bowls usually come with P-traps, so you’d need additional work for installation if your drainage outlet is on the floor.

To prevent performance issues in the long run, avoid converting your trap from one type to another.

3. Are there different types of flushing systems? How do I choose one that suits my needs?

The gravity washdown flush is the traditional option and you’ve probably seen it in most toilet bowls you’ve used, wherein the waste is flushed down the bowl by the water’s gravitational flow. While efficient in waste removal, this type of flushing system is not great at cleansing the bowl.

The Whirlpool Flush, which Saniton’s toilet bowls in the Family Care series are equipped with, is a newer flushing system that has a 360-degree cleaning effect.

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Saniton’s Whirlpool Flush is as powerful as a traditional washdown flush and uses less water.

While a washdown full flush typically uses 3.5 litres of water, the Whirlpool Flush is designed to achieve the same flushing performance with as little as 3.25 litres of water.

How does that work, you ask? It has a more thorough coverage because powerful jets of water enter the bowl sideways and swirl vigorously around the entire inner surface in a whirlpool-like motion. Besides efficiently clearing waste, this also helps to prevent bacteria and germs from accumulating.

Be sure to look out for the water efficiency rating of the toilet bowl – under PUB’s mandatory WELS scheme, 2 ticks is the industry minimum and 3 ticks indicate excellent water efficiency.

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Source: PUB

Check on the cistern fittings too! A good one is durable and doesn’t jam easily.

4. What makes a toilet bowl easy to clean/maintain?

Speaking of maintenance, wall-hung toilets are easier to clean externally since they are much smaller than other types. But toilet bowl models aside, there are some convenient design features to make cleaning that much easier.

Rimless design: Internally, rimless designs ensure that no residue is trapped, making for a quick and easy clean while improving hygiene.

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Removable seat covers: Toilet bowls with easy-to-remove toilet seat covers help you to reach the hidden spots beneath, like the new seat covers in Saniton’s Family Care line which have a quick-release feature.

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Saniton’s handy protip: Check if the bowl interior has any sharp corners or steps – these trap more bacteria and are harder to clean than those with smoother turns and less corners.

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Of course, when it’s cleaning time, use the right type of cleaning products to avoid damaging the toilet bowl.

You should also make sure to cover oft-forgotten areas like metal screws and flush buttons (if present).

5. Apart from flushing and cleaning, is there anything else I should note for hygiene?

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Flushing without closing the lid (which we are guilty of) sends thousands of bacteria into the air – ugh.

While regular cleaning helps, and closing the toilet lid when flushing is sound advice, consider investing in anti-bacterial technology to prevent the nasties from breeding.

Taking measures to keep up our good hygiene habits applies to toilet bowls too, especially in the long-term.

Anti-bacterial technology

The toilet bowls in Saniton’s Family Care series make use of anti-bacterial technology in the form of a glaze that protects from bacteria/germs – bacteria cannot proliferate on the toilet bowl’s ceramic surface with the glaze which is fired into the ceramic at high temperatures.

The anti-bacterial protective glaze is tested against Japanese Industrial Standards which test for bacterial activity, and is proven to kill more than 99% of bacteria on contact.

Touchless flush

Another option to consider is a touchless flush; It definitely ups hygiene, since you won’t be touching a flush button and transferring germs. It affords convenience too, since children and elderly don’t need to use much strength to press down on the button.

6. What about comfort? How do I pick a toilet bowl that is suitable for everyone at home?

Comfort depends on preferences for the height, size and shape of the toilet bowl but check whether you have sufficient space in your bathroom.

For seat covers, consider the shape and material since some toilet bowls are more rounded while others are more elongated. There’s no one-size-fits-all so it comes down to preference.

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Have a think on whether you’re leaning towards Urea Formaldehyde (UF) or Polypropylene (more commonly known as PP) as your preferred toilet seat material. For some, UF might feel harder than PP because you can feel some depression with the latter. That doesn’t mean UF is uncomfortable!

Toilet seats made of PP may develop yellow staining over time, but those with UF hardly see any change in colour.

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If you have young children at home, a potty seat will ensure their comfort and safety – you can also consider a toilet bowl just for children, but this may be inconvenient depending on space considerations and long-term use.

To improve mobility for older folks, Saniton recommends taller toilet bowls and looking into grab bars and anti-slip tiles for easier and safer use.

7. If I want to have a feel for myself, what should I look out for when testing a toilet bowl at a showroom?

In addition to speaking with a professional about the best option based on your property type, preferences and budget, it’s also important to sit and test it out for yourself.

The embarrassment is temporary, but the discomfort won’t be if you realise that it doesn’t feel right for you after installation!

Get to business with the right toilet bowl for your home

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Toilet bowls aren’t a conversation starter but they will start one when flushing problems and other maintenance issues crop up. Equipped with the right questions, you can pick an affordable, reliable and lasting toilet bowl for your home.

You can find out more on Saniton’s website or head down to their showroom to have a look at the various models in the Family Care series. With a minimum spend of $800 on any toilet bowl or basin model in the Family Care series, you get 10% off. This deal is valid until 31 December 2022, for showroom purchases only.

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