Do water-saving toilets really work?

August 7, 2009 2:51:13 PM PDT
Buying a toilet isn't the most glamorous purchase you can make for your home, but it's a pretty important one nonetheless. Consumer Reports Magazine just tested more than two dozen toilets and can help you find a good one, without spending a lot of money.

According to Consumer Reports Magazine, buying a toilet has gotten a lot more complicated!

"First, you've got to decide between gravity-flush and pressure-assisted models," Bob Markovich, Editor of Consumer Reports Magazine's Home section, said. "And, 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."

Consumer Reports Magazine went to great lengths to find the best performers. In all, testers evaluated 25 toilets.

Testers filled the bowls with blue dye to see how well the toilets remove liquid.

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

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

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

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

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

When all of the tests were done, Consumer Reports Magazine named several very good performers "Best Buys." Among them was the Gerber Avalanche for $300. It has a standard 1.6 gallon tank.

A second toilet, the KOHLER Cimarron, uses even less water, and also costs $300.

If you're wondering whether it's worth it to repair your broken toilets, Consumer Reports Magazine says it depends. Toilets installed before 1995 waste a lot of water -- as many as 3.5 gallons or more per flush, so you should probably replace those; however, most standard 1.6 gallon models are worth fixing, unless the bowl is cracked.

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