One-Piece or Two-Piece Toilet: Which is Best?

One-Piece or Two-Piece Toilet: Which is Best?

  • Posted by Tatiana
  • On March 1, 2021
  • 0 Comment

The difference between a one-piece toilet and a two-piece toilet might seem slight, but it impacts a lot of factors, including installation, level of maintenance, cost, and even your comfort!

So, which is better: a one-piece or two-piece toilet?

To answer this question, we compared these two toilet types side by side, and are ready to announce the winner! 

So, get cozy and dive in!

Design

A toilet consists of three main parts:

  • Tank, or cistern — the back container that stores water for flushing;
  • Bowl — the hemispherical part designed to catch all the waste and move it down the drain;
  • Pedestal — the part that holds the bowl and contains the trapway — an S-shaped glazed tube for waste removal.

Basically, a one-piece toilet has all three parts molded in one unit. It’s typically more compact and sleek than a two-piece commode because there are no connections on the outside.

A two-piece toilet has the tank and the bowl with the pedestal as two separate pieces, which are connected during the installation via the water supply pipes and mounting bolts. Typically, two-piece toilets are bulkier and have bigger tanks.

Both two-piece and single-piece toilets can have a round or oblong bowl. The latter is thought to be more comfortable, as it provides some extra leg space, whereas the round bowl will make a better fit for smaller bathrooms.

So, how do these slight differences in construction may affect your choice? Let’s see!

Installation

One of the most important factors when it comes to choosing between a two-piece or one-piece toilet is installation.

Especially if you plan to install it by yourself.

The average weight of a one-piece toilet is about 100 pounds, although it can be as many as 130 pounds in some models. So, if you don’t have a bodybuilder’s physique, you will likely need another pair of hands to move it around.

A two-piece toilet, on the other hand, weighs 90-95 lbs on average, and it consists of two parts, which are about 30-40 lbs for the tank, and 45-50 lbs for the bowl. As you can see, these are significantly lighter to move around, and you can handle the installation process by yourself.

However, there are a couple more things that you need to take into account:

  • If you choose a two-piece toilet, you need to connect the tank and the bowl. This can take some time and requires some caution because it’s pretty easy to crack the porcelain when you mount the cistern atop of the bowl.
  • Two-piece toilets often come without a seat and a wax ring, and you need both these items for installation. One-piece toilets typically come with all the mounting hardware.
  • Also, some manufacturers may ship the tank and the bowl of the two-piece toilet as two separate orders, which can stretch your installation in time.

Bottom line?

We have kind of a draw here. One-piece toilets, despite being heavier, generally are quicker to install. However, a two-piece toilet can be installed without having to recruit someone, if you exercise enough caution.

Maintenance & Cleaning

Even though the toilet is the most used fixture in your house, it can serve you up to 15 years with proper care, which includes regular cleaning and maintenance.

So, which toilet type is easier to maintain?

When it comes to cleaning, a one-piece toilet obviously wins. It doesn’t have the gap between the bowl and the tank, where dirt can hide and may come in a skirted design that conceals the trapway and makes the cleaning even easier.

Replacing the fill valve, flush valve, trip lever or other parts doesn’t depend on the toilet type. However, if you make a crack that cannot be sealed by applying a waterproof epoxy resin (1), your only option is a replacement. And with a one-piece unit, the replacement may be pretty costly.

Two-piece toilets with separate parts are easier to replace and will save you some money because you don’t have to buy the whole new unit.

Durability and Efficiency

In terms of durability, one-piece toilets have a slight advantage. They are less likely to leak since there’s no gap between the tank and the bowl. Plus, they’re overall more sturdy and less prone to cracks.

Quality-made two-piece toilets are no worse than their one-piece counterparts, but they have one weak spot, which is the mounting bolt between the tank and the bowl. This bolt may wear out over time, resulting in leaks and cracks.

Other functions, such as flush system, bowl glaze, etc, usually depend on the manufacturer, and not on the type of toilet. Both one-piece and two-piece units can have a WaterSense certified flush, protective bowl glaze, and glazed trapway.

Cost

The final factor that can tip the scales in favor of a two-piece or one-piece toilet is the cost. And for those who need a money-saving option, a two-piece toilet is a win for two reasons:

  • It requires fewer resources to produce. The tank and the bowl aren’t molded together and are more or less standardized within the manufacturer’s lineup. This allows to reproduce them more easily and quickly, which reduces the cost. 
  • The repairs are cheaper as well. As we’ve already pointed out, replacement of a two-piece toilet usually requires replacing only one part, whereas if you repair a one-piece unit, you might need to buy a totally new one, which is expensive.

The average price of a two-piece toilet varies between $250 for the American Standard series and $700 for Kohler’s model. 

One-piece toilets start from $300 and can go up to $1,200 depending on the quality of the materials.

So, Which is Best: One-Piece or Two-Piece Toilet?

As you can see, it’s hard to give an unambiguous answer to this question. However, we still can make general recommendations that will help you choose the right type of commode for your bathroom.

So, choose a one-piece toilet if:

  • You want a compact design. One-piece toilets typically come low-profile and have a more compact build. Plus, some models can be mounted to the wall, which can additionally save you some floor space.
  • You don’t want to worry about leaks. One-piece toilets are much less likely to develop a leak between the bowl and the tank. In fact the only way it may happen is if you crack the toilet. So if you want a worry-free toilet, choose a one-piece unit.
  • You want a low-maintenance option. The gapless design makes a one-piece toilet easier to clean and more immune to the bacteria and mildew that can damage the porcelain in a long run.

Choose a two-piece toilet if:

  • You need a cheaper unit. Two-piece toilets are significantly cheaper than one-piece units, so they can become a great money-saving option for some users. Plus, if an accident happens, you won’t spend a fortune on repairing it.
  • You need something for taller individuals. Two-piece units are taller than a one-piece, so you will have higher chances to find something for a taller individual or an ADA-compliant height for a senior.
  • You plan to install it by yourself. A two-piece toilet weighs less than a single-piece unit, so you can easily mount it without asking for extra help. Plus, you can mix and match different bowl and tank models to make the best fit for your bathroom.

FAQ

Sure, you can replace your current one-piece unit with a two-piece and vice versa. Both types of toilets come in the same rough-in — usually 12 inches, and can fit in the place just right.

The best choice here would be a one-piece toilet with a round or compact oblong bowl. However, you can also pick a two-piece round toilet if you have a small bathroom with higher ceilings, so it can look proportional.

Clog-free performance depends on the trapway width. The wider the trapway, the bigger load it can remove without causing the blockage. Today, you can find both one-piece and two-piece toilets that are immune to clogging.

Both one-piece and two-piece toilets can be water-efficient. If reduced water usage is your primary choosing factor, look for the toilets with dual flush or a single flush that uses 1.28 gallons maximum.

If you look for the ADA-compliant toilet, you will be more likely to find it among the two-piece models. They are generally taller and can meet the ADA requirements for the 17-19 inches seat height.

  1. Aaron Stickley (reviewed by Richard Epstein) (2020, December 31). How to Fix a Hairline Crack in a Toilet Bowl or Tank? Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/assessing-and-repairing-a-cracked-toilet-2719016
Owner - Mary O. Frazier

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Mary O. Frazier

Mary O. Frazier — lead author of our website, connoisseur of interior design and plumbing. I will tell you the most interesting and important facts about household items. She reads a lot, plays chess and collects useful information for you. You can read more about her here.

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