Selecting a new toilet is more complicated than the average consumer might think. Today’s porcelain bathroom fixtures are high-tech and feature dozens of options. Choosing one is not as easy as just pulling a lever.

Earlier this summer, the toilet in our house did its last downward swirl. No repairs could save it. It was time to buy a new one.

My husband, the engineer, thought this would be a straightforward affair. Then he began reading online consumer reviews.

“Buy a toilet that fits your budget and your back side,” advised one consumer expert. “Don’t buy the cheapest. You’ll use it every day for years.” In other words, put your money where your, uh, tush is? (You get the picture.)

While many toilets use gravity to help with the flow of water, some are pressure-assisted. One consumer reported the flushing sound of his pressure-assisted toilet was so loud, whenever anyone flushed, he had to pause the television in the next room because he couldn’t hear the program over the noisy whoosh.

Oh my.

I pointed out to my husband the toilet and sink in our bathroom are a matched set; both have a curvy base with a decorative edge.

I was not surprised to hear my beloved had never noticed this detail.

“You can’t have a round sink and a square toilet,” I said. He muttered something about disharmonious design causing constipation and headed off to the local home goods stores.

Two hours later, he returned with brochures and photos of displays on his cellphone. This purchase, he decided, required input from the primary seat warmers in the family: the females.

“We need something with strong flush performance,” he said. “Based on the toilet paper consumption in this household, which equals the forestry output of some small nations, we need a model with super strength. How about this model called ‘The Niagara’?”

Pretending not to hear his remarks, I read the promotional material.

The brochure for one store highlighted a toilet rating system with correlates with industry standards. It rates each toilet’s ability to “remove solid waste in a single flush and resist clogging.”

The maximum rating was 10, removing 1,000 grams of waste. The average person, it stated, produces approximately 250 grams.

“I’m sure we have above-average producers in this house,” my husband said. “We’re a family of overachievers. Especially on the weekends.”

I just kept reading.

According to a pamphlet, the “Titan” toilet is engineered to prevent clogs.

“Listen to this,” I said. “It can flush a bucket of golf balls in a single flush.” I tried to imagine this volume. Not even on Thanksgiving Day have we ever approached that level.

Another model features a slow-close seat that never slams. Ah, music to my ears.

Yet another deluxe toilet delivers “a powerful jet of water to the bowl removing everything in its path.” (Don’t drop your cellphone in that bowl.)

But my interest was really piqued by the ActiFresh toilet, tested and proven to eliminate smells with built-in odor removing technology.

“This one says it ‘filters unpleasant odor and releases purified air’,” I read. “How does it do that?”

The engineer took on a serious expression. “Inside it has a tiny burning candle which emits a cinnamon strudel scent,” he teased. Then he explained, “Actually it has a high-powered fan that pulls smells through a charcoal filter.”

Wow. Isn’t technology great?

All of the new units are taller than our current toilet. I wondered how the family would adjust. Certainly the spaniel who uses the toilet as a source for cool drinking water wouldn’t like it; she wouldn’t be able to reach that high.

“Maybe we could get her a little step stool,” I mused. A stool for the stool?

Despite concerns, the new toilet arrived and was promptly put into action. Happily, it met everyone’s expectations. Dare I say it? We were aflush with triumph.

Contact Susan Hazlett at susanrhazlett@yahoo.com or write to her in care of The Pantagraph, 301 W. Washington St., Bloomington, IL 61702-2907.


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