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Ask the Experts: 5 Things to Know Before Buying a Toilet Bowl

Toilet bowls aren’t the glamorous of bathroom fixtures, but they are perhaps one of the more important features in your bathroom. Whether you are looking to replace your existing WC or getting a completely new one, we put together a quick guide to help steer you in the right direction. Because we are no experts and things can get quite technical with toilet bowls, we reached out to Fullsun Marketing, the supplier for TOTO sanitary wares in Singapore, to help us with some of our questions.

1. Types of toilet bowls

There are several types of toilet bowls in the market. These are the most common in Singapore:

Design: Space Atelier

Type What is it
Exposed cistern (water tank):
Close-coupled/two-piece The toilet bowl and tank are two different units, which are coupled together with fittings, hence the name close-coupled.
One-piece The toilet bowl and tank are a single, seamless unit. These are popular for being easy to clean.
Back-to-wall These refer to toilet bowls whose backs are attached directly to the wall.
Concealed cistern (water tank):
Wall-hung This toilet bowl is suspended above the floor. Requires an additional wall frame support to be hung securely.
Wall-faced This type of toilet bowl is installed against the wall and floor.

Design: The Roomakers

According to Ms Gan Shi Xuan, the Sales and Marketing Executive at Fullsun Marketing, the close-coupled and one-piece toilets are the most popular for HDB bathrooms as they take up lesser space and are easier to install. Between the close-coupled and one-piece, the latter is favoured for its streamlined and neat design and easier cleaning while the former allows you to change either the tank or the toilet bowl separately without having to replace the entire water closet.

Design: Design 4 Space

If you want an easy-to-clean bathroom, wall-hung toilet bowls are an obvious choice since they have no contact with the floor and no hidden crevices.

2. Trap type (S-trap or P-trap)

When we talk about trap, or trapway, we are talking about that curving device located at the bottom of the toilet bowl that channels waste from the toilet into the drainage pipe. It also prevents sewer gases from coming up into your bathroom.

There are two main trap types in Singapore: S-trap and P-trap. Most HDB flats have the drainage outlet on the floor, which is why most HDB homeowners use an S-trap toilet bowl that connects it to the floor. P-trap toilet bowls aka wall-hung toilet bowls connect to the drainage outlet located on the wall. Technically, you can use a wall-hung toilet bowl even with an S-trap—you just need to install a concealed cistern and get a plumber who is willing to do the extra work. So yes, if you stay in an HDB and want a wall-hung toilet bowl, it is possible.

3. Measurements

Image credit: Archify / Toto

If your drainage outlet is located on the floor (S-trap), you will need to calculate the distance from the centre of the drainage outlet on the floor to the wall (Y) to ensure that your new toilet bowl will be able to fit.

If your drainage outlet is located on the wall (P-trap), measure the distance between the centre of the drainage outlet on the wall and the floor (X). Measurements can be easily and accurately done when you remove your existing toilet bowl, exposing the drainage outlet.

4. Water efficiency and flushing system

To help reduce your home’s water consumption, choose a toilet bowl with higher number of ticks, which are based on PUB’s Water Efficiency Labelling and Standard (WELS) scheme.

Good (✔) Very Good (✔✔) Excellent (✔✔✔)
Flushing Cisterns (per flush) 4 to 4.5 litres (full flush) 3.5 to 4 litres (full flush) 3.5 litres or less (full flush)
2.5 to 3 litres (reduced flush) 2.5 to 3 litres (reduced flush) 2.5 litres or less (reduced flush)

There are a range of flushing systems in Singapore, with the basic, single flush the most common. Dual flush tanks provide you the option of having a full flush or a partial flush, which can help save you some water.

Design: Fuse Concept

Most toilet bowls come with the standard gravity flush system, which uses water pressure and gravity to pull down waste into the trap. If you want a more powerful flush to clean your bowl more thoroughly without wasting extra water, there are toilet bowls that come with a pressure assisted flush system. These employ the use of pressurised air (located in an inner tank in the water tank) to force water into the bowl at a high speed during flushing. A word of caution: pressure assisted flush toilet bowls can be noisy during flushing due to the high pressure, and they usually cost more as well.

5. Comfort and cleaning

If you are shopping for a toilet bowl in a physical store, don’t feel paiseh to sit down on the toilet bowl and make sure you feel comfortable with the height of the WC and the bowl size and shape. Consider going with a higher bowl height if you have knee pain or if you have elderly folks at home.

Design: The Orange Cube

Feel if the bowl shape and size is right. There are elongated toilet bowls that allow you to rest your thighs while sitting down. However, if you are struggling with a tight bathroom, a compact-size toilet bowl might be a better choice.

When choosing a toilet bowl, also make sure the design is easy to clean. Avoid toilet bowls with too many nooks and crannies, which can trap dust and grime. To make cleaning less of a chore, TOTO ceramic toilet bowls are applied with a special glaze called CeFiONtect, which makes the surface of the toilet bowls really smooth and easy to clean.


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