One-piece vs Two-piece toilets – Pros, Cons & Buyer Guide
Toilets are manufactured as either one-piece or two-piece. But what is the difference between one-piece toilets and two-piece toilets and what is their advantages and disadvantages?
A one-piece toilet is a toilet which is manufactured with the bowl and tank molded together as one piece while a two-piece toilet is manufactured with the bowl and tank as separate pieces and only joined together during installation.
Some one-piece toilets do not have a water tank. The bowl receives water at very high pressure straight from the pipes, which is sufficient to flush the toilet. Read more on tankless toilets here.
Some two-piece toilets have their tanks connected directly to the bowl using bolts while others have the tanks high up the wall, with a pipe joining the tank and the bowl.
One type of two-piece toilets that can easily be confused for one-piece toilet is the wall-hung toilets. Wall-mounted toilets as they are also known as have their bowls mounted on the bathroom wall while the tank is concealed inside the wall. Read more on wall-hung toilets here.
Which is Better, One-Piece or Two-Piece Toilets?
So, between a 1-piece toilet and a 2-piece toilet, which is better? Are one-piece toilets better than two-piece toilets or should you go a two-piece toilet?
The truth is that both one-piece and two-piece toilets have their own advantages and disadvantages as I am going to outline. It is therefore important that you take your time to examine the merits of each type of toilet before deciding on a final decision.
Let us then look at the pros and cons of 1-piece and two-piece toilets briefly and then we will discuss them in detail.
Pros and Cons of One-Piece Toilets
- Takes less space
- Visually appealing
- Easy to install
- Easy to maintain (fewer leaks)
- Easy to clean
- If one piece (bowl or tank) is broken you have to replace the entire unit.
- Heavy. Needs an extra pair of hands during installation.
Pros and Cons of Two-Piece Toilets
- Less expensive
- Either bowl or tank can be replaced separately
- One-person installation job
- Takes more space
- Takes time to install
- Harder to clean
- More repair jobs
One-Piece vs Two-Piece Toilets Compared
Let us now dive deeper into the 1-piece vs 2-piece toilets debate and see why you should buy one type of toilet and not the other.
I should also also remind you that there are many other features/factors to consider while buying a toilet not just based on the number of pieces it has, as illustrated in this post.
One-piece toilets are more compact than two-piece toilets. They take less space in the bathroom compared to two-piece toilets, in terms of depth, width and sometimes even width.
One-piece toilets are shipped in one big box. They are therefore quite heavy especially if you will need to carry it up a series of stairs. They are however a great option if you need to install one in a tight space, especially one-piece round toilets.
Two-piece toilets are often shipped in two different boxes. Some times the two boxes arrive at different times. Two-piece toilets are less likely to break during transportation than one-piece toilets.
The thing with two-piece toilets is that sometimes one -piece arrives in condition while the other arrives broken. Each toilet type has its own shipping challenges.
Modern two-piece toilets are however shorter in height compared to the old ones, where the tank could be so high up the wall. Some are almost equal in height as a one-piece toilet. Let look at an example
Toto Ultramax II Elongated toilet
- One-piece toilet
- Height: 28.75 inches
Toto Drake elongated bowl and tank toilet
- Two-piece toilet
- Height: 28.5 inches
If your bathroom is small, I would advise that you go with a round or compact elongated toilet. Check out the best compact toilets for small bathrooms here.
One-piece toilets are sleeker and aesthetically appealing more than two-piece toilets. They come out as more modern and luxurious while two-piece toilets are viewed as more traditional. Most one-piece toilets are skirted down concealing the trapway, which make them look very elegant.
In contrast, some two-piece toilets have many nooks and crannies, especially between the bowl and the tank. Subjected to the same intensity of light, one-piece toilets tend to glow more than two-piece toilets. This because light travels in a straight line and bounces off from shinny surfaces.
If you are looking for an even more sleeker and seamless toilet the I suggest you go for a one-piece dual flush toilet. Dual flush flush use flush buttons instead of a trip level. Read more on dual flush toilets here.
One-piece toilets are generally more expensive compared to two-piece toilets with the same features and specifications. This is because one-piece toilets come off as more modern than two-piece toilets.
It is however not always the case that one-piece toilets cost more than two-piece toilets. High-end two piece toilets cost way more than budget one-piece toilets. For instance, the Kohler K-6669-0 Memoirs two-piece elongated toilet cost more than the Woodbridge T-0001 one-piece elongated toilet.
A plumber will charge the same amount of money to install a toilet be it a one-piece or two-piece toilet.
4. Ease of Cleaning
It is way easier to clean a one-piece toilet compared to a two-piece toilet. Cleaning a skirted one-piece toilet is even better since there are no crevices where dirt can hide hence the toilet’s surface is smooth all the way down.
Two-piece toilets on the other hand are harder to cleaner than piece toilets because of the gap between the bowl and the tank. It is very easy for dirt to hide in there which then becomes difficult to remove.
An exception to this is the Toto Vespin II. Although it is a two-piece toilet, its bowl is skirted down, which when combined with Toto Cefiontect glaze makes cleaning it a cinch. It can also be installed in bathrooms with a 10 or 14-inch rough-in.
5. Replacement Cost
If unfortunately a one-piece toilet cracks either on the bowl or tank, you will need to replace the entire toilet. This is one of the main disadvantage of one-piece toilets.
If on the other hand either the bowl or tank of a two-piece toilets cracks, you can always replace the cracked piece only. Just note the model number of the broken piece and order and exact match.
6. Maintenance Costs
Maintenance costs are slightly higher in two-piece toilets than in one-piece toilets. Two-piece toilets have more moving parts than one-piece toilets hence more replacement parts needed.
Of importance in this case is the toilet tank bolts and washers and the tank to bowl gasket. Although this parts are not expensive, once they are one out you will be dealing with a leaking toilet.
In that case you will need to first remove your tank, replace the parts then install the tank again. People who can’t do such repairs on their own will need tp pay a plumber instead which is not cheap.
A leaking toilet is also an expensive more so if you have a wooden floor which can easily rot. One-piece toilets have no tank bolts or gaskets and will therefore never have a leak between the tank and the bowl.
Apart from the above, the cost of maintaining a one-piece toilet is not very different from that of a two-piece toilet.
The durability of a toilet be it a one-piece toilet or a two-piece toilet majorly depends with the user/owner. If only one or two adults are using either of the two then they would last for decades. On the other hand if we are dealing with a house full of kids don’t be surprised if you are required to replace a toilet seat after two days.
Toilets from reputable brands tend to last longer than toilets from unknown brands although they tend to be pricier.
8. Water Efficiency
The old models of two-piece toilets have very big toilet tanks compared to the modern one-piece toilets. As a result, the modern one-piece toilets are more water efficient than the old two-piece toilets. The old two-piece toilets use on average 3.5 gallons per flush.
Modern two-piece toilets are however very quiet and fast while refilling the tank after a flush. The old two-piece toilets are very noisy and take longer to completely fill the tank.
Modern two-piece toilets are as water-efficient as the modern one-piece toilets. Let’s look at the example below for clarity:
Toto Ultramax II elongated toilet
- One-piece toilet
- 1.28 gallons per flush
Kohler K-6669-0 Memoirs elongated toilet
- Two-piece toilet
- 1.28 gallons per flush
9. Flushing Power
There is no difference in flushing power between one-piece and two-piece toilets. The flushing power of a toilet depends on so many other factors which does not depend on whether a toilet is a 1-piece or 2-piece.
I have also written an article of the best flushing toilets in the market. Read it here.
10. Ease of Installation
Installing a one-piece toilet is faster than a two-piece toilets. For a one-piece toilet, you only have to mount it once while for a two-piece toilet you wil have to install the bowl first then the tank later.
The only downside to installing a one-piece toilet is that it is heavy hence you might need an extra pair of hands to help with the lifting. One person can comfortably install a two-piece toilet.
The Best One-Piece Toilets
If you would like to buy a one piece toilet the following are the 3 toilets which I would consider as some of the best 1-piece toilets:
1. Toto Ultramax II
Toto Ultramax II is a single flush elongated and one-piece toilet. It is available in white, black, bone and Sedona Beige.
Ultramax II has a water consumption of 1.28 gallons per flush, utilizing Toto’s tornado flushing system. Its toilet bowl height is 16.125 inches and comes with a soft close toilet seat.
2. Kohler Santa Rosa
Kohler Santa Rosa is a single flush elongated and comfort height one-piece toilet. It is available in many colors including white, black and biscuit.
It uses Kohler’s AquaPiston flushing with a flush rate of 1.28 gallons per flush. Its toilet bowl height is 16.5 inches which increases to 17.5 inches after installing a seat.
3. Woodbridge T-0001
Woodbridge T-0001 is a dual flush one-piece toilet with an elongated bowl and comfort height. It is available in white only.
The Woodbridge T-0001 is a sleek and beautiful toilet that also flushes powerfully. It uses either 1 or 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Its seat height is 16.5 inches and also comes with a soft close toilet seat.
Best Two-Piece Toilets
If you would like to buy a two-piece toilet, the following are what I think are the best 2-piece toilets in the market:
1. Toto Drake II
Toto Drake II is a single flush comfort height two-piece toilet. It is an improvement of the popular Toto Drake toilet.
Toto Drake II uses the E-Max flushing system while Toto Drake uses the G-Max flushing system. The difference is in their water consumption. E-Max flushing system uses 1.28 gallons per flush while the G-Max flushing system uses 1.6 gallons per flush.
2. American Standard Cadet 3
The American Standard Cadet 3 is a single flush round two-piece toilet. It has a skirted bowl and a right/comfort height bowl of 16.5 inches. The colors available are white, bone and linen.
It features American Standard’s EverClean surface and 3-inch oversized flush valve for a powerful flush. A slow close toilet seat is also included.
It is safe to say that none between a one-piece toilet and a two-piece toilet is better than the other. It all depends of the preferences of the buyer.
I actually thought that one-piece toilets will be the end of two-piece toilets but it looks like two-piece toilets are not going anywhere any time soon.
1.Can I replace a one-piece toilet with a two-piece toilet?
Yes. The base of a one-piece toilet is the same as that of a two-piece toilet. Just make sure they have the same rough-in. The rough in is the distance between the center of the drainpipe and toilet’s rear wall.
2. Which is the best 2-piece dual flush toilet?
The American Standard H2Option Siphonic toilet is one of the best two-piece dual flush toilets.