When you tell a salesperson you’re buying a new toilet, they always ask you the same question:
Are you looking for a one-piece or two-piece toilet?
Basically, what they’re asking you is if you are looking for one of the more contemporary toilets (1-piece) or the old-school one (2-piece).
Well, what’s the difference when you’re comparing one-piece vs two-piece toilet? In the simplest terms, the 2-piece toilet has the toilet tank and toilet bowl fused together during installation. The 1-piece toilet, on the other hand, comes in a single piece and you can simply install it as such.
Of course, with the 1-piece and 2-piece toilet, there comes a range of differences regarding the look, space needed, price, maintenance level and flexibility.
Difference Between 1-Piece And 2-Piece Toilet
We compared two American Standard (most popular toilet brand) toilets. On the left is a 1-piece toilet and on the right is the 2-piece toilet:
As we can see, it does seem that one-piece toilet is better than a two-piece toilet. It has that modern design, it is smaller, easier to clean and maintain. However, because it comes in one piece it can be more difficult to maneuver it into the spot.
Nonetheless, the main misconception many of us have about toilets is that one-piece toilets are more expensive than two-piece toilets.
Can you get a 1-piece toilet for $200? Of course you can, you can check the whole range of one-piece toilets here.
Some high-end one-piece toilets can, however, cost as much as $1000. That’s where the misconception of expensive 1-piece toilets come from. You can check all the 2-piece toilets here and see that you can hardly find one that costs more than $200.
Design Differences: Modern VS Old-School
Basically, we do spend about an hour a day in our bathrooms. The bathroom interior design is important and the design of a toilet can improve the overall look of the bathroom quite a bit (or ruin it, on the other hand).
The distinct advantage of one-piece toilets over two-piece toilets is the modern design. If you’re designing a hip and contemporary place, you shouldn’t even phantom of putting a 2-piece toilet in your bathroom.
The 2-piece toilet is what older homes have. However, it’s worth adding that older people are more accustomed to the look of the two-piece toilet.
Nonetheless, if you’re designing a new home or redesigning a bathroom, almost every interior designer will advise you to choose a one-piece toilet.
Size: Which Toilet is Smaller?
Because two-piece toilets are made out of two separate pieces (tank + bowl), they do need a bit more space.
If you have a big and spacious bathroom, having a bigger two-piece toilet shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you have a small bathroom, you want to cut extra inches anywhere you can.
If you’re wondering ‘Should I use a one-piece toilet for a small bathroom?’, you’re on the right track. 1-piece toilet and smaller bathrooms go hand in hand.
It has to be pointed out that the size difference of one-piece vs. two-piece toilet is usually not drastic. In a big bathroom, you’ll hardly tell if one-piece is really smaller than a two-piece toilet. In a small bathroom, however, the two-piece toilet can be the elephant in the (bath)room.
Which Toilet Is Easier To Clean And Maintain?
When it comes to cleaning a toilet, there is only one thing that separates a 1-piece and 2-piece toilet. A 2-piece toilet has the wedge where the toilet tank meets the toilet bowl and a 1-piece toilet don’t have one (there is a smooth surface there).
With more moving parts, more than go wrong. As far as toilet maintenance is considered, there isn’t a significant difference when looking at a one-piece vs. two-piece toilet. The wedge where the tank and the bowl come together in a 2-piece toilet might be an additional maintenance problem; but in practice, it rarely is.
The bigger difference is the cleaning part. The one-piece toilet has nothing but smooth surfaces where the two-piece toilet has that inconvenient wedge. A lot of dirt can accumulate there and that’s why it’s important to clean it thoroughly and frequently. That means you can spend a bit more time cleaning a two-piece toilet.
Installation Flexibility: Is It Easier To Install A Two-Piece Toilet?
If you’re installing the toilet yourself, you will be glad that you can carry the toilet tank and the toilet bowl separately. You can do that with two-piece toilet; you can’t do it with a one-piece toilet because the bowl and the tank are already bolted together.
Having a 2-piece toilet also gives you or your plumber a bit more range and flexibility when it comes to the positioning on the toilet. The two-piece toilet can be moved around a bit – you can put it closer or farther to the wall, for example.
With the one-piece toilet, you’re pretty much left with only one setting. This is where the two-piece toilet is better than the one-piece toilet.
However, the majority of toilets in the US are installed by professional plumbers. You would think that there is a difference in how much it costs to install a one-piece vs. two-piece toilet, right? Well, it turns out that the installation costs are pretty similar (about $100).
Are One-Piece Toilets More Expensive Than 2-Piece Toilets?
The price of the toilet is a major argument for everybody who might prefer a two-piece toilet. Because one-piece toilets look ‘fancy’, people think that’s why they are costlier. Which is, by the way, not the case at all.
The prices of one-piece vs. two-piece toilets are quite similar. They start at about $200 and for $300-$400 you can get a very decent one-piece or two-piece toilet.
However, it is true that advanced one-piece toilets can cost up to $1000. That’s not because they are comprised in one piece, however. The higher price is because they are of more modern design and as such include technological advancements such as WaterSense and Energy Star.
The Verdict: One-Piece Toilets Are Better Than Two-Piece Toilets
All in all, the one-piece toilets are clearly the next step in the evolution of toilets. It can be predicted that we are going to see less and less two-piece toilets and more and more one-piece toilets.
It all boils down to the better design and easiness of cleaning the one-piece toilet. The important thing to forget is that one-piece toilets are more expensive; they are not.
You can find great one-piece and two-piece toilets in the same price range. Check the Top 5 Best Toilets List here to compare the toilets and prices.