One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Toilets: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jun. 14, 2024

Before you buy your next toilet, understand the difference between a one-piece vs. two-piece toilet, and see which option is best for your bathroom.

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If you’ve never shopped for the best toilet before, you might be surprised to learn there are different types. We’re here to discuss the differences between a one-piece vs. two-piece toilet, and help you decide which to pick for your bathroom.

What’s the difference between a one-piece and two-piece toilet?

It’s simple: A two-piece toilet has a separate tank and bowl while a one-piece is all connected. But there are other differences, too. One-piece toilets are typically heavier and easier to clean, and have less space for bacteria to grow. Because two-piece toilets feature a detachable tank, they’re more customizable for preferred styles and heights.

Our resident expert, Deane Biermeier, says, “You can think of two-piece toilets as being the more traditional style type while one-piece toilets can be the perfect finishing touch in a modern bathroom.”

Toilets come in many shapes and sizes, like wall-mounted or corner units. Both styles can include bells and whistles, like bidet attachments or low-flow energy saving. Also, either can be shaped in the standard styles: round and elongated, which is slightly longer. And because one-piece toilets are heavier, they can be more expensive to ship if you order one online.

All About One-Piece Toilets

Although all toilets are made of the same material and serve the same basic purpose, for the DIYer, a one-piece toilet avoids the hassle of properly aligning the two pieces. We reached out to Thais Costa from New Era Plumbing & HVAC for insight from a professional installer. 

“One-piece toilets, where the cistern and toilet bowl are combined into a single unit, are typically heavier and more challenging to install due to their integrated design,” Costa explains. “This can make them tricky to fit into place, especially in small bathrooms or rooms with complex angles.” Long story short? Consider your space and strength before purchasing a one-piece toilet and be sure to recruit a friend for help.

Costa goes on to explain that there are also plenty of benefits to owning a one-piece toilet. “Their seamless design results in fewer gaps and joints, making them easier to clean and maintain,” he explains. “Additionally, they boast a sleeker and more modern appearance, which can be a deciding factor for some. This aspect not only enhances their aesthetics, but also simplifies maintenance since there are fewer intricate shapes and lines to clean around.”

Our Favorite One-Piece Toilet

Kohler Santa Rosa Revolution

One Piece Toiletvia merchant

The Kohler Santa Rosa Revolution is a popular one-piece toilet because of its budget-friendly price and easy setup. The unskirted back end of this model makes installation a breeze.

I love that it’s a Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant model, with the seat reaching 18.5 inches from the floor with the lid down. You’ll love the slow-close lid (no more slamming!), and the Revolution 360 flushing system that helps keep the bowl clean.

The Kohler one-piece toilet works in compact spaces, and has a sleek design and easy-to-install construction. 

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Pros

  • Easier to install than a two-piece unit
  • ADA-compliant model
  • Comfort height seat
  • Soft-close lid
  • High-efficiency 360 flushing system
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavier than a two-piece toilet

All About Two-Piece Toilets

When it comes to the one-piece vs. two-piece toilet debate, the advantage of a two-piece toilet is that the parts are not as heavy as the whole. This means they’re easier to move and load than a one-piece toilet. Most DIYers find a two-piece toilet easier to manage.

Another advantage? According to Bill Bruininga, owner of Billy’s Plumbing and Rooter, “If a part of a one-piece toilet breaks, you might need to replace the entire unit, whereas with a two-piece, you might only need to replace the damaged part (bowl or tank).”

Our Favorite Two-Piece Toilet

American Standard Champion

Two Piece Toiletvia merchant

The American Standard Champion is a solid option at a reasonable price with a limited lifetime warranty. The most outstanding feature of this two-piece toilet is the no-clog engineering and wide 4-inch flush valve for trouble-free operation.

The Champion is a winner when it comes to water efficiency, earning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s WaterSense certification for low consumption and high performance. Users are amazed at how powerful the flush is while still conserving water. With the antimicrobial finish and rim cleaning power with every flush, your toilet will stay fresher between cleanings.

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Pros

  • Pieces are lighter than a one-piece toilet
  • No-clog engineering
  • Slow-close lid
  • ADA-compliant model
  • WaterSense-certified
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Two-piece toilets have a greater chance to leak than one-piece toilets

FAQ

Which is better: a one-piece or a two-piece toilet?

If you’re planning to install the new toilet yourself, a two-piece toilet may be easier to carry and manage. You’ll need extra time dedicated to installing a two-piece toilet to ensure the parts align and are properly sealed. On the other hand, a one-piece toilet is easier to install and less prone to leaking. Since the unit comes as a one-piece unit, there are fewer steps involved during installation. Be forewarned: A one-piece toilet is heavy and bulky, so don’t be afraid to call in a friend for help. Next, get to know what is a vault toilet and how it functions.

Are one-piece toilets worth the extra money?

Nowadays, the price disparity between a one-piece and a two-piece toilet isn’t so vast. In my research, I found both styles at every price point. Design and technology are always improving, and with every added feature, the price goes up for either model. From smart toilets to hands-free flushing and built-in washlets, there’s plenty to splurge (or save) on.

The Bottom Line

These no-frills toilets highlighted here have up-to-date features without going over the top. You can spend thousands of dollars on a toilet with a ton of extra comforts and smart technology, but the bottom line (ha!) when it comes to one-piece vs. two-piece toilets is personal preference and your installation needs.

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