How do I Make Use of Toilet Ratings?

J. Beam

Just like other energy consumption devices regularly used in the home, toilets are often labeled with performance ratings. Depending on where a specific toilet is manufactured and sold, different consumer testing organizations may oversee the assigning of the ratings. For instance, in the United States and Canada, many toilets are subject to Maximum Performance (MaP) Testing. Toilet ratings are meant to indicate the overall performance of the toilet, including the amount of water used per flush and the total weight of waste in grams removed with each flush. When all data is combined, consumers can get a pretty good idea of how well a specific make and model toilet will perform.

Many toilets are made of white porcelain.
Many toilets are made of white porcelain.

When it comes to replacing a toilet, there are several factors that consumers may want to consider. Though not as consistent as energy star ratings for major household appliances, toilet ratings can be used to help consumers determine the best toilet to install. One of the primary considerations should be the amount of water used in a single flush. Toilets that use less water per flush will help homeowners save money and reduce water waste. Consumers should also compare the total amount of waste removal with each flush against the amount of water used. The highest efficiency toilets will use less water and remove at least 1000 grams of waste with each flush.

Toilets often have performance ratings much like many energy consuming household fixtures.
Toilets often have performance ratings much like many energy consuming household fixtures.

Other factors that may be indicated by toilet ratings include compliance with ADA standards, tank and bowl type, floor or wall mounting, and valve construction. These pieces of information are more akin to model specifications, or “specs,” than performance ratings, but they are useful in comparing makes and models. The overall MaP rating assigned is the best way to determine the overall efficiency and performance of the toilet. Higher toilet ratings indicate the best performing toilets.

The only drawback to high performance rated toilets is cost. Those models designed to be water saving and high performance — disposing of the greatest amount of waste with the least amount of water — are often considerably more expensive than their less efficient counterparts. As a consumer it is important to weigh the long-term cost savings of reduced water consumption and lifetime performance against the initial cost. After all, a toilet that clogs frequently is an annoyance and can be costly in terms of repairs.

Consumers can gather basic information on toilet ratings directly from the product’s packaging or manufacturer or retailer website. The Alliance for Water Efficiency also provides performance ratings on many of the leading toilet brands.

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