Comparing the Pros and Cons of a One-Piece and Two-Piece Toilet

By HomeAdvisor

Updated March 4, 2022

A modern interior of a white bathroom
Photo: ADDICTIVE STOCK / Adobe Stock

Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.
Written by HomeAdvisor.

Integral to any bathroom, the toilet is available in many shapes and configurations. One-piece and two-piece toilets both perform well, although one-piece toilets are sleeker and more durable but also more expensive. Two-piece toilets are the more cost-effective option and offer more installation options than one-piece models. Let’s see how they stack up head-to-head in a number of key categories.

On This Page:

  1. What’s the Difference Between One-PIece and Two-Piece Toilets?
    1. One-Piece Toilet
    2. Two-Piece Toilet
  2. One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Toilet: Which Is Better?
    1. Appearance
    2. Cleaning
    3. Cost
    4. Durability and Maintenance
    5. Efficiency
    6. Installation
    7. Size
  3. One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Toilet: Which Is Best for Your Home?
    1. For Small Bathrooms
    2. For Modern Bathrooms

What’s the Difference Between One-Piece and Two-Piece Toilets?

One-piece toilets are molded into a single-piece toilet, with the tank and bowl integrated into one unit. Two-piece toilets have separate tanks and bowls, with the tank bolted onto the bowl. Both models are available with low-flow water-saving flush options, but one-piece toilets are easier to clean while two-piece models are more affordable.

One-Piece Toilet

Photo: Daniel Jędzura / Adobe Stock

One-piece toilets are molded into a single integrated unit, so there’s a separate tank or bowl. They have a sleek, contemporary appearance and tend to be shorter than two-piece models. However, there are fewer rough-in options, so you’re limited to where you can put these toilets. They often take up more room than their two-piece counterparts, protruding further into the room, and they’re heavier and more costly to ship.

One-piece toilets often sit at comfort-height. Plus, they’re easier to clean because there are fewer nooks and crannies for bacteria to build up.

Two-Piece Toilet

A toilet bowl in modern bathroom interior
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

Two-piece toilets are more affordable than single-piece models, and they’re easier and less costly to ship. Each bowl requires a specific tank, and some tank-to-bowl connections require two bolts while others require three. The flush valves inside the tanks are also different sizes, meaning that you can’t put a tank with a 3-inch outlet onto a bowl with a 2-inch inlet.

There are also more rough-in options, making them suitable for older homes. The rough-in refers to the distance between the wall and the toilet’s waste outlet center. In standard installations, this is a distance of 12 inches, but in older homes, the rough-in can vary between 10 to 14 inches. A two-piece toilet is a better choice for non-standard rough-in options.

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One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Toilet: Which Is Better?


Best-Looking: One-Piece Toilet

One-piece toilets tend to have a shorter, more compact tank and a sleeker, contemporary appearance. Two-piece toilets are available in clean designs, but they all share a similar traditional look unless they’re recessed.


Easiest to Clean: One-Piece Toilet

One-piece toilets are easier to keep clean and hygienic because fewer crevices, nooks, and joints allow bacteria or limescale to build up.


Most Affordable: Two-Piece Toilet

A two-piece toilet costs $250 to $700, including installation, while a one-piece toilet costs $500 to $1,100 with installation. It’s true that toilet prices aren’t necessarily a critical factor, but the cost to install a toilet directly impacts the overall cost of a bathroom remodel. Remember that if you’re DIYing or trying to save by buying the toilet yourself, you’ll pay more to ship a one-piece model because it’s heavier, bulkier, and oddly shaped.

Durability and Maintenance

Most Durable: One-Piece Toilet

Easiest to Maintain: Two-Piece Toilet

For general maintenance, two-piece toilets are the best option as, in the event of a breakdown or leak, only one portion needs to be removed, repaired, and replaced.

However, one-piece toilets are considered slightly more durable because there are fewer opportunities for leaks. Plus, being of a single molded piece, these toilets don’t have any couplings that can break.

However, a caveat: If a one-piece toilet tank cracks, you’ll have to replace the whole toilet. If the tank cracks on a two-piece, you can hire a local plumber to replace the tank. If the toilet is more than 10 years old, there is a chance that it has been discontinued and a replacement tank may not be available.


Most Efficient: Tie

Both types of toilets are available as low-flow, water-saving models. You’ll also find both types widely available with different flushing technology, including flappers and towers. Therefore, one-piece and two-piece toilets tie when it comes to efficiency, water usage, and flushing power.


Professional Installation: One-Piece Toilet

For the best results, it’s best to hire a toilet installer near you unless you have solid plumbing skills. This way, you know the job is done properly, and there’s no chance of leaks or damage. While installation for both toilet types is similar, one-piece installation is simpler because it only involves the installation of a single piece. The installer has to bolt the tank to the back of the bowl portion with a traditional toilet, but maneuvering it is easier because you can move it in two separate parts to the final installation site.


More Options: Two-Piece Toilet

Both toilets are available in a range of sizes. The most important measurement is the rough-in, which is the distance from the center of the waste pipe to the wall behind it. The rough-in varies from 10 to 14 inches, and 12 inches is the most common. Because the vast majority of one-piece toilets are fixed in their measurements, your choices are limited by your bathroom’s rough-in measurement.

With a two-piece toilet, most manufacturers use different bowls to determine the rough-in dimensions. Make sure the bowl is securely over the waste pipe, and that the tank installs firmly against the wall.

One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Toilet: Which Is Best for Your Home?

For Small Bathrooms

For small bathrooms, two-piece toilets are the best option because they can be recessed. And you can also find wall-hung models. If you choose a compact, slimline model that’s suitable for recessing, you save floor space and get some extra countertop space above the toilet tank. Wall-hung models aren’t attached to the floor and are far less bulky than one-piece and even standard two-piece models, so they can be installed closer to other fixtures such as shower enclosures.

“When selecting a toilet for a recessed installation below a countertop, make sure you verify that your new toilet will fit,” said Jeff Botelho, Expert Review Board Member and licensed journeyman plumber. “Oftentimes, these toilets and countertops were installed when the standard counter height was 32 inches. Standard counter height is now 36 inches and many toilet tanks finish that height. I would advise that you make sure there is enough space to remove the tank lid so that the parts can be removed without removing the entire toilet from the recess.”

For Modern Bathrooms

Wall-mounted toilets, which have only the bowl visible with the tank inside the wall, can be super-contemporary, as can one-piece toilets, so it really depends on how much space you’ve got, how much you want to spend, and your aesthetic. The simplest installation solution for a reasonable-size modern bathroom is a one-piece toilet. But if you want an extra-contemporary design with no visible tank and no pedestal, opt for a wall-mounted one.

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