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Different types of toilets: A comprehensive guide

A key item in any bathroom, whether you make a feature out of your toilet or prefer to position it discreetly behind the door or elsewhere in the room, there’s no denying this is an essential piece of furniture. Nowadays, however, the humble throne comes in all sorts of designs, shapes and sizes, so what used to be a fairly straightforward purchase can now seem like more of a minefield.

With so many options available, just which is the best toilet to choose – and what exactly is the difference between all of these different styles? From comfort-height and rimless, to back-to-wall, close-coupled and more, there’s a lot to choose from, but which is best for your family bathroom or your cloakroom ..?

We’re subsequently here to explore toilet types and clear up the confusion so you can choose your next toilet with confidence. Read to the end of the blog to find out the key benefits and features of different toilet styles – and say goodbye to your toilet troubles!

Understanding different toilet styles

When it comes to toilet designs, the increasing trend is to opt for something sleek, easy to clean and space-saving, which is why close-coupled, back-to-wall and floating (or wall-hung) toilets are popular choices for many homeowners. Find out more about each style below, along with some examples of each variety from our website.

Back-to-wall toilets: Fitted flush against the wall, these toilets are great space-savers and will keep your bathroom looking neat and tidy, with the cistern concealed behind the pan in a unit, or behind the wall. Our back-to-wall toilets are available in a range of stylish designs, including square and oval-shaped varieties.

The Linea Comfort-height Rimless Back-to-wall Toilet and Soft-close Seat has that seamless aesthetic, sitting flush against a unit which contains the cistern. With a smooth curved design, this is a contemporary toilet which will save on space and look great in any bathroom.

Close-coupled toilets: Another popular choice with customers, close-coupled toilets are defined by a design where the pan and cistern are ‘closely coupled’ together. Once again, this saves on space and is perhaps the style of toilet that most people are familiar with.

The Linea Comfort-height Rimless Back-to-wall Toilet and Soft-close seat.

An example of a close-coupled toilet is the Nuie Harmony Close-coupled Toilet and Soft-close Seat, which has an open-back WC pan design and a gloss white finish. This toilet also has a sleek, minimalist look, so it won’t take up much space and is a great choice for the modern family bathroom.

The Nuie Harmony Close-coupled Toilet and Soft-close seat.

Wall-hung toilets: Floating or wall-hung toilets are ideal for freeing up space, as they’re mounted onto the wall rather than being floorstanding. This also makes them more convenient to clean, as you can easily access all areas around the toilet, while the floating aesthetic adds a contemporary look to your bathroom.

The Olympia Impero Wall-hung Toilet and Soft-close Seat is a handmade designer Italian toilet which combines a classic look with that modern floating style and will subsequently enhance any bathroom space. It features a round bowl with bevelled detailing at the base, a similar style just below the seat helping to add texture and definition to the overall design.

The Olympia Impero Wall-hung Toilet and Soft-close Seat.

Low and high-level toilets: For a more traditional, Victorian style of toilet, meanwhile, the high-level style is an inspired choice and one which is becoming increasingly popular. It’s instantly recognisable with the cistern mounted high up on the wall and the flush pipe extending down to the toilet pan, with a long chain for the flush itself. If you don’t have the ceiling height for this high-level style, however, then the low-level toilet has a similar aesthetic, with the cistern still mounted above the pan, but at a lower level.

The Ari Design London Low-level Toilet with Soft-close Seat has a timeless, elegant aesthetic in that more compact low-level look, so will suit smaller spaces which don’t have high ceilings. Meanwhile, the Henbury Traditional High-level Toilet and Seat is ideal if you want to get this style and have the height to fit the cistern further up the wall.

The Henbury Traditional High-level Toilet and Seat has an elegant look.

The Ari Design London Low-level Toilet with Soft-close Seat.

Comfort-height toilets: Another increasingly popular toilet style is the comfort-height variety, which delivers exactly what it says – a comfortable height of toilet designed for ease of use which is taller than traditional models. Particularly great for tall people or those with mobility issues, comfort-height toilets place less pressure on joints and the lower back, resulting in more comfort for the user and enhanced accessibility.

Comfort-height toilets can also incorporate various other features – as described in the styles so far – including back-to-wall, floating, close-coupled, high/low-level and rimless designs.

Rimless toilets: Perfect if hygiene and easy cleaning are top of your list for toilets, the rimless design means there’s no rim around the toilet bowl for bacteria or germs to fester, keeping everything more sanitary. Rimless toilets also generally have a circular flush function, where the water swirls round the bowl for more effective cleaning, while it’s also much easier to wipe when you’re cleaning the toilet.

The Marbella Rimless Close-coupled Fully Back-to-wall Comfort-height Toilet and Soft-close Seat has a rimless design combined with the back-to-wall look, so is ideal as an easy-clean toilet.

The Marbella Rimless Close-coupled Fully Back-to-wall Comfort-height Toilet and Soft-close Seat.

Corner toilets: These are another option and great if you have a smaller bathroom and need to save space. Designed to fit into corners, these compact toilets are more triangular than other styles which sit straight against the wall, so can be tucked neatly out of the way to maximise the space you have.

Diving into toilet cistern varieties

With different types of toilets also come various cisterns. These can include concealed cisterns, along with low and high-level varieties and dual-flush cisterns. As the cistern stores the water used to flush the toilet, it needs to be robust and waterproof, with a reliable cover.

Cisterns are generally positioned behind and just above the toilet pan but can also be concealed in WC units or behind walls, for a more minimalist aesthetic. These types of cisterns will have a flush plate situated on the wall and are becoming an increasingly popular choice in many homes. They’re also good for smaller bathrooms as it means less space is taken up by furniture which could make the room appear cluttered.

The Concealed Cistern with Side Inlet in white.

The Concealed Cistern with Side Inlet is available in a white or matt black finish and has a compact design, with a chrome or black flush button provided and a choice of three or six flushing options.

The Arley Low-level Cistern in a Box (Side Inlet), meanwhile, is designed to sit on top of the toilet and is a dual-flush four/six-litre model with a chrome push-button and side inlet.

The Arley Low-level Cistern in a Box (Side Inlet).

Cisterns can be either push-button or lever-operated and you can choose from a range of finishes and styles for these as well.

For example, we have a stylish Heritage Gold Traditional Cistern Lever in Gold Brass/Ceramic which will give your toilet a touch of luxury with its gold brass finish and white ceramic handle. You can also opt for brushed brass push-buttons, matt black or chrome designs for your cistern.

The Heritage Gold Traditional Cistern Lever in Gold Brass/Ceramic.

Introducing toilet technology to your bathroom

Enjoy some toilet tech with the Grohe Sensia Arena Shower Toilet.

In addition to the toilet types already mentioned, today’s options also include more technical toilets, with the Japanese-style toilet in particular gaining more and more interest. Also sometimes referred to as a ‘shower toilet,’ it combines a toilet and bidet in one and can include a range of other handy features as well.

The Grohe Sensia Arena Shower Toilet is an award-winning shower toilet which includes the built-in bidet function along with an air-dryer feature and remote control panel. The HyperClean Glaze coating and rimless bowl design prevent germs from gathering, while you can also operate the toilet using an app, as you wish. With adjustable water temperature and spray pressure, you can even enjoy soft lighting at night.

In short, if you want to invest in some high-tech luxury for your bathroom, then the Japanese toilet is an inspired choice and will definitely be the talking point of your bathroom. Popular because they offer a more hygienic experience and a minimalist aesthetic, the shower toilet is both functional and characterful, though it is certainly more of a considered investment for your home.

How to choose your perfect toilet

Now that you have a better idea of the various toilet types available, how, then, do you decide which is the best one for your home, given that they all have their specific advantages?

The first thing to take into consideration is how big your bathroom is and how much use the toilet will get. Is it to go into the main family bathroom which is bigger and more frequently used or will it be situated in a much smaller and seldom-used cloakroom or downstairs toilet which is usually reserved for guests?

WC units are a good choice for smaller cloakrooms.

If you need to save on space then a floating/wall-hung toilet is probably the answer, with a concealed cistern also being a good idea, or you could always go for a WC unit with a basin on top. These are ideal if space is minimal, while corner toilets can also be useful in these circumstances. A comfort-height toilet style can also be combined with one of these choices, especially if you want that more accessible design.

If the toilet is an investment which you don’t want to change in later years, then future-proofing your bathroom by buying a comfort-height toilet now also means that you won’t need to replace it later. Meanwhile, if you already have mobility issues, are taller or would simply benefit from a slightly higher toilet, then this is ideal. Be aware, though, that if smaller children will be using the toilet, then comfort-height won’t be as appropriate.

If you want to base your toilet choice on a minimalist aesthetic, then the wall-hung, concealed cistern variety is a good bet, with a rimless style also contributing to this look. A preference for the more traditional, classic look will mean that the close-coupled toilet is a good choice, although if you prefer vintage Victorian-inspired, then the high or low-level design is ideal.

Top toilets and accessories at Bathshack

In addition to all of our top-quality toilets, we also supply a range of toilet accessories at Bathshack, including toilet seats, cisterns, flush buttons and various other related parts. You can therefore customise your toilet and the surrounding area of your bathroom to your liking and create the perfect space.

Whether you want a modern look or prefer something more traditional, there’s a toilet style to suit every preference. At Bathshack, we offer a wide range of toilets and accessories and are always happy to advise you on particular products and to assist with matching your bathroom-ware – for example, if you want to pair your toilet with a vanity unit in a similar style.

We can also go through the features of any toilets you might be interested in purchasing, so always chat to our team if you have any questions. With great-value prices and high-quality products guaranteed, you’ll always find your ideal toilet with us – and something to suit every budget.

Whether you’re planning a renovation or have a new-build home and want to explore your options, we hope our overview of top toilet styles has helped to inspire you …

For more toilet inspiration, visit our website at to view our full range of products. Alternatively, if you have any questions, just email our team at , call us on (028) 9077 0188 or use our online chat.