Terminology - Pan refers to the bowl part of the toilet. A cistern refers to the storage unit for the fresh flushable water. Together they are referred to as a toilet suite.
A back-to-wall suite is a connected cistern and pan all within the one casing. This casing sits flush against the wall along the full height of the unit. The benefit of this, besides a much cleaner look, is very easy cleaning as there is no area open behind the pan. Most designs will not have any ledges to catch dust either.
Wall Hung Toilets
Wall Hung toilets are always in wall suites, but the pan is hovering off the floor. This gives a very contemporary look, as well as making it very easy to clean as a mop can easily sweep below the toilet. They do come at greater cost than the floor pan in-wall suites, for the product as well as installation.
Extremely space efficient, in wall suites have only the pan visible because the cistern is between the stud framing of the wall. The wall does not need additional thickening because, although narrow, the cisterns are very tall. They are designed with all the integral parts positioned right behind the oversized flush-button panel so easy part replacement can be done without touching the wall or tiles. They are reliable and have proved themselves in Europe for the past 50 years. The cost is slightly more than standard suites, but the cost may very well be offset in small bathrooms where the room no longer needs to be 300mm wider to accommodate the toilet cistern depth.
The integrated toilet is not a common choice due to it’s unfamiliar concept, but in regards to space and water efficiency it far outperforms all other types. They are designed for ensuites or tiny homes, where a vanity is not practical or possible. Hesitation to adopt the integrated toilet has previously been due to limited, unappealing designs. Recently more high-end designs have become available. There are two common forms: a basin will sit directly above the cistern with the tap running simultaneously to flushing. The wastewater is collected in the cistern for the next flush. The other, features a sink (usually adjacent to the pan) that has a standard and independent tap. Wastewater fills the cistern and any overflow drains as normal. The latter option is to save water, rather than both water and space.
Close Coupled (without back-to-wall) & 2-Piece Suites
A close coupled toilet describes a unit that has a cistern and a pan joined together to conceal the flush pipe. Back-to-wall units by design are close coupled, but there are options that are close coupled which do not feature a back-to-wall design. We don’t recommend these designs (except in integrated toilets to reduce bulk) as they are not aesthetically pleasing and are unnecessarily hard to clean. Also, two-piece toilets (I.e. non-close coupled), where the flush pipe is visible connecting the cistern and pan are not recommended for the same reason (unless in very specific heritage contexts).
Soft Close Lid
Most toilets above the budget round now come with soft close lids as standard. These are appealing because there is never any loud banging of seats up and down, particularly in the middle of the night.
It is possible to have a separate bidet unit, but now there are many available toilet suites that have an integrated function. Bidets will wash the user reducing toilet paper waste.
The rimless pan does not have a cavity on the underside of the lip. Instead water is shot from the rear of the pan to circulate the full perimeter of the bowl. This results in a toilet that is extremely easy to clean and much more hygienic.
Rimless pans are always recommended if an option. At time of writing they are still a relatively new technology, so they may not yet be available on some of the desired or aesthetically pleasing toilets.
There are a huge range of features offered in the smart toilet arena, particularly by Japanese manufacturers. However, the western models seem to be better suited to the domestic space with limited, but functional features at more reasonable cost. The most common features include front and back bidets with heated water, drying function, motion sensing night lights and heated seats.