Types Of Toilets – 25 Types of Toilets
Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by toilethaven
What are the Different Types of Toilets?
It is difficult to imagine our lives without the convenience of toilets. The ability to relieve yourself comfortably and dignifiedly is just priceless.
When you are looking to buy a new toilet, there are many types of toilets you will need to choose from to make sure you end up with the best one. The best toilet, therefore, is a combination of many factors.
Here are the different main types of toilets:
- Flush toilets
- Gravity flush toilets
- Pressure-assist toilets
- Elongated toilets
- Round toilets
- Comfort height toilets
- Standard height toilets
- One-piece toilets
- Two-piece toilets
- Tankless toilets
- Bidet toilets
- Rear discharge toilets
- Floor discharge toilets
- Wall mounted toilets
- Floor mounted toilets
- Upflush toilets
- Macerating toilets
1. Flush toilets
Flush toilets are the most common type of toilets. Almost all of the other toilet types fall under flush toilets. Sir John Harrington invented the flush toilet in 1592.
Flush toilets use water to evacuate human waste from a toilet bowl. The amount of water used to flush toilets has decreased drastically from over 5 gallons per flush to the current rate of even less than 1 gallon per flush.
With advancements in engineering and technology, modern toilets have a higher flushing performance using a fraction of the water used by old toilets. The comfort levels have also increased.
2. Gravity Flush Toilet
Simply put, gravity is a force that pulls objects toward the Earth. Gravity flush toilets utilize this force to help them in their work.
Most flush toilets are also gravity flush toilets. Their water tanks are purposely installed on top of the bowl such that when you flush the toilet, the water will move from the tank to the bowl with the help of gravity.
For flushing to happen, a large volume of water must be dumped into the toilet bowl within a few seconds. This is why you cannot flush a toilet by pouring water into the toilet bowl straight from the supply line.
The water tank, therefore, provides a ready water source for flushing the toilet. The water supply line fills the tank with water after every flush.
Water leaves the tank and enters the bowl through an opening called a flush valve. Most gravity flush toilets have a 2-inch flush valve, while some toilet models have a bigger flush valve, some up to 4-inch.
With a larger flush valve, water leaves the tank and enters the bowl quickly, resulting in a powerful and effective flush. An example of such a toilet is the American Standard Champion 4.
3. Pressure-Assisted Toilets
Pressure-assisted toilets look just like gravity-flush toilets. If you are not curious enough, you might not even recognize them when you see them.
Pressure-assisted toilets contain a secondary plastic tank inside the main tank called a pressure vessel. As water flows into the tank through the supply line, it compresses the air inside the tank, building up pressure in the vessel.
When you flush the toilet, the water leaves the tank and enters the bowl forcefully, which results in a very powerful flush. These toilets hardly ever get clogged due to the force that the waste leaves the bowl.
Another advantage of pressure-assisted toilets is that they do not sweat, a term used for toilet tank condensation. They are, therefore, a great choice for people who live in hot and humid areas.
The one thing you may not like about pressure-assisted toilets is that they are noisier than gravity-flush toilets. They tend to have a loud flush as the pressurized water leaves the tank and enters the bowl.
I have written a detailed review of some of the best pressure-assisted toilets in this post.
4. Tankless Toilets
Tankless toilets are toilets without water tanks. These toilets are supplied with water at a very high pressure, negating the need for a tank.
Most homes are supplied with water that does not have sufficient pressure to flush a toilet. Therefore, tankless toilets have a small pump that helps them pump the water to the required pressure.
Most tankless toilets are found in public bathrooms, but modern tankless toilets are becoming more popular in private homes. They are stylish, beautiful, and save on space.
Tankless toilets use a device called a flushometer to release a metered amount of water during each flush. These are the devices you see in public urinals that are quite different from ordinary toilets’ flushing handles.
Unlike other flush toilets, tankless toilets are ever ready for use. You do not have to wait for the tank to refill before the next person can use it. This is what makes them very ideal for public bathrooms where they can serve a large number of people.
The one thing that works against tankless toilets and especially for private homes, is that they are dependent on electricity. If you live in an area prone to power outages, you might not fully enjoy the full benefits of tankless toilets. They also have a loud flush which might be uncomfortable for some people.
5. Upflush toilets
Upflush toilets, also known as macerating toilets, are toilets with a unit behind the tank (macerator) with blades that break down the waste into a slurry that is thereafter pumped to the sewer lines or septic tank.
Unlike flush toilets, upflush toilets do not need through-the-floor drainpipes to remove waste. Their waste is removed through the back of the toilet and the bathroom wall.
These toilets are the best to install in the basement or in any house that’s a bit far from the sewer line. They are expensive to buy but easy and cheaper to install and maintain.
Saniflo upflush toilets are among the best macerating toilets. They have a powerful flush, are compact, and fit in a small bathroom.
A small pump pumps the waste after being converted into a slurry. An upflush toilet will therefore need access to electricity to function.
Check out some of the best upflush toilets in this post.
6. Rear-Discharge toilets.
Rear discharge toilets are toilets that discharge the waste through the bathroom wall, unlike other toilets, which discharge the waste through the floor. They are also called rear outlet or back outlet toilets.
The back of the toilets has an outlet connected to the plumbing on the wall by a device called a rear toilet P-trap connector. Most rear discharge toilets are pressure-assisted since they cannot solely depend on gravity flushing.
For people who want to install a new toilet but do not need to dig up their bathrooms to do plumbing work, rear-discharge toilets would be worthwhile.
High-rise apartment developers prefer installing rear discharge toilets because they allow them to build more floor units. This is because rear discharge toilets do not take up a lot of floor space as they do not need plumbing.
7. Vault toilets
A vault toilet is a non-flush toilet erected on an underground tank which is could a vault. They are constructed in areas without running water and sewer lines.
The vaults are either made of plastic or concrete with a capacity of 750 to 1000 gallons of waste, although bigger vaults of up to 13000 gallons are available. A concrete slab is constructed on top of the vaults where the bathrooms are constructed.
The vaults are designed with a manhole through which the waste can be pumped out when it is almost full. The United States Forest Service controls the design and construction of vault toilets to prevent them from being a nuisance to the environment due to bad odor.
Vault toilets are mostly found in recreational facilities like camping grounds or in remote areas where there is no access to running water.
8. Pit Toilets
Pit toilets, also known as pit latrines, are non-flush toilets mostly found in developing countries. A large rectangular hole is dug where human waste is deposited in the ground.
The top of the hole is covered using wood and soil or concrete, leaving a small hole in the middle where the users pass their waste. A cubicle is then constructed, which is precisely the size of the original hole.
Most pit toilet users normally squat, but a few have risers where one can sit. They are not a great option for people with limited mobility.
There are no means of pumping the waste out once a pit toilet when it is full. The toilet is normally abandoned, and the owner digs in a new one.
9. Dual flush toilets
A dual flush toilet is a toilet that gives the user 2 options on the amount of water they want to use. You can use less water to flush liquids or more water to flush solids.
Most dual-flush toilets use flush buttons but a few use flush levers. The flushing buttons are usually located on top of the toilet tank, while the lever is either on the side of the tank or at the front.
Inside the toilet tank, dual flush toilets have a big valve assembly in the middle of the tank installed on top of the flush valve. This valve controls the amount of water that goes to the bowl and has a seal at the bottom to prevent water from flowing to the bowl when not needed.
Dual flush toilets are becoming more common due to their water efficiency. People use toilets more for number 1 than number 2. With a dual flush toilet, you save so much water if you do the math for a whole year—more on dual flush toilets in this post.
10. Single flush toilet
Single-flush toilets use the same amount of water per flush, whether you are flushing liquids or solids. Most use a trip lever which could be positioned on the left-hand or right-hand side of the toilet tank.
Single-flush toilets use a toilet flapper connected to the flushing handle by a lift chain. The flapper sits on top of the flush valve opening. When you push the flushing handle down, the lift chain lifts off the flapper allowing water to flow to the bowl.
11. WaterSense Toilets
WaterSense-certified toilets have a consumption of 1.28 gallons per flush or less. It is a program run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage water conservation efforts.
All WaterSense-certified toilets have a WaterSense label to help users easily identify them. WaterSense toilets are the only ones sold in some areas of the United States, especially California.
12. One-Piece Toilets
One-piece toilets are manufactured as one complete piece, with the tank and bowl joint together. They offer a seamless and beautiful design without the gap between the tank and the bowl.
One-piece toilets are difficult to transport, and they tend to break during shipping more frequently than two-piece toilets due to their weird shape. They are also compact and heavy, posing a challenge during transportation.
Installation of a one-piece toilet is fast, but it needs 2 people to do it. This is because of the weight of the toilet. You could attempt to install it independently, but there is always a risk of dropping and cracking it. Lifting heavy objects is also not good for your back.
13. Two-Piece Toilets
Two-piece toilets are manufactured with the toilet bowl and tank as separate pieces. The two pieces are only joined together during installation.
Two-piece toilets are shipped in different boxes; sometimes, one package may arrive before the other. One can also arrive in good condition, while the other can arrive broken.
Installing a two-piece toilet takes more time than a one-piece toilet because you need to install the bowl and then install the tank later. The good thing is that one person can comfortably do this.
14. Overhead Toilets
Overhead toilets, also known as pull chains or high tank toilets, have a toilet tank high up in the bathroom wall. A chain is suspended from the tank, which is used to flush the toilet by pulling it down.
Overhead toilets are mostly found in old buildings. They have a vertical pipe from the tank to the bowl, which delivers the flush water.
The toilet tanks are installed that high up on the wall so that the water can pick up speed as it flows down, giving a powerful flush. Such “technology” has, however, been overtaken by time.
15. Elongated Toilets
Elongated toilets have an oval-shaped bowl that is longer than a standard toilet bowl. On average, the length of an elongated toilet bowl is 18.5 inches.
The main advantage of elongated toilets is that they are more comfortable than standard toilets. They offer a bigger surface area for the hind anatomy to occupy, making them very popular among buyers.
It is good to remember that an elongated toilet bowl will need an elongated toilet seat. If you buy a toilet with an elongated bowl without a seat, as most are sold, don’t forget to buy an elongated toilet seat to go with it.
Due to their size, elongated toilets take up more bathroom space than standard toilets. They may, therefore, not be ideal for people with small bathrooms.
16. Round Toilets
Round toilets are toilets with circular bowls. They are the oldest type of toilet bowl and these days are mostly found in old homes. The average length of a round toilet is 16.5 inches.
Round toilets take up less bathroom space and are, therefore, a good choice for people with small bathrooms. Sometimes even a difference of 1-inch matters in a bathroom.
Most adults find the round toilets to be very uncomfortable. This is especially the case for men going by their anatomy.
Young kids, however, find the round toilets to be the best for them. Most will say they fill as if falling into the bowl while using elongated toilets.
If you would like to see some of the best round toilets, check out this post.
17. Compact Elongated Toilets
Compact elongated toilets are elongated toilets that take up the same bathroom space as round toilets but still maintain the convenience and comfort of elongated toilets.
Toilets such as Kohler Santa Rosa and American Standard Cadet Pro have a shorter length/depth compared to ordinary elongated toilets. Still, they are just as comfortable as the other elongated toilets. They are, therefore, a good replacement for someone seeking to replace their round toilet.
I have reviewed some of the best compact toilets, especially for people with small bathrooms. Check them out here.
18. Skirted Toilets
Skirted toilets are toilets with a concealed trapway. They have a smooth surface without nooks and crannies, which makes cleaning them so easy.
The skirted toilets are, however, harder to install than non-skirted toilets. This is because accessing the toilet mounting bolts is harder, unlike in non-skirted, where the bolts are normally exposed.
19. Corner Toilets
Corner toilets are installed at the corner of a bathroom to conserve space. They are ideal for people with small bathrooms. These toilets could make a small bathroom look bigger.
It may be difficult and expensive to install a corner toilet if your bathroom plumbing works are not originally designed to accommodate a corner toilet.
Check out some of the best corner toilets in this post.
20. Standard Height Toilets
Standard-height toilets are toilets with an average toilet bowl height of 15 inches. For a long time, toilets were always made with a standard height until comfort height toilets started becoming more popular.
Standard toilets are still preferred by most people despite the comfort height toilets craze. They are an excellent pick for people of medium height, short people, and children.
For anyone who would like to use a higher toilet than a standard toilet but doesn’t have the means to upgrade to a comfortable height toilet, toilet seat risers, which are also called raised toilet seats, will come in handy. They are inexpensive and can be installed and removed at will. They are also easily portable.
21. Comfort Height Toilet
Comfort height toilets are higher than standard height toilets by at least 2 inches (17 to 19 inches high). They are also known as universal/right/chair height toilets.
They became famous after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted. This act required that all toilets installed in public bathrooms be higher than standard toilets by at least 2 inches.
Comfort heights have become very popular and convenient to the elderly, tall people, and people with limited mobility. Sitting and standing from a comfort-height toilet is easier than a standard-height toilet.
22. Wall-Mounted toilets
Wall-mounted or wall-hung toilets are toilets whose bowls are mounted on the bathroom wall while their tanks are concealed inside the wall, supported by a carrier frame.
Only the toilet bowl is visible because another wall called a ledger is installed to conceal the toilet tank and the carrier. The toilet bowl is also mounted on the carrier using long bolts.
Although wall-mounted toilets are not overly expensive, their installation costs tend to exceed the cost of the toilet by far. Unlike other toilets, you cannot easily install a wall-hung toilet on your own. If you want your bathroom to end up looking great, please involve a professional.
Wall-mounted toilets are stylish and so beautiful. Even better, you can install it at any height you want, mostly between 15 to 19 inches from the floor to the top of the toilet seat.
23. Smart Toilets
Smart toilets, also called intelligent toilets, are toilets with inbuilt technologies that can perform many functions with minimal or no human inputs at all. These include auto opening and closing the toilet lid, cleansing and drying, and deodorizing, among other functions.
Smart toilets are normally one-piece and do not have a toilet tank. These toilets are way more expensive than ordinary toilets, and with the features that they come with, it is not difficult to see why.
24. Composting Toilets
Composting toilets are dry toilets that biologically break down human waste into compost matter. Composting toilets, therefore, do not need water to function.
Unlike what most people may think, modern composting toilets are sleek and classy products that can be installed in any bathroom and not look out of place. The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet and Sun-Mar Composting toilet are good examples.
They are both portable and are a great backup to have at home. They can come in handy while renovating your bathroom or when your water supply has been cut.
I have written a review of some of the best composting toilets. Read it here.
25. Portable Toilets
Portable toilets can easily be carried from one point to another. They are mostly used as camping toilets or even as backup toilets at home.
Portable toilets are not all the same. Some are sophisticated, while others are simple buckets with a toilet seat snapped on them. Here are the different types of portable toilets:
- Flushing portable toilets
- Composting portable toilets
- Collapsible portable toilets
- Bucket portable toilets
Toilet Buying Guide
Once you have decided what type of toilet to buy, what else should you consider? The following are some of the things to consider before buying a toilet:
Toilets cost from slightly over a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. You should therefore look for a toilet that is well within your budget and go for it.
Although going for the cheapest option is not the best option, you should not break the bank to buy a toilet. Toilets can last for many decades when taken good care of. You should therefore approach buying a toilet like a long-term investment.
A toilet rough-in is the distance between the rear finished wall and the center of the toilet drainpipe. It is exceedingly important to measure your toilet’s rough-in prior to buying a new toilet, lest you buy with a toilet you cannot use.
The standard toilet rough-in is 12 inches but 10 and 14-inch rough-in toilets also exist. While measuring the rough-in, measure from the bathroom wall, not the baseboard.
If you are buying a corner toilet, the rough-in is the distance between any of the sidewalls to the center of the drainpipe.
With a rear discharge toilet, the rough-in is measured from the finished floor to the center of the toilet outlet.
Bathroom Size and Style
While buying a toilet, it is important to ensure that it will fit into your bathroom and help complement its décor. You can achieve this by playing with colors, either the toilet colors or toilet seat colors.
Although most people prefer a white toilet, modern black toilets are becoming more popular. They stand out, especially when combined with a sink, among other bathroom fixtures.
If black is too much for you, bone is another great color. Or you could just stick with white. Whatever design and color you decide to go with, let your bathroom look amazing, whether big or small.
Most people think of Toto, Kohler, or American Standard when it comes to toilet brands. These are the 3 biggest toilet manufacturers, and they are not famous for nothing. They manufacture great toilets.
It is, however, advisable to cast your net wider and consider other smaller brands with amazing products too. They include Saniflo, Woodbridge, Swiss Madison, Duravit, Glacier Bay, and Geberit.
For more on factors to consider while choosing a toilet, check out this post.
There are many types of toilets, and it may be harder to pick the one you want. The best thing is to take your time and do thorough research to make sure that you end up with a product that you will enjoy using for a long time.