Toilet Types and Options when choosing a new toilet

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Quick list

► Section A: Types of Toilet Flush Systems

  • 1) Gravity-Fed Toilet
  • 2) Pressure-Assisted Toilet
  • 3) Dual-Flush
  • 4) Double-Cyclone
  • 5) Waterless

► Section B: Toilet Styles

  • 6) One-Piece
  • 7) Two-Piece
  • 8) Wall-Mounted

► Section C: Flushing Types

  • 9) Single-Flush
  • 10) Double-Flush
  • 11) Touchless Flush
  • 12) Flushometer

► Section D: Additional Features / Options

  • 13) Smart Toilet
  • 14) Eco-Friendly Toilet
  • 15) Home Urinal
  • 16) Bidet

► Section E: Toilet Design Options

  • 17) Types of Toilet Seats
  • 18) Coloured Toilet Seats
  • 19) Toilet Dimensions
  • 20) Toilet Bowl Shapes
  • 21) Trapway Toilets
  • 22) Toilet Flush Handles

► Anatomy of a Toilet

It can be overwhelming when trying to find the right toilet to chose from that will perfectly suit what you need for your home. There are many toilet styles to choose from including different technologies, designs and colours.

This guide will help you better understand what’s out there, and help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to purchase and get a toilet installed.

Toilet installations - JTS Plumbers - 065 909 2722 / 081 3000 671

Section A: Types of Toilet Flush Systems

Your first choice to make when it comes to buying a new toilet is the type of toilet.

Toilet types are specified by the basic methods a toilet uses to flush down and dispose of waste. So choosing the right type of toilet will determine the best style and flushing technology for you.

The main types of toilets are gravity-feed, pressure-assisted, double-cyclone, waterless and a dual flush toilet.

Here we explain in more detail what these actually mean and how they work.

01 - Gravity Fed Toilet

1. Gravity-Fed Toilet

The oldest and most common type of toilet is the gravity-fed toilet. As the name implies this toilet uses gravity to flush the waste down.

As the flush valve is pressed, water from the tank drops down in to the bowl. The water moving through the bowl is what pushes the waste through the trapway.

Most gravity-feed toilets utilize a siphoning action in the bowl. The motion of this flush is designed to help clean the bowl.

Gravity-fed toilets are well known as they are quiet when they are flushed. There are few moving parts which makes repairs and maintenance very simple.

    02 - Pressure Assisted Toilet

    2. Pressure-Assisted Toilet

    The pressure-assisted toilet has a powerful flushing action. Pressurized air forces water from the tank into the bowl with a lot more power than a gravity-fed toilet. Although flushing is louder than a gravity-feed toilet, it is more efficient. Waste is flushed much faster and with more force. Because of this there is far less chance of the [[toilet clogging.]] Pressure-assisted toilets are used in households where there are more people using the toilet or where a toilet gets used more often. Source: The Spruce
    03 - Double-Cyclone Toilet

    3. Double-Cyclone Toilet


    Double-cyclone toilets use a minimal amount of water per flush but have very strong flushing power.

    Two nozzles are located along the rim of the bowl providing the flush, whereas a normal toilet uses holes located in the rim.

    The nozzles provide a more efficient flush while saving water. This is an energy efficient toilet that will save you money on your water usage each month.

    04 - Waterless Composting Toilet

    4. Waterless Toilet / Composting Toilet


    Self-contained waterless toilets are the perfect solution where there is no water or plumbing installed.

    Although these are quite uncommon in permanent homes, they are used often at worksites, for camping, and when home remodeling is taking place.

    Self-contained waterless units are also known as Composting Toilets as the waste is collected in a receptacle underneath the toilet seat.

    Because of the increase in popularity of green living, waterless toilets have seen an increase in tiny homes and off the grid living spaces.

    05 - Dual-Flush Toilet

    5. Dual-Flush Toilet

    The dual-flush toilet is rapidly growing in popularity thanks to its water saving benefits.

    Dual-flush toilets are the best of both the gravity-feed toilet and the pressure-assisted toilets. The two flushing mechanisms let you choose between a half flush or full flush.

    A half flush clears the toilet with a gravity-feed system and is mostly used for liquid waste. For solid waste, the full flush clears the toilet with a pressure-assisted system.

    Section B: Toilet Styles

    After you’ve decided on a toilet type, it’s time to think about your preferred toilet style.

    Toilet styles can be divided into two main types:
    a• How many pieces is the toilet is made up of?
    b• Is the toilet mounted to the floor or wall?

    Your three options for toilet styles are one-piece, two-piece, and wall-mounted.

    06 - One-Piece Toilet

    6. One-Piece Toilet


    Like the name implies, a one-piece toilet is made from a single piece of material.

    Most toilets are made from ceramic which includes an integrated bowl, tank, and trapway and more often than not include the toilet seat.

    The one-piece toilet allows easy installation and maintenance and also ensures a seamless fit between the bowl and tank. The other advantage is that it is easier to clean.

    07 - Two-Piece Toilet

    7. Two-Piece Toilet


    A two-piece toilet simply comes in two pieces that are then assembled – the toilet tank and the toilet bowl. You can buy these together as a set or mix and match to your preferences. You usually have to buy a toilet seat separately.

    Two-piece toilets are usually more efficient and they last longer because most individual pieces can be replaced. They are not as easy to clean as the one-piece toilet, but the simplicity and longevity of two-piece toilets have made them the number one choice for most homes.

    08 - Wall-Mounted or Wall-Hung Toilet

    8. Wall-Mounted Toilet


    A wall-mounted toilet features a wall-hung toilet bowl and flush plate mounted securely to the wall. Where’s the tank? The toilet tank is hidden away behind the wall.

    The advantage here is their small size. This style of toilet is the number one choice for small bathrooms where space is minimum.

    Wall-hanging toilets save as much as 30.5cm of floor space. Their streamlined design also makes for easy cleaning.

    Wall-hanging toilets are not common in residential bathrooms, but you’re more likely to see them in a commercial bathroom.

    Section C: Flushing Types

    Now that you’ve narrowed down your options to a specific toilet type and toilet style, it’s time to look at flushing type.

    Your options include single-flush, double-flush, and touchless flush.

    09 - Single-Flush Toilet

    9. Single-Flush Toilet


    A single-flush toilet has only one flush setting. They are very popular and they are available in the widest range of designs.

    Simply press down on the flush valve and the same pressure and size of flush is delivered each time.

    10 - Double-Flush Toilet

    10. Double-Flush Toilet


    A double-flush toilet comes with two flush settings – exactly like the dual-flush toilet.

    Press down lightly on the flush button or lever for a half flush for liquid waste, or press more firmly for a full flush for solid waste.

    A double-flush toilet is a much more efficient option than a single-flush toilet. The downside is that they’re more expensive, slightly more difficult to maintain, and less common.

    11 - Touchless Flush Toilet

    11. Touchless Flush Toilet


    Touchless flush toilets are most commonly seen in public restrooms for their hygiene benefits.

    Instead of pushing down a lever, button or another flush valve, the toilet flushes automatically when it detects your hand over the sensor.

    Most residential touchless flush toilets utilize a motion sensor on top of the toilet tank. Wave your hand above the sensor to flush.

    The chief benefit of a touchless flush toilet is cleanliness. It minimizes the spread of germs since you don’t ever have to touch the toilet during use.

    Most touchless flush toilets are battery operated. You can easily convert most single-flush or double-flush toilets into a touchless model.

    12 - Flushometer Toilet

    12. Flushometers


    The flushometer toilet is most commonly used in commercial building bathrooms.

    It’s the flushing mechanism for tankless toilets. The advantage is the higher flush pressure it generates which is necessary in commercial settings. A stronger flush is needed in residential bathrooms as these types of toilets require a larger water supply.

    Section D: Additional Features / Options

    Still not happy with your bathroom toilet?

    If you want something that sticks out from the crowd, then consider these four options: The intelligent toilet, an eco-friendly toilet, a urinal or a bidet.

    13 - Smart Toilet or Intelligent Toilet

    13. Smart Toilet

    Smart toilets or Intelligent toilets incorporate innovative designs that redefine what a toilet is and what a toilet can do. They are seriously the “James Bond” of toilets with all their features. Most intelligent toilets include a touch-screen control panel or even a remote that allows you to change the temperature of the toilet seat, even flush the toilet itself, and much more. The majority of intelligent toilets feature a bidet for warm-water cleansing and the touch-screen control also allows you to control the cleansing settings. Intelligent toilets are most often streamlined in design and the tank is usually hidden to create a more sophisticated look. Source: Houzz
    14 - Eco-Friendly Toilet

    14. Eco-Friendly Toilet

    Eco-friendly toilets are becoming very popular in most parts of the world due to the laws restricting water use by toilets per flush. If this is a concern for you and water efficiency is key then consider the special eco-friendly toilet that uses even less water. Source: Inhabitat.com
    15 - Home Urinal

    15. Home Urinal


    Urinals are used extensively in commercial settings like restaurants and shopping malls, but several residential toilet manufacturers sell them for home use as well.

    Urinals are wall-mounted toilets used only for liquid waste.

    16 - Bidet

    16. Bidet


    A bidet is a very popular toilet accessory. It is essentially a plumbing fixture designed to help you “clean up” after using the toilet. A bidet is used either in addition to toilet paper or in place of toilet paper.

    There are two options when it comes to a bidet: you can either add a full bidet next to your toilet or install an add-on model that’s integrated into your toilet.


    Add-on bidets are popular with intelligent toilets and they often combine both cold and warm water cleaning nozzles with dryers.

    Section E. Toilet Design Options


    Here comes the fun part – selecting the design of your toilet.

    In the sections above we have looked at the inner workings and technology of the many options of a toilet.

    In the toilet design section to follow we look at the aesthetic qualities and choices.

    You can choose from a variety of colors, dimensions, bowl shapes, toilet seats, trapway styles, and flush handles to customize the visual appearance of your toilet.

    17 - Types of Toilet Seats

    17. Types of Toilet Seats

    The majority of two-piece toilets come without a seat, requiring you to buy one separately.

    Even one-piece toilets that do come with a seat usually have a removable seat that you can place with one that better matches your needs and preferences.

    In addition to buying a toilet seat that matches the color of your toilet and complements the décor in your bathroom, it’s important to find one that matches the shape of your toilet bowl (elongated, round or compact elongated).

    You also have a choice of several toilet seat materials. The most common include plastic, polypropylene, cushioned vinyl, molded composition wood and real wood.

    Households with small children might opt for a slow-close toilet seat. These improve safety by preventing slamming. No slamming also means they’re quiet.

    Luxury toilet seat options include heated surfaces and deodorizers. Bidets with a warm water stream and warm air dryer are another popular option.

    18 - Toilet Seat Colours, Patterns, Materials

    18. Coloured Toilet Seats


    Traditionally, most toilets come in a white or off-white color.

    White toilets are still the standard, but there are many options available that include just about any color or pattern you can think up.

    You also have the option of different materials, like wood or acrylic.
    The colour and texture of your toilet can set the mood and appearance of your entire bathroom, so this option may be well worth considering.

    19 - Toilet Dimensions explained

    19. Toilet Dimensions

    Toilet dimensions refer to the height of the toilet bowl and of the toilet seat. Although toilets come in a variety of lengths and widths, there are only a few measurements for the toilet’s height. The height of the toilet affects the look but also the comfort. People with limited mobility might opt for a higher toilet that requires less bending, and to improve toilet safety the seat can be raised as well. For those bathrooms that accommodate children, a good option would be a shorter toilet that is easier for small kids to use. As far as toilet dimensions go the toilet height is described as either standard height and chair height: • Standard Height Toilet – This is a low-profile design with the seat height between 15 and 17 inches, or 38-43cm. • Chair Height Toilet – This is a larger-profile design with a toilet seat at the approximate height of a chair’s seat, around 19 inches, or 48cm high. • Another option is a Custom Height Toilet – These are usually wall-mounted toilets and it is easier to adjust the height of these than a one-piece or two-piece toilet. Most wall-hung toilets can be mounted anywhere from around 15 inches to 30 inches to accommodate people of all sizes and preferences, or 38-76cm. Source: MaP
    20 - Toilet Bowl Shapes

    20. Toilet Bowl Shapes

    The toilet bowl shape also affects the dimensions and comfort of a toilet. Depending on your supplier you may request a custom toilet bowl with specific measurements to best suit your personal needs and preferences. There are three main bowl shapes that are manufactured, each with their own measurements. The most common toilet bowl shapes are elongated, compact elongated, and round-front.

    a. Elongated Toilet Bowl

    Elongated toilet bowls are oval shaped. The benefit here is the added length. Most elongated bowls are about two inches longer than a round bowl, measuring around 18 inches altogether. This extra length makes the toilet seat more comfortable and spacious.

    b. Round-Front Toilet Bowl

    Round-front toilet bowls are mostly round in shape and are not as big or as comfortable as elongated bowls. The advantage is that they take up less space. This shape of toilet bowl is useful for a small bathroom where space is minimum.

    c. Compact Elongated Toilet Bowl

    A compact elongated toilet bowl is a combination of an elongated bowl and a round-front bowl. They have the same round footprint of a round-front bowl with the extra seat space of an elongated bowl. Source: FaucetDepot.com
    21 - Types of Trapway Toilet

    21. Trapway Toilets

    The trapway is a very important toilet component that connects the toilet bowl to your home’s plumbing. A quality trapway ensures that clogging is rare or even non existent. The trapway ensures effortless functioning of your toilet so that waste leaving your home makes it to the sewer line without a problem. All toilets feature an S-shaped trapway, but they do come in different styles. These are exposed, concealed, and skirted:

    a. Exposed Trapway Toilet

    The S-shape of an exposed trapway is visible on the side of the toilet. Caps cover the bolts that attach the toilet to the floor.

    b. Concealed Trapway Toilet

    The S-shape isn’t visible on a concealed trapway toilet. Instead, but instead has a smooth surface on the side. Low-profile caps cover the bolts that attach the toilet to the floor.

    c. Skirted Trapway Toilet

    The S-Shape isn’t visible on a skirted trapway toilet. Though similar to a concealed trapway, this type of toilet has uniform sides from the base up to the toilet bowl. No bolts are exposed on this type of toilet, and is also known as a Fully Concealed Trapway. Source: Toilet Found!
    22 - Toilet Flush Handles

    22. Toilet Flush Handles

    One of the last toilet design elements to think about is flush handle type and it’s location. Your options include side location, top location, wall location, touchless, and remote: a) Side Location – A lever or button is located on the right or left side of the tank. b) Top Location – A button is located on top of the tank. Most dual-flush toilets use two top-located buttons for flushing the toilet. c) Wall Location – A button is located on the wall. These are usually used only for wall-hung toilets. d) Touchless – A motion sensor is installed on the toilet – usually on top of the tank. Wave your hand in front of it to flush the toilet. e) Remote – Flush the toilet by pressing a button on a touch-screen control pad or remote control. Source: Women You Should Know

    23. Anatomy of a Toilet

    Source: Home Stratosphere

    23 - Anatomy of a Toilet -1 exploded view
    23 - Anatomy of a Toilet -2 cross section
    23 - Anatomy of a Toilet -3 tank cross section