Shopping for a brand new toilet means learning a bit about the different types of toilet flush systems. It also means taking a closer look at the features you want in your flush system.
For example, do you want a toilet that has minimal clogging? Or do you simply want the least expensive flushing system possible?
Some homeowners make their flush system selections based on factors such as design, brand name, or overall water consumption.
Whatever your requirements, you’ll be happy to learn that there are a number of toilet flush systems to choose from. And we’ve looked into the most popular options to help you select the best one.
9 Types of Toilet Flush Systems
Gravity Flush System
A gravity flush toilet system, true to its name, uses the force of gravity to create its flushing pressure. Once the toilet is flushed, a siphoning action is created inside the bowl, and water is forced out of the tank and down the sewer line.
At the same time, fresh water comes in from your water supply line and fills the tank and the toilet bowl.
This is one of the most simple structures when it comes to toilet flushing systems. And though there are a lot of moving parts, gravity plays the biggest role.
This is typically considered a “no-fuss” type of flushing system, and it’s one of the most popular types purchased by consumers. You’ll find that many other types of toilet systems have a gravity-based setup to some degree as well.
However, for this particular flush system, the pressure inside the bowl and tank increases as the water begins to fill the bowl. In turn, the pressure in the drain pipe and trap increases as well.
Rear Flush System
A toilet based on a rear flush system (aka “upflush system”) has a separated macerator chamber at the bottom of the bowl where solid waste is broken up and flushed out of it.
This rear flush system is unique and more popular in European countries than in the US. Compared to conventional toilet flush systems, this system uses less space and can be a bit more expensive to purchase.
It also may require more maintenance and upkeep than traditional toilets. However, it offers a rather powerful flush and is less likely to become clogged by toilet paper and non-biodegradable items.
A pressure-assisted toilet system is fairly similar to gravity systems, though they offer a more powerful flushing mechanism. The extra force provided by this toilet system means fewer toilet clogs and sewer line backups.
The tank inside this toilet system contains a float ball, similar to a gravity-based system. When the toilet is flushed, the float ball creates water pressure that flushes out the liquid waste from the bowl and tank and then refills them with fresh water.
Compressed air inside the float ball pushes water into the toilet bowl at a very high flow rate.
This flush system also contains a pressure vessel, which acts as a secondary tank inside the main toilet tank. Water comes in from your home’s water supply line and becomes pressurized when it reaches the pressure vessel — resulting in a powerful flush and refill system.
As you may expect, the increased pressure created by this toilet makes a bit of noise. So if you are sensitive to loud toilets, this may not be the best system for you.
However, if you don’t mind this and are in search of a powerful flushing system, this is a great option to consider.
Dual Flush System
Dual flush systems tend to be one of the most popular options purchased for homes. Not only are they designed to be environmentally friendly, but they’re also one of the more affordable flushing systems available. On average, this high-efficiency system uses about 1.1 gallons of water per flush.
So, if you’re in the market for a toilet system to keep your water bill down, here you go. The cool thing about this type of flush system is that the toilet contains two buttons on the top.
Each button is connected to a dual valve assembly inside the toilet tank which allows for both a partial flush and another that allows for a full or stronger flush. The former is typically used for flushing liquid waste, while the latter is for solid waste.
This convenience allows you to keep your water usage as efficient as possible without having to sacrifice the flush power of your toilet system.
Tank Fill Valve System
A tank fill valve flush system is another popular one. It’s also referred to as a “ballcock flushing system”, as it contains a floating ball inside the tank that attaches to a metal or plastic rod.
When the toilet is flushed, the rod activates the flush valve inside the toilet which then forces out all of the water from the tank and the bowl. Simultaneously, the water from your water supply line fills the toilet bowl.
As far as you can see, this type of flushing system is about average. Overall, toilets that contain this flushing system type are fairly inexpensive and can be found in most hardware or home improvement stores.
The Flapper-Flush Valve System
Here is a unique toilet system that operates from a specially designed flush valve — also known referred to as a “toilet flapper.” When the toilet is flushed, the rubber flapper lifts to empty the tank.
The flappers are typically made from plastic or soft rubber, similar to other toilet models. However, its unique design allows it to flush out and replenish the water supply in both the tank and the bowl quickly.
When it comes to efficiency, this type of flush system can range from highly efficient to minimally efficient, depending on the toilet brand and model that you go with. However, this design isn’t hard to find online or locally, so there’s plenty of opportunity to look at options.
Siphon Flush System
A siphon flush mechanism operates this type of flush system. When the toilet is flushed, a powerful suction is created inside of the tank. Gravity plays a part in its function too, as the pressurized water from the tank’s float ball pushes the waste and water down the drain.
Then, fresh water is pulled into the bowl and tank by way of the fill tube — the flush valve inside of the tank allows water from the main water supply line to fill both.
The amount of water that fills them will depend on the water pressure setting for your home and for your toilet specifically. However, as far as flush force is concerned, the force of the siphoning mechanism will depend on the brand and model of the flush system you purchase.
Some are simply stronger than others. And, as you can imagine, stronger flush systems will typically be more expensive — such as those from luxury brands like Toto, Kohler, and Sloan.
Tower-Style Flush System
You’ll typically find this type of flush system in Kohler toilets. This system utilizes a canister flapper that’s mounted at the bottom of the tank and attached to a metal or plastic rod.
It’s similar to the flapper flush system, except that it lifts up completely to allow fresh water in when the toilet is flushed.
This 360-degree fill system means a faster, stronger flush. Replacing it is also fairly easy, and you can buy the necessary parts at your local hardware store.
The powerful flushing mechanism of this toilet makes it popular in both residential and business applications. If you’re looking for exceptional flush power and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it, here is a toilet flush system to consider.
Double-Cyclone Flush System
This type of flush system is also referred to as a “tornado flush” system, and you’ll see it most commonly in the Toto toilet brand. It’s a highly efficient option that only uses about 1.25 gallons of water per flush.
It contains two large circular nozzles on the inside of the toilet bowl, and is operated by a propulsion system that allows more water to be directed in once the siphon mechanism is activated from the flush lever.
The interesting design of this toilet flush system creates a cyclonic rinsing effort inside of the bowl, similar to that of a centrifugal blender. It’s this powerful action that gives the toilet a thorough and fast flush.
If you prefer a toilet that is less likely to clog, this system may be perfect for you. Bear in mind that this flushing system may be more expensive, though it’s definitely worth the cost once you look at all of its amazing features.
The Bottom Line
Before deciding on the right toilet for your home, it’s best to make a quick list of the features you’re looking for in a flush system.
For example, do you prefer quiet toilets or ones that flush quickly? Is it more important to stay within your budget, or to find a toilet that will rarely clog?
Overall, it’s best to go with a flush system that is efficient enough to keep your water bill down but powerful and resilient enough to work with minimal maintenance and repair.