QUESTION: What low-flow toilets are the best option for me?


Toilets use more water than any other home appliance or fixture. In fact, toilets account for approximately 30 percent of indoor residential water consumption. Low-flow toilets are a way to save both money and water. Some cities in drought-prone areas have even instituted ordinances requiring that homeowners install low-flow toilets when renovating or selling their home. While the first generation of low-flow toilets lacked flushing power, today’s models are vastly improved in both efficiency and performance. Low-flow toilets come in both high-efficiency and ultra-high-efficiency models.

High-efficiency toilets typically use 1.6 gallons of water for each flush. Ultra-high-efficiency toilets reduce this amount to only 1.28 gallons. These toilets use gravity or air pressure to ensure that the bowl is cleared with each flush. Low-flow toilets come in a variety of designs and with a number of options to fit most budgets and design preferences.

Pressurized toilets use air pressure from a special tank inside the main toilet tank to help flush while using less water. These toilets are quite efficient, but they can be noisy, which can be problematic depending on the location of the toilet. They also tend to require more frequent maintenance and may require a power source.
Some of the newest low-flow toilets use a pump situated within the unit to assist with flushing. The design is often sleek and modern, but these toilets do require a power source to run the pump.

A dual-flush toilet allows you to conserve water by selecting the amount of water used with each flush. One button uses a low-power flush for liquid waste. A second button provides more flushing power for solid waste.

The cost of installation and maintenance are the primary drawbacks of low-flow toilets. A 1.6-gallon-per-flush high-efficiency toilet is normally the least expensive option. Ultra-high-efficiency models are more expensive at the outset, but some of this cost is offset by higher efficiency. In the end, you will need to balance cost against the potential utility savings. A plumbing expert can help you find the best model for your budget. Online retailers and plumbing wholesalers tend to provide the widest selection and the most competitive pricing.