Once you’re all clued up on some of the most popular toilet terms, you should be in a better position to make a purchase decision! Feel free to reach out if you think there are any terms missing.
ADA – A toilet that is compliant with the requirements of the American Disabilities Act. The standard ADA toilet height is 17″-19″ from floor to seat.
Auger – This piece of equipment is also known as a “toilet snake”. It’s a long and bendy tool that can clear even the deepest of blockages.
Back flush/outlet – also known as rear flush/outlet – A toilet that removes waste from the bowl to a waste outlet located at the back of the bowl and connects into the plumbing system behind the wall, unlike traditional gravity flush toilets which drain through the floor.
Ballcock valve – Mechanism (arm with a float ball attached to its end) that opens the water flow to refill your tank with water after the toilet has been flushed and shuts off the inflow of water once the tank has been refilled for a new flush. Newer toilets have more modern toilet fill valves performing the same function as the ballcock.
Bidet – After you’ve finished going to the bathroom, you can use a bidet to effectively, and hygienically, clean your bottom. The various types of bidet in a nutshell: Integrated, Seats, Hand-Held, Attachments, Stand Alone, and Portable. Related article: The “Must-Know” 6 Types of Bidets.
Cistern – The water tank that a toilet’s connected to so it can flush.
Comfort height – A term that’s used to described taller toilets that are more accessible and easier to sit on. Height tends to be between 17 to 19 inches from floor to seat, matching the height of ADA-compliant toilets.
Composting – Eco-friendly alternative to flushing poop down the toilet. Also known as dry or water-less toilet it holds and turns human waste into safe and usable compost.
Concealed trapway – This is the trap that’s hidden by a skirted, smoother exterior. It makes for easier maintenance and a more aesthetic appearance.
Cushioned seat – A padded toilet seat that’s often made from foam and vinyl.
Dual flush – Toilet with two flush settings so you can select a setting that uses less water – when you need to dispose of only liquid waste for example. The other setting is used when there’s solid waste to flush.
Elongated – Bowls typically have either a rounded or an elongated shape. Elongated bowls are about two inches longer than round-front bowls.
EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency. Independent agency of the federal government that protects people and the environment from significant health risks, sponsors and conducts research, and develops and enforces environmental regulations.
Flush – The flow of water that removes the waste when you push a toilet’s handle or button.
Flush valve – The valve that’s located inside the toilet tank that pushes a large volume of water through the toilet bowl to remove waste.
GPF – Gallons per flush. How much water does a toilet uses to flush out the waste. Toilets sold in the US should not use more than 1.6 gallons per flush (6 liters).
Gravity – Still the most commonly used toilet flushing system in residential homes. When the flush handle is pushed, the flush valve opens inside the tank and gravity forces water to fall. When the water forcefully falls inside the bowl a siphoning effect is created in the trapway. That siphoning action moves both water and waste down through the toilet’s waste outlet.
HET – High-efficiency toilet. The U.S. Federal government many years ago set standards that have been adopted and sometimes even exceeded by the individual states. Among other criteria, that means a water usage of no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. High-efficiency toilets are designed to use even less – as little as 20% less water or 1.28 GPF. In the latter case, those toilets that comply qualify for the government’s “WaterSense” label.
MaP test – Independent and voluntary testing program measuring toilet flush performance. The MaP test measures how effective and powerful a toilet’s flush is. The scale that it’s measured on runs from 0 to 1,000 grams of removed solid waste. Find MaP-tested toilets here.
One-piece – This is a type of toilet where the tank and bowl are joined together in one bit of ceramic unlike a two-piece toilet which has a separate tank and bowl.
Plunger – A tool that people can use to unclog their pipes.
Pressure-assist – A toilet with a pressure-assist tank inside the main tank providing high-powered flushing. As the pressure-assist tank fills with water, the air inside the tank is compressed. When the toilet is flushed, the tank releases the pressurized water, creating a far more forceful flush into the bowl than a gravity-fed toilet.
Push-Button Flush – A pushable fitting that controls when the toilet flushes.
Rough-in – This is the distance that’s taken from the wall to the center of the waste outlet. By default 12″ but could also be 10″ or 14″.
Rim – Toilet with a rim around the top of the bowl. A term that is given to describe the flow arrangement that’s used to flush a toilet. With each flush the water is flowing into the bowl from underneath the toilet rim.
Rimless – A type of toilet without the traditional rim. An innovative flushing system shoots water towards the edge and around the toilet bowl. Easier to clean and more hygienic than the traditional toilet with rim.
Round-front bowl – Bowls typically have either a rounded or an elongated shape. Round-front bowls are smaller and, therefore, are ideal for small bathroom spaces.
Soft closing – A toilet seat that is soft, or quiet, when it is closed.
Toilet seat riser – This is an additional feature that can be installed to make a toilet higher and easier to sit down on for people with disabilities.
Touchless – A flushing mechanism that doesn’t need to be touched to flush.
Trip lever – A handle that a user can pull to send water into the bowl and activate the toilet’s flush.
Two-piece – This is a type of toilet where the tank and bowl are separated, unlike a one-piece toilet which has those parts fused together seamlessly.
Upflush – Unlike standard toilets which flush gravitationally downward to your pipes, upflush toilets work by discharging waste into a pump/macerator system. The waste is ground up and pumped up PVC piping, off to whatever point in your house is most convenient to connect to the main sewage line.
Urinal – A toilet bowl that is hung to the wall to allow for easier, and more hygienic, urination.
Vacuum – A toilet that uses air to remove waste resulting in a minimal requirement of water. The difference in air pressure between the toilet environment and a vacuum plumbing system creates a suction at the bowl level when the toilet is flushed. As a result waste gets sucked into the plumbing system.
Wall hung – A term that refers to toilets that are attached to the wall. They’re also known as floating toilets as there are no visible fixtures that hold the toilet up from the floor.
WaterSense – This is a legal designation from the EPA that is given to toilets using no more than 1.28 GPF. Related article: Time to Replace Your Old & Inefficient Toilet? Read This Now!
Waste outlet – The small hole in a toilet where water and waste pass through.
W.C. – Stands for “water closet”.