Is it time to purchase a new toilet? At first, the toilet buying process can seem daunting. With so many colors/finishes, styles, sizes, and specifications, it can feel like the right toilet is one in a million. However, in order to meet accessibility, plumbing, and code needs, it’s important to look for a toilet that checks all of the boxes. Today we’ll be looking at a specific toilet specification: the single flush and the dual flush toilet.

Staff Picks

Best Single Flush Toilets

Best Dual Flush Toilets

What is a Single Flush and a Dual Flush Toilet?

A single flush toilet is one of the most common toilets you’ll see. These toilets have a single handle attached to the tank that you pull down to initiate the flush cycle. This single handle, once pushed, allows for the same force and amount of water each flush. A dual flush toilet is less common but offers extra features. Usually, these toilets either feature one handle or two buttons. The single handle can be pulled up or down to initiate the flush cycle, depending on the type of flush needed. These toilets also offer two buttons instead of a handle. These buttons are usually labeled “I” and “II” for each type of flush. The dual flush toilet offers a full and half flush (depending on the way it is pressed to flush). The full flush is for solid waste, while the half flush is for liquid waste. While both toilets are different, they each offer specific benefits and issues.

Pros and Cons of Single Flush Toilets

Single flush toilets are best for common use, especially in places of high traffic (such as public buildings) due to the ease of flushing and the consistent levels of water during the flushing cycle. These toilets are less high tech, making them more accessible and fool-proof for the average user. Due to being commonplace in the plumbing world, these toilets are easy to operate and easy to repair, with low initial and maintenance costs. The parts for these toilets are readily available, saving money on repairs and leaving you with a large list of plumbers willing to work on them. For those that are disabled or elderly, the handles on the single flush toilets can be modified, either with handle extenders or even pull chains up above the toilet for easier flushing.

However, while there are not a ton of them, this toilet also features its issues. For those looking for a sleek or modern bathroom with an aesthetic feel, this toilet may seem like an outdated option. These toilets are also not as strong of water savers as a dual flush toilet, since they only have one water amount. Many people looking to save water with single flush toilets often add sandbags or soda bottles into the tank, in order to take up space and reduce water input and output.

Pros and Cons of Dual Flush Toilets

Dual flush toilets are best for those looking for an eco-friendly and water saving plumbing option. By having both a full and half flush option (depending on the type of waste) the user can accurately allocate the right amount of water each flush, savings lots of money per month on water bills. These toilets are recommended for residential use over commercial use. For someone looking for that sleek and modern bathroom, these toilets are less common and make for great aesthetic appeal. Some of the most highly rated interior design features include dual flush wall mounted toilets as the best for a clean bathroom look.

However, with these toilets being newer to the market, it can be hard to find the proper parts for them (as well as plumbers to repair them), making the repair and maintenance costs much higher than the single flush toilet. Many of the parts will have to be purchased from specialty plumbing stores, making the costs rise. These toilets are not easy to modify, making the toilet you purchase essentially only usable in the way it was made. These toilets are harder to operate, making them easier to break and better for single family homes, where all parties are taught how to operate the toilet. The dual flush buttons often require much more force to push down on, making them less accessible for the elderly, handicapped, or for young users.

However, if you have a single flush toilet and are looking to upgrade to a dual flush, you may be able to without purchasing an entirely new toilet. Some specialty stores sell dual flush toilet upgrade kits, which allow you to turn your single flush toilet into a dual flush toilet. These kits can come as smart flushers, which are essentially internal parts to attach to your current handle, that sense the waste and can determine water saving strategies. These kits also come with modifications you can attach to your single handle that allow it to move up or down for a full or half flush, similar to the dual flush toilet.  There are also upgraded kits that allow you to remove the single handle and instead install dual flush buttons.

The Best Single Flush and Dual Flush Toilets on the Market

Have you decided on whether the dual flush or single flush toilet is best for you? If so, it’s time to find the best toilet make and model for your bathroom. To guide you along in the process, here are some of the best options on the market (for value, style, and features):

Single Flush Options: Toto CST744S ($228), Toto Eco UltraMax ($475), American Standard Champion ($239), Saniflo Sanicompact 48 ($952), Niagara Stealth Toilet ($498), Kohler Highline Curve ($199)

Dual Flush Options: American Standard “H2Option”, Woodbridge Dual Flush ($790), Toto Neorest ($2,000), Koehler Wellworth Dual Flush ($276), Toto Aquia, Koehler Highline Dual Flush ($360)

Toilet buying can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Unsure of what toilet is best for you? Consider reviewing our other toilet resources, providing you with insight on new toilet models (such as the composting toilet). Unsure of what part you need or how your toilet operates? Consider viewing our glossary page, which highlights common interior and exterior toilet parts, how to repair them, and how they operate to make your toilet run smoothly.