Dual Flush Toilet Pros and Cons

Dual flush toilets are used widely throughout Australia, Asia, and Europe. Conversion to high-efficiency toilets like dual flush models or composting toilets is proving slower going in the United States. The pros and cons of these water-efficient and environmentally friendly “green” toilets that offer two flush volumes must be weighed when deciding whether it’s worth it to abandon the standard flush system and go for either a full fixture replacement or a dual flush toilet conversion, also known as a retrofit.

Pro: Dual Flush Toilets Save Water

A dual flush toilet is a type of high-efficiency toilet (HET) that, in compliance with the National Energy Policy Act, uses no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), compared to older standard 3.5-gallon models. The name comes from the fact that two flush volumes are featured on every model, the lower volume using not more than 1.1 gallons per flush. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 4,000 gallons of water can be saved annually in a residential household that converts to these water-conserving fixtures.

Pro: Dual Flush Toilets Save Money

Along with savings to one’s residential water bill, in various provinces in Canada and states in the U.S., rebates are given when consumers purchase an approved HET dual flush toilet with a WaterSense label. The EPA provides an extensive list of toilets with the WaterSense label from well-known manufacturers such as Kohler, Caroma, American Standard, and Toto. A WaterSense label is an indication that the toilet is not just “green,” but also performs well.

Prices of dual flush toilets begin around $250 U.S. for economy models and can go up to about four times that cost for luxury models. Retrofit conversion kits, an alternative to full replacement, are usually under $100 and can be installed as a DIY project.

Pro: Dual Flush Toilets Clog Less

Most types of dual flush toilet are designed to use gravity to remove waste through a large trapway, rather than old-fashioned pressure siphoning. The size of the trapway has a bonus effect: it reduces the incidence of clogs.

Pro: Dual Flush Toilets Look Stylish

Many dual flush toilet models have a modernistic, sleek Euro look and match well with a range of bathroom decor styles. They are sold in both one piece or two piece models, in white, in black and sometimes other colors as well.

Pro: Dual Flush Toilets Have a Powerful Flush

Dual flush toilets aren’t just clever and pretty; those that are high-efficiency models are required to flush up to 350 grams of waste. In some models, reviewers indicate that they rarely need to use the low flush option.

Con: Hard to Install Sometimes

Some models of dual flush toilets may require professional installation or simply present a frustrating challenge for the DIY enthusiast. According to reviews at Amazon.com, Home Depot, Homeclick, and eFaucets, the ease of installation varies with the model.

Con: Bowls are Hard to Clean

Many models may leave some residue in the bowl when using the low volume flush option. This means that dual flush toilets, in general, require more frequent cleaning.

Con: Dual Flush Toilet Buttons Can Be Confusing

For guests who are not accustomed to using dual flush toilets, the high volume and low volume flush buttons are not always clearly labeled on all models. A quick introduction to the equipment for guests may be in order.

The Advantages of High-Efficiency Toilets Outweigh the Disadvantages

In most cases, the pros of using HET dual flush toilets outweigh the cons. From high-efficiency toilet rebate offers to trendy designs, these bathroom fixtures save money in the long run, reduce waste and are eco-friendly. If a full toilet replacement is not an option, a dual flush toilet retrofit may be the best option when striving to make the bathroom plumbing more water efficient.

Read more about how to adjust dual flush toilets here.