The best dual-flush toilet
Water-saving low-flow toilets have become the new standard in bathroom fixtures, but industry engineers have taken them a step further. A dual-flush toilet gives users the option of a standard 1.28-gallon flush for solids, or a minimal 0.8-gallon flush for liquids. Total water usage is noticeably reduced, and modern flush technology means little loss in flushing power.
A set of buttons on the top of the tank or a special turn of the handle determines how much water is actually needed to clear the bowl after a visit. Installation of a dual-flush toilet may be a little more challenging, however, and some local plumbing codes may restrict their use.
If you’re interested in upgrading to an eco-friendly dual-flush toilet, read our buying guide, where we include some promising contenders. At the top of our list is the WOODBRIDGE T-0019 Dual-Flush Elongated One-Piece Toilet, a low-profile model with a pre-installed soft-close seat that’s easy to keep clean.
Considerations when choosing dual-flush toilets
Construction and design
Dual-flush toilets follow the same basic design and construction standards as standard toilets, so the decision-making process is still the same. There are no special sizing or plumbing issues to consider. The same bowl shape options are in play: round or elongated. Some models offer an optional bidet function, but an after-market retrofit is possible.
A two-piece tank and bowl design is still the more popular choice, but one-piece tanks with lower profiles and sleeker lines are becoming more popular as upgrades in modern bathrooms.
Liquid waste requires less water per flush than solid waste, which is why the dual-flush option was developed. Most dual-flush toilets have two buttons on the top of the tank marked for liquid or solid flushing. Some models have these controls on the bottom of the base, so the user can flush while remaining seated. There are even some dual-flush toilets with side handles that operate in two directions, depending on the type of flush required.
Solid waste flushes use the standard low-flow rate of 1.28 gallons per flush. This should be enough to completely remove all of the waste, but sometimes additional flushes are necessary. Liquid waste flushes may use as little as 0.8 of a gallon per flush.
Experienced DIYers may be able to install a dual-flush toilet on their own, with just a few more steps in the plumbing process. Some models, however, have more complicated flushing mechanisms that require professional installation. There may also be issues with local plumbing codes concerning ultra-low flushing power for liquid waste.
One issue with an uninsulated or unlined dual-flush toilet is condensation. During warmer weather, a cold toilet tank can “sweat” and create unwanted moisture. Some dual-flush toilets have a special interior lining that insulates the tank and bowl, reducing the effects of condensation.
Dual-flush toilet prices
Dual-flush toilets are more expensive than standard models, and they’re not available everywhere. Expect to pay at least $200 for a basic two-piece round model with few frills. Most homeowners should be satisfied with a feature-rich mid-range model costing $415-$960. The highest-end dual-flush toilets with one-piece construction and lining can cost up to $3,260.
Q. Will I need to hire a professional plumber to install a dual-flush toilet?
A. It depends on the model and your comfort level with DIY toilet installation. Many dual-flush toilets are installed the same way as standard toilets, but some require a few more steps and adjustments.
Q. Do I need to buy a special kind of toilet paper for a dual-flush toilet?
A. There’s no specific brand or style of toilet paper for dual-flush use, but experts recommend avoiding higher-end “fluffy” brands. A dual-flush toilet’s reduced flushing power in liquid waste mode can trigger clogs.
Dual-flush toilets we recommend
Best of the best: WOODBRIDGE T-0019 Dual-Flush Elongated One-Piece Toilet
Our take: This higher-end dual-flush toilet has the low profile many homeowners seek for a remodel or upgrade. However, be sure it’s compatible with local plumbing codes.
What we like: Modern one-piece design, fits many styles. Matching bidet available. Easy to clean, no hidden crevices. Quiet and efficient flushing action. Pre-installed soft close seat.
What we dislike: Toilet seat challenging to install/replace. May not pass plumbing codes in all states.
Best bang for your buck: American Standard H2Option Dual-Flush Right Height Elongated Toilet
Our take: The American Standard dual-flush toilet is a good choice for those with a tight remodeling budget. We like the lifetime warranty on chinaware.
What we like: Strong brand name. Stain- and bacteria-resistant coating. Appealing price point for dual-flush. Easy to install. Uses minimal water for liquid flush.
What we dislike: Bowl is smaller than expected. Original package may not include a toilet seat.
Our take: This comfort-height one-piece model is ideal for those who want to incorporate modern dual-flush technology at an affordable price.
What we like: Very low-profile design, minimal tank height. Full flush mode is very powerful. Uses 0.8 gallons per liquid flush, 1.28 gallons per solid. Seat is easy to remove and clean.
What we dislike: Some concerns about missing or damaged parts on arrival. Challenging to winterize.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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