Three Dual-Flush Toilets Reviewed

Dual-flush toilet
Photo: Marktristan,

The flush toilet has been around since neolithic times, when villagers in Orkney – a group of islands just north of Scotland – connected a drainage system to a river in order to wash waste away. Flush toilets were found in the palace of Minos in ancient Crete as well. The popular modern version has been around since the mid-nineteenth century, and today, the flush toilet is a basic fixture in all developed countries.

In recent decades, we have become aware of the finite and delicate nature of our planet’s natural resources, particularly water, and the importance of conserving them. Yet plumbers in Phoenix, Arizona, where drought is nearly constant, will caution us that we are sending perfectly good water down the tubes. Although eco-friendly and sanitary alternatives exist, few of us are willing to do without flush toilets.

In 1980, Bruce Thompson, an Australian inventor, made a great contribution to water conservation. His invention, the dual-flush toilet, used two handles or buttons to flush different amounts of water. At the time, Bruce Thompson was working for Caroma, a company that designs, manufactures, and imports sanitary facilities. His basic design was revamped in 1993, making it even more efficient.

Since that time, dual-flush toilets have been proven to save up to 67 percent of water in most homes, and many cities even offer rebates to homeowners who install them. A reliable remodeler will be able to tell you about fixtures that combine beauty with utility and environmental awareness. Here are reviews of 3 high-quality dual-flush toilets that are available today.

The Toto Aquia Dual Flush Toilet

The Toto Aquia Dual Flush Toilet comes in several models. It uses Toto’s Dual-Max flushing system together with low water consumption: the small flush is 0.9 gallons, while the large flush is 1.6 gallons. The Toto website lists prices for the Aquia toilet line from about $350 to over $2,000, depending on the individual features. The seat must be bought separately, and according to customer reviews, it should be mounted on the toilet before the toilet is installed in the home.

The Caroma Caravelle

The Caroma Caravelle has a small flush of 0.8 gallons and a large flush of 1.6 gallons. Plumbers from Washington to Wisconsin will be able to tell you that the trapway on the Caroma dual-flush models is three inches – the largest trapway diameter on the market. (Most toilets use a two-inch trapway.) This helps a great deal in disposing of solid waste and prevents clogs. However, some customers complain of splashing and incomplete flushes. The Caroma website lists the prices of its dual-flush models starting from approximately $400. The seat is sold separately.

The Caroma Profile Smart 305

Another Caroma model, the Profile Smart 305 (approximately $600), is particularly eco-friendly: it features a sink above the toilet tank The water used for hand-washing drains into the tank to be used for a flush later on. Its small flush is 0.8 gallons, and its large flush is 1.28 gallons.

The Flip Side of Dual-Flush Toilets

One well-known drawback of dual-flush toilets is that they require more effort to keep clean. Because the water level in the bowl is so low, solid waste often lands directly on the porcelain and may require brushing even after the large flush. While this bothers some customers, others say that they are willing to trade the extra cleaning effort for the savings in water and money.

Purchase and Installation of Dual-Flush Toilets

Most models of dual-flush toilets are available through your local plumber or home improvement store. Consult the companies’ websites to find dealers near you, and consult your local home-improvement store, remodeler, or plumber for advice and installation.

Updated June 19, 2018.

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