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Toilet Buying Guide
A quick guide to strategic product selection

Toilets are the single largest user of water in the home, accounting for up to 28% of water use. Over the course of a lifetime, an average person flushes the toilet nearly 140,000 times. Even with the use of a baseline efficient toilet (1.6 gpf), that is just shy of a quarter million gallons of water.

Top 3 things to look for:

  1. WaterSense®: Only high-efficiency toilets that complete the third-party certification process can earn the WaterSense label. 
  2. Low Gallons per Flush (gpf): Toilet efficiency is measured using gallons per flush (gpf) - lower the better.
  3. Flush type: dual and single flush toilets are widely available in the U.S. marketplace.

Water Sense

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices.

Recent advancements have allowed toilets to use 20% less water than the current federal standard while still providing equal or superior performance. The WaterSense label is used on toilets that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency. Only high-efficiency toilets that complete the third-party certification process can earn the WaterSense label.

► All toilets featured on Eco-rate are Water Sense qualified.

Gallons per flush (gpf)

Toilet efficiency is measured using gallons per flush (gpf). The lower the gpf rating, the better. Toilets made before 1994 most likely have a gpf rating of 3.5. Current federal law requires toilets to have gpf ratings of 1.6.

► All toilets featured on Eco-rate have gpf ratings of 1.28 or lower. Our Consumption Rating for toilets is based on gpf. The higher the Consumption Rating, the lower the gpf and more water-efficient the toilet.

High Efficiency Toilets (HETs)

High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) use 20% less water than conventional toilets. For a toilet to be an HET, it must have a gpf rating of 1.28 or less.

Look for HETs certified by the Water Sense program. Installing a WaterSense HET can save you 4,000 gallons of water per year. If a family of four replaces one 3.5 gpf toilet made between 1980 and 1994 with a WaterSense HET toilet, they could save $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet.

► All toilets featured on Eco-rate are HETs. Click here to see them.

Dual flush

Designed for “light” and “heavy” flushes, dual-flush toilets tend to average less than 1.2 gallons per flush. They meet HET criteria of 1.28 gallons per flush or less (HET criteria for dual flush toilets identifies the effective flush volume as the average of one high flush and two low flushes).

Dual flush models are available from many manufacturers with light flush capacities from 0.8 - 1.1 gallons and heavy flush capacities from 1.3 - 1.6 gallons per flush. These toilets typically operate with a handle that can move up or down, or a two button system. One direction or button will activate the lower flow flush for lighter loads, while the other will activate the higher flow flush for heavier loads.

► Eco-rate features many dual flush toilets. Click here to see them.

Composting toilets

Composting toilets avoid all water and its associated impacts, do not smell or pose a health hazard, and produce compost for local agriculture.

Graywater plumbing

Graywater (also spelled greywater or gray water) is untreated household wastewater that has not come into contact with toilet waste. It includes used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes washers (does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers) and can be used in some areas, depending on local code regulations, to flush toilets and help reduce potable (drinking) water use and save you money.

Buy local

To reduce carbon emissions associated with product transportation and to support your local economy, we encourage you to buy your toilet from a local manufacturer.

► Eco-rate features where a toilet is made and how far it has to travel from its manufacturing location to you.

Proper disposal of your old toilet

Recycle, sell or donate your toilet when it is no longer functional or efficient. Use Eco-rate’s product search tool to find a toilet product and then select the “Recycle” tab. You will then be able to use the Earth 911 search widget to find a local reuse or recycling location for your toilet. Click here to see an example.

How are toilets rated on Eco-rate?

Please click here to discover our toilet rating system.

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