What Are the Best Water-Efficient Toilet Designs for a Small Household?

April 21, 2024

Toilets are an essential part of our homes, yet we seldom give them the recognition they deserve. These humble household fixtures are marvels of modern engineering, designed to hygienically and efficiently dispose of waste, often using minimal water. Today, we’ll delve into the world of water-efficient toilet designs, highlighting the top models for small households. These models are not just about saving water; they also emphasize on design, comfort, and performance. So, if you’re in the market for a new toilet or thinking of renovating your bathroom, this guide is just for you.

1. Dual-Flush Toilets: A Blend of Efficiency and Flexibility

Dual-flush toilets have revolutionized the way we think about water usage in the bathroom. As the name suggests, these toilets offer two flushing options: a full flush for solid waste and a half flush for liquid waste. This design enables you to choose how much water you want to use per flush, providing a balance between efficiency and performance.

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The half flush typically uses just 0.8 gallons per flush (gpf), while the full flush uses around 1.6 gpf. This is significantly lower than traditional toilets, which average around 3.5 gpf. Dual-flush toilets can save thousands of gallons of water each year, making them a top choice for households looking to cut back on water usage.

Moreover, dual-flush toilets come in a variety of designs, including one-piece and two-piece models. One-piece toilets have the tank and bowl fused together as a single unit, offering a sleek, streamlined design that’s easy to clean. Two-piece toilets, on the other hand, feature a separate tank and bowl, which can be easier to install and repair.

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2. Wall-Hung Toilets: Maximizing Space and Minimizing Water Usage

When space is at a premium, a wall-hung toilet can be an excellent solution. These models are designed to be mounted on the wall, freeing up valuable floor space and creating a sense of openness in the bathroom. But their benefits go beyond aesthetics.

Wall-hung toilets are often equipped with a concealed, in-wall tank. This design not only enhances the bathroom’s clean, minimalist appearance, but it also allows for greater water efficiency. The tank can be adjusted to use as little as 0.9 gpf for a full flush, making wall-hung toilets among the most water-efficient options available.

Moreover, these toilets often feature an elongated bowl for added comfort. The bowl’s extended shape provides more seating space, making it a more comfortable option for many users. Additionally, the wall-mounted design allows for adjustable bowl height, so you can install the toilet at the most comfortable height for you.

3. High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs): The Pinnacle of Water Conservation

High-efficiency toilets (HETs) are specifically engineered to use less water than standard models. These toilets use a maximum of 1.28 gpf, which is 20% less water than the federal standard of 1.6 gpf. Over a year, this can result in substantial water savings, especially for larger households.

But don’t mistake their water-saving abilities for weak performance. Many HETs use advanced flushing technologies to ensure powerful, clog-free performance with each flush. One such technology is the gravity-fed flush, which uses the natural force of gravity to create a strong, effective flush.

In terms of design, HETs come in a wide array of options, from traditional two-piece models to sleek, one-piece designs. Many also feature an elongated bowl for added comfort, and some even offer an adjustable bowl height. With such a broad selection, you’re sure to find a model that suits your style and bathroom space.

4. Low-Flow Toilets: The Classic Choice for Water Efficiency

Long before the advent of dual-flush and high-efficiency toilets, low-flow toilets were the go-to choice for water-saving bathrooms. These workhorses of the toilet world are simple in design, yet highly effective in reducing water usage.

Low-flow toilets use a maximum of 1.6 gpf, which is about half the water used by traditional toilets. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking to save water without investing in more complex, high-tech models. They can also be a practical option for smaller households with less frequent toilet use.

When it comes to design, low-flow toilets offer a mix of one-piece and two-piece models. They also come in a variety of bowl shapes, including round and elongated options, allowing you to choose the best fit for your bathroom and comfort needs.

5. Composting Toilets: The Ultimate Eco-Friendly Solution

If you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly toilet option, composting toilets are the way to go. These unique toilets use no water at all; instead, they transform human waste into compost that can be used to enrich soil.

Composting toilets are a fantastic choice for off-grid homes, rural properties, and eco-conscious households. They come in a variety of designs and sizes, making it easy to find a model that fits your bathroom space. Additionally, many composting toilets feature a built-in ventilation system to ensure odour-free operation.

While composting toilets can take some getting used to, many users find them to be a practical and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional flush toilets. After all, they not only save water but also contribute to waste reduction and soil enrichment.

6. Smart Toilets: A Fusion of Technology and Water Efficiency

A smart toilet is an excellent choice for those who want to maximize water efficiency while enjoying the conveniences of modern technology. These toilets come equipped with features that ensure optimal water usage, such as dual-flush systems, adjustable water volumes, and even waterless urinals.

One of the primary advantages of smart toilets is their customizable flush settings, allowing users to control the amount of water used per flush. This feature, combined with the dual flush system, can significantly reduce water consumption. For instance, some smart toilets offer a full flush using only 1.28 gpf, and a half flush that uses less than 0.8 gpf.

On top of their water-saving features, smart toilets offer a host of luxury conveniences, such as heated seats, automatic lid opening and closing, and self-cleaning functions. Some even come with an integrated bidet, eliminating the need for toilet paper and further reducing environmental impact.

In terms of design, smart toilets offer a sleek and modern appeal that can enhance the look of any bathroom. Most smart toilets are one-piece units, which are easier to clean due to fewer seams and crevices where dirt can accumulate. In addition, many models come with a comfort height feature, which means the toilet seat is at a similar height as a standard chair for ease of use.

7. Pressure-Assisted Toilets: Combining Power with Efficiency

Pressure-assisted toilets are another great option for those seeking high efficiency in their bathroom fixtures. These toilets, as the name suggests, use pressurized air to force water into the toilet bowl, resulting in a powerful and efficient flush.

Typically, pressure-assisted toilets use approximately 1.1 to 1.6 gallons per flush, making them more water-efficient than traditional toilets. Their powerful flush also means less chance of clogs and fewer instances of double flushing, which can lead to additional water savings.

One of the key advantages of pressure-assisted toilets is their performance. Their strong flush is particularly effective at clearing the bowl, reducing the need for multiple flushes. This makes them a great option for larger households or those with heavy toilet use.

In terms of design, pressure-assisted toilets can come in both two-piece and one-piece models. Many also feature an elongated bowl for extra comfort, and they can be found in comfort height designs for easier sitting and standing.


From dual-flush and wall-mounted toilets to high-efficiency and smart models, there are numerous water-efficient toilet designs available today. Each offers its own unique features and advantages, from significant water savings to added comfort and convenience. Ultimately, the best toilet for your small household will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Remember, investing in a water-efficient toilet not just saves on your utility bills, but also contributes to a more sustainable future by conserving our precious water resources. Whether you opt for a low-flow toilet or a composting toilet, know that you’re making a decision that’s good for both your household and the environment. As the famous American standard goes, ‘Water is life’, and every drop saved is a step towards a healthier planet.