7 Best Low Flow Toilets in 2021: Complete Review & Buyer’s Guide
While it’s not the topic for dinner discussions, toilet time forms a significant part of our lives. A visit there takes more water than the cup of tea you are drinking now. That’s why choosing the best low flow toilet can save you more than you think, as well as positively influence global ecology.
It takes some knowledge to make a choice. If you feel like it’s too long to read in one visit, just opt for a win-win TOTO Drake II and don`t dig deeper. But I gladly offer you these low flow toilet reviews, as I did my best to look inside these devices – so you don’t have to.
7 Best Low Flow Toilets Reviewed
- TOTO CST454CUFG#01 Low Flow Toilet – Top Pick
- American Standard 2889218.020 – Runner-Up
- TOTO MS604114CEFG#12 UltraMax II – Premium Choice
- KOHLER K-3988-0 Wellworth Toilet
- Toto CST474CEFGNo.01 Vespin II Two-Piece Toilet
- Kohler K-3999-0 Highline Comfort Toilet
- WOODBRIDGE T-0019 Cotton White toilet
Most toilets seem similar to an inexperienced watcher. Still, each of them had its reasons to be designed and marketed. Let’s take a look at what they drop for us.
1. TOTO Drake II 1G: Top Pick
|dimensions:||28.5 x 15 x 30 inches|
|water consumption:||1 gpf|
|rough-in:||12” (others optionally)|
|certification:||ada, epa watersense, calgreen, sustainable minds, etc.|
Not only is Toto the largest toilet manufacturer in the world, but also the most popular toilet brand in the USA, and its reputation is quite deserved. This low flow model we review is versatile, fitting most toilet rooms we can actually have in our homes.
It’s a two-piece set that includes the seat, the tank, and the hardware to connect them. Being a floor-mounted one, it’s installed in the most unified manner, though installation supplies are not included.
It’s made of ceramic and available in four colors (Cotton, Bone, Colonial white, and Sedona beige). The coating is protected with CERIONTECT technology that prevents debris from sticking to the surface.
The model we see is an elongated one, made of two pieces. The rough-in size is 12”, making it great for most rooms. The height is Universal a.k.a. Comfort (which the manufacturer proudly mentions). The weight of the set is 85.3 pounds – for greater stability.
The aforementioned CERIONTECT is one of the reasons why 1G technology by TOTO works so efficiently. You see, when it comes to toilets, 1G sounds louder-and-prouder than 5G! 1G (in case you haven’t guessed yet) means that one flush only takes 1 gallon of water.
It’s a real improvement compared to the standard 1.28G. What also contributes is a siphon-based Tornado flushing system that maximizes the efficiency of the volume of water used.
The set includes no extras (like a seat or a wax ring), but it’s compatible with the most versatile accessories. Given its price (usually between $600 and $700, unless you luckily find a discount), it comes with a 1-year warranty.
2. American Standard H2Option: Runner Up
|dimensions:||15 x 27.75 x 30 inches|
|flush type||siphon jet bowl (powerwash®)|
|water consumption:||0.92/1.28 gpf|
|certification:||epa watersense, calgreen, map premium|
American Standard offers a more affordable (well, about TWICE more affordable!) alternative to the one by TOTO. With the story tracked back to 1875, the company offers toilets and bathroom fixtures that are found throughout the USA. As for this model, it’s a two-piece set available in round and elongated variants; I chose the option that makes it the least like the previous.
Along with being round and made of vitreous china, it’s only 72 pounds, and its seat is also only 15” high, which makes it non compliant with the Comfort Height standards. Not that it makes sitting on it torture for a healthy person, and it’s definitely better for smaller toilet rooms.
But if you or someone from your family would prefer a Comfort Height one, you need to choose its Right Height version. Each of them is simply floor-mounted. It comes in three colors: White, Linen, and Bone.
Otherwise, it’s a decent toilet set of the same 12” rough-in, with a dual flush system. It’s also made the most efficient due to both PowerFlush siphon technology and EverClean® surface that prevents staining. Dual flush offers 0.92 and 1.28 GPF options, while you can be good with even a partial flush.
Given that its price is under $300 in any version (round or elongated), it’s a worthy option. It may lack the glamour of the one by TOTO, and its low profile is not as comfortable as the comfort height. So I recommend you see and try it before buying it (generally, it concerns any toilet). See it – and hear it if possible. The sound of flushing may be too disturbing or even disgusting.
3. TOTO UltraMax II: Premium Choice
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|dimensions:||28.31 x 16.56 x 28.75 inches|
|water consumption:||1.28 gpf|
|certification:||ada, epa watersense, cec, calgreen|
And here comes another model by TOTO, the greatest thing about which is the design. It’s an elongated one-piece model of universal height that is less subject to leaks and more cleanable due to absence of the gap between its parts. It’s made of premium ceramics, with special surface technology.
Ultramax II toilet also benefits from the CERIONTECT surface technology for easier cleaning. The weight of the system is a solid 99 lbs. In addition, you can have it in a much wider array of colors. In addition to Bone, Colonial White, Cotton White, and Sedona Beige, there is even an Ebony option! A chrome-plated trip level fits any of these.
It has a lot in common with Drake II 1G, our top pick. It uses the same Tornado flush, which washes the surface more efficiently. As for flush volume, it’s the standard 1.28G, with no 0.9 option. Not the most efficient toilet, though still better than old dinosaurs.
The downside of it is that the toilet is often subject to clogging, and even the good old plunger is sometimes useless against it. Given its premium price near $600 (and for some colors near $900), it’s your right not to risk it.
Installing a one-piece toilet is obviously easier. It’s floor-mounted, and its parts are already attached and connected. Its rough-in size is, again, 12”. At least, so it’s said: in fact, it might be a little less. Overall, it’s a very premium-looking model, easy to install and clean. Last but not least: it comes with a seat.
4. KOHLER Wellworth: Almost as Top
|dimensions:||29.25 x 14.5 x 30 inches|
|water consumption:||1.6/1.1 gpf|
Kohler is a brand from the same top league as TOTO. Its toilets are also well-known and frequently mentioned. Kohler Wellworth is a two-piece 14.5” high toilet, made of quite a regular china. It’s available in white, almond, and – right – black. The surface of the tank is flat enough to lay your phone on it (though I’d rather not).
What’s distinguishing this model is its powerful flush, especially for water-saving toilets. Being quite a high-efficiency toilet, it offers you a much higher GPF value than the dual-flush American Standard we reviewed above. Its GPF is 1.1 (partial) and 1.6 (full) gallons.
The choice is made with the trip lever on the left side of the tank. Anyway, this gravity-based system may lose the water-saving competition, but it still lets you save water, and it’s quite a job to get this one clogged.
The seat is not included, though Kohler offers quite a choice of them. For its price ((around $350 for the white, a hundred more for Almond, and over $500 for Black) it could have been included.
As for mounting, it’s a regular floor-mounted one, with a 12” rough-in. The guide is available; but the procedure is routine. For two-piece models, I mean.
5. Toto Vespin II Two-Piece Toilet: Skirted and Solid
|dimensions:||28.5 x 16.5 x 30 inches|
|water consumption:||1.28 gpf|
|certification:||ada, watersense, proposition 65|
This model by TOTO is, in fact, a revision of Drake II, our top pick. It’s a very heavy (106.5 lbs.), solid elongated two-piece set made of high-quality ceramics. If you want something Universal height, durable enough for someone bulky to feel comfortable on it, that’s the option.
Another feature of it is smooth skirted design, geometrically simpler and making it both more gracious and easier to clean. It’s also available in various colors – Bone, Cotton, Cotton White, and even Black.
The Black version of it, though, is deprived of one of the greatest inventions by TOTO: CERIONTECT. This aforementioned technology protects the surface from staining, which is extremely important for the brighter colors. And due to it, a 1.28 G flush works better. It’s purely gravity-based, but due to Double Cyclone technology, it cleans more of the surface.
You might be surprised to find no partial flush in what’s reviewed among the best low flush toilets. Still, it does its job, saving water even with a full 1.28 GPF. If you (for any reason) want to grant yourself from clogging, this is the right option.
It’s compatible with rough-in sizes other than 12” (needs to be ordered separately). On the other hand, its mounting may require extra holes in the floor, so you better consult before purchasing it.
The most affordable option is Cotton White, under $500 (on Amazon, you can find previous generations, cheaper than those offered on the official TOTO site). If you opt for Black, it may even cost over $1K. And yes, a seat is sold separately.
6. Kohler Highline: Saving in All the Meanings
|dimensions:||29.5 x 18 x 31.25 inches|
|water consumption:||1.28 gpf|
You may be still brooding over a $1K version of TOTO Vespin II. Well, Kohler Highline is way more democratic. Not that shiny or skirted, it’s just a toilet, made in plain white. On the other hand, if you care about having a comfort-height one, that’s the choice. It’s easy to install, with standard procedure, intelligible manual, and 12” rough-in.
There are no patented surface technologies and all that glamor. It’s the flush responsible for keeping the inside clean. It takes 1.28G to flush, and the gravity-based system does the trick just like in other Kohler toilets. It’s more than the most water efficient toilets offer (with under 1G) but still impressive.
But what impresses the most is the price. It’s well under $350, even without discounts that happen. The seat is not included, but this isn’t much of an issue.
7. WOODBRIDGE T-0019: Skirted and Affordable Low Flow Toilet
|dimensions:||31 x 18 x 28 inches|
|water consumption:||1.26 gpf|
Woodbridge is the most mysterious vendor of all reviewed. Its official site gives very little information about the whereabouts of its facilities, and the language it’s written in feels like a translation from Chinese. Anyway, even if it’s a Chinese company, it has bothered about certifying its toilets in the U.S.
The T-0019 is a one-piece porcelain model that TOTO would have called “skirted”. Its design smoothens all the lines, making it easier to clean it from the outside. The model only comes in cotton white.
As for the inside, cleanliness is provided by saving yet powerful siphon flush. Its dual system lets you choose between 1G and 1.6G flush with two separate buttons; sometimes it turns out weak, but rarely.
As for installation, it’s easy, though the piece itself is heavy. The rough-in is the standard 12 inches. Otherwise, it’s a solid elongated one-piece toilet great for upgrading your old one, not for all the money in the world (under $350). In addition, it comes with an installation kit and a seat!
Low Flow Toilet Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have been introduced to some models worth a look (and maybe a place in your home) let’s speak about the theory of water saving.
What is considered a low flow toilet?
As Wikipedia has it, a low flow toilet is one that uses 1.3 gallons per flush (GPL). At least, as an option in dual flush systems. If a toilet has a dual flush system that supports at least partial flush under 1.3G, it’s also considered a low flow, despite its full flush capacity above the limit. The best WaterSense toilets provide a great cleaning with this little water.
How to choose the best low flow toilet?
In addition to being a low flow, your toilet should be reliable and durable, and everyone using it should feel as comfortable as possible. So pay attention to the following factors:
- Construction. One-piece models never suffer from incompatibility, and they are easier to install. On the other hand, they are harder to handle and deliver, as one piece is heavier than its two parts. The difference is especially dramatic with skirted design one-pieces.
- Rough-in. It’s the distance between the wall behind and the center of the drainpipe. Selecting the model with the right rough-in distance means efficient use of space in your bathroom or toilet room.
- Dual or single flush system. Dual systems are better as they are meant to use even less water if only liquid waste needs to be pushed down the drain. But they may also mean that a regular flush will consume more water than expected. In addition, in some systems, a partial flush is done by pressing the lever partially.
- Height. Universal (or Comfort) Height means that the real height of the toilet throne (including the plastic seat) is between 17 and 18 inches (as ADA regulations prescribe). This makes it more comfortable for adults (including the elderly and disabled, as the ADA regulations suggest). At the same time, it’s less comfortable for kids and shorter adults. And, due to a bit unnatural position, it may provoke constipation. So don’t take your phone with you if your toilet is comfort height!
- Water surface. I didn’t pay much attention to it in reviews, simply because it very rarely caused complaints or, on the contrary, made people glad. In short, the water surface is the area covered with water when it’s still between flushes. In itself, it defines not so much because it depends on the bowl geometry. Still, some consider that a larger water surface means better waste removal. Others think that it doesn’t matter that much.
- Noise level. It would be best to check the sound by yourself, by finding the model you’re interested in already installed somewhere. Or read the review, as toilet search system (as far as we know) is not invented yet.
You may go the other way: if you run into a toilet you want to have at home, you can take some time, picture the toilet info with your phone, and then google it by characteristics.
The information about the manufacturer and the model is usually on the back of the tank lid. If you’re not willing to intervene (or the lid is absent, hehe), you better just ask the host about it.
What Is WaterSense?
The WaterSense certified products comply with the requirements by the eponymous program supported by the EPA. If your toilet is WaterSense-certified, it means it consumes at least 20% less water per flush than regular models.
In fact, now those “regular” models have been virtually pushed out of the market. WaterSense seems to lose its meaning due to that. Still, it’s the mark that your device (toilet, in our case) consumes less water than others, though those others have become red-listed.
Low Flow Toilet FAQ
At this point, I`d like to provide several questions and the answers to them to help you choose the best water saving toilet for your own happiness.
Are low flow toilets worth it?
I would say it’s not worth running and changing your decent toilet because it’s not LF. But if your old one asks for retirement, or you have just moved into a new place, you better choose among water-conserving toilets anyway.
How much do low flow toilets save?
In theory, with the best water-saving toilet, you can save up to 4K gallons a year with just one toilet (and pay less, respectively). In practice, it depends on how many people are using it on a regular basis. In addition, if you have a dual-flush model where only partial flush is low flow, there will be even less to save. Still, though, it’s worth it.
Do low flow toilets clog more easily?
It’s one of the major problems standing before manufacturers reducing water consumption. Still, this standard is almost thirty years old, so old prejudices have become obsolete. Most of them invent new flushing technologies that make the flow more powerful.
Some also develop new surface types, more resistant to debris and stains, and thus easing the overall flow, preventing clogging. The models reviewed above, though, suffer from that very rarely. In addition, not only the toilet may cause clogging, but the draining system after it.
Maybe my old toilet is a low-flow too?
If it was purchased in the U.S. and installed after 1992, chances are it is. Since 1992, low flow certification has become mandatory in the USA. But if you have a monster made before that date, it may consume enormous volumes like 4 GPF or even more.
How can I make my low flow toilet work better?
Make sure it does not leak. Check its hardware and update it if necessary. The manufacturer of the toilet usually published hardware details on its website. And – maybe it’s too late to advise if it’s already installed – select the right height.
Are they really made in the U.S.?
Toilets are one of those industries that are harder to relocate. Kohler, American Standard, and TOTO really have their plants in the U.S. As for Woodbridge, it’s probably manufactured in China but still certified in the USA. Overall, the American toilet market is dominated by domestic vendors.
Let It Go with a Little Flow!
So, now you know a bit more about low flow toilets and how to choose the perfect model for your home. Even those not into toilets as art now know more about this utility.
Which one have you chosen or are you about to choose? Would you recommend some of the mentioned models, or, on the contrary, argue against them? Maybe mention some others I have overlooked? I’d like to hear about the troubles or bright days you had with your water-saving toilets. So drop some lines in comments; this time, toilet humor is welcomed here.