When pressure-assisted toilets first came about, they had to compete with the market stronghold gravity-feed toilets. It is still an interesting and ongoing competition between the two types, with companies often catering to both by creating models that combine their strengths. The goal of pressure-assisted designs is a smaller, more modern take on toilets that is built for commercial use. They gained popularity in business settings for being reliable with multiple users. When residential users also showed interest, consumer based pressure-assisted toilets became a worthy buy.
Brands that manufacture this type of toilet are known for pushing their other types of toilets or appliances. American Standard, Kohler and Zurn are the popular brands for pressure-assisted models. Kohler is the name that you want to pay the most attention to since it is also a contender inthe gravity-feed market. Even with the established pressure-assisted brands, there are still plenty of choices outside of these three companies. Ove Decors and AquaSourceare also notable brands that make good pressure-assisted models. Toto, one of the biggest gravity-feed producers, is not on this list. Toto continues to improve the gravity-feed model to dominate that market.
It’s no secret that pressure-assisted toilets come with a higher price tag than other types. The tighter mechanics of their design require more complex parts, leading to a build that is higher in overall costs. The premium you pay for a pressure-assisted toilet is worth it for homes with low water pressure, where the flush will still maintain its power. The consistent performance regardless of the home water system is why high-priced pressure-assisted toilets pay for themselves. Some of best models on the market are reasonably priced, so it just takes a little bit of research to find a good deal. With enough searching, you can get a high end pressure-assisted toilet for not much more than a gravity-feed model.
Pros And Cons Of Pressure-Assisted Toilets
Pressure-assisted toilets come with a lot of pros and cons, many that may come as a surprise to some users. Buyers that need a quick chart to help them decide on their purchase can reference this pro/cons list. All of the essential information below will give you a general idea of why people favor pressure-assisted models, and also why some go in a different direction. Although a few points are obvious (like price), there are some surprising features of pressure-assisted models that you may not have considered before.
Powerful Flush – The pressure of the flush gets rid of waste in one go. It is powerful, fast and does the job without wasting water with a second flush. Even older pressure-assisted models excel in this area, and can rival present-day models. The power behind the flush is the main selling point of pressure-assisted toilets, and even with improvements to the gravity-feed design, pressure-assisted still remains the most powerful type.
Better For Humid Climates – Tank condensation is at its worst when the toilet is used in humid climates. Australia, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona are good examples of places that pressure-assisted toilets can thrive. Tank condensation is also known as tank sweat, and in the bathroom where germs and bacteria grow, it can be a cause for concern. Eliminating tank sweat reduces the opportunities for bacteria and germs to grow. Less of both means a longer lifespan for the toilet and surrounding materials in the bathroom.
Cleaner Bowls – Getting waste down with the first flush doesn’t mean that the bowl will be clean. Sometimes second and third flushes have more to do with ‘cleansing’ the bowl. Pressure-assisted toilets use a combination of high-powered flushing with higher water levels to ensure the bowl remains clean after a flush. Streaks and other materials are not left over after a flush, which is something that is vital in a multiple-use toilet.
Smaller/Lighter – Pressure-assisted toilets are smaller than other types, so as a result, can fit in smaller bathrooms. This is beneficial for multiple reasons. Consumers that need a high-use toilet for multiple users sharing a small bathroom will find a pressure-assisted type ticks all of the boxes. Customers also benefit from the clean bowl that results from a pressure-assisted flush, reducing cleaning time for the individual.
Low Water Consumption – Lower water consumption saves you money and puts less stress on the pipes. Combine that with less flushes and you have a toilet that was made for people who want to save money on their water bill. Pressure-assisted toilets are not affected by low water pressure. The flush won’t be less powerful since the mechanics of the toilet work with the water already in the bowl rather than depending on the quality of the water coming in. Apartments/homes/businesses with a weak water supply line should be fine when using a pressure-assisted toilet.
Less Designs – The advantage that gravity-feed toilets have over pressure-assisted models is the variety of designs. Although plentiful, you’ll have less choices in a catalog, something that can be a real problem for buyers who want a specific look. And if you’re looking for a combination of great features and pleasing design, the options are even more limited.
Price – This is a well-known con of buying a pressure-assisted toilet. The price will always be higher than a gravity-feed model, even after patience and research. You can still get good deals on them, and some lucky buyers get away with spending a little more than they would have for a gravity-feed model. But trying to find that ‘perfect price’ is one of minor frustrations of going the pressure-assisted route.
Noisy – That extra power comes with noise that is louder than other models. It’s noticeable, so even if the walls aren’t thin in the bathroom you’ll hear it. Pressure-assisted toilets are still a lot less noisy than they used to be, but there is still a long way to go in that department. Right now, the level is acceptable, with the technology improving on major models so that the next generation is even better.
Expensive Parts – Pressure-assisted toilets are not DIY friendly. They have complex mechanics that are hard to fix on your own, and getting parts for them is expensive. This isn’t too surprising since the toilet itself has a high price tag, but high-price parts means that maintenance and occasional fixes will be expensive. The cost of the parts along with professional fees will strain your wallet, especially if more than one pressure-assisted toilet is involved.
No Mod Support – One of the great things about gravity-feed toilets is that they can be modified for better performance. Pressure-assisted toilets are more complex, leaving a lot of beginner and intermediate users out of the picture. You need to be an expert with professional experience to even consider modifying a pressure-assisted toilet. And even with modifications, the gains are not worth the trouble. Think of a pressure-assisted toilet as a tricked out car that is already pushed to its limit.
Plenty of users have positive stories about their new pressure-assisted toilets, with a lot of those users being longtime gravity-feed consumers. The change to these new models has a lot to do with some of the features listed below. While many of them are standard on leading brands, there are a few proprietary technologies that make the price of pressure-assisted well worth it.
- Pressure-assisted flush is the most powerful flush you can get in the industry on the consumer level. Even on the business side, there is no flush that is this powerful without wasting water.
- EverClean surface is used by American Standard, but has other names under different brands. An EverClean surface maintains the integrity of the bowl and protects it from mold, mildew and bacteria. Stains or odors will not be a problem with EverClean technology.
- Users can hook up their plumbing faster than ever with Speed Connect. This tank and bowl coupling system saves a massive amount of time during the installation or during repairs. The technology is also used with other appliances in the home that rely on water. Hookup is fast and simple, so once you’ve done it the first time, every other appliance is muscle memory.
- FloWise is a feature that is included with water saving models. There is no better way to conserve water than with a bathroom toilet featuring this specific technology. The good news is that it is also available on showers, bathtubs and other appliances in the home that use water. A home with a pressure-assisted toilet and other FloWise appliances can save up to 33,000 gallons per year. This feature by itself proves that the high upfront cost of a pressure-assisted toilet is an investment.
Why Choose A Pressure-Assisted Toilet Over Gravity-Feed?
No matter how much gravity-feed toilets improve, they won’t catch up to the power guarantees of a pressure-assisted toilet. And with water saving technology on top of power, it really is a modern bathroom marvel. That is why pressure-assisted toilets started out so popular in business and industrial facilities. It is a high cost upfront but a longtime money saver in areas where water bills run high. With the right setup, you could lower the water usage to 1.1 gallons per flush. That is a massive improvement from gravity flush toilets, where the high-end models boast about 1.6 gallons per flush. Easy installation options and less clogs round out the many reasons why pressure-assisted is a wise choice for any home.
How Does A Pressure-Assisted Toilet Work?
A pressure-assisted toilet has a completely sealed tank when looking at it from the top. Once the tank begins to fill with water, air gets compressed inside the tank. Think of the way an air gun stores air (energy) and then forces out ammo. When you flush a pressure-assisted toilet, it is doing the same with the water rather than letting gravity pull waste down. That is why the sound is loud when you flush a pressure-assisted toilet. It is literally shooting the waste and water into the pipes while simultaneously spraying the bowl clean. A few models take it a step further and allow the use of a battery or electric pump to compensate for water pressure that is too low. For reference, models exist that can operate in ranges as low as 20-25 PSI.
Are Repairs Easy?
No, and this is one of the reasons repairs was listed under cons. Repairs with pressure-assisted toilets are meant for experts or professionals. There are guides online that walk users through the steps of fixing smaller problems, but anything that involves taking the tank apart (or replacing a part) is asking for trouble from inexperienced users. Without the proper know-how, it is recommended that consumers avoid trying to fix their pressure-assisted toilets if they run into trouble. If it is under warranty, messing with the tank in any way is an automatic void of that warranty, so be careful.
Cleaning A Pressure-Assisted Toilet
Other than the usual bathroom cleaning, nothing special needs to be done with a pressure-assisted toilet. Maintenance is light, and bowl cleanliness is guaranteed since they are made with materials that naturally fight bacteria/mold/odors. These will fare well in humid climates as condensation isn’t a big issue with these models. Just like gravity-feed types, cleaning with popular brands (Scrubbing Bubbles/Lysol/etc.) should be more than enough on a weekly basis, or as needed. Instead of using a drop-in tablet, users can buy an on-the-bowl cleaner since the tank is sealed. Gel stamps are a popular way to keep the bowl fresh and clean without using a drop-in tablet.
Pressure-assisted toilets are an expensive but welcome option to any home or business setting. Their high performance and low water consumption makes these toilets an ideal buying choice.