How Tankless Toilets Work

Performance Toilets

Performance toilets aim to combine the most basic of human functions with extreme luxury and elegance. As a result, these days, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a tankless system without having to settle for an industrial-looking loo. The catch is that they have to invest in a toilet equipped with some sort of flush assistance.

Flush-assisted toilets come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. A range of technologies power the flush of tankless systems, each with its own clever yet stylish way of whisking away waste. One example is Kohler's line of toilets with a technology called Power Lite [source: Kohler: Power Lite]. With this system, a tankless toilet is flushed using a 0.2 horsepower pump. Kohler also makes the Pressure Lite toilet [source: Kohler: Pressure Lite]. In this system, the flush is powered by a pressurized vessel held inside a tank that's connected to the bowl. So, technically, there is a tank involved, but it is not used to hold water in the way that traditional toilets do.

Another example of a flush-assisted tankless toilet is TOTO's Neorest. These high-tech models are powered by a flush engine (aptly named the Cyclone). As with traditional tankless toilets, Neorest's flush is controlled by a valve. The difference is that the valve is computer-controlled to release water in stages, though it uses only 1.2 gallons per flush [source: TOTO]. As with the Power Lite, Neorest toilets are run on electricity, so they will not work in the event of a power outage.

Another type of seemingly tankless toilet is the concealed tank toilet. As the name implies, concealed tank toilets are not tankless, but run on a gravity-powered tank system that is hidden from view, usually behind a wall. They are becoming increasingly popular because of space issues in many homes -- concealed tank toilets can save an average of 6 to 8 inches of space in a bathroom [source: Duravit].

These high-tech tankless toilets do not come cheap. Starting at about $1,000, they are significantly pricier than the standard $100 tank models. On the other hand, these high-performance devices do more than just carry away your waste. Most can be outfitted with a wide array of cool gadgets and fancy features, which we'll take a look at in the next section.