Types of Toilets

A toilet is just a toilet, right? Wrong, there’s lots of different types of toilets! The terms used vary from blatantly obvious to very obscure. So we’ve written a handy short guide to the many different types of toilet you may encounter!

Close Coupled

This is probably the most  common type of pan you will find in the UK. A Close Coupled toilet is defined by having the cistern sitting directly on the back of the toilet pan (the bowl where the waste goes).

There are some variations of Close Coupled toilets, the main ones being Fully Enclosed pans, in which the ceramic of the pan base extends right to the wall without a gap showing the waste pipe. Fully Enclosed pans allow for easier cleaning as there aren’t any little nooks and crannies for dirt to get trapped in.

The disadvantage to fully enclosed pans is that they’re a little more technical to fit as there’s limited access to the plumbing and soil pipe and so have to be installed in a specific way. You also can’t incorporate them when you need to have a side-exiting soil pipe. 


ARC3 ARC5 RS 1 © Bathroom Brands Group Limited set2 A Main © Bathroom Brands Group Limited




Back to Wall

Back to Wall pans are increasing popular. They don’t have a visible cistern, instead the cistern is hidden inside furniture or a stud wall behind the toilet pan, with the pan sitting right up against the wall. Hence, “Back to Wall”!

This design helps to not only conceal the plumbing but reduces cleaning by providing less surface areas. Many manufacturers produce vast ranges of furniture designed to be accompanied by back to wall toilet pans.

System 800 Juniper Lifestyle © Roper Rhodes

Wall Hung

Whilst technically Back to Wall pans as well, Wall Hung pans differ very obviously in that they are suspended above the ground instead of having an integrated plinth. They normally have an accompanying frame hidden inside the wall or furniture behind to keep them secure, often this also houses the cistern. These are very popular due to ease of cleaning from not having a plinth on the ground to work around. 

Wall hung pans are often used with the same furniture that back to wall pans are paired with. When using them with furniture the chief concern is to ensure the frame fits within the furniture but there are often multiple frame options available. 

Comfort Height

There’s many variations of toilets that cater to different body shapes and needs, the most common one is Comfort Height pans. These toilet pans sit up to around 10cm taller than a regular toilet pan which allows you to sit more comfortable if you’re taller or suffer with stiff joints. Designers often accompany these pans with an adjacent grab bar to assist movement further.

Close Coupled and Back to Wall toilet pans will explicitly state when they’re Comfort Height, but Wall Hung units normally have a range of adjustment in the frame so can be either regular or Comfort Height.

Minerva BTW pan and SCT basin with Aruba furniture lifestyle v2 © Roper Rhodes

Image 0515 Comtesse Roomset Creme Anglaise © Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd

HLT1 SQ © Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd

Low & High Level

This term refers to the height of the cistern rather than the toilet pan. Low Level cisterns are typically a much more traditional style and feature a wall mounted cistern that is connected to the toilet pan by a short pipe. 

High Level cisterns are normally in the same styles as Low Level cisterns but are fitted much higher on the wall. The advantage of this is that it gives you a more powerful flush due to the increase in pressure. 

Both often have many optional fixings in different finishes including the flush pipe and wall brackets so that they can match the rest of the fixtures in the room.


Rimless toilets are becoming more and more popular. The Rimless design allows for much easier cleaning due to there not being the classic rim where limescale typically builds up.

The system normally works by having a channel in the edge of the pan which doesn’t quite create a rim. This directs the water from a more direct/forceful outlet at the back of the toilet. There are a lot of variations on the design however, some even allow you to change the power of the flush without having to interfere with the cistern.

They’re typically available in combination with most of the other modern styles of toilet pan.


Micra Evo Rimless Flushing Detail © Tavistock

2019-geberit-aquaclean-sela-shower-toilet-with-white-monolith-smyle-bathroom-furniture-16-9 © Geberit Sales Ltd

“Shower”/”Smart” Toilet

“Smart Toilets”, also known as “Shower Toilets” are normally considerably more expensive than other styles of toilet but come with a stack of advanced features. Generally they include an integrated bidet function (hence the term “Shower Toilet”) which can be adjusted to personal preference.

Often they also feature other things like heated seats, self-closing/opening lids/seats and even self-cleaning seats in some cases!


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