What are the Differences Between Commercial Toilets & Residential Toilets?

Wondering if it's possible to install a commercial toilet in your home? With its powerful bowl cleansing flush, a commercial toilet may seem to be a good alternative to a residential toilet. While these different toilets are fundamentally similar, there are some notable differences that you should consider before opting for a commercial over a residential toilet.

There are two types of commercial toilets available. Toilets that utilize a flushometer are often called spud bowls. Spud bowls use a flushometer valve instead of a tank to provide water to the bowl. Common in public settings like stadiums, airports, etc., these toilets require a 1” incoming supply line to function properly. The vast majority of residential settings have ½” incoming supply line size, making the flushometer type toilets unsuitable for these applications.

The other type of commercial toilet is a pressure-assist toilet. Similar in look to toilets used in residential applications, pressure-assist toilets include a tank, but incorporate a more powerful flushing mechanism within.

Can You Install a Commercial Toilet in a Residential Home?

Short answer? Yes and no. It is possible to install a pressure-assist toilet in a residential application as the plumbing requirements are compatible. However, a spud bowl with a flushometer has a 1” supply line requirement that would not be compatible with the ½” supply lines that are typically used in residential applications.

Pressure-Assist vs. Gravity-Fed Toilets


While pressure-assist toilets do use the force of gravity to move water from the bowl into the drainage system, they also rely on a mechanism within the toilet tank to provide additional pressure. The inner pressure-assist vessel inside the porcelain tank captures the pressure of the incoming supply line and traps a pocket of air inside the vessel along with the water. When flushed, this added pressure helps force the water into the tank to accelerate the flush and push the waste out quickly.

Pressure-assist toilets are ideal for heavy use settings, such as assisted living facilities, as they provide a more powerful flush to carry waste farther down the drain line. However, these toilets are slightly louder than their gravity-fed counterparts. Additionally, the style choices are more limited with pressure-assist toilets.

At Gerber, we have several pressure-assisted toilets available. Check them out here.


Gravity-fed toilets are the most common type of toilet used in residential applications. When you push the lever or button to flush, a valve opens inside the toilet’s tank, and water drains from the tank into the bowl. This pushes water into the trapway of the bowl and creates a siphoning effect that moves water from the bowl, through drain lines, and into the sewer pipes or your septic tank. As water flows out, a fill valve in the tank directs the water to refill the bowl and the tank until the float switch in the tank shuts off the water flow.

Also notable is that many of today's residential toilets have flushing power comparable to commercial models yet generate less noise. There are also many more style and color options available in gravity-fed models.

Interested in a gravity-fed toilet? Check them out here.

Do Commercial Toilets Use More Water Than Residential Toilets?

No. All toilets (residential and commercial) must comply with the appliance efficiency standards set by federal, state, and/or local governments. The maximum consumption requirements for residential and commercial toilets are the same, but both have multiple lower flow options.

While flushometer-type toilets are not suitable for residential settings, pressure-assist toilets can be. If you want an extra boost to the flush, or have a long drainline run, and aren’t concerned with limited design options, a pressure-assist toilet may be a good option.

Find the Perfect Toilet for Your Home at Gerber

At Gerber, we’ve earned the trust of trade professionals and homeowners alike by providing them with high-quality bathroom products at an affordable price. Explore all of our tried and true bathroom products, including gravity-fed or pressure-assisted toilets, and more. We’ll help you find the toilet that's best for you.