Thursday, September 5, 2019

American vs. European toilets

I'd finally like to bring to light a topic that has puzzled me (but not fascinated me) since I first visited the States in 1997, the topic of differences in toilet design.

I grew up using European-style toilets. These are basically the same as American toilets, but they have a much larger hole in the bottom for waste to pass through to the sewer, and they're not half-filled with water when idle like their American counterparts. When these European style toilets are flushed, they empty the toilet tank rapidly, and the water gains speed as it pours down the sides of the bowl, thereby providing a strong water current to effectively flush away waste.

American toilets on the other hand have a smaller hole in the bottom, are half-filled with water when idle, and tend to flush more gently than their European counterparts. The small hole at the bottom tends to block more easily if too much paper is used, and this problem is exacerbated by the large amount of water already sitting in the bowl, which reduces the velocity of the water pouring down the sides of the bowl during flushing, thereby reducing its power to remove waste. This pool of water also tends to swirl into a vortex, thereby smearing shit around the bowl, and since the object of flushing is to make the water and waste go down the hole, it puzzles me as to why you would want the water to move in any direction other than straight down the hole.

The tendency of the American toilet design to block more easily means that one often finds plungers next to the toilet in both public and private bathrooms. Furthermore, in places of business, one often discovers upon flushing that a suction system is being used to help suck waste through the small hole at the bottom of the toilet. This seems somewhat wasteful of resources, especially considering that a larger hole would solve the problem.

Now don't get me wrong, there are pros and cons of both designs. For example, the smaller distance between your ass and the waterline in the American design means there is no "splash back" when taking a crap, which is a problem often encountered in the European design, and which can only be overcome by placing a piece of paper on the surface of the water before beginning your business.

Another advantage of the American design is that it tends to make people conserve paper because it blocks easily if overloaded. However, I believe this environmental advantage is annulled by the need to use more water by flushing more times to get rid of the paper, for fear of causing a blockage - there's no bathroom disaster more terrifying than a load of shitty water overflowing onto you bathroom floor. Also, as I've said, the need for suction systems at places of businesses is clearly a waste of resources that could be alleviated with a larger hole in the base of the toilet.

A further environmental consideration is that water is a precious resource is Southern California, yet despite this I have not once seen a dual flush toilet anywhere in the region. This design is used in some parts of the world where water is scarce, and allows one to select half or full flush depending on whether you just went number one or number two. It surprises me that this idea has not made it to SoCal.

If anyone would like to elaborate on these issues, or add further points, please feel free to add a reply to this post.

-Dave Bad Person


Snoop Pussy Pussy writes:

Many issues with the American toilet came from the requirement of low flow units (1.6 gallon flush). Until recently the toilets weren’t redesigned for the smaller volume of water. There are a lot of good toilets on the market; the problem is your not going to get one for $69 , also there are many dual flush toilets on the market. I know someone who has the Eljer Titan (which he claims is the best crapper on the market). It will handle an upper decker. Personally I like Toto toilets (originally from Japan).



  1. Using American toilets was the most distressing thing ever I can't lie .... more water makes the splash back situation even worse !! Because you can't cover all that water with toilet paper to stop it from happening.... also the stalls themselves where half your legs are showing and you can stare at someone through the gap ??!! What was that about ... I couldn't wait to get home to fully enclosed cubicles

  2. I found this because I am a north american, in eastern Europe and am baffled by European toilet bowl design.

    Why do European toilets have the ceramic specifically under you asshole, so when you shit it smears all over the bowl? It's a horrible mess everytime. Although North American toilets have lots of water, the shit drops into the water and it keeps the smell down and the smearing is minimized. I find shitting in European toilets such a pain in the ass (get it?) Cause I'm spending more time flushing and waiting for the cistern to refill to flush again and brushing the shit smears off.

    Btw, There isn't a specific suction device in North America, it's the small diameter and S shape of the toilet design that creates a suction (siphon action). You can always hear that "gurgle" as it sucks all the water out of the bowl. But yes it tends to clog often.

    The best toilets so far I've found are Australian toilets (carina is the brand I like). Huge diameter, and good toilet bowl design where the pool of water is minimized but directly under your asshole so the shit goes in the water.