What is a back-to-wall toilet?

Back-to-wall toilets save space in bathrooms
Back-to-wall toilets save space in bathrooms (Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are asking what is a back-to-wall-toilet then our guide is here to clear things up. Homeowners building or renovating bathrooms may face challenging space constraints or be seeking something sleek and modern as an alternative to more traditional fittings — and this is where back-to-wall sanitaryware comes in. 

The best types of toilet offer innovative and state-of-the-art solutions as not all of us have the available floorspace we might like. This means homeowners are still able to enjoy all the creature comforts they desire without being left with a space that feels cramped or uncomfortable.

Back-to-wall toilets are just one of many different fittings that makes the most of minimal layouts and here we take a look at whether one could be right for you.

What is a back-to-wall toilet?

Richard Southern at PriceYourJob.co.uk, says a back-to-wall toilet is just as it sounds — the back of the toilet sits directly up against your wall. The cistern is separate, so it can be hidden behind a wall or panel. This helps to give your bathroom or toilet a clean-lined modern look.

This may leave you asking 'what is a wall hung toilet then?' It is different to back-to-wall model in that a wall hung toilet hangs on the wall and is kept in place thanks to a framework system installed behind it. 

What is the difference between back-to-wall and close coupled toilets?

Close-coupled toilets can look similar to back-to-wall toilets, as their pan often sits up against the wall. However, the cistern sits directly onto the back of the pan rather than behind a panel.

They come in all kinds of styles and space-saving designs, perfect for those worried about toilet dimensions impacting with their bathroom layout or on the hunt for small bathroom ideas, are also available.

What are the advantages of back-to-wall toilet?

Richard says back to wall toilets are great for creating a chic, spa-like bathroom, although those after stylish family bathroom ideas can also benefit.

“This uncluttered look can also make your space feel bigger," explains Richard. "Back-to-wall toilets benefit from a covered cistern and many have a D-shaped pan that fits flush to the wall and floor."

Shamila Iqbal, director at Bathroom Mountain, adds: “They are particularly useful in a small bathroom or cloakroom as with the hidden cistern they take up less space.

“Additionally, their sleek design makes them easier to clean than more traditional designs that have more crevices where dirt can get trapped.”

With rising water prices, homeowners may want to install more efficient systems to save cash, to say nothing of the environmental benefits of conserving potable water. 

What are the disadvantages of a back-to-wall toilet?

"Access is the biggest disadvantage of back-to-wall toilets. Because the cistern is usually tucked behind a panel, it takes more time and effort to fix plumbing problems," says Richard.

“Although hiding your cistern is great from an aesthetic perspective, it does take more time and materials to complete the installation,” he adds. “So, it’s usually a more expensive option.”

However, you can get back-to-wall toilets fitted with a range of smart controls. Although this may seem like a bit of a gimmick, they do have some practical uses. Some have automatically opening and closing seats, which makes them more hygienic to use and can prevent a lot of arguments over who left the seat up.

Other smart controls include air purifiers, heated seats and self-cleaning mechanisms, making the whole experience more pleasant for busy households.

Richard says: “You can also opt for a rimless design with a wash-down flush to further reduce the need for manual toilet cleaning, which most of us can appreciate.

“You can also choose to combine bidet-style features into your toilet and jets with adjustable temperature and pressure settings help you stay fresh and use less toilet paper.”

Homeowners may also want to consider a rimless toilet, which is simply a toilet that does not have a traditional rim. Instead of water flowing into the bowl around the rim, they have a direct flush technique that funnels water around the edge of the pan, which is smooth.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.