What is a rimless toilet? Why they can be more hygienic and quieter

A Grohe rimless wall hung toilet with white tiled backdrop
Rimless toilets have a smooth surface in the absence of a rim (Image credit: Grohe)

Eco-conscious renovators and homebuilders may find themselves asking ‘what is a rimless toilet?’ as they seek out ways to reduce their water consumption and use of chemical cleaning products.

Toilets are a vital part of the home – for obvious reasons – but the importance of its functionality and design appeal often go unthought of.

Here, we go into the benefits and drawbacks of rimless toilets, taking into account hygiene, cost, noise, and other factors.

For more insight, read our extensive article about the various different types of toilet.

What is a rimless toilet?

A rimless toilet 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.

Many people also consider them more aesthetically pleasing than traditional toilets, which largely have had the same design and toilet dimensions for decades. The efficient flush technique also uses less water.

There are two main types of rimless toilet: back to wall and wall-hung. Wall-hung toilets are attached to the wall, which means no contact with the floor. The cistern and pipework are located inside the wall cavity, giving it a minimalist and modern look, like with this Grohe wall hung rimless toilet (pictured above) available with concealed cistern at B&Q.

Back to wall sit flush against the wall like traditional toilets, with no gap between the toilet pan and the wall, making cleaning easier. You can also find close-coupled rimless toilet but generally these tend to be of more contemporary rather than traditional style. You can find out more about 'what is a close-coupled toilet?' in our guide.

A rimless wall hung toilet against an emerald green tiled wall

This rimless wall hung toilet is £199.99 at Tap Warehouse (Image credit: Tap Warehouse)

Why are rimless toilets more hygienic?

The absence of a thin, enclosed rim makes rimless toilets easier to clean and more hygienic than a traditional toilet, because limescale and germs don’t build up. This also means less cleaning products are required.

Tap Warehouse’s Tom Drake says cleaning the rim of a traditional toilet is tricky because it’s always too small to clean with a sponge, brush, or even a hygiene wipe or old toothbrush, and therefore it never feels like it has had a thorough clean.

Even when bleach is squirted in, you cannot really see where the chemical is going and parts of the rim are easily missed.

He said: “Think about how much easier it would be to clean if there was no rim. You could simply wipe in one smooth motion. There would be no need for any brushes and you can see exactly where you’ve cleaned.”

Not only is a rimless toilet easier to keep clean, it will stay more hygienic after every flush because the direct flush technique used by most rimless toilets shoots water around the entire bowl, whereas a traditional toilet may have spots the water doesn’t reach.

A woman with a blue cloth cleaning the top of the toilet pan

The GoodHome Cavally Close Coupled Rimless Toilet With Soft Close Seat is available for for £160 at B&Q (Image credit: B&Q)

Are rimless toilets quieter?

Generally, yes. Not only are rimless toilets more sanitary than traditional ones, but they are also quieter thanks to their advanced designs and water-saving capabilities – some manufacturers claim they are 80% quieter than traditional toilets.

This is because rimless toilet technology often incorporates a superior flushing system. The water is propelled around the entire bowl horizontally, creating a powerful flush that is both efficient and effective.

What are the disadvantages of rimless toilets?

Wellsons’ bathroom blogger Anthony Jones rimless toilets sometimes have the possibility of splashback because there is no rim to block the swirling water.

Although rimless toilet manufacturers have taken steps to reduce splashing, it might still occur if it is not properly installed. For example, if the flush flow valve is not properly positioned, water splashing might ensue and create a mess in your bathroom. Install them with care or hire a professional to do it for you.

Rimless toilets also have a more complex manufacturing process, making them more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Most tend to hover around £200.

Jones adds: “As rimless toilets are a relatively new bathroom innovation, finding replacement parts may not be as straightforward compared to traditional toilets.”

If you are adding a toilet to your bathroom, take a look at our piece on fitting a toilet seat as well as bathroom design.

wall hung contemporary toilet

This Duravit rimless wall hung toilet is available from Amazon for £554 (Image credit: Duravit UK)
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.