What is an Upflush Toilet? (And Why You Need One).

Posted by Ashley A on

Most customers that first call in ask, what is an upflush toilet and why do I need one? Of course, it’s never asked so straight forward, but this is the question on everyone’s mind. We wanted to take some time to clearly outline it for you with this comprehensive article.

A recent report from Houzz claims that most people spend 30 – 60 minutes a day in the bathroom. Maybe this is why CNBC reports that bathroom renovations provide the highest rate of return in home value. Not only does adding a bathroom boost the value of your home, but it can make your home more functional and user-friendly, as well.  

The problem with adding a bathroom?  It’s expensive.  Really expensive. According to home improvement resource, Improvenet, adding a new bathroom without existing pipes will run you $15,000 to $25,000, and higher if you’re not careful.  Perhaps the largest expense of a bathroom addition is adding pipes.

 Laying pipe is expensive

What? You don’t like spending tons of money on things you’ll never see?


In lots of cases, your pocketbook just doesn’t allow for the addition of a new bathroom. Some homes don’t even have a spare bathroom to renovate in the first place! What then?

This is where an upflush toilet can save the day!

So what is an upflush toilet? Upflush toilets, sometimes referred to as “macerating toilets,” are not new technology.  European countries have used them for years.  In fact, Saniflo invented the first version of the Upflush toilet in Western Europe in 1958. The toilets were designed to solve for tight spots and make it easier to install bathrooms below preexisting lateral lines.

Upflush Macerator with Extension Pipe
This upflush unit is using an extension pipe to hide the pump behind a wall.


Luckily, the upflush toilet has grown in popularity throughout North America over the last decade. Today, upflush toilets make it easy for everyone to add a new bathroom in a tight space (like a basement) or in places that aren’t conducive to adding pipes. Upflush toilets even allow you to set up a temporary commode for renters or lengthy visitors.


As if that weren’t enough, an upflush toilet allows you to install a bathroom virtually anywhere - without adding new pipes.  Although you can hire an installer, installing one on your own is an easy DIY process that will only take you about 4 hours - even if you’re a complete newbie beginner. At the end of the day, upflush toilets are brilliant in their simplicity: by rethinking how toilets function, the Upflush system makes it possible to install a new bathroom without breaking the bank in the process.

This Upflush System...  Does It Work?! 

We’ve heard it a thousand times. “This system seems crazy. Does it work?” The answer is yes! For all intents and purposes, an upflush toilet is exactly the same as any standard toilet. Waste goes in and flushes out the bowl with the help of strong water pressure. The only difference is what happens to that waste after you flush. While standard toilets flush gravitationally downward to your pipes, an Upflush system discharges out the back of the toilet and into a pump that houses a macerator (fancy word for “garbage disposal”). The waste is ground up and pumped up PVC piping, and off to your existing stack (literally hundreds of feet if need be). It’s a simple, streamlined solution.

Visually, the only difference between an upflush system and a standard system is that upflush toilets come with a pump. This pump is a small white unit that either sits on the floor behind the toilet, or connects to an extension pipe, which hides the pump behind a wall. If you choose the latter option, your toilet will be virtually indistinguishable from a standard system. All you need is an electric outlet for installation.

Worried about maintenance? Don’t be – the pump lasts more than a decade before requiring replacement, and that’s all the maintenance you’ll need to do – ever!

But How Does It Actually Do All That? 

If you walked into a bathroom with an upflush toilet and a regular toilet side-by-side, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. Both feature large, heavy porcelain bowls and standard seats.

They both look like, you know, a toilet.

They feature all the right things in all the right places.  Both “flush” when you press the lever. Both look attractive with a variety of home décor.  Both make the unwanted stuff go bye-bye.

 Upflush Toielt versus Regular Toilet


The primary difference between the two is that, while traditional toilets flush gravitationally, down into the drain, an upflush toilet discharges out the back, into a macerator and pump tank, which shreds the waste, then pumps it up, straight to your existing stack.

Here’s how it works:

 Upflush How Does it Work 1 

  • When you flush the toilet, discharge runs into a macerator. The macerator sits in a compact tank on the floor just behind the toilet. When you flush the toilet, the macerator uses a rapid cutting blade, which turns on automatically and transforms waste into a fine slurry. This is why upflush toilets were originally called grinder toilets when they were invented in Europe in the late 1950’s.


Upflush How Does it Work 2

  • The pump surrounding the macerator moves the waste. The waste then runs up through ¾”-1” PVC piping (note: seriously small for what you are doing—amazing!) to your main stack, where it discharges normally.
Upflush How Does it Work 3
  • The macerating tank empties. Except for the water behind the water seal, the tank is now completely empty and ready for the next use. 

At the end of the day, upflush toilets work almost the same way as a regular toilet. Like a traditional toilet, they attach to your sewer and flush waste out. Unlike a traditional toilet, though, they can go anywhere! Even better – they won’t cost you tens of thousands of dollars to install.

Add a Sink and Shower to your Pump for a Full Bathroom. 

Want to add a half bathroom or go full out with sink, shower, and bathtub?  An upflush system allows you to do it.

 Saniflo pump behind wall

Once you add the pump for the toilet, multiple fixtures can be added as well, making it easy to create a full bathroom out of nothing. Just make sure you get the right type of pump!

Residential or Commercial Strength.

Upflush toilets are ideal for residential and commercial use. Perfect for households wanting to expand and increase value (like the SaniACESS 3 model) or rental properties (SaniBEST Pro) looking for extra usability while not requiring additional maintenance, Upflush systems are also strong and durable enough to integrate into commercial establishments and accommodate extended use. Taken to the extreme, the SaniCUBIC grinder pumps (like the SaniCUBIC 2) are Upflush systems strong enough to grind and pump for multiple fixtures simultaneously between an entire building. 

 Saniflo SaniCUBIC 2

                                                The SaniCUBIC 2 hard at work!

 There are truly no limits to the applications of these brilliantly engineered Upflush systems.

10 Reasons You Need an Upflush Toilet

If you’re looking to install a new bathroom in a basement, renovate an old home to include an additional bathroom, or just want to avoid spending $10,000-$14,000 on a bathroom install, an upflush toilet might be the right answer for you. Still not convinced? There are at least ten solid reasons you need one this year.  Let’s break it down:


Benefits of Saniflo Upflush Toilet


  1. Upflush Toilets Are Less Expensive Than Traditional Toilets. Upflush toilets cost just a fraction of what traditional toilet installation costs. Installing one can easily save you thousands of dollars instead of hiring a plumber for days. This makes them a fantastic choice for budget-conscious families who can’t justify putting half of their life savings down the toilet – literally.
  2. They Allow You to Add a Bathroom Anywhere. With an upflush toilet, you can add a bathroom anywhere in your home. Transform that odd closet or empty space into a guest bathroom, or add a bathroom to the basement. Upflush toilets make the process simple and fast! As if that weren’t enough - upflush toilets even allow you to install a temporary bathroom, which is ideal for homes under renovation, homes with an elderly family member who can’t get up or down stairs, or homes with more residents than usual.
  3. A New Bathroom Can Boost the Value of Your Home. According to HouseLogic, adding an additional full bathroom to your home can boost its value by more than 20%. Unfortunately, installing a traditional bathroom can cost about $50,000. When you install a bathroom with an Upflush toilet, however, you save money and earn a better ROI down the road.
  4. You can Install It Yourself. With an Upflush toilet, you can install your own toilet in about four hours, without any prior plumbing knowledge. If you’d prefer, you can just as easily hire a professional plumber to do it for you. Your new bathroom will be up and running in just a few hours.
  5. You Won’t Know the Difference. When it comes to the size, stability, comfort, and appearance of the upflush toilet, there’s virtually no difference between this unit and the one you already have in your bathroom. While an upflush toilet includes a macerator system and pump unit, everything else looks virtually the same.
  6. Upflush Toilets Have a Long Lifespan. Upflush toilets last for about 10-15 years before any of the mechanical components need to be replaced.
  7. They Require Minimal Maintenance.  All upflush toilet units come sealed and ready to work. What’s more, they require minimal maintenance for the life of the pump
  8. Highest Consumer Ratings. Upflush toilet manufacturer Saniflo is the Industry leader and has the highest consumer ratings.
  9. Ample Warranty. Upflush toilets include a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  10. Add A Sink and Shower to Make a Full Bathroom. Without an upflush system, adding a full bathroom to a space is expensive and time-consuming. With an upflush system, though, it’s easy to add a sink and a shower anywhere, creating a full bathroom for your guests, family, or visitors.

What an Upflush Toilet is Not

An upflush toilet is not a composting toilet. While lots of people initially confuse upflush toilets with composting toilets, it’s mostly because both are relatively new designs in the U.S.

So, what’s the difference? While composting toilets use decomposition and evaporation to deal with waste and provide composting benefits, an upflush toilet is the same as the toilet you already know and love. It just runs on a system that’s engineered differently. Here’s a breakdown to help you see the difference:


Saniflo Upflush Toilet is not a Composting Toilet 

The Saniflo Advantage

There are other upflush toilet companies out there but none have the sophistication, history, research budgets, full product lineup, or performance of Saniflo. Some even carry very respectable brand names, but they are not true macerating pumps--they use old technology and frame them as proper upflush toilets.

This is why, after launching the first upflush toilet eCommerce site in the US and becoming the first eCommerce Authorized Saniflo Reseller, UpflushToilet.com still only carries one brand all these years later.  There’s just no comparison and no other brand is worthy of our promise and commitment to our customers, despite their requests.  

Saniflo SaniACCESS

Will you be fine with another brand’s upflush toilet? You won’t get the proven SFA macerating technology, the warranty, the technical support team, and the knowledge that the industry leader is hard at work for you. Compare the accessibility alone of the SaniACCESS 3 to any competing units.

UpflushToilet.com has the most senior, experienced, and knowledgeable upflush customer service team in the industry.  Our commitment to you is such that we only carry the best and most innovative products, which perform 10x better at 10% the cost.  Want to add a bathroom for 10% of the cost of adding pipes?  An upflush toilet is the answer.

As if that weren’t enough, we also offer extended customer service hours, a low-price guarantee, worry-free returns, and free shipping right to your door, complete with highly engineered packages. Our products typically arrive in 2-4 days, and we don’t charge any sales tax (except in New York). Our biggest priority is you, and we work hard to make your buying process confident, streamlined, and seamless.

The Upflush Toilet – a Simple but Brilliant Solution

If you’re ready to add that bathroom you always wanted an upflush toilet can save the day.  Whether you’re working with a tight spot, completing a closet-to-bathroom renovation, or adding a basement bathroom, an upflush toilet is an easy and functional option. Ideal for homeowners who want to add a bathroom, or renters who need to install a temporary bathroom, upflush toilets by Saniflo are a streamlined, cost-effective, simple solution. 

Now that you have the ultimate answer to the common question, what is an upflush toielt and why do I need one, you can shop the entire catalog at UpflushToilet.com

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