Macerator toilet buying guide

Guide written by:
Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

18 guides

Macerator toilets are essential in homes where it is difficult – or even impossible – to connect your toilet to the waste water network. The solution lies with a built-in macerator toilet or a macerator pump for close-coupled or wall-hung toilets. Can't install a traditional toilet? Follow our guide for more info!

Important features

  • Integrated
  • Adaptable
  • Power
  • Sound level

Macerator toilet uses and installation


Macerator toilets are based on a very straightforward design principle: the water and waste from the bottom of the toilet pan are sucked out, ground up (or, technically speaking, comminuted) and then pumped out into pipes connected to your waste water network.

In order to install a macerator toilet, you will need:
  • a water supply;
  • an electrical outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI);
  • a PVC waste pipe measuring at least 22 mm in diameter (most commonly 32 or 40 mm);
  • an isolating valve;
  • a non-return valve in the correct size.
The waste is ground by an electric motor fitted with a chopper, blade or centrifugal pump. Blades are a little more efficient making them better suited to smaller waste pipes.

However, the blade only works to shred the waste and must therefore be connected to a pump – unlike choppers which grind and pump out the waste at the same time. The drawback of blade technology is that the motor is submerged in water which makes its upkeep a little more complicated. Both chopper and pump macerators feature a double chamber (including a dry enclosure).

Different types of macerator toilets

Macerator toilets are divided into two main categories: compact macerator toilets (with a built-in macerator unit) and macerator pumps which are connected to an existing toilet pans and cisterns.

Compact macerator toilets

Macerator toilets feature a macerator that is built into the toilet pan. They look almost exactly like traditional toilets, minus the cistern.

The toilet pan is rinsed by pressurised water controlled by a solenoid valve. These toilets use around 2 to 3 litres of water for a small flush and 3 to 5 litres for larger flushes.

Macerator pumps

Macerator pumps can be installed behind the toilet pan or in a different location as needed. They can be used with both close-coupled and wall-hung toilets. 

Macerator pumps can include up to 4 inlets allowing you to connect them to a shower, bathroom sink or even a washing machine. Macerator pumps start up automatically when the flush is pulled.

Macerator toilets: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages


The main advantage of macerator toilets is that they do not require a traditional waste pipe (typically measuring 100 mm in diameter).

Consequently, these sanitary units offer an alternative solution not just for domestic use (in basements, attics, bedrooms, etc.) but also for other living spaces like camper vans and mobile homes.

Disadvantages

Macerator toilets also come with a range of disadvantages. Firstly, they require the use of an electric motor which will not work during a power cut. If you frequently experience lengthy power cuts, this will prove bothersome. Secondly, the noise level produced by the unit can be problematic in busy households.

Manufacturers have gone to great effort in recent years on this front and some macerator toilets now feature quieter mechanisms.

Finally, you must avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper or specialist macerator toilet de-scalers down these toilets in order to prevent damage to the blades/choppers and seals.

Regulations for macerator toilets

While you usually won't require permission to install a macerator toilet, building regulations apply to the ventilation, plumbing and drainage of the unit.

Be sure to check all relevant regulations before installing your macerator toilet.

Drainage


Your waste pipe must be the correct diameter (>22 mm) and not contain any ascending parts which will prevent the waste from being sucked out.

The toilet must be set up with sound insulation in order to limit the noise level. Your electrical outlet must be suitable for use in a room containing moisture. Finally, you should set out the rules of use for users on a poster to avoid any problems.

Macerator toilet features

Pumping distance


The pumping distance of a toilet describes the maximum height or distance the water can be pumped. 

The horizontal pumping distance – with a minimum gradient of 1% – is 20 to 60 cm. The pumping height can range from 1 to 7 m (two storeys) depending on the model.

Motor power rating

The power of the motor can range from 250 to 600 W. The greater the power rating, the quieter and more efficient the motor.

Anti-limescale treatment

An anti-limescale treatment will prevent you from having to use too many cleaning products.

Bacteriostatic toilet pans


Bacteriostatic toilet pans prevent the growth of bacterial. This is an undeniable advantage for any toilet pan.

Flush mechanism



A quiet mechanism, as mentioned above, is preferable for busy households.

Toilet seats


Removable, anti-bacterial toilet seats with child locks are ideal for optimum hygiene and households with children.

Size

Smaller toilets are recommended when space is tight.

Macerator toilet use and maintenance


In order to avoid any unwelcome surprises – and to avoid having to clean the inside of the mechanism with a chisel – remember to keep on top of cleaning your macerator toilet.

Finally, you must only flush toilet paper down the toilet and use a de-scaler designed specifically for macerator toilets.
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Guide written by:

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol 18 guides écrits

Dennis, self-taught DIYer, Bristol

I first got into DIY around ten years ago, when I bought a house in desperate need of a makeover.

After insulating the loft and refurbishing the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, I set about building an extension, installing a gated fence and fitting the house with a solar water heater. I’ve poured tens of tonnes of concrete into slabs and foundations and also renovated a roof. In short, it’s safe to say that I’m no stranger to building work!

I’ve logged hundreds of hours browsing DIY forums and magazines trying to find the best solutions to my specific problems. For that reason, I feel it’s only fair to give back some of my own experience and share my knowledge of tools and building equipment.

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