16 Saniflo Pros and Cons

Saniflo toilets offer a design which makes it possible to add one almost anywhere in your home. It eliminates the need to break through floors or install complex plumbing systems. This innovative design creates an upflush macerating system which has been around since the 1950s.

The design is quite simple. Instead of connecting the new toilet to the existing drain pipe, the Saniflo system can send waste up to 150 feet away. It also contains the capacity to flush waste upward up to 18 feet to connect with your home’s system. There is no other water-pumping toilet system on the market today which offers this set of features.

The macerating feature pulverizes the waste after the toilet flushes. Then the waste is pumped to your septic or soil stack (or to your main sewer pipe) up to 150 feet away. Once the process is finished, the toilet refills with water and the tank are clean.

If you’re thinking about the installation of a new toilet in your home, then here are the Saniflo pros and cons to review.

List of the Pros of Saniflo

1. A Saniflo toilet installation can occur almost anywhere in the home.
Saniflo toilets are installable almost anywhere in the home, regardless of what your drainage system or plumbing setup happens to be. Because it is an upflush system, these toilets are an excellent addition to a basement bathroom where upward movement of waste is necessary. You can even install them in areas not initially intended for a toilet, like an outdoor workshop, a nook under the stairs, or a similar location. The waste goes directly to external sewage or your septic system.

2. It offers a free-standing ejection system.
Some Saniflo toilets do connect to drainage systems, sometimes requiring plumbing beneath the floor and excavation work below and behind the unit. To avoid this issue, consider using one of the free-standing ejection systems for the sewage instead. These systems install below the incoming waste level on elevated platforms. A separate pump is used to handle the waste to send it where it needs to go. You’ll find that the cost of installing this toilet option can be 50% of the cost when compared to traditional toilet options.

3. Many Saniflo toilets are highly portable.
Macerating toilets are very portable, especially if the system is constructed as an all-in-one unit. There are models which require you to remove four screws to take it to a new location. That is why Saniflo products are useful for homes that support the elderly or those with special needs. Most systems require zero digging or breaking, and even when it is necessary, the impact to the home is minimal.

4. They last as long as any other toilet on the market today.
Saniflo toilets are tested for up to 50,000 flushes as part of their product guarantee. Most of the products will last between 10 to 15 years for the average family. Some models last much longer when given proper maintenance and quick repairs when necessary. That means you can fight the gravity of waste by sending it vertically or horizontally to reach a system without adding to the risk of blocking your waste pipes as a traditional toilet would offer.

5. Saniflo toilets use less energy when compared to a standard toilet.
Because the water pressure isn’t forcing the waste in its whole form with a Saniflo toilet, the flushing process is much smoother with this technology. Impeller technologies also use less water than the traditional toilet, which means you save on every flush. Some models, such as the Sanicompact, fit in half-bathroom applications with a built-in macerating system and additional water savings with a dual-flush system. Even the compact models feature vertical flushes of up to 9 feet to meet the specific needs of your home.

6. This technology is exceptionally water-efficient.
Saniflo toilets meet or exceed water use expectations across the United States, including in areas where restrictions take place. A standard flush on most models uses 1.28 gallons, while the dual flush model offers a 1 gallon per flush option. Compared to the traditional toilet design, you may save upwards of 70% if you replace an older toilet with this technology. It may also help you achieve specific energy-efficiency ratings in your home which may qualify for insurance discounts.

7. You can hookup additional sanitary fixtures to your Saniflow tank.
Saniflo says that a shower can be installed on most of their products in addition to the toilets that are placed in the home. Your shower base must be raised a minimum of 6 inches to accommodate the design of the system, with an 8-inch raise recommended by the manufacturer. The gray water pumps equipped with the system can handle the drains of a sink, washing machine, dishwasher, and kitchen sink, but not a toilet, so do not try to hook up the Sanivite, Saniswift, or Sanishower to the Saniflo toilet you purchase.

8. It allows you to have a toilet even if there are no underground drains.
Thanks to the unique design of the Saniflo system, you can install this toilet virtually anywhere. Other toilets require an underground drain line of some type to operate correctly. That means your installation time is still fast, though not as quick as a standard toilet, and it meets temporary needs when a full-time extra toilet may not be necessary for your home. Over ten years, despite the added capital cost, a Saniflo toilet comes out to about the same price as a mid-range standard unit.

List of the Cons of Saniflo

1. Most existing homes do not benefit from this technology.
Existing homes already have supportive plumbing systems installed. Trying to hook up a Saniflo toilet to the existing system may be more trouble than it is worth. Unless you have a separate tank or system outside of the pipes and drains already available, the cost to connect the toilet to the main sewer pipe or septic outlet is comparable to what a traditional toilet installation would cost. The only benefit would be the lack of floor installation required, as most systems go through the wall instead.

2. Saniflo toilets are much noisier than the traditional unit.
With a standard toilet, your noise issue involves the flushing, draining, and refilling of the unit after use. Saniflo toilets offer another step. Once the flushing occurs, the maceration tank begins to work. Grinding the waste sent through the system gets pretty loud since there are independent pumps and systems associated with the design. Depending on the levels of insulation provided between the toilet and the tank in the wall behind, the bathroom environment could become unbearable.

3. Macerating toilets tend to become clogged more often.
Upflush toilets require a specific use pattern to avoid having them become clogged. Not only is the waste moving upward, but there is also the issue of waste not being macerated correctly in the tank. You must be careful about what you flush when using this type of system in any home. If clogs do occur, you’re limited in the products available to restore the system to its correct function. Many owners of a Saniflo toilet find that their repair or maintenance costs are higher with this system option compared to that of a traditional unit.

4. It costs a lot more to purchase a Saniflo toilet over other models.
If you purchase a Glacier Bay 1.28 gallons per flush toilet bowl and tank from a store like The Home Depot, then you might pay $89 for the entire unit. Upgrading to a Kohler toilet puts you in a price range of $119 to $244, depending on the model you prefer. The cost of a basic installation runs about $115. Even with unexpected costs, including the replacement of the rings and other issues, the total cost of a toilet replacement is $800 or less. If you were to purchase a Sanicompact toilet, the minimum MSRP is $1,034 and that comes without the macerating unit.

If you want a standard unit with the SaniBEST Pro line of products, then the suggested retail price of the toilet is above $1,400. Even if you receive a dealer discount on the toilet, expect to pay at least $1,200 before taxes on the entire system.

5. You must flush a Saniflo toilet at least once per day.
Even if you only leave for the weekend, a Saniflo toilet must be flushed a couple of times before you leave. The best practice with this design is to flush the toilet at least once per day. Without daily flushing, the tank can lose its prime, which makes it difficult to restore use to the system once you come back home. If you will be gone for an extended period and don’t have someone to watch the home for you, then speak with your installer about ways that you can keep the toilet from breaking down.

6. Saniflo offers a minimal warranty with their product compared to other toilets.
If you purchase a Saniflo toilet for your home, then you receive a 2-year warranty on the pumps with your model, along with a 1-year warranty on the tank and the toilet bowl. Your warranty begins from the date of purchase, which means a delayed installation date reduces the value of the guarantee. For comparison purposes, the intelligent toilets featured in the Kohler brand offer a three-year limited warranty instead. Saniflo also voids the warranty if foreign objects or fluids are found in the macerating unit.

7. You cannot use the toilet if the power goes out at all.
Unlike traditional toilets which can be forced flush when there is an extended loss of power, the extra step with a Saniflo toilet prohibits this from happening. The pump will not work without power. That means any sanitary fixture you’ve connected to the pump, including a shower, should not be used either. Because of this disadvantage, homes equipped with only Saniflo toilets may wish to consider connecting their toilet to a generator to avoid issues. Keep in mind that portable generators should only be used outside because of the fumes and exhaust they produce.

8. You must check with your local building codes before installing a macerating toilet.
Even though macerating toilets are permitted according to national and international building codes, there are several communities where local housing codes prevent them from being used. Although plumbers and installers should be familiar with local ordinances, you cannot rely on their word alone. Before purchasing or installing a Saniflo toilet, review all local building ordinances to determine if this technology is allowable in your home. You can do so by paying your city or village hall a visit and asking the clerk about what the local expectations happen to be.

The pros and cons of a Saniflo system are essential to review if you’re using or installing a non-traditional plumbing system. You gain access to a new toilet with a minimal installation footprint without the need to connect the item to your primary drainage pipe. If you already have an established plumbing system, however, the costs to connect this toilet option may not offer as much usefulness. Because of its ease of use and portability, this is a technology worth considering if your home requires a new toilet.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.