The (Many) Parts of a Toilet, Explained

You might be familiar with the two basic parts of the toilet – the bowl and the tank – but there’s a lot more to your throne than you might think.

Inside your toilet, for example, several clever components work in concert to keep water and waste moving.

Read on to get a top-down look at the critical parts of a toilet tank and bowl and learn the names of the toilet parts that you need to know.

The Anatomy of a Toilet

Think of your toilet as two distinct systems – the tank and the bowl – working together.

  • The parts of a toilet tank are responsible for collecting just the right amount of water for a complete flush.
  • The toilet bowl and base parts capture and move waste to your home’s sewer or septic line.

Voila! But wait, a lot is going on behind the scenes to make that all happen:

Toilet Parts Diagram

Use this simple toilet diagram to spot each part mentioned throughout the piece. Ready to dive in? Let’s take it from the top.

Parts of a Toilet Tank

The tank is the upright portion at the back of the toilet, usually the part with the handle or button that allows you to flush the toilet attached.

Home to several moving – and floating! – parts, the tank starts the flushing process and collects fresh water for the next bathroom visit. It’s fed by water directly from your home’s plumbing.

The Toilet Tank

The toilet tank is a large container located above and behind the toilet bowl. It features a removable lid that provides easy access to the various parts inside, plus a glimpse of the water stored for your next flush.

Toilet Handle (Or Lever or Button)

The toilet handle, lever, or button is usually located on the left side of the toilet or top of the tank. Pressing the handle opens a valve inside the tank to release water into the toilet bowl below.

Toilet Chain

The toilet chain connects the toilet handle to the toilet flapper inside the tank. The chain must be just the right length to move the flapper correctly. It can sometimes get snagged or broken, but it rarely causes toilet trouble.

Toilet Flapper or Flapper Valve

Follow the toilet chain to the toilet flapper. This rubber valve lifts to allow water to flow from the tank into the toilet bowl.

Toilet Fill Valve

The fill valve is a plastic tube that allows just the right amount of water to refill the tank after a flush. It’s always located directly above where the water supply line connects to the tank. These handy valves have largely replaced toilet floats on most newer toilets.

Toilet Float

Also known as a ballcock, toilet floats are round plastic rubber balls that manage toilet tank water levels. They are only found on older toilets, with new models utilizing fill valves instead.

Many problems with older toilets are related to the ballcock, including:

  • Water continuing to flow after the tank is full.
  • The toilet tank not completely filling.
  • A toilet continually running.


Related: Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

Toilet Overflow Tube

Also referred to as the flush valve, the overflow tube is a vertical plastic tube that prevents the toilet tank from overflowing. Identifiable by its open top, the overflow tube drains excess water from the tank into the toilet bowl. While it looks a lot like the fill valve, there’s one easy way to tell them apart: The overflow tube doesn’t have a floatation device connected to it.

Toilet Water Supply Line

Your toilet’s water supply line runs from the wall (usually near the floor) into the bottom of the toilet tank. The water supply shut-off valve is located on the wall and controls water entering the supply line. If you’re installing a bidet, this is where you’ll install the included T-valve to connect water to your new bidet!

Wait, so where does the water come from when using a bidet?

The water in your bidet comes directly from the water supply line and never enters the toilet tank! We include a handy T-valve to divert fresh water from the water line directly to the bidet.

Toilet Bowl Parts: Lists and Functions

Several components in, on, and around the toilet bowl do important work in the name of hygiene. As you might expect from something designed to hold two to five gallons of water, most parts of the toilet bowl are designed to prevent leaks or movement.

Toilet Bowl

This is the start of the show. The toilet bowl collects water from the tank (and less desirable stuff from you) until it’s time to flush. It’s a solid hunk of porcelain that rarely breaks, but it does have another function worth noting: Underneath the bowl is a trap to hold fresh water from the tank that serves as a seal against sewer gases and nasty smells drifting up from the sewer line and into your bathroom.

The O-Ring

Also known as a Mack washer, the O-ring is a rubber seal located between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl. If you notice moisture under the tank, there’s a good chance that a faulty O-ring is to blame.

Toilet Wax Ring

The wax ring – or silicone seal depending on how the toilet was installed – is a gasket designed to stop water from leaking around the toilet base. It seals the connection between the toilet drain and the flange. The ring resembles a translucent donut, but you’ll only see it if you’re moving the toilet bowl from its base.

Toilet Floor Flange

The flange is a metal or plastic bracket that holds the toilet in place and connects it to the sewer drainage system. The bracket itself is secured to the toilet with screws and bolted down to the subfloor to prevent the bowl from moving. The connection is sealed with a wax ring.

We Love Toilet Talk at Bio Bidet

Toilets don’t get enough love. These handy devices revolutionized modern life and have reshaped human hygiene in little more than a century.

At Bio Bidet, we believe the next evolution of toilets is here. Shop our wide selection of bidet seats, bidet attachments, and bidet toilets for a superior, sustainable clean. Get in touch with product or installation questions; we’re always here to help!