Canister Flush Valve Vs Flapper Compared (Which Is Better?)

Aesthetics are a major factor to consider when buying a toilet; that’s why manufacturers offer toilet models with unique designs and various colors. However, while your toilet should complement your bathroom’s décor, do not overlook its performance. For this reason, you must compare a canister flush valve vs flapper.

A canister flush valve features a cylindrical, long valve. Pressing the flush button or handle activates the canister causing the water to flow into the toilet bowl. Conversely, a flapper is connected to the flush lever’s chain and is lifted when you press the lever or handle, releasing the water.

A flapper flush valve is commonly found in older toilet models, while the canister flush valves are used in modern toilet models. Knowing the difference between these two flush valves is imperative to determine which suits you more.

Therefore, continue reading for more details on how the canister flush valve and flapper compare, including a list of pros and cons.

Is a flush valve the same as a flapper?

Canister Flush Valve Vs Flapper: An Overview

This section provides an overview of these two components.

Canister Flush Valve

A canister flush valve (Amazon Link) is a flushing mechanism featuring a tall and cylindrical valve located within the toilet tank. When you push the flush button, the valve lifts to let water flow and culminates into flushing the toilet bowl.

These valves often open wide and allow a considerable amount of water to flow. Apart from efficiency, the valves are complex and require specialized add-ons to function well.

It’s also worth mentioning that the canister flush valve is pretty new in the plumbing market, durable, and has many parts- but requires minimal maintenance.


  • It is long-lasting.
  • The buttons make it easy to flush and add a modern vibe to your toilet.
  • The canister flush valve gets the job done with a single flush because of the large amount of water entering the bowl.
  • It gives quick and efficient flushing.
  • The valve needs little maintenance.
  • Compatible with most toilet models


  • The canister flush valve is expensive.
  • The complex add-ons make it challenging to repair or replace.

Flapper Flush Valve

Cylinder toilet flappers are crafted from rubber or plastic, and as stated earlier, you’ll often see them in old toilet models. They sit inside the toilet tank to stop water from leaking into the bowl.

Plumbers usually connect flapper flush valves (Amazon Link) to metal or plastic chains and design them to block the valve unless you press the flush lever. When you activate the lever or button, this flapper lifts and pulls the chain, allowing water to enter the toilet bowl.

It activates a good enough flush that delivers water that carries the waste down the drain. It is a superb and somewhat effective method of flushing.

In reality, most toilets nowadays, especially the inexpensive ones, employ this. Another good news is it flushes adequate water at once.


  • Flapper valves are economical.
  • They are easy to repair and replace.
  • They promise efficient performance in most toilets.
  • The valves are easy to install.
  • The valves feature a simple but effective flushing mechanism.
  • Most valves have long warranties.


  • The valves deliver slow flushes.
  • They offer less efficient flushing than canister flush valves.
  • Flapper valves, especially the chain, break easily.

Canister Flush Valve Vs Flapper: Detailed Comparison

Having looked at what canister flush and flapper valves are, plus their pros and cons, there are still a few factors to consider when selecting one of the two. Here are the key features to look at:

1. Diameter

The diameter is the first thing to consider when choosing between a canister flush valve vs a flapper. The size of the bowl’s diameter determines the amount of water as well as the pressure getting into the bowl to flush the waste down the drain.

It means a system with a wider diameter is advantageous because more water enhances flushing strength and speed. With that in mind, a canister flush valve boasts a 3-inch diameter but can extend to 3.25 or 3.5 inches, while Kohler flush valve (Amazon Link) kits feature more than a 3.5-inch diameter.

Meanwhile, flapper valves are usually 2 inches wide but extend to 2.5 inches in high-end fittings. With that, we can undoubtedly conclude that canister flush valves deliver more robust and efficient flushes than their flapper valve counterparts, thanks to their wider diameter.

Canister flush valve

2. Flushing Power

Except for the dual flush capability, the performance of the canister flush valve vs flapper is not much different. The flushing power is what makes a huge difference.

Here, you must examine the size and shape of the toilet trapway. Like the diameter, a toilet with a bigger trapway has a more powerful flush than one with a narrow trapway.

The canister flush valve edges out flapper valve toilets in this aspect, thanks to the bigger trapway, which allows more water to flow out for effective flushing. A vigorous flush helps clean the toilet surface well, besides disposing of waste in the sewer.

If you are wondering why the canister flush valve seems to have it all, it’s because it is newer than the flapper valve. So, the manufacturers incorporated new enhancements to boost its performance.

Therefore, canister flush valve toilets embody greater power than flapper valve ones, which causes them to produce a quick flush. The flapper isn’t bad, despite what you would think- it’s all because the canister mechanism has a wider entrance than it.

Furthermore, the narrow trapways in flapper valve toilets cause water to move slowly with less force; but this doesn’t discount their performance.

3. Efficiency

Both flush valves are quick and provide enough flow of water to flush in a single try. However, the difference between systems with canister valves and those with flappers is that systems with canister valves may have two varieties of flushes; units with flappers can only accommodate one type.

Dual flush systems can only function with canister flush valves. Dual flush toilets work efficiently because of the two buttons integrated with the fixtures.

In addition, dual-flush toilets give you the freedom to select a flush intensity depending on whether you want to clear solid or liquid waste. Although it may not appear to be a significant variation, these alternatives can keep you from ripping off your wallet in the long run.

The quality of canister flush valves working with dual flush systems gives them an edge over flapper valves.

4. Costs

Flapper valve toilets are cheaper than their canister valve counterparts because of their simplicity and ease of installation. Nevertheless, the flapper chain and seal will demand replacement with time.

Canister flush systems cost more because of the work that goes into crafting them. They also feature more complex components than flapper valves.

The good news about canister flush systems is you can replace them effortlessly if you follow the instructions in the user manual. You don’t have to replace the whole tank or toilet, for that matter.

5. Repair and Replacement

The upkeep of both toilet flush valves includes both replacements and repairs. It makes no difference whether the toilet has a canister or a flapper valve; they all deteriorate with time and can fail due to constant use.

Flappers are considerably simpler to break than canister valves, but they are also a lot easier to repair. A canister valve, in contrast, is more challenging to fix but lasts longer.

A flapper will only need you to replace the seal or change the metal or plastic chain, but you will have to deal with the cylinder, the buttons, and the seal on a canister.

Even though canister valve units survive longer and mount more considerable resistance against chemicals and impurities than flappers, they eventually wear out. When this arises, you will need to invest additional effort and time to repair them.

In the event that they need swapping, they are also more complex than a regular flapper.

What Is the Lifespan of a Flush Valve?

The longevity of a flush valve depends on the quality of water in the supply line and how frequently your household uses the toilet. With that in mind, the life expectancy of this device is 5-7 years.

Does The Flush Valve Need to Be Fixed?

If your toilet runs continually, takes too much time to refill, or fails to flush, it’s a sign that the flush is faulty. When such problems arise, consider fixing or replacing the flush valve.

Fapper flush valve


1. Can You Replace Flapper with a Canister Flush Valve?

The type of flush valve used by a toilet is determined by its design and the materials used by the manufacturer to make it. Therefore, you can’t replace a flapper with a canister flush valve.

Final Remarks on Canister Flush Valve Vs Flapper

From this post, both canister and flapper flush valves are efficient but differ in a few aspects. Canister flush valves are durable, compatible with most toilet models, require little maintenance, and deliver quick, powerful, and efficient flushes.

On the other hand, Flapper flush valve toilets are pocket-friendly, easy to install and repair, and come with a lengthy warranty. Nevertheless, slow flushes make them less efficient than their canister counterparts.

Also, read:

Let Us Know How We’re Doing!

Did this expertly prepared resource answer your question?

Do you have another question about home maintenance, home improvement projects, home appliance repair, or something else?

Get more information, send in questions and keep the discussion going by contacting the I’ll Just Fix It Myself company customer service team at at 1-800-928-1490 or Email us at [email protected]