What Are The Types Of Toilet Flappers?

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Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by acechapman

It’s easy to forget the importance of the flapper when you examine the anatomy of a toilet. The humble flapper in the toilet is an important part of your bathroom.

Installing your toilet incorrectly can lead to leaks, water loss, and the inability to flush the toilet properly.

You must choose the right toilet flapper for you to install or replace.

There are many types of toilet flappers on the market. This makes it difficult for homeowners to select the right flapper for their toilets.

This article will provide all the information you need about the various types of toilet flappers and other details related to this crucial component.

What is a Toilet Flapper?

The flapper is the part of the toilet that drains water from the tank into the bowl when it is flushed. Toilet flappers are also different in design and model.

Flappers are designed to stay sealed in case there is any water in the tank. The flapper is attached to the tank lever by a chain. When the lever is pressed, it pulls the chain up and lifts the flapper. This causes water to be released into the bowl.

A flapper has an air ball inside that floats when there is enough toilet tank. The flapper ball that floats when the tank is full (full flush) does not float again and seals the valve.

types of toilet flappers

What are the Different Types Of Toilet Flappers?

There are three types of toilet flappers: rubber flappers, seat disc flappers, and tank ball flappers. Each flapper has a unique operating mechanism so you will need to choose the right one for your toilet.

This can be done by opening your tank’s lid and looking at the flapper. If you are looking for a flapper, you can take a photo and bring it along.

Different Types of Toilet Flappers

Tank Ball Flapper

They are technically not toilet flappers, but they perform the same functions as flappers. Tank balls are more prevalent in older toilets.

The tank ball is attached by a lift wire that, when relaxed, seals the flush valve. The trip wire is pulled up when the toilet is flushed. This releases the tank ball from its place in the flush valve. The water will then flow into the toilet bowl through the flush valve.

The shape and condition of a tank ball flapper can deteriorate with time. The tank ball won’t seal the flush valve well enough to stop water from seeping down into the toilet.

Seat Disk Flapper

Seat Disk Flappers have a small, round disk that covers the overflow pipe at the bottom. The seat disk stops water from entering the overflow pipe. Flush the toilet and the flapper will open allowing water to flow.

There are some limitations to seat disk flappers. They can also be very large and take up much space in the tank. They are also a bit harder to replace.

Rubber Flapper

The most common type of toilet flapper is the rubber flapper. It functions in the same way as the tank ball flapper. When you flush the toilet, the chain lifts the flapper so that water can flow through the valve.

These flappers can be made entirely of silicone or rubber and are very flexible. Others are made from hard plastic with a silicone or rubber seal at the bottom.

The rubber flapper type is the most popular, as they are reliable and readily available.

It is important to be familiar with the type of toilet flapper that you have before you shop at the hardware store. An incompatible flapper could make the situation worse.

Many flappers can be used in a particular toilet.

How Does A Toilet Flapper Work?

Below is a video to show you how a toilet flapper works.

How big a toilet flapper do I need?

You can determine the size of the flapper you require by inspecting the draining pipe at the bottom of your toilet tank. There is no universal size for flappers because toilets are different in size, shape, and design.

Flappers are usually available in sizes of two- to three inches. Two-inch flappers were common in the past. Lately, however, three-inch flappers are now available.

You can measure the flush valve sizes to determine the right size. You can also do a quick estimate of its size.

If the flush valve system is as large as a baseball, you’ll need a 2-inch flapper. However, if the flush device is the same size as a softball you’ll need a 3-inch flapper.

What is the Lifespan of a Toilet Flapper?

A toilet flapper will last approximately five years on average. If you use strong chemical bowl cleaners, corrosion can occur, and frequent flapper replacement will become necessary. You should be careful about what cleaners you use.

Why do Toilet Flappers fail?

The toilet flapper is a common part of a bathroom, yet most homeowners don’t think much about it. It prevents leaks from your toilet and ensures you don’t need to flush it more than once per day. Flappers will still fail, and it is important that they are replaced.

Reasons Why Flappers Fail


Both the flap and floating arm are made from flexible materials, such as rubber or plastic. This material can crack over time or wear out caused by using it repeatedly.

Keep in mind, however, that flappers can develop leaks as quickly as five years. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it can happen.

Some manufacturers even stated that their flappers will last five years or less. To help you decide if it’s time to replace your flapper, take a look at its age.

If the last time the toilet was installed was more than five years ago, it might be time to replace the flapper.

Mold, Mildew, And Bacteria

Toilet flappers can become clogged with bacteria, mildew, or mold growth. These microorganisms can cause flappers to crack or not fit tight around the flush valve.

This is a difficult problem to avoid, so flappers should be replaced approximately every five years.

Use Of Corrosive Chemicals

If you add corrosive chemicals or tablets to your tank, toilet flappers can become dangerously ill. The chemicals can react with rubber or plastic materials, causing them to break down.

This is how you can test to determine if your toilet has been damaged. Just add some dye to the tank and allow it to sit.

If the water in your toilet bowl turns the same color as the dye, you’ll know the flapper is defective and not sealing the valve.

How do you know if a toilet flapper needs to be replaced?

It will give you warning signs just before your toilet flapper goes out of control. These signals include:

  • Failing to flush your toilet correctly
  • When flushing the toilet, funny sounds are heard
  • You can keep your toilet running by not stopping
  • Leaks

How Often Should You Replace Your Toilet Flapper?

There could be several reasons why your flapper is needing to be replaced more frequently than it should. This could be caused by hard water or the use of strong cleaners. You could also have the wrong size or type of flapper for your toilet.

Final Words

Your toilet system is a complete success story because of the role that flappers play. The toilet manufacturing industry has made flappers much more reliable than ever before. To ensure that your toilet flapper is durable and reliable, it is important to know the best type for your toilet.

Now you can head to your local hardware store to pick the right toilet flapper type for you.

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