Different Types Of Toilet Flush Handles (Toilet Levers)

Considering how much it is used, the toilet is a relatively low-maintenance bathroom essential. Apart from a clogged toilet or a worn-out toilet flapper, one of the most common mechanical problems is a broken lever or flush handle. No surprise there, as it’s the part of the toilet that gets used the most being pushed with every flush.

When the flush handle or lever gets broken, they are pretty easy to replace but you’ll first need to find a compatible replacement. There are several options for replacing your existing handle. But in order to be sure of getting the correct handle for your toilet, its best to take off the broken handle. This is because different flush levers have different features. Even the angle and length of the arm of one model isn’t the same as that of another model.

Toilet flush systems
Toilet flush systems vary in different settings and applications | Photo Credit: BrokenSphere

Once you know the exact specifications of the once-functional toilet flush lever, you can then proceed with getting a type of the flush lever you think would be best for your toilet.

Be careful when shopping for a flush lever, though, since there are a number of different kinds of flush levers out there in the market. Read on to know more about them.

Different Types of Toilet Flush Handles or Toilet Levers

Front-Mount Toilet Handle

Universal Front Mount Toilet Tank Flush Lever, Chrome Finish Handle with One-way 2-Inch Toilet Tank Flapper and Chain, Fits Most Toilets
Universal Front Mount Toilet Tank Flush Lever. Image Source: Amazon

This type of toilet flush lever is one you can easily find in any online or hardware store. It needs to be set up at the front part of the tank, often at its top left-hand corner. Most models that are classified as front-mount toilet handles are easy to identify–their flush rods, which end up hidden in the tank, move in parallel motion with the lever.

We mentioned earlier that one toilet flush lever model can differ from another toilet flush lever model. As such, it follows that not just any front-mount lever out there will do for you–keep the measurements in mind during your purchase.

Side-Mounted Flush Lever

Akfal Side Mount Toilet Flush Lever Brass Handle for TOTO Kohler Toilet Tank
Akfal Side Mount Toilet Flush Lever Brass Handle for TOTO Kohler Toilet Tank. Image Source: Amazon

Side-mounted toilet flush handles come out the side of a toilet tank, usually the left-hand side of the tank. So if you see that the handle is perpendicular with the wall behind your toilet, then you have a handle that’s a side-mounted handle. With careful examination of a side-mounted handle, you will find that the flush rod bends 90 degrees, and this lets the rod pivot upward and downward once you operate the lever. Another thing you’ll notice is that the spindle length of a side-mounted lever is longer.

One advantage of a side-mounted flush lever over the front-mounted one is overall aesthetics, in that it gives the toilet a clean and plain appearance. The thing is, these aren’t as common compared to front-mounted levers. But this does not necessarily mean it’s hard to find the model that matches a particular toilet model.

Angle-Mount Flush Handle

Akfal curving Angle Fitting Side Mount Toilet Flush Lever Brass Handle for TOTO Kohler Toilet Tank
Angle Fitting Side Mount Toilet Flush Lever. Image Source: Amazon

It’s worth mentioning that not all toilet tanks are rectangular in shape. Some tanks have a rounded shape. For these tanks, there’s the angle-mounted flush lever to complete the tank itself and make it functional.

When replacing an angle-mounted flush lever, keep in mind that models can have different angles, and so it’s safe to say that this kind of lever can be quite difficult to match.

Fortunately, you can find replacement lever models that have adjustable flush rods. These let you alter the angle of your rod so it accommodates where the lever needs to be set up along the tank curvature. To get one, make sure to take a good look of your old, broken lever so you can compare it and purchase the right model that you need when shopping online. An alternative would be a universal handle that can be a good replacement for a broken angle-mount handle.

Extended Long Reach Cistern Lever Handle

Everflow 3113 Replacement Toilet Flush Lever Handle, Chrome
Everflow 3113 Replacement Toilet Flush Lever Handle. Image Source: Amazon

A long reach extended cistern lever handle is a flush handle that’s best used with hideaway or concealed cisterns. What’s worth noting about this type of flush handle is that, unlike the other lever types mentioned above, the lever can be cut to the needed length using a hacksaw.

Levers for Curved Cisterns

A number of cisterns are curved. For these, a lever that comes with a number of wedge washers is needed so the lever is straightened through the hole.

Is a Universal Toilet Lever a Good Enough Replacement Option?

Keeney Manufacturing PP836-71VBL Styelewise Universal Fit Flush Lever, for Use with Front, Side Or Angled Mount Toilet Tank, Venetian Bronze
Keeney Manufacturing Universal Fit Flush Lever (for Use with Front, Side Or Angled Mount Toilet Tanks). Image Source: Amazon

As the name implies, universal flush levers are compatible with almost all modern toilet tanks, regardless of the type of lever it uses. Setting it up will require just a few adjustments, and the handle should fit your toilet just fine, without fail.

That said, this type of lever can be a good choice. Pay extra attention when getting one for a rounded tank, though. Check if it can be used as replacement angle-mount flush lever.

The Importance of Getting the Right Toilet Flush Lever

It’s important that you invest in the correct toilet flush lever because it helps you ensure that the level of water in a toilet tank is high enough, that water is flushed at the correct time, and that the toilet tank is refilled after each flush.

And once you have gotten for yourself the right replacement flush lever, you can then proceed with its installation. In many cases, you can install a replacement flush lever yourself, provided that you have the right tools and that you follow manufacturer instructions to the letter.

Parts of the toilet tank
Parts of the toilet tank | Photo Credit: Mcgill Mcgill 

If you’re buying and replacing your flush lever, check out this DIY tutorial video on how to fix a toilet, courtesy of HomeownerSeries on YouTube.

How about you? What sort of flush lever do you have at home? Are you totally satisfied with it, or do you prefer switching to another type? Have you ever experienced replacing a flush lever on your own? Feel free to share your comments and ideas with us below.