You can usually find a lavatory and a water closet in the same room if you live in a hotel. Americans call it the bathroom. However, it is referred to as a bathroom in most English-speaking countries.

The word toilet was used in the early days when the concept of a bathroom was first introduced. Now, with the passage of time and development in language, the terms washrooms, lavatory, water closet, toilet etc are often used interchangeably.

All these words have different meanings in a dictionary, but they are used to define the same purpose. These terms are used to refer to a room in every household that is used by humans to excrete their bodily wastes.

The above-mentioned words are not synonyms and all of them have their own specific meaning. Therefore, using them interchangeably is not correct. The purpose of this article is to provide a detailed explanation of the two terms water closet and lavatory, as well as to highlight the differences between them.

What is a Water Closet?

The original meaning of the term water closet is a room that contains a toilet. It is abbreviated as WC. It is also sometimes termed a flush toilet. A water closet is just like any toilet containing the same parts; a toilet bowl, a tank and a toilet seat.

The standard height of the toilet bowl is 16 inches from the floor. The water is contained in the tank that is used for flushing. There are many materials used for making the water closet, but ceramic is the most durable and affordable of them. The level of cleanliness of water closets has increased with the passing years due to which it is now preferred by many hygiene-conscious people.

What is a Lavatory?

The word lavatory comes from a Greek word meaning ‘I wash’. The meaning of this word is a place to wash. Therefore, it is also called a ‘washroom’. Therefore, a lavatory is an area in your bathroom where people wash themselves. It usually consists of a faucet and a bowl.

4 Types of Water Closet:

  1. One Piece Water Closet
  2. Two Piece Water Closet
  3. Wall Hung Water Closet
  4. Smart Water Closet

One Piece Water Closet:

This type of water closet comes as a single piece or one piece. That is why it is named a single-piece water closet. A single piece means that the bowl and tank of the toilet are already attached before installation. Therefore, it is very easy to install. Its appearance is modern and smart. It is very easy to clean. It is heavy which it is difficult to transport.

Two-Piece Water Closet:

The two-piece water closet consists of two separate parts. The toilet bowl and the tank are separated. They are attached together while installation. The height of the two-piece water closet is enough to suit even tall heighted people. It is less expensive but it is difficult to clean as compared to a one-piece water closet.

Wall Hung Water Closet:

The wall-mounted water closet is accumulated on the wall, just as the name suggests. The bowl of the toilet is not visible in this type of water closet. The only visible parts are the bowl and flush plate. It takes very less space as it is hung on the wall instead of placing it on the floor. It is also very easy to clean. It is suitable for old age or handicapped people because its height is adjustable.

Smart Water Closet:

It is named as smart water closet because it contains smart features like a warm air dryer, hand-free flush, night light etc. it consumes very less water and occupies very less space.

4 Types of Lavatory

  1. Wall mounted Lavatory
  2. Bowl Lavatory
  3. Drop in Lavatory
  4. Pedestal Lavatory

Wall-mounted Lavatory:

This type of lavatory is mounted on the wall. Therefore, it saves you lots of space. It needs a professional to install this type of lavatory so that your wall does not get damaged.

Bowl Lavatory:

This type of lavatory consists of a countertop and a sink placed inside it. The countertop is made of different materials like stone, marble or glass. It is easy to install but it is delicate. It also occupies a very large space.

Drop in Lavatory:

A countertop is first made for this type of lavatory. The bowl or sink is then placed inside it.

Pedestal Lavatory:

This is the most typical and widely used type. It comes with a pedestal on which a sink or bowl is placed.

Water Closet vs Lavatory – Pros, Cons, & Comparisons

The water closet is an enclosed toilet that flushes urine and poop using running water. In Latin, lavatory means ‘I wash’, so the word lavatory was derived from the Latin word for washing, lavatorium. To put it simply, it refers to the water that is used to wash hands, shave, and clean hands.

The difference between a water closet and a lavatory is numerous. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Each of them serves a different purpose, but both are part of a bathroom. The following is a list of differences between a water closet and a lavatory to help clear up any confusion.


A water closet consists of a complete toilet. It has a toilet bowl, a tank and a toilet seat. It consists of one-piece or two-piece toilets to fulfill different customer requirements. It is actually a completely built toilet.

A lavatory has only two components, a basin bowl and a faucet. It comes in many different types to suit different customer requirements.


The purpose of a water closet is just like a toilet. It is used to fulfill the human requirement of excretion of waste, whether solid or liquid waste. The main purpose of a water closet is to provide humans with a space to ease themselves. It is designed to wash away solid or liquid waste. The water in the toilet tank is used for flushing down the waste.

The basic purpose of a lavatory is to wash. It is used either to wash hands, brush teeth or wash face. It consists of a basin and a faucet. The water used goes down the bowl into the pipes.

Water source:

The water utilized in the case of a water closet comes from the toilet tank attached to the bowl. It is used to flush down the waste in the toilet bowl that flushes down after water is flowed down. Therefore, the toilet tank is used to store water that is used later to flush down the waste. In the case of a water closet, the source of water is the toilet tank of the water closet.

In the case of a lavatory, water comes down from a faucet and goes down into the sink bowl and further goes away into the pipes. Therefore, the water source for a lavatory is the faucet that flows down the water to perform different functions like brushing teeth or washing the face etc.

Waste disposal:

Both the water closet and lavatory are components of a bathroom but the way in which they dispose of the waste is different.

A water closet disposes of the waste through a toilet bowl. Human excretions go down the toilet bowl after it is flushed down through water from the toilet tank. The waste in the case of a water closet is human waste.

In the case of a lavatory, the water is used to wash dirty hands or face or brush teeth. Therefore, the waste in this case is the dirty water only.


The above article has highlighted many differences between Water Closet vs Lavatory. Both are essential parts of a bathroom. Both differ in functionality and other features. We hope that the above content will help you clarify the confusion between a water closet and a lavatory.

Sarah Michelle is a passionate writer and digital strategist interested in the evolving landscape of online content and user experience. Having closely followed the developments in digital marketing and search algorithms, Sarah brings a unique blend of insights into the marketing world and is committed to helping both creators and consumers navigate the digital realm with confidence.

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