Bottle Trap vs P Trap: What to Use?

Wastewater from toilets, kitchens, bathrooms, washing hand basins, sinks, and so on is disposed of into the drain pipe.

The drain pipe handles lots of dirty water, which often leads to the generation and buildup of smelly and (sometimes) harmful gasses. These gasses can easily find their way into your building.

bottle trap vs p trap

This is why it’s important to find a way to prevent these unpleasant odors from entering your building. One way is to connect a wastewater trap to the drain pipe but close to the plumbing fixture.

The wastewater trap acts as a seal in the drain pipe to prevent smells from coming out of the plumbing fixture into your building.

The bottle trap and P trap are two common traps but each has its unique qualities over the other. To determine which one is better suited for you, here is a quick comparison of a bottle trap and a P trap.


The main difference between a P trap and a bottle trap is in their shape.

Both of them are designed to seal odors, harmful gasses, and animals away from your home. Both will only prevent the smells when there is water in them that acts as the seal. But both come in different shapes and designs.

The P trap is shaped like the letter P, hence, the name P trap. It’s used mostly in toilets, bathroom sinks, and kitchen sinks. A well-installed P trap should hold some water in its curved part to seal off unpleasant odors and gasses.

The Bottle trap is shaped like a bottle. It’s more common in European homes. Compared to the P traps, Bottle traps are more sleek, compact, and stylish.

This compact shape makes bottle traps perfect for tight spaces like underneath a wash hand basin or a small bathroom. So, where adequate space is an issue, using a bottle trap is ideal.

Mode of Installation

Another difference between the P trap and the Bottle trap is in their mode of installation.

A P trap must be installed in a horizontal position to perform its role. Installing a P trap vertically means it won’t be able to hold water for the sealing off of bad odors and insects.

A Bottle trap, on the other hand, is designed to be installed vertically. It won’t function effectively if installed in a horizontal position.

Mode of Operation

Although both P trap and Bottle trap is meant to trap unpleasant smells away from the toilet, they do so in different ways. The P trap traps more odor than the bottle trap while the bottle trap traps more debris than the P trap.

The P trap contains some water in its curved arm to trap odors and some debris. If properly installed, the water should fill the curved part completely and shouldn’t leave any room or unpleasant odors to escape.

Some debris may settle in this curved part but they are easily carried away when water flows past the P trap.   

The Bottle trap collects debris and waste in its bottom part but allows wastewater and lighter debris to run through the pipe. It also has an inner sleeve, bends, and curves in the bottom part that block harmful odors and gasses.

This is the reason why P traps are preferred in the toilet, bathroom, and kitchen while Bottle traps are used for washing hand basins.

Since Bottle traps trap debris better, it’s easier for you to retrieve any valuable objects that fall through a bottle trap than through a P trap. Simply unscrew the base and get your item out.

Ease of Cleaning

A bottle trap tends to get dirty and messy faster than a P trap, which is more self-cleaning by design. However, a bottle trap is easier to clean than a P trap. All you need to do is unscrew the bottom part of the Bottle trap.

The bottom part usually contains messy dirty water, so unscrew it into a bucket and not on your toilet floor. You will also feel some unpleasant smell when you remove the bottom part, putting on a nose mask should be helpful.

To clean a P trap, you need to remove all the entire parts. If you don’t have all the necessary plumbing tools, you may not be able to take the P trap apart.


Due to its design, a Bottle trap tends to get clogged easier and faster than a P trap.

A P trap has no structure in it that can easily catch debris or clogs.

More so, a P trap has a much better flow of wastewater than a bottle trap, so a P trap is less likely to collect debris and clog.

The bottom part of a bottle trap is very good at catching and holding dirt and debris. Though the bottom part is deeper than that of a P trap, the dirt and debris can accumulate over time to clog the trap.


As stated above, the Bottle trap gets clogged faster and easier than a P trap. Likewise, unclogging a Bottle trap is faster and easier than unclogging a P trap.

Unclogging a Bottle trap simply requires unscrewing the bottom back to get rid of the clogs.

On the other hand, unclogging a P trap is difficult because it’s not roddable.

You can’t push the clog out with a rod if there’s a blockage in a drain with a P trap (or in the P trap itself).

The only way to get the clog out is to get a plumbing expert to remove the clog for you.

Ease of Installation

P traps are much easier to install than bottom traps. If you’re a DIYer, you should be able to install a P trap with little or no plumbing skills.

However, installing a Bottle trap requires some level of plumbing expertise.

Performance Over Time

Over time, P traps are more effective at keeping foul smells and gasses from entering your home than Bottle traps. The wastewater running through the trap does a partial self-cleaning job.

However, the dirt, debris, and stagnant wastewater collected in the bottom part of the Bottle trap may give off foul smells and gasses with time. This is the reason why certain regions don’t permit the use of bottle traps.

The only way to prevent this is to clean the Bottle trap regularly. Generally, to keep a Bottle trap working effectively, you should clean it at least twice or thrice a year.


Although each trap has its benefits and drawbacks, P traps seem to be more beneficial and easier to maintain.

This is the likely reason why expert plumbers always recommend using a P-trap over a bottle trap except in compact spaces.

If there is no restriction in your region, both Bottle traps and P traps are useful. P traps are useful anywhere only the flow of wastewater is required, such as in bathrooms, toilets, and kitchen sinks.

Bottle traps are designed for use where debris and foreign bodies are usually flushed down the drain, such as in labs, hairdressing salons, and commercial sectors.

The bottom part can easily trap any large object that falls through the drain hole and it can be unscrewed later to remove the object.

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