American Standard v Kohler v Toto

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by ron1999, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I'm in the process of completely remodeling two bathrooms which will include the installation of new toilets.

    One toilet is an early 1960's model. It has never clogged, but uses way too much water. The other toilet is one of the earlier low flow toilets. It clogges constantly.

    My research includes information reviewed from Consumer Reports and allianceforwaterefficiency.org. I have narrowed down my choices to the following three models: American Standard (2002.014), Kohler Cimarron (K-3589), and Kohler Cimarron (K-3609).

    According to Consumer Reports the American Standard (model 2002.014) is their top rated toilet. The Kohler Cimarron (K-3609) was their 10th rated toilet and was chosen as a "best buy". The Kohler Cimarron (K-3589) wasn't rated by Consumer Reports, but I found excellent reviews elsewhere.

    The American Standard model, and the Kohler were also highly rated.

    It seems as though the Toto Drake model is highly recommended on this website. Although it was rated 9th on Consumer Reports, it wasn't listed as either a "best buy" or even "recommended". The American Standard, and Kohler, models that were tested actually beat the Toto in at least 2 of the 4 testing categories.

    Also, according to the Alliance For Water Efficiency website, the American Standard, and both Kohler models, have a MaP rating of 1000. Whereas two Drake models have a MaP rating of 500, one model has a MaP rating of 600, and the fourth model has a Map rating of 800. The higher the MaP rating the better the flushing power.

    The Toto Ultramax received poor ratings from Consumer Reports.




    All prices are comparable to each other when you factor in purchase price, shipping charges (if any), and the possibility of having to buy a better seat.

    So, I'm curious, why is the Toto Drake spoken of so highly? Do the American Standard, and Kohler models flush better, but require a new flush valve once or twice more over their lifespan?

    I'd gladly schedule in one or two repairs more, over the next few decades, in exchange for a toilet that is less likely to get clogged (based on the MaP ratings).

    Consumer Reports Best Buy For a Dual Flush Toilet
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,438
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I was wondering the same thing.
    I sell pretty much everything on CR's report.
    In fact, I have personally used most of them in my home at some point.
    Many of the products on the top portion of their list do work well.
    I and others have always felt that pressure assist toilets perform well.
    The Flushmate equipped tanks are similar in performance with the 3" flush valve of the Toto Ultramax and other G-Max Toto's.

    What are the qualifications for the two CR writers?
    Are they plumbers?
    No.
    What have they been trained in?
    Have they gone to school to learn about household products?
    Can they recognize bad product design the way plumbers can?
    How many hours have they spent working with plumbing in homes?
    Do they have a way of obtaining feedback from the field on this, or are they just guessing how things will be.

    One thing that gets noted by everyone that lives in a home or an apartment, is the sound levels or startle factor of plumbing in a home.
    What seems like a good idea in a warehouse, but not be so nice at 2:00AM in the Master bedroom.

    I have some customers that like the industrial sound of a flush.
    Not everybody feels that way though.
    Not everyone likes the sound curve on some annoying toilets.
    Some do, and some don't.
    I call it the Tim Allen, "Home Improvement" syndrome.
    "More Power! Arhgg! Arhgg!"
    When you consider that maybe half of the population sits down while flushing, it becomes a real issue.
    Maybe in a large warehouse and with two guys flipping levers, it's not a big deal.
    But many use their toilet in the quiet confines of their own home and like the privacy and predictability of the G-Max noise curve. You will note that on their page, they list the Toto Carlyle toilet as very good at waste removal while they list the Ultramax as only "fair"
    Both of these models are almost identical in form and function.
    What happened to their testing methods?
    How can such "similar products" that get the G-Max rating test out so differently on their tests?
    It's hard to accept that
    the highest rated model by plumbers and consumers is only "fair" while the companion model rates a "very good"?
    On one of CR's reports, they listed the CR rated Kohler Wellworth ahead.
    I remove those all the time and replace them with homeowner rated Toto's.

    Homeowners and plumbers feel that the G-Max Toto toilets with the 3" flush valve are the best. The report I've provided is based on
    homeowner and plumber feedback.

    I get emails and phone calls from around the country, 24/7
    We sell thousands of toilets a year and install and remove various brands.
    Let's make that clear,
    We sell American Standard, Caroma, Duravit, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, St. Thomas Creations, Toto, Western and others.
    We make referrals around the country for products that we can't personally sell and receive feedback on those as well.
    Most of our business is repeat,
    That means, homeowners are essentially writing the report.
    Not two men, employed by CR, that have "never" tested a toilet with toilet paper or human waste.
    Not the two men that have never taken consumer input on performance, cleaning, or longevity.
    Some of their " CR favorites" now have "consumer class action suits", or have been "pulled" from the market.
    Where is their apology for that?

    It's hard to argue with what people truly like.

    Or maybe, this is just some unfinished business between them and I?
    Read the link below for more on that.

    Terry Love's review on toilets
    By the way, you can search this forum and find that we are already getting complaints on the new and improved American Standard Flappers.

    [​IMG]
    Consumers Reports doesn't report on quality control either.
    A nice picture of an American Standard bowl.
    Would you want this in your home?
    Plumbers and homeowners shouldn't have to inspect and open every box before they bring them home.
    That should be done by a factory inspector. ​
  3. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Hey, Terry.

    You have made some very valid points. Especially regarding Consumer Reports ratings. That's why I don't go by their ratings system alone. I also check at least two other sources the Alliance for Water Efficiency website) in order to compare apples to apples for the same models.

    Even so the Toto ranks below the American Standard model, and the two Kohler models, mentioned in my initial post.

    You state that you remove defective American Standard, and Kohler models to replace them with Toto's. But, you don't state the models that you are removing that are defective. Not all American Standard, and Kohler models are the same. Just like not all Toto's are the same.

    How many American Standard model 2002.014, Kohler Cimarron K-3589, and Kohler Cimarron K-3609, models were defective that required their removal?

    We have to compare models and not just brands.

    Also, how did that video get inserted into my initial post? I didn't put it there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2014
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,438
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The Champion is CR's top rated toilet.
    If you do buy American Standard, you would be better off with their Cadet 3.

    Apples to apples? A/S and Kohler have made copies of the Toto Drake.
    Are they good copies? Well, let's just say they are copies. Is the quality control the same? No.
    Does CR test for quality? No.
    Do plumbers and homeowners care about quality? Yes.
    If you don't personally mind sorting through boxes, installing and replacing bad units, then go with CR. They don't think your time is worth much.
    My time, and the time of my plumbers is valuable. I couldn't turn a profit using CR's recommendations unless I jack up all my labor rates.
    You on the other hand, a homeowner, heck, your time isn't worth much, is that what you are saying?

    I have the Ultramax II in my main bath, and I have been selling the heck out of them. Many of them are repeat purchases.
    I put the video in your post because you brought it up. The video shows how they work when they haven't been plugged with rags and then reviewed.
    This is how they perform in real life.
  5. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Easy, Big Fella. Didn't mean to strike a nerve.

    I'm just saying that, if someone posts a comment (from over 5 years ago) stating that their American Standard toilet was somehow defective and had to be replaced, then that post doesn't mean anything if they don't state which model it is.

    I've researched the Cadet 3 v the Champion 4 flush systems. The Cadet 3 was rated worse than the Champion 4 (AS), and the Class 6 (Kohler) flushing systems.

    Also, if AS, and Kohler, have made copies of the Drake then which models are the copies? Are the models I mentioned in my post copies of the Drake system?

    I can't go by what a reviewer wrote over 5 years ago, and failed to state which model they purchased, when considering what model toilet to buy today.

    I can see where your personal bias would be affected by the emails between you and Consumer Reports. Personally, I think their point of view is petty. However,I don't know squat about copyrights. But, even so that wouldn't have anything to do with toilet quality.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,438
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you can read the hundreds of posts beyond the first page, you will see that quality continues to be an issue.
    We sell and install 24/7
    We do this for a living, and take calls and emails from around the country.
    Granted, if a company has 80% market share, then you will see a lot of good posts related to a product, especially if you only take opinions of shoppers that buy from a big box store.
    That leaves out the section of the market that isn't sold at discount stores, so the story doesn't end there. I can write a review that "only" lists big box products, but that would leave out the better products.
    If it turns out that most of my customers prefer a product with less then 1% returns, then that is good for me.
    If someone doesn't mind returning products that they have problems with, then buy from a place that has a fully manned return desk.
    I don't need one.

    CR lists the same toilet, the Cimarron five times.
    CR lists the same toilet the Gerber Ultraflush five times.
    Same models, with what? round bowl, elongated bowl, ADA bowl, but in the end, same toilet.

    The part you will have a hard time with I'm sure, is believing someone that does this for a living telling you that there are problems with quality control on some brands. When you only buy certain products and don't know better, then you "think" you have a good product. But when you open up a bit and start buying better stuff, then you start expecting more. Then, you're no longer happy making those extra trips and extra time spent doing non-paid service calls.

    But for starters, start reading the hundreds of posts beyond the first page of the comments.

    Either way, most of these new toilets will be better then what you have been using.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  7. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    If I didn't value an "inside opinion" (yours) then I wouldn't have posted on your website.

    But, I think we're getting off track here. I'm not saying that Toto toilets are junk. And, I'm not saying that AS, or Kohler's are superior in every way to a Toto.

    It's just not helpful for you, or anybody else, to say that they had to replace their AS, or Kohler, because of X problem, but then not mention what model they are replacing.

    Obviously you prefer the Toto models. They have anywhere from 500-800 MaP ratings, a 3 inch flush valve, and a 2 1/8 inch glazed trapway. Those must be very good options for a toilet if you like them so much.

    The AS model I mentioned has a 1000 MaP rating, a 4 inch flush valve, and a 2 3/8 inch glazed trapway.

    The Kohler models have a 1000 MaP rating, a 3 inch flush valve, and a 2 1/8 inch glazed trapway.

    As you can see the AS model has the ability to handle more solids without clogging than the Toto. And, the Kohler model, while the same sized as the Toto, has a higher MaP rating as well.

    Wouldn't you consider that to be significant when considering which toilet to buy?

    Also, you still haven't stated which model of AS, or Kohler's, you've had to replace in favor of the Toto's. Does the one AS model, and the two Kohler models, I mentioned have a high defect rate that you have seen in your profession?

    And, you didn't state which model Toto has been "copied" by AS or Kohler.

    This is information that would be helpful to me in determining which toilet to purchase.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,438
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The MaP mentions that a person deposits 250 grams at most in a bowl.
    How many days are you planning on waiting?

    You aren't saying which ones are superior?
    Okay, then I will. The Toto is superior in quality control. There.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  9. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Funny. :)

    So, based on your professional opinion, the difference between an 800 MaP rating, and a 1000 MaP rating, isn't significant?

    And, the difference between a 3 inch flush valve, and a 4 inch flush valve isn't significant?

    And, the different between a 2 1/8 inch trapway, and a 2 3/8 inch trapway, isn't significant?

    These are serious questions that I need answered so that I make the right decision. If the Toto specs are great, but I can find another toilet with the same, or better specs, for cheaper then tell me why I wouldn't go for the cheaper model.

    What about parts? Can I go to my local Lowe's, or Home Depot, to get parts for the Toto? Or, do I have to order them?
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,438
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    John Koehler (publisher of the MaP) and I both say that anything over 500 grams is very good.
    There is such a thing as bowl rinse. Or do you care how dirty your bowl is? I don't have a maid coming in every day. It matters to me.

    The 4" Champion flapper sits on top of a 3" flush valve.
    It therefore is a 3"
    Kohler years ago went with a 3-1/4", just to be bigger then a 3"
    I was sitting with the owner of the company, and his head engineer and asked them both why someone hasn't gone with a 2-3/4"? It would have given good performance, and since it was smaller, would be more durable for the long run. His reply was that for marketing, bigger is always better.
    After two years, that flapper has been pulled from the market, I'm guessing because there were too many leaking flappers. Their next solution was to put a cylinder with a seal on the bottom; this was their method for creating a stiffer seal that wouldn't sag and allow leaking.

    When I saw the original Champion flush tower, I laughed and told him it would never work. The salesman reply was that I didn't have to worry; it had a ten year warranty. I told him that was plenty of worry for plumbers. It was obvious to anyone with mechanical aptitude that when the parts wore in, the flush tower would start to drop too soon. And guess what? That is exactly what happened. Now A/S is replacing all of the towers with the 4" flapper going into a 3" flush valve. It's not like they went back and redesigned the bowl, or made a bigger hole in the tank.

    The trapway on the Kohler continues to lay flat to the ground and then has to make a sharp 90 bend at the exit. This is where most of the plugs occur. I had the Cimarron in my home for a while, and guess what? It plugged fairly often compared to other bowls I was using. I pulled out a Toto with a Map of 325 grams that hadn't plugged in two years and installed the Cimarron, which plugged weekly until it was pulled and another toilet installed for home testing.
    I also installed the Champion, and lo and behold, the tower quit letting enough water out. Pretty soon, it wouldn't flush much of anything.

    Parts for Toto can be found at most of the hardware stores, including Lowe's. Finding American Standard parts was a bit harder, most of the time requiring a call to American Standard Support.
    Korky and Fluidmaster make most of the parts for toilets in the US. Toilet manufactures make porcelain, and then buy the parts to install in their products. When you buy a Kohler or American Standard, you are getting a Fluidmaster fill valve. When you buy a Toto, it's mainly a Korky fill valve. Either way, it's a fill valve. Pretty standard stuff.
    It's not like Boeing in Everett that started making the new 787 airplane, and finding out that many of the parts for the new program hadn't even been ordered. They were over a year behind schedule in their testing, and parts that were going to be tested hadn't even been ordered yet.
    Same thing happens with toilets. A new model comes out, and nobody tests the parts to see if they even work longer then a few weeks.
    How many times do we see American Standard flappers, the new improved ones showing up with blisters in just a little time. So when the two non-plumbers from CR tell me that plumbing for most of a lifetime doesn't give me the right to give plumbing advice, then I say, show me "your" credentials Mr. doesn't want to get his clean white pants dirty "typewriter guy".
    I've done everything there is in construction including designing homes with CAD, getting permits, building homes, and all aspects of plumbing. These are my credentials.
    And I can throw in being a mechanic for eight years before I got into plumbing.
    I know how to get dirty.

    But also, keep in mind that most of these new toilets will be better then what you have been using.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  11. PM5K

    PM5K New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I know it's not scientific but I repeated two of the tests shown in the Toto video on my American Standard and it was able to do the same. Not scientific by any means, but I was just curious if mine would get rid of the blue water, and the paper.

    It was a fun five minutes.
  12. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma

    Thanks, Terry.

    Now, that's information I can use. And, I appreciate that response.

    I agree that just about any modern toilet will be better than what I have now. At least I hope so anyway.

    Also, in your profession, how many of the AS 2002.014, Kohler Cimarron K-3589, and Kohler Cimarron K-3609 models do you typically replace on a yearly basis in favor of the Toto Drake? Provided you keep track of that sort of thing.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  13. ron1999

    ron1999 IT Desktop Support

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma

    What model of AS toilet do you have?
  14. ntaylor

    ntaylor New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle
    I have an American Standard Champion 4 from the old part of my house (installed 2007). I have three Toto Drake IIs in the remodeled part of my house.

    The AS had the newer flush valve. Nevertheless it started to leak. Called AS, they sent me out a warranty kit with new seals. Replaced. Still leaks. Worse. Just got my water bill. $150 more than last month because of this leak. One more month like this and I'll have spent on water what a new Drake II would cost.

    I'm giving up on American Standard and their problems. The water consumption while we try to fix it just isn't worth it. I'll be yanking this out and ordering a fourth Toto Drake II.
  15. gusherb94

    gusherb94 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    chicago/nw IN
    Korky makes an aftermarket seal for the Champion 4 flush valve you might give a try before dumping the (heap of junk) toilet. They usually have those at Lowes.
  16. Joe Six Pack

    Joe Six Pack New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Anchorage AK
    Here's a picture of a guy sitting on a leaning A/S Champion bowl. It's a good thing he's wearing pants otherwize he wood slide off.

    nordstrom_sit.jpg
  17. Luckyone

    Luckyone New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Nebraska
    ron1999- I agree 100% with you!

    I own champion -4 toilets for over 3 years and no problems and they never clog.

    My mother owns 3ea cadet-3 toilets over 4-years and they work excellent and has never had any parts replaced.

    But nothing can compete with the champion-4 toilet flush valve and 2 3/8 trapway perfomance! I bet a champion-4 toilet would pass a MAP score of 1,300.
    And yes, a MAP score matters!!! Totos MAP score decreased on most of the newer model. So how does that improve a toilets performance??? Please explain??? LOL Many times people put too much toilet paper in toilets all the time, which may lead to a clog. So I want 1000 gram rated toilet to have more flushing power!

    Why would anyone pay over 250.00 for a toto drake 2 (800 MAP score), when they can buy a Cadet-3, (1000 MAP score), 1.28 gallon toilet for 159.00 to 180.00 at the big box stores?
    What usually goes bad on a toilet??? A flapper that cost 3.00 to 5.00 bucks!

    #1 Champion-4 toilet (Cost about $225.00 to 250.00), it has the strongest flush of any toilet sold on the market!

    #2 Cadet-3, 1.28 gallon is a good performer, considering price/perfomance
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,344
    Location:
    New England
    The AS design is okay, but QA/QC isn't great. If you get one that works, it works. But, lots of people end up with one misshapen from the factory which can be a real deal breaker if you're a plumber and have to take it back...you lose all of your profit in lost time.

    Do you realize how much 200g is in toilet paper? I just measured a new roll of mine: 5.6oz, or 159g. So, 200g is about 1.2 rolls of toilet paper. Anything over 500g is fine, and yes, it does matter, but some of the older designs could barely do 250g, which is pathetic.
  19. consumerac

    consumerac New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    ca
    ron1999,

    which one did you end up getting? Who would have though that changing a toilet would require so much research as I am finding out.
  20. Mike from Brier

    Mike from Brier New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Brier, WA
    Agreed, who'da thought you'd need so much research to replace a toilet? I've pretty much decided on a Toto Drake EL, but what makes the Sanagloss model better, if anything? Does it rinse better? Shinier? Does the finish last longer?
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