Best replacement toilet choice

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Battiste2, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. Battiste2

    Battiste2 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Fairless Hills, PA
    I currently have a Gerber and an American Standard with the assisted flush. The Berber has worked fine for the past 10(?) years, although the flush is rather loud. The American Standard sucks and that is being kind. So I want to replace it. However, I am reading that the new Gerbers are being made in China and may not be very reliable. How do the Totos compare? Is the double cyclone as effective as the Gerber assisted flush? I don't get the difference between the double cyclone, the GMAX and whatever the other MAX is for Toto. I like the higher toilets, but prefer the round seats. But I think I would really like the skirted ones as they would be great since I get to be the cleaner!! Any thoughts?
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,937
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I just went through this process, so maybe I can help.

    First, I am sold on Toto, and you can find a toilet that works very well in a number of price ranges. I replaced a $700-plus, beautiful looking Kohler with a Toto Drake Elongated Gmax toilet. And I couldn't be happier, because the Toto works like a charm and the Kohler flush sucked. And the Toto, even at that price point, looks very nice and the fit, finish and quality were all top-notch. (In the end, its classic lines actually go nicely with the beautiful Kohler pedestal sink that we had installed in this guest bathroom, and which the Kohler toilet was designed to match. But every time I flushed that dog and had to reach for the plunger, I was mortified that guests likely had to do the same. Finally, I couldn't take it and went researching for the best-flushing toilet, and found the Drake. Had I realized how much quality it would exude, how well it would work, and how easy it was to install myself, I would have made the change years earlier.)

    I then replaced an old workhorse toilet, one that gets a lot of use, with another Drake, this time a round bowl. I and all the family members love it.

    Finally, we splurged on a Toto Carlyle II with Sanagloss for the master bathroom. Double-cyclone flush. E-Max (meaning it's the famous G-max with a 1.28 rather than 1.6 gal flush). Skirted. Sanagloss (the special finish that resists stains). Universal height. And we were able to put it on a 10-inch rough-in using the Unifit adapter. Love it.

    Double-cyclone really relates to an improved bowl rinse. You can look at the videos linked on this site to see how it shoots water in a circular motion around the top of the bowl to help clean.

    Gmax and Emax are really variations of the same system that use the weight of the water in the full tank to really shove a short burst of water through a large 3" flush valve, pushing down even large volumes of solid material. If you have a real mountain of paper, you hold the flush lever down an extra second and this will use a little more than the rated amount of water to ensure that everything goes down. But it's rarely necessary. The "E" toilets qualify for the Watersense program which provides rebates in some areas of the country for replacing toilets with these effective low-flows. Posters on here report that the Eco Drake flushes just as well as the regular Gmax Drake. The Drake spits out a thin sheet of water that rinses the whole bowl. It's hard to see because it happens so fast, but I saw a video where someone ground pepper all over the bowl and flushed the Drake and sure enough it all was swept away. My older toilets don't even achieve that using much more water.

    The flush is highly-effective but anticlimactic. You push the lever, and the thing kind of goes "ker-plunk" quietly, and the stuff is gone before you realize it has happened. No giant "WHOOSH" or anything really exciting.

    You should go to Totousa.com and look at the styles, bearing in mind that the prices quoted are way above what you can find these items for. Some suppliers are better than others. That's if you plan to install it yourself. If you want to use a plumber, I found that my favorite one tried to wave me off this stuff because he was plainly unfamiliar with it, which led me to doing self-installs. If I wanted a professional install, today I would go to the local Toto dealer shown on the Toto web site and ask them who installs a lot of their toilets if your favorite guy isn't into it. There's no magic to it; just some old-timers like the guy I like seem to like to stick with the familiar. A shame, really. If I were in the area that Terry, the proprietor of this site, services, I would gladly have just purchased from him and had him do the install, because you can see from all his posts that he is just a superbly-competent, honorable guy who does the work for a fair price. If you have a guy like that in your area, I would just use that guy.

    The Drake does come in an ADA height version, for not much more. One alternative that might meet your needs is the Vespin II, which looks like the Drake II (a very nice-looking toilet, I think), except it is skirted. It is universal height, which means that it is ADA compliant at 17.375 inches high for the bowl. This has the double-cyclone flush, uses 1.28gpf (so it's an E-Max), and includes sanagloss. CST474CEFG I used in white. You would expect to pay your good local plumber a little more to get it locally for you and in return to take care of any problems with it when he pulls it out of the box.

    One other bonus to Totos is that they use, for the most part, simple, readily-available internal parts. Their customer service line (staffed by friendly people in Georgia) is awesome, and you can get any part very quickly from them, but you likely won't need to because your local hardware store (and any Lowe's) will have Korky-brand, American-made, original-equipment approved parts that will fit your Toto and get you back in business in a jiffy.

    One of the engineers on here reports that Toto has superlative quality control and uses a special clay mixture that dramatically reduces the variation in size and fit of the finished product. He says that their reject rate is the industry's lowest, regardless of whether the item is made in the US (which many are) or one of their other plants. (The bowl of one of my toilets was made in Vietnam, for example, while the tank was all-US-made, and the two fit together like a dream, which was very helpful to me given that I was doing my first self-install of a toilet.) Apparently, all toilets start out much, much bigger than the finished product when the clay comes out of the mold, and then shrink significantly in the kiln, so there's a real art to tweaking the production process so that these china pieces are uniform. This is something that he says that Toto has mastered. (Of course, given the Japanese cultural concept of kaizen, they are constantly looking to find ways to improve the same product or process.)

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2012
  3. Battiste2

    Battiste2 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Fairless Hills, PA
    Another question on this.

    Not sure if this is how I reply - but here goes. Thanks for all your info - very helpful. I don't get why the sanigloss ones are less expensive - seems like they would be more. So anyway I am looking at both the Vespin and the Soiree. Thinking of flipping a coin!


  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you have TOTO models that come both ways, then the Sanagloss feature is a pricing upgrade.
    The Ultramax II and other II models add the Sanagloss without the kick in the pants pricing. Go figure. Maybe that's why they're selling better.
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