Is there a Made in USA toilet as good as a Toto?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Nickelboy, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Nickelboy

    Nickelboy New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Michigan
    I try as much as I can to buy US made products from US companies, so as the titles says; Is there a Made in USA toilet as good as a Toto? Of course as good as a TOTO is subjective, but with many reviews on and off this board the Toto's must be pretty darn good. Mansfield seems to be all USA, but they don't seem to have any good reviews. I need to buy something ASAP. Thanks for your comments.

    Nickelboy
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,130
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It's a little hard to find product made in the US right now. I sell a lot of the TOTO that is manufactured in Georgia here in the US.
    Typically the:
    Drake II
    Vespin II
    Ultramax
    Ultramax II and what seems to be the other product from TOTO with the "II" after the name.

    I never cared for the Mansfield Alto. That was a builder grade version that I remove a lot.
    Lately around the Seattle area, the new ones seemed to have vanished.
    If you go Mansfield, the Maverick would be fine.
    Stay away from their pressure assist dual flush though. The Chinese EcoFlush doesn't seem to hold up.

    In 2007, Bain Capital bought out three major plumbing companies and consolidated manufacturing, shutting down some US locations. That was American Standard, Crane and Eljer.

    Gerber, which had been a family owned business based out of Chicago was bought by a Chinese company, and that manufacturing went overseas.

    Kohler makes some product in the US too, as well as some imports.

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/sho...-TOTO-Toilettes-are-made-in-the-United-States
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  3. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Location:
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    Toto does do a good bit of manufacturing in the US in Georgia, as Terry says. For me, it's good enough that they manufacture a good percentage of their stuff here. As a global company, I always thought that it was cool that they chose to buy some of the in-tank components from Korky/Lavelle, which manufactures all its parts in Wisconsin. Now, however, Toto uses the Korky fill valve in some toilets and a foreign-made fill valve in others (although all the toilets will accept the American-made fill valve as a replacement). On one of Toto's increasingly-popular toilets, the Aquia dual-flush, Korky is the exclusive manufacturer of the fill valve, and they make it here in the US.

    I bought two regular (G-Max) Drakes (as opposed to the increasingly-popular Drake II with the Dual-Cyclone). As a two-piece toilet, the Drake therefore comes in two boxes. As one of Toto's most popular (and most affordable) toilets, it is made in a number of their facilities. I ended up with one American tank and one foreign, and (I think) one American bowl and one foreign (or it could be two foreign bowls). The American tank came with the foreign fill valve, and the foreign tank came with the American fill valve. The American tank has Made in USA molded into it. I have since replaced the foreign fill valve with the American one, which is readily-available locally.

    One other nice thing, for what it is worth, is that American-made Korky parts (i.e. fill valve and flapper) are available for this toilet at a number of the big-box chains for when they need replacement.

    Hope this helps your decision.

    PS One other thought. If you go with the Drake, for example, and you get it at a local plumbing supply house, and they have a decent stock, they may let you ask them to pull the boxes for you that say "Made in USA". Or if you are going for say the Drake II, you can ask them to confirm that they have the tank and bowl that is made in the US.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  4. Nickelboy

    Nickelboy New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Michigan
    I just can't do it. I know some of you will say some parts are made in the USA, but Toto is still a foreign company. I'm going with the Mansfield Summit 3. Thanks for all comments, advice and especially a great website.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Your concern about buying USA made products is commendable, but you obviously own a computer. You watch TV? You have a camera? You have electrical appliances in your home? Well, where do you suppose they were made? Hope your as sold on your Mansfield if you have a clog in the middle of the night. Just be sure your plunger is made in the USA.
  6. Nickelboy

    Nickelboy New Member

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    Location:
    Michigan
    It's not commendable if I don't stick to what I believe now is it? Albeit, there are items that are no longer made here in the USA, but I can not control that, now can I? I will ALWAYS buy the USA model of anything first. My Country, My Money and now my Mansfield. It's the right thing for me to do, notice I didn't ask or impose my choice on anybody else.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Korky actually does make a pretty nice plunger in Wisconsin.

    For the gentleman, I think there are two issues. The first is, "Where is it made?", which is the one I thought he was concerned about. The reasoning that most people have behind that one is that they want to help keep jobs here by buying things that are made here. Toto's products generally meet that requirement; they are doing more than CraneEljerStandard to actually employ Americans to make product here, and I think they deserve our support.

    The "foreign company" issue is a little difficult. If I start a toilet company in the United States, employ say 5,000 people in administrative positions in Georgia and around the country, and those administrators build a manufacturing infrastructure that employs Americans, does anybody care what country I am a citizen of? If so, does it matter if I am a citizen of one of our strongest allies in the world? If Joe Smith from Utah founded the company and grew it, and then sold it to someone from someplace else who left everything intact, do we care who owns it? It's an issue that quickly becomes a conundrum.

    That said, I love the Korky folks, who do everything in Wisconsin, and do a lot right, particularly as regards customer satisfaction. They are super eager to please; they have even started participating in the comments sections of reviews on retailer web sites to answer questions, solve problems, suggest refunds, etc. If they made a toilet, I would give it serious consideration. But they don't. Of course, the next best thing is to buy the toilet that uses their parts. Just sayin'.

    Interestingly, of course, Mansfield is owned by Corona, a Columbian company. Just like TotoUSA is owned by Toto, a Japanese company.

    Mansfield stamps "many" of its toilets 'Made in USA", but not all. They are talking about the China.

    Mansfield uses the Fluidmaster 400A as the fill valve on many of its toilets. The 400A is MADE IN MEXICO. And, of course, the heinous WDI Eco-Flush is Made in China.


    So...if the gentleman wants to stay true to his beliefs, he probably is pretty much in the same place buying Toto as Mansfield.

    Toto: Much china made in USA, mostly USA guts, USA manufacturer owned by Japanese.

    Mansfield: Much china made in USA, much Mexican guts, USA manufacturer owned by Columbians.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2012
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    1,898
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I have a nice, vastly overpriced Wolverine Brass ballcock and Rube Goldberg flush valve in my 1926 washdown toilet. For sure that will be there the remaining life of the toilet. Looks beautiful. Works fine.

    Hey, look. I get that Wolverine Brass makes quality stuff. I also get that some plumbers feel a need to have a product that differentiates them from the product that you can get at HD for $9 that you need to charge $30 for if you have to drag your butt over to the customer to install. And that Wolverine tries to provide helpful basic marketing tips and support for your business (tags on ballcocks, etc.).

    But the reason that they don't sell to us "homeowner hacks" (nice attitude towards the customer, BTW) is a MARKETING issue, not anything else.

    And why would I let someone install one of their faucets in my home when it means that not only do I have to go to a plumber to replace the parts (and there's a fair chance that I would), but also that I have to go to one that deals with Wolverine, and then I have to wait for the parts to arrive. If my Delta springs a leak, I can go and rehab it myself pretty easily with parts that I can get anywhere, or when I call my plumber he can assuredly fix it that day. I have three sets of 50+ year old AS shower faucets in the house. My plumber took a few days to be able to get new seats and stems for them, but he could and did get them and now they work great again. Probably not so 30 years from now with some fancy-schmancy $600 cutesy designer thing that we could have bought, and probably not with Wolverine Brass, either. So neither are welcome in the house.

    I concede that they make a great ballcock. I concede that they make a killer tank-to-bowl set. But this recently-empowered homeowner hack (who does know what his limits are) would rather go get a Korky fill valve downtown and install it himself, even if it only lasts 5 years, and save the real plumbing for the plumber, whom I am happy to pay. (Indeed, my guy just put the Grundfos comfort system on our hot water. For many, that's a DIY job. It involved sweating a new bend of copper pipe into the hot water line because of the flue on the hot water heater. Sweating copper on a hot water heater? Out of my league and I'm happy to pay my trusted guy to do that.)

    And regardless of what you think of Korky's fill valve, lots of real plumbers like their flappers. Indeed, once I learned a little something, I noticed that my own plumber had been installing Korky flappers on my own toilets back before I had learned a little something.

    And, for what it's worth, I notice that Wolverine Brass carries the Korky 528 fill valve (catalog page c-9), the R528 replacement cap (page c-10), and the full line of Korky flappers (page c-16, 17, 18).
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  9. Nickelboy

    Nickelboy New Member

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    5
    Location:
    Michigan
    Pardon me, and thank-you for pointing out my ignorance. I was blinded by all the Made in USA and Perrysville Ohio marketing that I didn't properly look any further. Yes, jobs in the US is vitally important along with promoting US owned and US Headquartered companies. I'm just passionate about the US and try to do the best I can to support the USA.
  10. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    1,898
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Probably a sentiment most of us would agree with! And most of your particular toilet probably IS made here, and I (at least) certainly appreciate your efforts to stay true to your values.

    [Like the other day when Romney spoke to the NAACP. The delegates rumbled when he said stuff they disagreed with -- and the media covered that thoroughly -- but they also gave him a standing ovation at the end. Media-types were confused: why the Standing O? The delegates they interviewed said that while they likely wouldn't be voting for him, they appreciated that he appeared firmly to believe in what he was saying and that he came across as a person of conviction who made an honest effort to come before them to share his ideas. I thought that that reflected very well on everyone concerned; that's certainly consistent with our founding principles.]
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, in that tone, I might mention that Bain Capital owns Eljer, Crane and American Standard. A/S is headquartered in New Jersey.
    And then there is family owned Kohler in Wisconsin.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  12. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
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    Bain, vulture capitalists that have destroyed American manufacturing in order to loot the companies. Job destroyers, not creators. When the revolution comes, they should be the first against the wall.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  14. Otearai

    Otearai DIY Engineer

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Until I read that you and others had posted more plumbingly poignant comparisons in regard to the ownership of Mansfield, I had been tempted to offer the following automobile analogy, and now I shall:

    Our family car is a Mazda6 station wagon. It was assembled in Michigan by unionized UAW labor, almost entirely from domestically manufactured parts (and its fit and finish are exemplary). Ford (which back when the Mazda6 was under development, owned more than 30 percent of Mazda's common stock, some of whch Mazda has since repurchased) had a contractual arrangement with Mazda to use the Mazda6 platform for Ford-branded products, and Ford developed no fewer than nine vehicles on the platform, including Ford's best-selling sedan, the Ford Fusion.

    A friend of mine, a Fusion owner, one time was getting all lapel-flag-pin on me, bragging that he had the *American* version of the platform that our respective cars share. However, while Mazda has its U.S. market Mazda6 vehicles assembled in Michigan, Ford has its Fusions assembled in Mexico, and brings them into the United States under NAFTA. When I told my friend of that, even he agreed that the Mazda6 is more red, white, and blue than the Ford Fusion (though, as Mexico is located in North America, the Fusion is certainly American).

    Back on topic, we are very happy with our made-in-Georgia Vespin II toilet, also.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,130
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I have three toilets in my home right now that were made in the USA by TOTO.
    I pay a little more, but I think it's worth it.
    I was checking Home Depot today, and noticed that their American Standard toilets were made in Mexico. Well I guess Mexico is in the America's too. If someone wants to buy a product "made" in the US, there are some options I can offer them.

    But then there are some that don't even want to pay sales tax. In Washington State and British Columbia, we collect sales tax. When customers come down from Canada, they pay the sales tax too.

    And by the way Ballvalve, I do sell all the brands. If someone wants it. I'll sell it to them. I also work on all the brands.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  16. GoKohlerGo

    GoKohlerGo Brand New Plumber

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Michigan
    To get a toilet as good as toto that is made in the USA, buy the Kohler Cimarron. I have one and love it.
  17. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    God bless you. :) I got to be honest, I got one of those, and I want to drop kick it out the bath window. I am sure, Kohler makes good products as well, as Toto, but, surely, you jest about the Cimarron. I got it working pretty good now, after 7 years of tweaking it. Everyone asks me what I want for Xmas, and everyone thinks I am kidding, when I say, " a new toilet." :)
  18. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Pretty sure that Cimarron is not made in the USA.
  19. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I don't know who made that toilet, but, it requires a whole lot of patience. lol. I want to buy the toilet that Ed Bundy uses on the ole' show, Married with Children, now, he never had a problem. :)
  20. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    American standard 3 - now MADE IN THE USA - have a click and be amazed!

    http://www.americanstandard-us.com/promotions/made-in-usa/

    As I mentioned, with the cost of natural gas, You'll see more patriots take a profit at home, and have workers with money enough to BUY american. As Ian said many times, "thats the best little toilet on earth. Flush an elephant turd, mate."

    As to the Cimarron, I found a story online where the union refused a thousand on a huge job, because they were made in china or mexico, and next week received fresh american made ones. So I guess they send the imports to the home stores, and save the us ones for the buy american act.

    People that care about getting America back on its feet, will live with a chinese plunger next to their US Mansfield. Or go ahead and buy the US Toto, just remember the profits leave the country.

    http://www.mansfieldplumbing.com/Why-Mansfield/Made-In-USA.aspx

    And here are 10 pages of US made mansfield products, so yes, you have choices.

    http://www.mansfieldplumbing.com/Product-Catalog/Made-In-USA.aspx?page=10

    Here is the best reason to seek US made products - so your kid does not end up at MCburgers or the dollar depression store:

    Rish and the flag.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
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