Mid-priced Toilet, 10" Rough: Kohler or Am Standard?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by windex66, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. windex66

    windex66 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    I'm replacing a 40-year-old toilet, and this is new to me. My plumber recommended Kohler as "never giving him a problem", so I got a $220 1.28 GPF version from HD. Opps, we then realized that it was a 10" rough in, so returned it. As of right now, the - limited - options seem to be American Standard or Kohler, Toto being out of the price range.

    American Standard (AS): HomeDepot stocks the Cadet 3 FloWise Elongated HE Toilet. The big bonus is that it is stocked, and comes with a seat (and ring), so out the door is probably $200. Lowe's stocks a similar toilet, AS Saver White 1.28 GPF with a Comfort Height (16").

    The retail clerk claimed that the now 10-year warranty on American Standard was needed, as they're "not as reliable as Kohler". Secondly, he claimed that Kohler toilets have a 'glazed trapway', while AS weren't - and thus, AS were more likely to ocassionally have a stoppage. He said he never hears anything about AS; but his customers "love" Kohler. He claims his Kohler is the only toilet his kids haven't stopped up. Same guy said AS didn't make getting parts easy.

    Am. Standard looks to generally get very good reviews (4 to 4.5 stars online for us laymen), but comments like this made me pause: "...The only problem I had was the flapper would not always seal and water would run until I flushed once or twice. The flapper model is a Fluidmaster 540 and there is no support documents on it anywhere online. Upon inspection there are numbers 0 to 10 on this flapper. Mine was set to 8. I moved it to 10 and that I guess prevented water or air from seeping into the flapper assembly. Now it seals every flush."

    Last thing I need to do is pay for a toilet & install, and then hear a leaky flapper!!!

    Kohler: so far, a 10" rough in looks to be a special order, and whether its the Highline Classic or the Cinamarron, it looks like it will be pushing $400.

    The Skinny: price and convenience are pushing me towards the AS, but I'm perceiving Kohler to be a better product, and I've heard their support is better.

    Is American Standard a solid - though maybe not spectacular - option? Or will I kick myself? Thanks for your time!
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,891
    Location:
    New York, NY
    The street price of the Toto Drake on a 10" rough-in (and Comfort Height) is right around the same price as you paid, give or take $20.

    AS does have some reliability issues, but a lot of what you've been told is just garbage.

    You've read this forum, so you know that Toto's quality is extraordinary, and that the Toto Drake flush is legendary.

    It would be truly insane to pay $400 for a Kohler when you can order the Toto original Drake for $240-ish (or less) in white and get a better toilet. CST744EF.10 is the model number.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2014
  3. windex66

    windex66 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    Thanks! If I go with the Toto softclose lid, then I'm at about $300-310. I am on a budget, but taking the price point from $400+/- for a Kohler, to $300 +/-, sounds like it is worth the extra $100.

    I called 3 local brick & morter places, but they're only willing to maybe take 25% off, if anything. I wonder if a friend who works for a General Contractor, could get the $220-230 price? ... Several of the local suppliers have to special order a 10" rough. I gather by street price you mean large Internet sources?

    Thanks again.
  4. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,891
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Um...well I was actually revising up a smidge from what you can get the stuff at from the internet sources, including the biggest one that has free shipping. Local suppliers have prices that really vary widely; I told one person in Austin to pull out the yellow pages, look under "plumbing supply" and call at least five random places asking for a price quote with an exact model number and color, indicating that she would order today if the price was right. Most of the places were moderately-unhelpful, quoting prices up to $150 more than the online source, but two actually came in below the internet source by like $10-20. And those companies were super-friendly and went on my list of folks to recommend when people want to buy a Toto in Austin.

    It's probably the same near you. You can also bargain a little with these guys, advising that you know what you could get it for online but you would much rather buy it from them if they come close. Although Americans typically don't feel comfortable bargaining, merchants do it all the time with us, just not one-on-one. (It's called a "sale". Why is it that the dishwasher that I ordered from a major local retailer on Friday was $X, and when I just happened to look on Monday, it was $X+190? The thing still cost the merchant the same; he was just willing to sell it at one price on Friday and a different one on Monday. So nobody "needs" to get a particular price, and shouldn't be offended if you hondle a little. If they are, it's their loss because someone else is eager to sell you a toilet.)

    And I would shoot to bargain for that SS114 seat at about $40. I'm not sure that Terry objects to buying parts and stuff like that online, either.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    Depending on your market, local vendors often come close or are even better than some internet prices. See if they'll come close to an internet vendor's pricing. Call a few more places. A GC is likely to get a lower price without haggling.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,110
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you are asking someone to hook you up without making anything for expenses, it's going to be tough.
    Are you guys donating at your work? Like can I come in and get something for free if I have a nice smile?

    Generally "any" business has to worry about time management. There are plenty of offers to work for free, and if we do that, our next check will be an unemployment check.
    25% or 30% is plenty good as a discount.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,891
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Actually, I do, as part of giving back to my community, take certain matters for free, and I do others at a reduced fee, as I know you do too.

    Also, from time to time I will let a client bargain a bit with me on how the fee is structured, and whether I do it depends on whether I seem to have the time and feel like it would be worthwhile to do it anyway. I have had one wealthy potential client just be unrealistic in what he was willing to pay, so I wasn't willing to do it even though it was right in the sweet spot of what I do and it would have been efficient to hire me because I had just done work on a very similar matter and had all the research at my fingertips, which wouldn't have cost him anything. I said no. He got a guy to do it at the price he wanted. Who then proceeded to lose a very-winnable matter.

    So I also understand that when craftsmanship is involved, I am willing to pay more for the realistic expectation of a higher-quality job. If I had a Terry Love here, and he cost 20% more than Plumbing-Is-Us, I'd take the Terry Love every time. (In fact, I think, and am crossing my fingers, that I just found a guy who loves working on old stuff -- he certainly talks the talk in terms of identifying what stuff is and talking about how he will go about repairing certain old things, and he will tell you that you could do X but don't need to and instead can do Y, and why -- and I will happily may more for him than for the usual mopes we find out here on Long Island.

    But if we're talking about a commodity, I don't see much wrong in letting the guy who has the store on X Street sell it to me for $Y if he is willing, instead of the guy on Z Street who wants $Y plus 30%. Unless, as is the case with my friend who runs a hardware store, the customer service makes me smile every time I walk in. Then, I'm getting something more than the commodity.

    What any business has to look at, particularly when it isn't publicizing prices, is whether it is worth selling a particular item, for cash right now today, at a price that is above its marginal cost. If a plumbing supplier has the opportunity to make a sale at a price less than quoted, but still sufficient to kick something towards overhead, and it doesn't require any extra labor, electricity, insurance or rent, it makes sense to make the sale that day to that one person, who is otherwise going to go elsewhere. It's not like that person is going to tell everyone else in East Bibbletink that the product can be had at that price, so the merchant is free to price-discriminate in favor of the person who "bids" on the toilet and against someone who comes in and says, "get me this for whatever it costs". Online merchants don't get to do that, nor do merchants that post their prices. Also, as I said, plenty of merchants put coupons in the paper with crazy percentage discounts just to drive business into the store, and spend money on advertising, and have occasional sales, all to generate business. When we owned restaurants, what we charged for catering often was based on what it took to make it worthwhile. Even if we didn't make too much money on the job, we did it because (1) it still made us money; (2) it paid our people who wanted/needed the work; and (3) it got us exposure. Sometimes we made enough that we went out and had a beer and sometimes we didn't, but it was profit nonetheless, and as long as we had the time to do it, we did it. It's not an exact comparison, but the concept is similar.

    PS You'd be amazed how many people get stuff for free when they have a nice smile. :)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  8. windex66

    windex66 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    Thanks everyone. wjcandee, I've negotiated for mattresses and other items, but these were end-of-day phone calls... but thanks for the kick start! The one twist is that I'm after a 10 inch rough, which many won't stock. So its a bit different. And if the unit gets damaged in transit, that's another headache.

    wjcandee, I'm with you that there is a difference - to me - between a commodity and a valuable service. Time is also an issue. If I were Bill Gates, I'd have Terry Love on speed dial! On the flip side, I've chosen a well-regarded plumber to do my install, just in case, and I've referred him to about 4 concrete jobs. I've done the same with major car repairs - if I can save $200 on a major part, I'll do it, and my mechanic has worked with me on that.

    Terry Love - great site! So... did you really get a tour of Gates' banos? (bathroom)

    wjcandee sounds like a lawyer who studied economics in college. I've gotten extra service being courteous and affable, but attractive females seem to have an upper hand ... a friend was given ~$30 in free decorative glass mosiac tile (a full sheet or two) for her remodel.
  9. Starwarsith88

    Starwarsith88 DIY kid who loves toilets

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Sparta NJ
    Dear windex66, Some people that have posted this thread about getting a kohler for 400 dollars is all resourceful information. You might as well get the TOTO Drake for around the same price, although if you do not get a bowl with sanagloss, you might want to trade the plunger for a good brush. A good once a week cleaning will keep your TOTO Drake cleaner and will help performance. Have a wonderful day and good luck with your TOTO! :)

    P.S
    We own 3 TOTO Drakes
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