My Experience; American Standard Champion 4 vs. Toto Drake

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by KiterTodd, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. KiterTodd

    KiterTodd New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maryland
    Okay, since this is a very Toto biased forum, and I have now installed two brands, I figured I’d post my review. Up front, I’ll say they are both great toilets. It was my first time installing a toilet, actually. Did the first one (the Champion) with my dad and the other two myself.

    I installed one American Standard Champion 4 elongated right-height 2 piece (AS), and installed two Toto Drakes (Toto). One of the Drakes was a two piece elongated, and the other was a two piece round. Both standard height. The different styles were just due to a tight bathroom requiring the round and a couple short toddlers requiring regular height.

    I picked up the AS at Home Depot for $230 complete (both pieces, seat, wax ring & hardware). The Drakes were about $340 - for the toilets ($300ish) and the matching Toto seat ($40ish). I had to buy the wax ring and hardware. The porcelain on the AS said “Made in the U.S.A.†On the elongated Toto both pieces were stamped U.S.A. but on the round, one of the pieces was China and the other was U.S.A. Didn’t notice a quality difference either way, and I think on both brands it just depends where your box comes from.

    Some quick pictures;
    The awful toilet I replaced; diameter picture, side picture
    The Toto; diameter picture, side picture
    The AS; marketing picture (mine was the right height - sorry, no pictures of the actual toilet)

    I won’t talk about the install because it was equal for both the Toto and the AS. Both went on fine. No complications.

    THE FLUSH
    That’s what we bought these for, right? Our existing Mancesa toilets were awful. Very small diameter tank to bowl opening (sorry, forget what this is called) and the pipe elbows on the back of the toilet was very very tight. They contributed to not a lot of suction and a setup that was prone to blockage.

    The AS flush is superior over the Toto. Can’t argue this one. You drop this handle and there is a much more forceful flush that you hear, see, feel and are more confident will suck anything out. The downside is that the AS handle is harder to push down. Fine for adults, but I think young children may have a tough time and I don’t think my toddler could do it.

    The Toto flush is a hair slower. You don’t see a rush of suction in the bowl, but I have zero complaints about the performance. The handle is easier to depress and more family friendly. Still a little more effort required than our old toilets, but nothing our toddler can’t handle.

    So, I’d say the AS flush wins out, but, we haven’t had clogs in either. Due to the less effort required for the lever I’d probably lean towards the Toto for more family and guest friendliness. In the end, if I don't have to plunge, the toilet is working great!

    THE INSIDES

    Both toilets seem to use proprietary mechanisms for the flapper assembly. The flapper on both is a non standard raised model and I expect would be more expensive than your basic toilet flapper when it comes time to replace. I’d think the AS would be easier to find since it sounds like I have to get the Toto hardware from a Toto dealer (local hardware stores don’t stock it). The water tower (sorry, don’t know what this is called either) on the AS is a standard off the shelf part I can find anywhere. The Toto one as you know is custom.

    So, down the road when it comes time to replace things, the AS will probably be more convenient to find parts and replace. Possibly cheaper as well.

    The elbow in the back of both lower halves seemed comparable for both toilets. They both seemed to take nice wide turns to enable a smooth flow and less chance of clogs.

    THE OUTSIDE
    I think they both look pretty comparable.

    THE SEATS

    Awful. Both of them.

    The Toto seat was a soft close seat which is what I wanted, however, it has an uncomfortably sharp edge. I thought it was just me but two guests commented as well. Sharp may not be accurate, it is more of a pressure point around the outside, the interior edge is too low…the outside edge to high and sharp. Not comfortable and was a waste of $40. Wish I could return seats but didn’t bother to ask. I can’t see anyone taking them back.

    The AS comes with a standard seat. It was a piece of junk. Didn’t use it.

    I bought the Bemis whisper close seats. They’re great. Easy to install/replace.

    So, this calls for a price adjustment. I can buy the Toto without the seat for around 300, add a Bemis whisper close for $35 and I'm up to $335 complete. On the AS I would automatically chuck their seat, add on $35 for a good seat and I'm up to $265.

    SUMMARY
    I’m happy with both toilets. Have had them all installed for a couple months with no complaints.
    • As I mentioned, I think the only toss-up is you can have a more aggressive sounding flush on the AS, but it comes with the price of more lever effort.
    • I was not happy with either brand’s seat.
    • Install and quality seemed comparable on both.
    • I sense that parts availability will be easier on the AS.
    I have one more toilet to replace and am up in the air on which to choose.

    Anyway, hopefully some future shopper finds this comparison useful. I appreciate the help I received on this forum and I am glad I did not buy the Danze I was looking at. I also felt better giving my business to a local shop rather than the big box store. Good luck with your own choice!

    -kt
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  2. spta97

    spta97 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks for the review. I just purchased the Toto Drake II with the cyclone flush for a friend so hopefully that will be good for the money. I know exactly what you are talking about with the seats. My Kohler Power-Lite had a soft close seat that made you feel like you were going to fall in the bowl because the edge is higher than the inside rim. I didn't notice it being sharp, only that I could not stand to sit on it for a second longer.

    I too got the Bemis soft close seat and have been extremely happy with them with the exception that they scratch easily. I will often use toilet paper to wipe dust off of the cover and you see swirl marks as if it were a black car!

    I had considered the AS but was not happy after I saw the reviews so I'll try the Toto and see how that does.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,990
    Location:
    New England
    There are actually 3-4 models of the soft-close Toto seat, so you can get one that is 'flatter', if you wish.

    Lowes carries the Korky flapper valve replacement for the Toto as a stock item, and any decent plumbing supply house.

    You can't go by the 'sound' of the flush to determine which is better. AS does make some decent toilets, it's just that their QA/QC isn't as good as Toto's.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,994
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Parts for the TOTO have been easier to find in hardware stores. It's just a standard 3" replacement flapper.

    I rate down toilets that have a loud flush.
    Why would you want a loud flushing toilet if you can have a quieter one?
    I agree that the Toto flush is more subtle. And that it gets the job done.
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Korky says Toto Flappers & Fill Valves are all over the place...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The Am Std flush tower is defunct...
    Am Std will send you an upgrade kit you can install yourself...
    It's easy us plumbers just call it a "Major Rebuild" LOL

    The flappers for the upgrade do seem to be a tough find but no sweat Am Std will send them to you as part of their 10 year warranty...

    Which of the Champions are you reviewing 1, 2, 3, or, 4? They are in the 4th redesign you know...
  6. KiterTodd

    KiterTodd New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maryland
    Great responses, guys. Thanks. Good to know I should be able to find replacement parts for my Toto more readily when I need them.

    That's too bad. My Toto dealer only offered me color choices.


    The AS doesn't have a loud flush, just more pronounced. Probably tough to describe and it doesn't seem important enough to record and post videos of them both, but that would be a nice feature on a toilet review website. Toto Drake flush is softer, though. That's a better way to say it.

    I have the American Standard Champion 4. The flush tower looks to be a standard off the shelf Fluidmaster 400.
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The Champion 4 does not have the flush tower. You are referring to the fill valve which is indeed a Fluidmaster 400A.

    The flush tower was an older flush valve design that didn't work out so well. American Standard came out with a more conventional flapper design to get the angry customers off their backs. The two are pictured below...

    [​IMG]

    You are actually quite lucky that you have bought a Champion 4, After 4 redesigns it is finally close to being acceptable...
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  8. KiterTodd

    KiterTodd New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maryland
    See, I told you I didn't know what any of that sh*t was called. :) Yes, the new style you have shown is what is inside my Champion 4.

    Again, to be clear. As I stated in the opening post I have installed 3 toilets, and many of you have installed 100s. I'd say we've probably spent the same amount of time as end-users, though. :D

    Just giving feedback that as a first time installer, both are doing the job and went in without a hitch.
  9. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    It's good to see someone else who likes their American Standard Champion 4 toilet. Reading this forum, I though I was the only person in the world who felt this way. I've had one that I isntalled about 3 years ago, it's still going strong and clog free.

    There was one time my son told me it was clogged, by the time I found the plunger and got there, it was no longer clogged.

    I've been very happy with it and would recommend it.
  10. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    I too am extremely happy with having my AS Champion 4. I've posted to several threads here tring to more fully figure out which versions were the ones that people had propblems with. The tech line at American Standard insisted that in 2007 the Champions were redesigned with several specific fixes. Although I haven't had a lot of responses to the questions I asked, I'm thinking that those who were unhappy had pre-2007 models. I still have one more toilet to install and its a toss between the Champion and the Cadet. Still happy to accept any advice about that choice. Thanks.
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,994
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you're going with American Standard, you might as well save your money and go with the Cadet.
    I don't know why the big box buyers are suprised thatthe plumbers prefer something better. We do this all week long. It's not something we do every thirty years. I'm doing it every day.
    So if you want Mexican Standard, that's what we get in Seattle, then you might as well get the Cadet. I would pull it out of the box and inspect first before bringing it home. Why make two trips.

    I've been selling the round TOTO Drake for $199.99, which is a real bargain I think.
    You can get the Cadet for less.

    Either way, it's going to be with you for the next 30 years or so.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
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