To Kohler (faucets) or not to Kohler...

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by IL, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. IL

    IL New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    IL
    Hi. I'm trying to make purchases which will last, buy USA as much as possible, not cause installation headache for my contractors, etc. for a new house. Kohler seemed a natural choice since I live in IL, but I've since learned not all of it is manufactured here.

    Because of this website (glad it exists!) I've switched from Kohler to Toto (one pieces made in GA) for toilets. But that still leaves faucets, showers, sinks, tubs...yay or nay on Kohler for those things?

    I have been looking at Grohe (not USA, sigh) just from general internet research recs, but would value your recommendations on any brand of quality product. Thanks in advance!
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,794
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I don't know how many faucets are being made here anymore.
    Plumbers like Delta, Moen and Price Pfister.
    You can always get parts, and they have web sites and customer tech support.

    Grohe is also good.

    Stay away from Pegasus and house brands by box stores, that includes Water Ridge.
    Often when I try to get any information, the web sites stop working, and I can't find spec sheets on them.
    It seems they are bought in lots, and when the shipment is sold, they are literally "done" with it.
    You may live with it for the next 20 years though. Try finding parts even two years later. Has anyone ever seen parts on the shelf for a Pegasus anything?

    Toto makes a superior product.
    And when I look at my inventory of it, about a third of is is made in the USA.
    Guinivere, Soiree, Ultramax, Ultramax II,

    My Gerber is made in China
    Kohler, Mexico
    American Standard, Mexico

    [​IMG]

    TOTO Ultramax
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Kohler can be a love/hate relationship, because if you don't install a lot of Kohler products, they can seem hinky. But in truth, I have not seen the reliability questioned. One thing is a must:

    You must pay attention to the install instructions, AND you MUST keep the owners/install manual for future reference. Kohler supports parts very well on kohlerserviceparts dot com, but you have to have the model name or number. Without that, you are in trouble. And they are famous for reworking models over time, keeping the same model name and number.....so you need to have that online exploded diagrams to identify your version. And of course, not very many places stocks many Kohler parts....you have to order and wait!
  4. IL

    IL New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    IL
    Thank you for the advice! Good idea to stay away from anything without spec sheets easily available. And I'll definitely download all the owners/install manuals when I finalize my picks.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,287
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The "older" Kohler faucets were well made, but highly overpriced. The newer one have few benefits over the rest of the lines, but they are still overpriced.
  6. WendyH

    WendyH New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maple Grove, MN
    Most of my stuff is still in the boxes, so it's easy to check. My Toto Aquia II and Price-Pfister faucet and accessories are made in China. All the Moen shower parts say "made in USA of US and foreign parts". My Mr.Steam generator is made in the USA, and all the Schluter is made in Germany or Canada.
  7. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    521
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    Any faucet with 2 handles I'd use Chicago (w/ quaturn cartridges). Think chrome.
  8. Chicago Faucets has always been a great combination of a good price and the most solid quality, and still is. Continuously.
    To me, it seems other companies rode on their reputation to carry them through a few years when they weren't as good.
    Some of the mid-range of the US market: American Standard, Eljer, Elkay, PricePfister, Moen and Delta.
    In each of these companies' offerings there can be great products and others that are so-so.

    Any company can buy any other company so these or others might now be controlled from Germany or China or...
    Also, several of these apparently US companies now own a bunch of subsidiaries that appear to be foreign or local.
    Elkay and A/S own a number of other makes, and Delta (Masco) has so many companies you never know what synergies they are making happen, or not. Hansgrohe has been part of Masco for ten years now. Brizo, Peerless and Ginger are Masco and many others. I think Geberit bought Chicago Faucets long ago.

    The House brands to avoid also include Danze (who make Glacier Bay and Pegasus) since they have those ethics from China that allow them to walk away from anything they ever built.

    Perhaps Kohler is so well marketed that it gets discussed here in a thread all to its own, but it offers no specific advantage, and sometimes their parts or sizing are indeed just a little "hinky" or strange. I think there were Kohler tubs made with the overflow hole just a little too large to allow you to install easily any other manufacturer's tub overflow product (although still possible), so for those who knew about that problem in advance it created obvious bias towards the Kohler product and for those who didn't know it, it created aggravation (punishment) when they came to installing someone else's product. Same thing today: the K-6227 (new in 2009) faucet requires one non-standard hole to be drilled into your kitchen counter (2.1" diameter) so you are stuck later when you think of replacing it ...

    Personally I would think a lot about product features and style I wanted, and then find other makes that have similar product. Then, post about it in a forum here to get ideas from that starting point, to help choose "the one" company
  9. robb01

    robb01 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Id shy away from the faucets myself, have never had great luck with them and think there is better quality to be had for around the same price
  10. IL

    IL New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    IL
    global economy

    It is not a surprising, but unfortunately aggravating strategy to make sizes just slightly non-compatible with competitor brands. Sounds similar to other markets, computer software/hardware coming to mind...

    Unfortunately, I like Kohler Purist two handle faucets but not the Purist one handle. I hesitate to mix and match (buy Kohler for some rooms and other brands for other rooms (now looking at Hansgrohe Axor Uno2 single handle)) for logistics sake. I'll wind up picking out of a hat at this rate ;-)
  11. How To Buy A Faucet is what you really want to be reading.

    Have you already equipped the rest of the house?
  12. IL

    IL New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    IL
    Is How To Buy A Faucet a book or internet page?
    Haven't bought fixtures yet but need to soon...interior walls & roof just went up.
  13. Golly. How about typing those words into a search engine. How about that. Less spoonfeeding and more independent effort. In general, before posting anywhere, do a little work, beforehand.
    Surrounding the words with Quotation marks makes the search engine look for those words in that order. Like this: "How To Buy A Faucet".
    Hope this helps.
  14. IL

    IL New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    IL
    Actually, I had performed Google searches. I thought you were referring to an actual document with a precise title, thus the question.

    The previous posters have been quite helpful. I have scanned through some of Terry's forums. Thank you for your time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  15. Laikabear

    Laikabear New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Hey IL,

    Just a newbie homeowner here who recently did a kitchen & bath remodel. I went with Kohler sinks and faucets, and a Toto Toilet. For the bathroom I chose the Kohler Purist cross handle line (in brushed chrome from a high end kitchen/ bath store), and for the kitchen I got the Kohler Corolais (also brushed chrome, from Home Depot).

    So far I've had the Corolais in the kitchen for nearly a year, and the swap between spray and stream is "hinky." The bath remodel was completed only a couple of weeks ago, but I'm having a problem with the shower already. I HAD a Kohler showerhead that was swapped out for the Purist, and now the water surges a bit, like there is air in the line or the pressure is changing. I don't know if that is the plumber or the plumbING but it is annoying. My plumber suggested that Kohler is poor quality and that was what was wrong, but when I said "Oh, if it's defective we should return it," he recanted. I am still up in the air on that one. I have to show the GC what it's doing and see if he has any ideas... Strangely enough the Purist shower valve is turned clockwise to turn ON and counterclockwise to turn OFF. Weird.

    Despite that, the stuff looks fantastic. I think it was reasonably priced - that home store I shopped at for the bathroom sure had stuff 2-3 times as expensive.

    Good luck with your choices!
  16. mtoMA2AZ

    mtoMA2AZ New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    I've already read all the 'general' info- I know the features I WANT in a faucet - the problem I'm having is with recommendations as to specific brands. VERY LITTLE of what I've found Googling is objective - it's almost all from sales websites or PR releases.
    Then, in various forums, one person says "get Moen & Delta, NOT Kohler", whereas the next will say "get Kohler, NOT Moen OR Delta".
    I think that MIGHT also be IL's problem. As for me, I don't much care WHERE they are made, as long as they are reliable and easy to repair/easy availability of parts. I've seen enough "made in USA" crap (Maytag 2002, anyone?) to not automatically buy USA.
  17. mtoMA2AZ

    mtoMA2AZ New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    PS - I know there is a plumber on this forum from Cave Creek AZ - if you're out there, can you recommend any good plumbing supply houses/showrooms that are not SNOTTY? And might actually be able to give a little bit of subjective ADVICE? Sad to say, I live in Snottsdale...but one of the 'older' parts (around here, that means built in 1989).
  18. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    What you will get here are OPINIONS, and those are based on personal history, and therefor are anecdotal to a great extent, rather than scientific. You should buy the faucet you llike, from a reputable brand, and deal with it from there out. My choice for a shower, for example, is a 3 handle, non-ceramic, price pfister Windsor. Has performed flawlessly for 25 years, and I like it. If I were to remodel, I would have to go with a pressure bal, and probably would opt for a Delta 1700. We are not hung up on style, so would be perfectly happy with the design choices available. Others will be looking for the "bold look of Kohler". Your choice.
  19. mtoMA2AZ

    mtoMA2AZ New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    Good, I am looking for OPINIONS! I know the STYLES and FEATURES I'd, but I need some OPINIONS on what some of you consider 'reliable' brands, that will last and if they need repair, that I can get replacement parts for. I can't believe how EXPENSIVE they are to start with, so I better get good ones. I have been appalled by the no-nothings and downright liars I have encountered locally. It seems like you guys know much more than anyone I've encountered around here.

    Actually, the one thing I DON'T want to replace are the shower heads. I can NOT abide the newer low-flow shower heads; they do NOT save water, I use the same amount; they simply make it take TWICE as long for me to shower and get all the shampoo/conditioner out of my hair. Waste of my time. So I will keep these going as long as I can, and just replace the handles and maybe just the shower head base cover plate if I can.

    BTW, I found this forum and Terry's website after I, like an idiot, bought a Kohler toilet at Home Depot - boy what a crappy toilet! (pun intended) - great if all I ever need to do is number ONE. I *thought* that Kohler was a 'reliable' brand. AFTER the fact, I researched it and that's how I found this site. Now I have a better idea on what to buy for the toilet in the other bathroom. But that's another story.
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,820
    Location:
    New England
    It somewhat depends on what brands are well supported at your city. Personally, I like Grohe. I just bought a new Delta valve and am going to install it at my mother's house in a couple of days. Upon advice here, I chose one of their 17xx series valves. You have a choice of three different cartridges for the same rough-in: pressure balanced single handle, pressure balanced two handle, and two handled thermstatically controlled. I chose the middle one - set the temp, and normally, you can leave it there (you may have to change it with the seasons). In some cases, it's nice to have a variable volume control rather than the on/off you get with the generic pressure balanced valves (the least expensive). The Grohe valve I have is one huge honking hunk of chrome plated brass. Should last a lifetime. Still looks new after 6-years or so. Some like Moen. The old one I'm replacing at my mother's is Moen and it is probably 40-years old - still works, but is not anti-scald. Since I added a shower to the house, the risk of scalding is greater, and I'm going to relpace that valve to preclude that possibility for her. the trim should look bettere, too.
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