What's the difference between these valves?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jimithing78, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. jimithing78

    jimithing78 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Texas
    Hi guys, let me start by telling you that I know very little about plumbing. Changing shower heads and replacing toilets is the extent of my knowledge. I'll be having this done by a professional plumber, I just want to have everything we need onsite ahead of time.

    I'm updating a 25 year old bathroom and looking at various faucets. We're looking mostly at Kohler and I noticed that the faucets require a Kohler valve behind the wall to properly connect the handle. No problem, I can understand why. But Kohler has a bunch of different valves and I don't understand the difference between them. Here they are:

    K-306-KS
    K-304-KS
    K-304-KP
    K-304-K

    Click the names for links to the Kohler website. I used the Kohler compare tool and about the only difference I can see is the male/female connections are in different configurations. Am I missing something else? Thanks in advance.

    PS - we're only looking at Kohler b/c the wife likes their look. If there's a better brand please let me know. I don't want to open up the wall every 5 years to fix this thing.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2007
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You're sort of putting the horse before the cart. You are correct in stating that handle kits are in NO WAY interchangeable between brands, and actually in some cases not WITHIN a brand. SO. You should go to a plumbing store that has some displays and catalogs. Pick out the style of faucet you want. The catalog will show what in-the-wall rough in valve you need to use. If you want to specify a certain valve function, like pressure bal or therm. controlled, then choose the valve and the catalog will show you what trims will go with it.

    Most of us here would recommend something other than Kohler, for various reasons. Delta and Moen come to mind.

    The final will be whatever the lady of the house wants!
  3. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,348
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I prefer Delta less cost reliability easy to repair and a lot good looking trim.
    Kohler can be complicated to repair and parts can be hard to find down the
    road.look at Delta befor you comit.
  4. jimithing78

    jimithing78 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks for the help. I found the faucet she wanted online and I was trying to see how much it cost and the website forced me to pick one of those 4 valves before proceeding and I just didn't know which to pick.

    I poked around the forum a little and noticed that other people have the same opinion of Kohler, so I think I'll ask her to have a look at the delta and maybe moen lines.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Specifically,the valves you show here are all similar. The first one is hi-flow, the other differences between them are with or without integral stop valves.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would recommend Moen or, Delta... I fix those in one trip!

    Kohler there is the trip to see what it is... The trying to locate parts... Ordering the parts which are on back order with a delivery 3 weeks down the road... Then the trip back out to install... Oh yea there might even be a trip back for a second look because of some obscure detail that dictates which of 2 or 3 different parts are needed. I don't do that for free! Your choice!
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