Which models work better? Ultramax & Drake with 1.6 gpf or Ultramax II & Drake II ?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by eddiegorniakjr, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. eddiegorniakjr

    eddiegorniakjr New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    chicago, il.
    I'm looking to buy a one piece toilet for our master bathroom and a two piece toilet for our powder room.

    Is Double Cyclone flush and cyclone rinse the same thing?
    If not what is the difference?
    Do Toto Ultramax and Toto Drake have double cyclone flush or cyclone rinse?
    Which flushes better and cleans better?
    Ultramax & Drake with their 1.6 gal flushes or Ultramax II and Drake II with
    their 1.28gpf but with newer design & technology?
    Are there other brands of toilets the flush better and clean better that I should
    take a look at? My plumber said I should not buy a Toto.
    Thank you.
    Eddie
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    If I was going to get a replacement for my Drake or Dartmouth, I'd get the Ultramax II. The 1.28 gpf works great. Actually, Toto is working on a 1.0 gpf for release fairly soon! I would strongly advise you to get a new plumber. The one you have doesn't have a clue about toilets. Toto is the largest manufacturer of toilets in the world, they put the old "reliable" American Standards and Kohlers to shame, not mention all of the other name brands from the past. Your man just isn't keeping up with the improvements in low flow designs and who is making them.
  3. eddiegorniakjr

    eddiegorniakjr New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    chicago, il.
    I have a good plumber. My son. And he does a lot of commercial work plumbing offices, hospitals etc. And he says I'm just wasting money buying a Toto because there are American toilets that are just as good as Toto and some that are better. I think he said Totos have a 2 1/8" drain and a 3" flapper. He said many of the toilets now have that or bigger for less money. And you can easily get parts for them. A lot of the plumbing companies he's worked for buy most of their stuff from plumbing supply places and many of them don't stock Toto parts. Twice they had to be special ordered and we would be down to one toilet for 3 to 5 days. I can't remember the names but he told me one that many places sell that has a 2 3/8" drain and a 4" flapper that flushes faster then Totos and never clogs up. And it cleans good too. And there are others that can flush like 25 golf balls or 25 hot dogs without clogging up. And there are ones Home Depot sells for under $200 that he says work just as good as Totos too.

    In 2002 I remodeled the house and I put in an over $700 Toto Caryle with Sana Gloss in our master bath for my wife and I. And a Cheapo Briggs in our main bathroom. My son wasn't a plumber back then he was the one who told me Totos make the best toilets but they are way overpriced. So I said if they are better I will buy one for our master bath. After about two years we had trouble with the Toto flushing. I think the Toto people had me do something with a straw or something. But it started working good for a couple months. Then the flushing system broke and my son ordered it through his company and they replaced it for free. About two years later the flushing unit broke again. This time I had to pay around $100 for a new unit. Then about 2 years later the flush handle completely broke off. It just rotted completely from part inside the tank. I bought a couple from Home Depot but none of them worked. And I ordered one on the internet. I don't know if they sent me the wrong one. It works but not like the original one. When we flush if you just quickly flush and release it doesn't do a complete flush. That is why I think they sent me a flush handle for a different model. To get a full flush we have to hold down the handle for 2 or 3 seconds. And it flushes a little slower and with a little less power. And here's the other problem we have with the Carlyle. The sana glass seem to be a waste of money. From when we first got it fecus will stick on the sana gloss in the bowl. And when you flush the water just runs downwards and doesn't clean it off. It would take about 3 or 4 flushes to clean it. So we keep a 2 quart cup in the bathroom and when something sticks to the sana gloss bowl we pour a cup of water to clean it.

    I'm over 60 and we have never had problems with any other toilet except once replacing a flapper or chain. And we had 4 kids. And the cheapo Briggs I bought still works good and outcleans the Toto by a lot when flushing. Nothing rarely sticks to it. But we are having a new house built and I looked on the internet and found this site. So I'm thinking about buying Totos. And we go to place to pick out our supplys and do upgrades. And the guy there also said Totos are overpriced and above what the builder has budgeted. But we can get them there and pay extra to the builder. And he said he has cheaper toilets that are just as good. But I cut him off and said I want the Totos. But nothing is final yet. Still planning so I can make changes for about two more weeks before the building starts. I'm glad I found this place because I can learn which is the best for me. I'm leaning towards an Ultramax for the master bathroom. But I want one that cleans very good. It's time to throw away my big bathroom cup. And I'm thinking about getting two Drakes for the other bathrooms. Because they are rated better at 900. But I want toilets that clean the bowls well in those bathrooms too.
    I've been looking on the internet to learn. But most places don't give the waste flushing rating and hardly none give a flush cleaning rating. This site does for some of the models. My son said that home depot and ******* have rating in their stores for many of the toilets.
    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Well, blood is thicker than water, and I'm not going to get into a p***ing contest between father and son. So, what's the point of asking your question? Your son has his opinions, whether they are well founded or not, and you are going to go with his opinion. So, trot down to the Depot and get your toilet, it won't be a Toto because Toto doesn't sell seconds to anyone including Big Box Stores, so take your pick of what they have and good luck to you.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,794
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    My GF bought some highly rated five star toilets from Home Depot for her remodel before she met me.
    When she asked about returning the worst one, (Glacier Bay) she was told "No returns." Over the speaker phone she could hear the guy from the plumbing isle telling the counter person that it was a piece of "crud". So Sue asked why did they sell them if they didn't work? (The bowl was always dirty)
    I replaced the Glacier Bay with a TOTO Drake II, and she has mentioned that's its night and day different between the two.
    Two months ago I replaced the American Standard that she had bought there.

    There is no toilet with a 4" flush valve on the market. American Standard uses a funnel over a 3" flush valve and they call it a Champion 4"
    It's marketing hype. If you have ever used a funnel for pouring oil into your car engine, you know that the funnel reduces the flow when adding oil. It doesn't speed it up.

    Every hardware store carries fill valves and flappers for TOTO.
    Handles are generic. Eljer was using the same handle as the TOTO on their tanks.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  6. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,770
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Well, the gentleman is saying that he expressly told the builder that he was willing to pay extra for the Totos he wants, and he wants some counseling from us with regard to which Toto to pick, with an eye to which one has the best bowl wash so he can throw away his fecus cup.

    So let's help him. From what we have learned here, we can see that some of his experiences with the Ultramax (expensive replacement parts, etc., parts not at plumbing supply house, etc.) can happen to people if they are not empowered with information. We all know that all you do for an Ultramax is go to Lowe's, ACE or even the major online seller and get yourself the right Korky fill valve for $10.47 and/or the 2021 Korky flapper for $10.38 and you're back in business. And we know that Korky is a factory-authorized replacement, not some cheap crap.

    And that handle issue is something we've seen here. And we know about folks complaining that they have to hold down the handle to get a "full flush" and how there are two definitions of a "full flush" (does he mean a flush like it came with [i.e. half a tank; so his problem is a "misfire" probably as a result of a chain misadjustment or the trip lever not being directly over the flapper] or a flush like the old-timey days [i.e. emptying the tank; so his problem is not understanding that the whole tank doesn't empty on this toilet]. I started having misfires (where the flapper starts to open but doesn't open more than an inch or so before shutting) on one of our Drakes; just adjusted the chain and trip lever a little bit and I was right back in business.

    So, assuming that the gentleman is just sharing the full experience he has had with his Ultramax over the years and wants our advice as to bowl wash...what do we think? Aquia washdown flush? Double-cyclone? [change in diet? :)] On the basic Drake, if he wants bowl wash he should stick to the GMax, then, no?

    One other suggestion for the gentleman might be that if the builder quotes a price for the Toto that is out of range, that the gentleman offer to purchase the Toto from a place that has a fair price and have it delivered to the work site? Or put the builder on to a source where he can get the Toto for a price that wouldn't necessitate a substantial charge for an "upgrade"? "Hey, pal, I can get this thing online for $X with free shipping, so why can't you, as a builder, obtain it for that price or less locally?"

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Problem is, Junior says Toto toilets are no good and he's dad's plumber. Sure, most of us regulars on this forum know that Toto toilets are the premier toilets, but Jr the Plumber knows better so who's dad going to believe. I just don't know why he bothered to ask about which Toto would be the best. He'll end up with a AS or Kohler from the Depot and assume the clogs are normal for low flow toilets 'cause Jr. says so.
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,770
    Location:
    New York, NY
    In fairness, in the first post, he said that his son said that he "should not buy a Toto". He later explained that his son noted that Totos have a 3" flush valve and an enlarged trapway, and said that there were other toilets that have these features today for less money, which is true.

    And we also know that the son, right or wrong, has his Dad's best interests at heart, and doesn't want him to overpay.

    So what we need to point out is that, yes, other brands have made changes in their bowls so they can say "WE HAVE THAT!!!" or, like the AS Champion "Not Really 4", can say "Ours is bigger" or "Ours go to 11!"

    But we should also point out that the DESIGN of the trapway is important, not just its diameter, and Terry has explained why Toto's is the best. We can also point out that the defect rate on Totos is much lower than the rest of the industry, and that, unlike many of the other brands, they don't try to unload defective merchandise (like that poor guy with the unglazed portion of his bowl or the tank that Terry showed that had a defect that had been like sanded or something). And we can point out that unlike, say the Champion "Not Really 4", the Toto uses a standard flapper and fill valve. We can point him to the proper source of inexpensive replacement parts (Korky 528MP Valve and "Fits Toto" Flapper, all available at Lowe's.) And, finally, we can note that the Drake flushes golf balls just like the Champion (there's a video on youtube).

    So these are reasons that may justify the Toto's higher price. And we can then point out that Totos are actually available through many channels at an affordable price.

    I think that Terry has covered the issue of which ones leave fewer skid marks, and we can say that if he likes the look of the Drake II and Ultramax II, he can buy those with confidence, because they come standard with Sanagloss.

    And we can wish him good luck and thank him for his kind words about this forum.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,820
    Location:
    New England
    Paying $100 to replace the generic flush valve in a Carlyle is highway robbery, unless you paid a plumber to do that 10-minute job. Normally, you can repair the whole thing by replacing the sealing cap for all of about $3 (available at any Lowes and most hardware stores) and about a minute to do.

    A toilet doesn't work well, oscillating between poorly, then good again on its own...it's more likely you had a partial clog in the drain system which could have been from someone flushing something they shouldn't have. I have two Totos in my home, a Carlyle and a Vespin and both have been working well for years. I have had to replace the flapper valves and the flush valve seals, but bought them at Lowes for cheap. Our water has fairly high chemicals added to them which messes with the rubber. Unless you are devoid of any DIY'er skills, it's a really easy repair that most don't require a plumber to perform.

    Toto has probably the best QA/QC in the industry of readily available toilets in the USA. The Austrailian Caroma will flush huge stools, but it also will splash your butt and the toilet seat. It is one that is recommended if you are in the 1% with a medical condition that produces that type of logs. For the rest of us, the Totos work great. American Standard can make a decent toilet, but their QA/QC is spotty. Kohler is standing on their reputation of old and is infected by the NIH syndrome. Think finding parts is tough, try some of the Kohlers for both cost and availability. For the most part, most Totos can use off the shelf repair parts readily available and cheap. Depending on where you buy your Toto, the price can vary by a huge amount so it pays to shop around. You should never have to pay anywhere near suggested retail for the thing.
  10. eddiegorniakjr

    eddiegorniakjr New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    chicago, il.
    Thank you all for all the help. My son never said Toto toilets are no good. Ten years ago he was the one who told me the were among the best made if not the best. That was
    why I bought the Total Carlyle with sana gloss and soft close seat back then. What he said was 10 years ago they had bigger traps and flappers etc. then American made ones. But now he says some of the
    American toilets are almost as good or just as good and some are cheaper.

    I get confused searching the internet. Here's what I had decided so far. I think the Ultramax has a map rating of 7 or 700. And the Drake has a map rating of 9 or 900. Yesterday at a big home store I saw Titan 4s. I think they are made by eljer. And many of them had a map rating of 10. And I probably don't understand how things affect the flush. But it said the Titan 4s had a 2 3/8" trap and a 4" flap. And the flush time was quicker then Toto's. But later I also read around here that some of these other brands would better ratings have
    more problems then Totos. So I think I will go with the Ultramax II instead of the Ultramax. I think the Ultramax has a higher flush rating but that the Ultramax II's rating is good enough. And the Ultramax II cleans the bowl better because of double cyclone flushing design. That is if I can get it in a regular height and not the 17" ada height. My wife and all
    her family hate the higher toilet. And she said she doesn't care what I pick as long as it isn't another high one like our Briggs ada.

    I think I read the Drake has a map rating of 9 and the Drake II has a map rating of 7. And I saw a video of the Drake on you tube showing the Drake not cleaning all that good. But
    then I read a lot of places where it cleans good. But I'm thinking the Drake II probably cleans better because it too has the double cyclone flush. But I have to look around some more tonight. Because a couple of the sites I looked it only has the Drake II in the ada height.

    Does it come in a regular height?
    Or if I want a regular Height Drake will I have to go with the Drake instead of the Drake II?

    And this is what happened. Two weeks ago we went to the builder's supply place. And we picked out our siding, roofing, windows and doors etc. Then we picked out other things
    that the builder has a budget assigned. Like the flooring has a budget of $4 per foot and we picked one that cost $5. So that puts us $2500 over budget there and it raises our total
    house price by however much we went over. Then we picked out the 2nd cheapest cabinets the place sells and the basic or cheap granite. And we went over budget again. And we
    picked out faucets, toilets baths etck and we went a lot over budget.



    I want the Drake II for the double cyclone flush because I did read of lot of reviews and some said the Drake cleaning wasn't the best. That the water just runs down and doesn't circulate kind of like my Carlyle.

    But since my wife called the supply house and complained. And told them we will probably buy a lot of our plumbing fixtures and electric fixtures online they want us to come in
    Saturday morning with printouts. And they will try to get the boss to match some of the prices.

    Thanks again for all the help. And if anyone knows if the Drake II with sana gloss comes in a regular height instead of the ada height please let me know.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2012
  11. eddiegorniakjr

    eddiegorniakjr New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    chicago, il.
    It was the blueish gmax flushing unit inside the tank. The first time it went out after about 2 years. And Toto sent a new one for free. And the 2nd one went out and I think Toto charged me about in the $90s or maybe $80s. But I could be wrong. It was about 5 years ago. And then one day my wife flushed and the white flush handle just broke off. And we
    tried buying 2 or 3 from home depot. And I think we ended up ordering one online for less then $20 I think.

    Toto THU099 Left Hand Tank Lever with Arm from the Dorian Collection
    Finish: Colonial White
    $16.80


    Subtotal:
    $16.80

    Shipping & Handling:
    $8.99

    Grand Total:
    $25.79


    Ordered on: Dec 31, 2011

    Check Order Status
    Total: $25.79
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  12. eddiegorniakjr

    eddiegorniakjr New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    chicago, il.
    As of now I decided to go with three of the Toto's listed below.

    Toto Ultramax II Elongated 1 Piece Toilet with SanaGloss and soft close seat MS604114CEFG#01 Cotton White



    Thanks again for the help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2012
  13. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,770
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Sounds like a winner! Enjoy your new Totos!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
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