Toto Drake vs. Ultramax - below the seat difference?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Footsox1, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Footsox1

    Footsox1 New Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Cape Coral, Florida
    After much research, I am going to buy a Toto toliet to replace our old toliet. I notice the difference between the Drake and the Ultramax is that one is a one piece design and one is a 2-piece design I don't really care whether it is a one piece or two piece design. I am trying to find out if these 2 toilets are the same "below the seat." In other words, is their flushing action, bowl wash, etc., the same between the Drake and Ultramax? Also, I cannot find where the outflow pipe (sorry don't know the terminology here) is glazed. I read somewhere that it being glazed, really helps with better flushing.

    I recently stayed in a hotel where the toilet was a Kohler with jet flushing, and it was great. It had a compressed air tank within the toliet tank, and the flushing was wonderful. Since then, I have researched and it seems the Kohler's are not that great and a LOT of people are very happy with their Toto toilets. So, I am going with a Toto. Any other thoughts on the differences between the Toto Drake and Ultramax "below the seat" would be appreciated.
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Apr 27, 2012
    New York, NY
    Welcome to the forum.

    The trapway on all the toilets we are discussing is glazed.

    There is now an original Drake (CST744S or CST744E, 1.6gpf and 1.28 gpf respectively) and a Drake II (CST454CEFG), as well an original Ultramax (MS854114S or MS854114E) and an Ultramax II (MS604114CEFG). In some jurisdictions, the 1.28 gallon-per-flush models are eligible for a rebate from the water company under the Watersense program, if you are replacing a toilet; the program details vary widely by jurisdiction.

    The designs of the II versions are more modernist than the original versions, and they come with a bunch of standard features: Double-cyclone bowl wash ("C" in the model number), 1.28GPF (E), Universal Height (F), and Sanagloss finish to resist staining and swirl away stuff that might stick to the porcelain (G). The Sanagloss and ADA-height are options on the original versions, and you can still get them in the 1.6gpf model if that appeals.

    The basic flush system and bowl design are essentially the same on the original versions of the Drake and Ultramax (called the G-Max flush), and the II versions of the toilets have the same double-cyclone bowl action and flush. They don't necessarily all test out the same on the MAP ratings (where a testing lab tries to determine how much a standard solid material will pass through on a flush), but they all score above the level at which it really doesn't make much difference (which is 500). If you look at a flushing Ultramax, just in the bowl, it's going to look a lot like a Drake flush, and if you look at an Ultramax II flushing, it will look a lot like a Drake II flush.

    Don't expect the dramatic "Woosh!!!" of a pressure-assist bowl from a Toto toilet. It's a lot quieter, and just gets the job done without a lot of drama. But it DOES get the job done. And it has simple, user-replaceable parts. The drama is replaced by good engineering.

    As between the original series and the II series, I have one of the II and two of the original. The II series appears to have a little better bowl wash, and the Sanagloss is nice, but I can't say I have any complaints about my original Drakes without the Sanagloss. They just work, and they're a heck of a bargain for the quality of their components and the quality of the flush.

    For what it's worth, here's an original Drake flushing paper. See? Quiet, no drama, but it gets it done. (Note that the video ends before the toilet finishes refilling; the Drake has a nice-sized water spot for a water-efficient toilet.)

    If you want to see the internal guts of a Toto Drake operating, here is a link to another video. Note that the big 3" flush valve (the standard is 2") evacuates a lot of water from the tank really fast, and that Toto uses the weight of extra water in the tank to force the flush water through the valve: the flapper closes before the tank is empty because the extra water isn't needed in the flush; the extra water is there to power the flush (hence "G-Max" for gravity). Note how quickly the tank refills, and how quietly and authoritatively the Korky 528T fill valve shuts off. It's running fully-open until it shuts off, rather than the slow, hissy shutoff from a traditional ballcock.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    FWIW, a pressure assisted toilet does not use air pressure like from a compressor, there's no extra air in the water discharge. Inside of the tank is a separate tank with a rubber bladder (think balloon). When the incoming water fills that tank, the house's water pressure compresses the air in the balloon, and when full, it shuts the water off, trapping it in the tank, being pushed by the compressed air in the balloon. When you flush, the compressed air in the balloon expands, pushing the water out at the house's water pressure level rather than by gravity as in most residential toilets. This does push the water faster, but a good design of a gravity flush works as well, is quiet, and the parts are cheaper and easier to replace when things do wear out (and they do, it may just take awhile). Many people find that the noise of a pressure assisted toilet is startling, and not something you want in the middle of the night. Because the Totos in question are gravity flushers, the height of the tank makes a small difference - the Drake's tank is taller than the Ultimate's, so the velocity of the flush is slightly higher. Not enough so the average person would notice or affect the overall performance, but it is a slight difference. Choose one for the style you prefer, and don't sweat that difference. The one-piece has cleaner lines, and without the gap of the tank, is easier to clean but it is heavier and thus a little more awkward to install. You only normally install it once, so that shouldn't be a big issue. The Drake comes in two boxes, the Ultimate one, so it's bigger and heavier, too.
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