It's just a toilet.... right??

Lyns06February 13, 2012

Ok, so throughout my entire home design (new home) I've tried to keep in perspective how easy it is to get caught up at looking at one specific thing versus the entire room of a home.

And, now, I'm looking at toilets and I'm doing it again! I'm getting taken by the fancy bells and whistles and losing perspective that is is just a toilet.. not the basis of what my entire bathroom is going to be build around!

However, I do want to get a nice one. Can you tell me, which bell or whistle is worth the added $$? I currently have a toilet that has both the comfort (taller) height and elongated seat and like it (weird to say that... =). However, I've found that it is hard to potty train a little boy on because it's too tall and aiming is a little tough!

I'm looking at high efficiency toilets. Does it really pay off to get the dual-flush? What about the elongated seat and the taller height? The prices vary from $150-ish to over $400 for all of the extras.

Which would you stick with and which would you nix?


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A big Yes on the comfort height and elongated seat. Your little boy can stand on a stool for now and when he is no longer little, he will appreciate the elongated seat -- at least that's what the man in my life says!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Thanks, dedtired (love the username, btw!!) for the advice. I imagine my husband would agree.. he spends the most time there! LOL! =)

I'm taking marketer's word for it that the high-efficiency toilets are better. We will have a well on our new property, so I don't know if it is going to be such a money-saver for us, considering we don't have to pay for our water the same as if it were city water.. but I still try to go more efficient where I can.

Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:40PM
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Our Toto Ultramax II toilet gave us a little sticker shock at first. But after 18 years of clogged-once-a-week toilets (yes, really, once a week, the first generation of low flow toilets were awful), we decided to spend the money to get one that was very well rated. Everyone I talked to said to get Toto. And my very thrifty friend who's always looking for a bargain and hates to part with money unless it's worth it, wouldn't get anything but Toto. That alone swayed me as much as other recommendations.

It's not been in long but so far, big thumbs up on it. It's comfort height, elongated seat (heard the same thing about how guys would appreciate it) and soft close lid. No more seat banging, that will be nice. And only 1.28 gallons per flush.

I looked at the dual flush models but knew that no one in this house but me would take the time to figure out which button to push so I didn't think it would save us more water in the long run.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:03PM
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We've had an American Standard dual flush installed for about a week at this point. I was worried about its flush potential, but the spouse has put it through its paces and it gets a thumbs up. We're getting another one for the master bathroom. Can't speak to its long-term reliability, but if this saves us water and remains this strong, we'll be super happy.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:20PM
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We went with the new Kohler Wellworth (not the classic) & have been very happy with our choice. We have been in the house since Oct and have not had any of the toilets clog--1 flush does the job perfectly.

We are also on a well and we wanted performance (we also lived in a house where the toilet clogged at least once a week) + looks. DH wanted elongated--it must be a guy thing! We both opted for comfort height for ease of sitting & getting back up as we age. We have a 7yr old, and we opted to even do comfort height in his bathroom too (he has the 36" tall vanity as well). Dedtired is right on the money with her take on getting a step stool for the little guy--he won't need it very long.

On a well, the high efficiency/dual flush isn't likely to save you as much $$ as if you were on city water.

Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: New Kohler Wellworth

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Lyns06: "Can you tell me, which bell or whistle is worth the added $$?"

The MOST valuable "bell or whistle" is an advanced toilet seat (sometimes called a Washlet, but "Washlet" is a Toto trademark, and should not be used with other brands).

The second most valuable "bell or whistle" is an advanced toilet seat (look at the Inax Clessence, which can be fitted to most all modern toilets).

The third most valuable ... aw, you get the point. An advanced toilet seat makes a difference -- a really, really big difference. A REALLY big difference. Any other specification difference fades into insignificance in comparison.

Yes, it is very definitely worth the cost, emphatically so.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 1:09AM
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We have 3 Kohler Memoirs rounded seat, comfort height and are very happy with them. Maybe we have a clog once or twice a year, but it is easily fixed. I thought the price was good, and they look really nice.
My son is 5.5 now and he doesn't need the foot stool anymore. We did use one for him up until now.
We also added the cadet soft close seat and that is a must for a bath with kids!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Thanks, guys, for the opinions and input! I appreciate all the helpful info..

I guess I should have mentioned in the original post that I'm going with Mansfield Plumbing brand for all of my toilets, bathroom sinks, and tubs. Not because I'm super loyal to the brand, but because I can get them 70-75% off from a good friend who works there!

So, although I completely believe that the Toto is the most amazing toilet experience available.. until it becomes a quarter of the price to me, my budget will trump it! =)

However, all the info has helped me decide how to proceed from Mansfield Plumbing. They are a great brand with lifetime warranties, and the such. Plus, they offer all of the options you could find from any store like Lowes or the such-like.

Thanks, however, for the opinions!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 10:58AM
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We got the American Standard Champion from Home Depot. I was worried at first but its been 2 years and we have never had a problem with it. I would say you'd be smart to avoid the comfort heights. That's the only regret I have with ours. I'm not tall and it is very uncomfortable for me to use. Thankfully we have 2 other restrooms with regular height toilets.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Lyns06, I *really* hope that your experience with Mansfield is better than ours has been. We would never consider this brand again because of our horrible experience with them, no matter how inexpensive. We have friends with homes about the same age as ours with different brands of toilets and none of them have had the problems we and all our neighbors (same builder, same plumber, same brand of toilet) have had. Maybe Mansfield has worked out the kinks. I certainly hope so for your sake because that's a sweet deal of a discount!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:12PM
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I am a retired plumber and although I do not make product endorsements, perhaps I can offer a couple explanations that will help you determine what will work best for you.


Both the standard & elongated bowls are approved for residential applications.

Elongated bowls with open front toilet seats are required for all commercial & public access applications. The reasoning for the elongated bowls in public access restrooms is to reduce the possibility of ppls genitalia or soiled toilet paper from touching the front of the bowl rim. The elongated bowls also reduce the risk of ppl urinating over the front edge of the bowl while seated.

For commercial & public access applications open front toilet seats are required for the same reasons.

ADA & COMFORT HEIGHT: bowls listed as ADA or Comfort height are slightly taller than the typical bowl. The height approaches the standard height for a dining chair and they are designed to make it easier for ppl with dissabilities or elderly ppl to get on and off the bowl.

(Beleive me, I spent nearly 40 years stooping down or working on my knees and sorry as I am to have to admit it, I am now 65yrs old and about 100lbs overweight. I can testify first that little height difference makes a world of difference when getting on or off the pot).

When discussing brand names it is like discussing the brand names of automobiles. Every brand has its following, and some brands have that snob appeal label for bragging rights, but in truth, all the companies make toilets in all levels of appearance and quality. In fact, while most ppl on these forums would have us believe that Toto is the only way to fly, in the independant performance testing Toto's average just slightly above mid range, while AS & Gerber dramtically out performed Toto's.

Now for the power flush models. Many of those will give the illusion that you will never again be confronted with a stopped up toilet...thats nonsense. The power assist systems insure that the waste will go through the trapway of the bowl, but once the waste leaves the bowl and enters your house DWV(drain, waste & vent) piping no matter what water closet you select, it all flows by gravity flow and if you are having problems with the lines clogging now, simply changing the bowl will not resolve the problem.
If you want real bragging rights, I have a catalog here that lists a reproduction of the old circa 1920's style with a wall mounted tanks, with the tank near the ceiling, and gold plated pipes and pull chain for a mere $3900 to $5500.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 4:57AM
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This is an interesting thread, as I am also looking at toilets for new construction. I was leaning towards the AS Champion 4 as recommended by consumer reports, but my plumber can get us a REALLY good deal on Mansfield. He says this is what he mainly installs because they have so few problems, and he rarely has to repair them. This is a small town, and he is the main plumber, so he only recommends fixtures that have little maintenance.

The Toto's sound great, and owner reviews are great, but actual performance testing does not indicate the same, so not sure why the prices are so high.

I have had AS toilets for years without any issues. Sure, we get occasional clogs, but never had major repairs or leaks. Maybe a couple of flush valves over 20+ years. I am hoping the Mansfield is as good as AS, and would like to hear more from people who have them.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Thanks, everyone for your input! I never expected so much helpful information.

I'm sure that the Toto toilet is nice, but when trying to build a new home we are trying to put our extra money where it will be appreciated the most! I am thinking I'd appreciate my extra tall windows compared to an extra awesome toilet experience! =)

However, for people who are just upgrading or looking for something new, I'm sure it's a nice choice.

@klcardella, I've never had a Mansfield toilet, but my folks, sister and a lot of people in our area use them (we're located pretty near the factory) and I haven't really heard of anyone having difficulties with them aside from the previous poster. I don't know how much that has to do with plumbing or the actual toilet, but we're going to go with the brand so we're hoping, too that the quality is nice!

Thanks again, everyone for your input! It's been helpful and sealed the deal in many areas.. now onto the floors, cabinets, baths, lighting, etc, etc, etc, etc!!! Oh my!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:00PM
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At one point, Toto really did have the best flush out there, and that's when they built their reputation in the US. When the other manufacturers started losing sales to Toto (and complaints about the early 1.6gal flush toilets started rolling in), the other companies stepped up their game and improved their designs. I can attest that the better Kohler, American Standard, and Crane commodes work just fine, and even the cheap Amer. Std. is decent.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:08PM
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klcardella: "The Toto's sound great, and owner reviews are great, but actual performance testing does not indicate the same"

The last part of that statement is at best half-true and at leas half misleading. It dovetails with lazypup's ignorant statement earlier, "independant performance testing Toto's average just slightly above mid range" which is even less true.

Both comments appear to ascribe biblical truth to the MaP testing, which is a test of one narrow parameter of toilet performance. Comparing toilets on MaP testing alone is like comparing two family automobiles on their engines' horsepower alone; to drive to the supermarket or to head down the freeway on a morning commute, the main difference between a car with a 100 horsepower engine and a car with a 400 horsepower engine is that the latter guzzles more gas when you are crawling along in heavy traffic at 15 miles per hour.

The first company in the world to devise a standard test for flushing performance was Toto. The MaP test was a back-engineered effort to replicate Toto's testing procedure. There are three very important considerations that an over-reliance on MaP testing obscures.

(1) The original minimum performance benchmark adopted by MaP was 250 grams of waste. That is, a toilet should completely evacuate at least 250 grams of waste in a single flush. This value is based on the results of a British medical study that identified 250 grams as the average maximum fecal size of the male participants in the study. Thus, any toilet that meets or exceeds the 250 grams performance threshold should meet customer expectations for flushing. A toilet that has a MaP rating of 250 or above should flush 250 grams of the standard test material (see below), every time. A toilet that has a MaP rating of 900 will NOT flush a 250 gram load any better than a toilet that has a 300 MaP rating; both toilets should flush the 250 gram load every time. Every time.

(2) Turds are not uniform. Reflecting their Japanese heritage, the standard media, the artificial turds, used in the MaP test are thin, reusable plastic tubes, remarkably like condoms, each filled with 50 grams of miso paste -- but not just any miso paste, but a specific subvariety of miso paste. These turds have low friction on the outside (smooth plastic), and, although they do not bend far, they are semi-flexible. The MaP number reflects the number of these tubes will reliably be flushed in a single flush.

If you follow all of the procedures of the MaP test and -- instead of the miso paste-filled tubes -- you use golf balls, the relative rank of the tested toilets would not necessarily be the same as it is when the miso paste tubes are the media. If you substitute Coney Island hot dogs for the miso paste tubes, the ranking might change again. If you change the sleeve of the miso paste tubes to make them nubby so that they generate more friction among themselves, the relative ranking might change again.

Because of differences in diet, and in some cases because of long-term disease or short-term illness, many people frequently generate turds that are more than twice as long as the standard MaP tube, and often those turds are quite hard and stiff. It is perfectly possible for a toilet with a very high MaP rating (passes many of the small standard turds) to have a small radius bend in the downstream passageway that will not allow a long hard turd to navigate the bend. For that reason, a toilet with a relatively low MaP rating and large radius curves downstream of the trapway may well flush much better than another toilet that has a much higher MaP rating but tighter curves downstream.

(3) There are other aspects to toilet performance than just getting the solids down the hole. For many years, certain Caroma toilets, built along many of the same exit hole principles as a camp latrine, have been able to flush just about anything that you can throw in them, using very little water. But Caromas have had a low domestic acceptance factor because many Caromas have had tiny "water spots": the water that sits in the bowl when the toilet is in use. Most people want their turds to be mostly submerged until they are flushed; isn't a submergence factor part of toilet "performance"?

How about streaks or tracks down the toilet bowl? Certain "Class 6" Kohler toilets have a reputation for streaks and tracks -- because the toilets use almost all of the available water to flush with a rush to achieve "Class 6," and almost none to swish around the bowl and clean the bowl, too.

The point is not that MaP ratings are meaningless, but rather that any statement -- that one toilet that has an overkill-high MaP rating (above 500) is inferior to another toilet that has an even more-overkill MaP rating -- simply is ignorant of the undeniable fact that there is more that goes into toilet "performance" than how many short, squishy, smooth-sided 50 gram artificial turds a given toilet flushes.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:41AM
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You are absolutely correct when you say that there is much more than just the Map test to judge addition to the Map test, I also consider how many of each brand I installed in 35 years and the percentage of customer call backs for each brand.....and here again, Toto falls in the average group.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:56AM
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Unless you are buying a bargain basement toilet, pretty much all modern toilets are great. Assuming that you are tying into proper plumbing, if you are having a ton of toilet problems, you should invest more in fruits and vegetables vs a fancier toilet.

Dual-flush - cool option. If you remember which side is which, you'll save water. In some areas of the country, that is a big concern.

Comfort height - not a big deal for young, healthy people - but nobody stays young and healthy forever.

Seat design - completely personal preference in the home. Again, if you are sitting long enough to have a strong opinion, think more about your diet vs the seat.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:40AM
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This thread is really confusing me.

I always heard "buy toto" and when my mother redid her 3 bathrooms, that's what she did. She went from clogged toilets frequently to no clogs.

I was all set to purchase a Toto 1 piece skirted toilet. Now you are making me rethink that.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:15AM
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Lynne Reno

I have had a Toto for 5 years, we just bought a second one for our other bathroom. I don't think you can do better. The real test is how they hold up every day, no clogs no adjusting floats etc. easy to clean and attractive. Prior to the Toto I had just about every major brand of toilet and none measured up, The Toto I just bought cost around $350, I don't consider that expensive.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:38AM
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lazypup: "I also consider how many of each brand I installed in 35 years and the percentage of customer call backs for each brand"

Fair enough; but for the first half of those 35 years, you were installing and removing 5 gallon per flush and 3.5 gallon per flush toilets, and no toilet currently selling in the United States is based on those outdated designs. (You also were not installing Totos back then, because Toto toilets were not yet being marketed here.) Your conclusions also appear to diverge from the experience of Terry Love, who presides over the Internet's largest toilet forum and whose company has installed thousands of toilets.

Here is a link that might be useful: A discussion of just this issue on 2011 February 22

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Goodness. The turd info was, ahem informative, lol. I'm glad they don't have to do testing with the real thing anyway!
Weighing in on Toto. Bought 2 high rise 6 years ago, 1 elongated, 1 round front. Loved 'em. Put another in FIL's house a couple years later. He loved it. Now remodeling another house and will install 2 Toto's there. Not that there aren't other good terlits out there, but we have never had one plug in 6 years. No issues, just great performance. I agree with the position that Toto pushed the industry forward...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Yes, to me it's just a toilet. We have 6 Kohler toilets ( 5 are Wellworth and 1 Memoir). All are elongated and comfort height. No problems in 18 months. Never had a toto so can't compare.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 7:00PM
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herring_maven - About those toilet seats - what if you hate a warm seat?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:07PM
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dekeoboe: "About those toilet seats - what if you hate a warm seat?"

The seat warming function is a very minor function of most advanced toilet seats. Most allow the user to turn it off entirely. The thing that advanced toilets seats do well is that they wash the anus with water after defecation -- sorry to be so direct, but direct is the only way to say it. All modern advanced toilet seats then dry the same area with a warm "hair dryer" function after washing.

Washing with water is the way to clean. When you have to go into surgery, do you want your surgeon to prepare for the operation by wiping his or her hands with paper towels?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Jean Bo

MY vote is for an elongated toilet with skirted sides. This eliminated the weekly cleaning of all those nooks and crannies. I have installed 2 toto Carolina skirted toilets in the past 6 years and really like the look and performance. They have since made changes with finish, flushing and height. I am hoping I still like it cause I have 1 more to go.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:33PM
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