Looking for a good value toilet that won't clog

illinigirlJuly 29, 2013

I am so tired of my kids plugging the toilets. So tired. Now we are building a house and I'd like to choose some better toilets. Something that reliably flushes the first time, but won't break the budget either.

I have swapped out all the seats in my current house with ez clean self close lids...will I need to do that in my next house too or do some of the toilets come with those kind of seats? I got mine from Lowe's and the only thing I don't like about them is it seems the screws in the hinges are rusting on some of them so when they get wet from me cleaning them the rust water drips down and is hard to clean in there.

thanks for any info that can direct me.

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Personally, for us (and our church) we went the Toto Drake II (or vespin II if you want skirted design). They aren't the cheapest toilet out there, but they won't break the bank either, and you aren't going to have clogging issues...

Our teachers at our church LOVE the new toilets (we just replaced this spring). Totally worth the $$ to replace them all.

Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:03PM
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My plumber tells me he never has a call back with Toto toilets. There are many kinds. You can also check out the Terry Love web site there is a lot of toilet info there.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:01PM
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thanks, i have read the terry love website a while ago, but they don't talk about cost too much. I will look at Toto for sure. Do you think it would be a couple hundred dollar upgrade from a builder grade per each toilet? I have an email in to see what exactly is included as a standard toilet. all i remember him saying is that it is elongated.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:22PM
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I have linked the Drake II on sale at Amazon. You have to buy the seat separtate. I don't know what builder grade toilets cost. But I think this would be an expense, that over time, you would be happy you spent the few extra dollars. Also get the "stanagloss" on the finish. It is supposed to help with staying cleaner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drake II

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Over the years we have replaced all of our toilets with the Toto Drake on the recommendation of our plumber and never had a problem. Definitely worth the extra money!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Toto wins every time. Four different local plumbers have recommended them as a good trouble free toilet. This website has more info.


Here is a link that might be useful: Terry Love Toilet Forum

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:03PM
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We just installed a Kohler Archer in one BR and a Toto Drake in the other. The Archer has clogged once (but still soooo much better than the toilet it replaced). The Toto has been in about a week and hasn't clogged. One thing I have noticed is that the Archer is better at cleaning the bowl after the flush.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:05PM
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I know that everybody seems to love Toto, but we don't. We got an Ultramax four years ago and have not been happy with it. Unlike our other toilets (an early-2000s Kohler and an ancient Standard), it's fussy, and we keep having to replace the flapper -- and the flapper is very expensive and hard to find. And, unlike our other toilets, it clogs easily, and one of the clogs was really tough to clear. (As a result, I routinely use two flushes now with that toilet, which negates the water savings.) Just a poor product, as far as I'm concerned.

We need to replace the Kohler due to a remodel and it will not be with a Toto. I think we are going to go with an AS Champion.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:13PM
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ok i found out the standard toilet from my builder:

The toilet we use is the Kohler, model Highline. It is a comfort height and elongated. The bowl is $ 127.29, the tank is $ 67.30 and the seat is Kohler, model Brevia $ 15.81. This pricing is in the color, White.

So I'm looking at probably less than 200 per toilet to upgrade to a toto?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Our Toto Drake has never clogged in the last few years. Our Toto Drake II (1.28 gal vs the Drake's 1.6) has on a rare occasion or two clogged, but very rarely. Admittedly, we don't have any kids. But in the past my significant other has... umm... exercised toilets enough to cause fairly regular clogs. The Toto seats I purchased with the toilets are both soft close and have plastic bolts to hold them on (so no rusting). Both are elongated.

I've heard (in the past) that round toilets flush better than elongated toilets. I'm not certain if this is true or not, but maybe some experts can chime in. I think if I had children with a clogging problem, I might opt for a round toilet.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:56AM
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We have had good luck with 3 Kohler toilets in our house for the last 5 years. Can count the number of clogs on one hand. We have Cimaron and another model that I can't remember right now. If you have a Home Depot nearby, they usually have ratings on their toilets (how well it flushes, clogs etc). We based our purchase on the ratings and can't be happier.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:05PM
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We have 4 Kohler toilets -- 2 Cimaron and 2 Memoirs.

The only one we had an issue with was in one son's bathroom. To spare you the gross details, it was a problem with the original plumbing between the toilet and line down to the main drain line. The problem had nothing to do with the toilet and after ripping out the ceiling and correcting the plumbing we haven't had any issues. Home Depot and Lowe's both stock them here and they have soft close seats.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:31PM
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How my plumber tells it, is that when low flush toilets first came out, Toto was the only one that had a larger opening from the tank into the bowl. This allowed a better quick flush with the lower volumes. The other toilets (American brands) didn't figure that out for a while, and struggled with the old system using the new lower water volume. I've understood that this is no longer a problem. It sure sounds like there are many good low flush toilets out there as indicated by everyone's positive feedback.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Ditto what enduring said. We asked our plumber about Toto and he said they were excellent. It's what he has in his own master. But the other three toilets in his house? American Standard Cadet 3. He swears you can't beat them for value. We installed two of the Cadet 3s a year and a half ago and, other than one adjustment, haven't had any problems at all. In fact, I'm cleaning up and clearing out - getting ready to put our house up for sale - and one of the things that's going in the trash is our plunger. We simply don't need it any more.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Something else to consider with clogging issues is... the brand of toilet tissue you are using. I have found that Charmin is about the worst there is for causing clogs.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:27AM
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I'll highly recommend the Gerber Avalanche 1.6gpf commodes. I just had one put in; it has a strong flush, doesn't clog easily, and cleans the sides of the bowl well. The area of the bowl normally covered with water is uncommonly large for a modern low-water-usage toilet, which helps keep things clean. As a bonus, the tank is quite narrow, which makes the area around it seem roomier if it's in a tight space. I got the comfort-height (16-1/2"h) elongated bowl model (21-818) locally for about $255, but if it's for younger kids they might prefer the lower standard-height version which is also cheaper (about $210 elongated, and well under $200 for round though I wouldn't recommend small-bowl round toilets unless nothing else will fit). They have 1.2gpf versions too, but they're not reputed to work as well. I've used the 1.6gpf versions of both the Gerber Avalanche and Toto Drake (not Drake II) and prefer the Gerber; the Drake is also extremely clog-resistant but occasionally leaves TP stuck to the side of the bowl. The Gerbers are also available in 10, 12, or 14" rough-ins too, nice if you don't have the common 12" distance from the drain center to the back wall. Toto uses an extra-cost "Unifit" accessory for 10" or 14", and it doesn't fit all of their toilets.

I also have a 1.2gpf Toto Drake II that is better than either the above (especially if you replace the flapper with one without a big hole in it that takes longer to close), but they cost about $310.

I've used a Crane 1.6gpf toilet that's quite good and I assume very inexpensive (since they were recently installed en masse at a cheapo apartment complex), but I don't know the model number, and given that they replaced another Crane model only a few years older that was awful and drew numerous complaints from tenants, I don't know which one to recommend. Crane is now a sister company to American Standard, and the good Cranes resemble the Cadet 3 in appearance, but are different. I don't care for the Cadet 3 (or at least the ones they made 5 years ago - they may have tweaked it since then, and definitely have if the new ones use a 3" flapper rather than 2"); it's never clogged, but there always seems to be a few shreds of TP that left in an otherwise clean bowl after a flush.

Speaking of TP, different brands/types are more likely to clog than others, but I wouldn't indict Charmin given they have several different types sold under that brand that are different. The "strong" varieties tend to be most likely to clog; the "soft" versions less so.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Lee676, great write up, but what is this about the Drake II flapper? I will be installing the Maris (has the same flushing system as the Drake II). Your flap solution is an awfully expensive upgrade.
Where did you get your information about the flap?
How would I find out what kind of flap I have on the Maris?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:53AM
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We have the American Standard Cadet 3 ... very few problems.

Since the first low-flow designs, they got serious about optimizing every bit of the flow path: larger tank opening, larger waste path, different curves on waste path.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:22AM
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> what is this about the Drake II flapper?

The standard flapper looks like this:

That hole on the side allows it to fill with water and fall closed fairly quickly. But you can get a flapper designed for Toto's (now discontinued) low-end "Power Gravity" commodes (rather than "G-max", etc.) that is interchangable, but doesn't have the hole on the side (and sometimes a hole gap reducer on the bottom) which makes the flapper stay open longer before falling shut:

These pictures are actually not of the Toto-branded flappers but rather of generic Korky replacements, but from what I read, they actually make the part for Toto, and the ones they sell under their own brand, in this case # 2022BP, are identical except for packaging, and even have "Toto" embossed on them, but are less expensive.

You can also get this Korky 3060BP adjustable flapper which Home Depot sells in their stores, which lets you rotate the sleeve that opens or closes holes on its side:

> I will be installing the Maris (has the same flushing system as the Drake II).

Are you sure? A quick look online shows a more elaborate dual-flush setup

> Your flap solution is an awfully expensive upgrade.

You can get a replacement flapper for $10.

> Questions:
> Where did you get your information about the flap?

From a plumber who has worked on these

> How would I find out what kind of flap I have on the Maris?

Toto's website has parts diagrams for all their current products. They show two versions of the Maris, one with a conventional tank and one with a tank that's hidden behind the wall between the studs. Both of them are dual-flush units, which I have no experience with, but these don't seem to use conventional flappers but rather a more elaborate flush valve assembly, either THU356 (regular tank) or THU322href> (in-wall tank).

Note: I have not actually used this exact product on my Drake II; rather I bought the adjustable flapper to replace a solid flapper from a Gerber Viper 1.28gpf that I thought could use more water per flush, then moved the old Gerber flapper to the Toto, which made it flush using a bit more water, though I should note that it does a fine job even with 1.28gpf and I may switch back. I'm just paranoid about overflowing toilets when there's expensive new carpeting right outside the bathroom.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:23PM
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those flappers are all shown upside down BTW - the top is almost flat.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:27PM
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If your flapper is staying open longer, aren't you necessarily using more water? Seems counter productive to me.

One other note about Cadet 3s...

Every one of them I've ever seen (because I considered them after looking at reviews, etc) wasn't level at the top of the bowl. I have no way of know if the working part of the bowl was level or not, but because of that, I just couldn't buy them and hope they showed up to my house level and ready to be installed.

Toto, all 3 of them that I bought online, had no issues--square, level, etc.

I think I read that that is a "common" problem with Cadet 3s that plumbers find...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 1:34AM
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lee676: "Crane is now a sister company to American Standard, and the good Cranes resemble the Cadet 3 in appearance, but are different. "

We live in interesting times. Six years ago, Bain Capital (yes, that Bain Capital) put together the plumbing fixtures component of American Standard with Crane and Eljer, creating American Standard Brands. But six weeks ago, Lixil, the parent of Japan's INAX, Japan's second largest plumbing fixture manufacturer, purchased a majority interest in American Standard Brands.

In the long run, Lixil's technical expertise -- even more than Toto, INAX has been a technological pioneer in toilet designs -- undoubtedly will strongly influence the design of toilets bearing the American Standard, Crane, and Eljer brands. Almost certainly it will be a positive influence on the designs going forward.

Not that these corporate governance issues will have any influence on illinigirl's decision as to what to tell her plumber this month. ...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:24AM
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Didn't hear about that! I thought they were Chinese-owned in recent years, don't remember. Yes, INAX is Toto's main competitor in Japan and supposedly makes good stuff. I've never come across it though; maybe that will change soon.

Not sure what effect if any it will have on the existing brands though, at least not right away. I'm pretty sure the first thing heard in the Lixil boardroom after that deal commenced wasn't "y'know, we gotta do something about those Cadet 3's"....

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:41AM
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LOL Lee676.

I am not very informed on my Maris. I was getting the flush system aspects mixed up. The Maris is floor mounted a Dual-Maxî Cycloneî flushing system, high efficiency (1.28GPF/4.8LPF & 0.9GPF/3.4LPF). It is supposed to be similar to the Aquia II, but the Aquia doesn't have the Cyclone flushing (I don't think), so I don't know how much they are a like really.

I have it setting in my extra room as I remodel the bath. It will be a while before I can evaluate how good it is.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Toto posted a youtube vid explaining it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYqxer76_FY); the top part with just two large jets sending water swirling down the bowl works just as on their Drake II or other dual-cyclone toilets (which means it should work well), but the lower section with the sudden drop at the waterline looks more like the Aquia, and that third water jet on the left side of the drain instead of in front of it is something I've never seen before. I wonder how many guests will realize you can either pull or push the flush lever, and that which one they choose produces a different result. There's also this video from Dwell in which the style is described as having been inspired by "mid-century design" of a particular chair (I can't make out what designer or brand she's saying on my cheap laptop speakers). Actually, it's more like our idealised image of what stuff made in 1958 actually looked like. The 1950s house I'm working on has in it what mid-century bathrooms really looked like - pink toilet and wall-mounted sink against aquamarine tile, none of which looks like it was inspired by designer furniture.

The only dual-flush I've used that works well is the Geberit/AK Design setup in the restroom at the local Porcelanosa showroom. It shoots a wide, horizontal sheet of water across the bowl, starting from just under the rim at the back, aimed at the front also just under the rim, from where it then disperses throughout. It's certainly unlike anything else I've seen. And of course, someone posted a Youtube of that one too. I don't know what compels people to post youtubes of toilets flushing, but it does prove useful when shopping for one. The one I saw had a different and more stylish shape, but flushes the same way.

I've used an Aquia at plumbing store that sells Toto - it's in their restroom - and didn't like it, though can't remember why. Tiny water spot was one reason. But the Maris is a completely different design. Let us know how it turns out!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Sorry for the veering off of topic, but I want to respond to lee676 :)

Thanks lee676 for the links. The Geberit video is rather spastic in it's production. It made me jump inside when I watched the quick movements of the video.

The Aquia doesn't have the dual cyclone flush aspect if I remember right, reading on the Terry Love forum. The water drops into the bowl. There may not be a bottom syphon outlet either, but I am not sure.

The Maris looks like it has a syphon jet, yet interestingly placed at the side of the bottom of the bowl, then with and additional 2 upper openings that create the cyclone water effect.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 4:34PM
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lee676: "Yes, INAX is Toto's main competitor in Japan and supposedly makes good stuff. I've never come across it though; maybe that will change soon."

Should you travel to Japan by air, you will find INAX throughout the international airports. The toilets in the baggage claim area get especially heavy use, because most of the incoming flights have been eight hours or more in duration with meals served on-board, if you get my drift.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:50AM
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