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Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

Posted by UpgradeResearch (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 5, 12 at 16:06

I am hoping that forum members who are familiar with 1.28 GPF toilets can answer some questions:

* Are Toto or Kohler toilets "better" overall?

* Are there any reasons to AVOID purchasing a one-piece toilet?

* If the current toilet is not skirted, is it best to avoid replacing it with a skirted one due to potential space/layout considerations?

* Is it typically preferable to replace a "round" toilet with an "elongated" one?

* Have you purchased an ADA-compliant height toilet and then regretted it?

* If purchasing a Toto toilet, does it matter if the toilet uses "double cyclone" versus "E-max" flushing technology? Is one considered superior to the other?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

I have had Toto's and American Standard Cadets so I can't answer your first of your question.

I am renovating two bathrooms right now and am putting American Standards in.

I have a Toto in the house I am living in now but I find it hard to keep clean and am going back to the American Standards for that reason in the new house. Never had any flush or clogging problems with either. The Toto is quite a flusher.

I cannot think of a negative to a one piece...easier to keep clean, one less potential leak point.

Front to back layout of toilets is a measurement from the wall to the bolts that hold it down. Skirts or lack of should have nothing to do with it and you should have plenty of room to put either if you get the right "rough in" distance on your toilet.

Round vs elongated is a matter of preference and room. I am replacing two rounds in the house I am renovating. I prefer elongated bowls but one of the toilet fronts is fairly close to the tub so I am sticking with a round toilet in that one and changing to an elongated in the other bathroom because there is nothing in front of the toilet.

I love my ADA height Toto and am ordering that height in the American Standards. I will never put in another short toilet!

Can't answer the last one, I am no Toto expert!

I think a lot of people on here have Kohler so I bet you will get some good feedback on that.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

* Are Toto or Kohler toilets "better" overall?

IMO Toto is the better and was my choice when we built 2 years ago.

* Are there any reasons to AVOID purchasing a one-piece toilet?

If the toilet has to go up or down a stairway and you can't find someone(s) strong enough to carry it. They weigh more than a two-piece, naturally.

* If the current toilet is not skirted, is it best to avoid replacing it with a skirted one due to potential space/layout considerations?

I would think the opposite might be true, replacing a skirted with a non-skirted. I love my skirted Toto Soiree.

* Is it typically preferable to replace a "round" toilet with an "elongated" one?

Elongated toilets are preferable, especially for men (according to my DH).

* Have you purchased an ADA-compliant height toilet and then regretted it?

No, we're very happy with our higher toilet.

* If purchasing a Toto toilet, does it matter if the toilet uses "double cyclone" versus "E-max" flushing technology? Is one considered superior to the other?

I don't know if one is considered better than the other, but I really like the double cyclone flush in the Toto Soiree. It's extremely quiet, but very very efficient and thorough. Zero clogs in 1.5 years of use.

Also, Toto has excellent customer service. We bought the Soiree from a local plumbing supply house, it was a floor model and discounted. When we installed it, we discovered some pieces missing. The vendor told us, "Too bad, we're not giving you any more parts." Toto customer service in Georgia mailed us the parts at no charge, now that's the way to make a customer for life.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

UpgradeResearch:

Are Toto or Kohler toilets "better" overall?

The near consensus here and on Terry Love's forum (http://www.terrylove.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?3-Toilet-Forum-discussions), which is the Internet's premier toilet forum, is that Toto has more hits and fewer misses than Kohler. Kohler has released some serious duds into the market, and so far, while some Totos are better than other Totos, there have been no really bad Totos among the models sold in the United States.

In Japan, Inax, the second largest toilet maker there, has a reputation at least the equal of (many think superior to) Toto. If you are looking into dual-flush toilets (use less water to flush "no. 1"), the Inax Rio Grande and Magellan models might strike your fancy more than the Toto Aquia or one of the dual-flush Caroma models. Inax is just getting into the American market, but Inax toilets are fairly readily available here now.

Are there any reasons to AVOID purchasing a one-piece toilet?

Weight. Each if the pieces of a two-piece toilet weighs much less than the one-piece.

Dimensions. Some bathroom doors are narrow and it may be difficult to maneuver a one-piece toilet through the doorway.

Shipping damage. Anecdotally (I do not know if there are any public statistics), if you are buying mail order, there is reportedly a higher rate of breakage of one piece units. It takes a long time to unpack a boxed toilet, and the UPS driver will not wait while you inspect it for damage,

Gravity. In general (with exceptions), two-piece toilets are taller and narrower than one-piece toilets, which are shorter and squatter. If you are relying on gravity to aid the 1.28 gallons of the fliush, you get a bit better boost with a taller design.

If the current toilet is not skirted, is it best to avoid replacing it with a skirted one due to potential space/layout considerations?

The considerations about skirted designs usually do not revolve around space and layout, but rather ease of cleaning (skirted usually easier to clean) and covering the spot on the floor where the former toilet has left a cutout or a mark.

Is it typically preferable to replace a "round" toilet with an "elongated" one?

The only advantage that a round bowl has over an elongated bowl is space conservation, and there are some toilets with elongated bowls that extend no further from the back to front than some other toilets that have round bowls. Always check the actual dimensions rather than assuming that a toilet will fit "because."

Have you purchased an ADA-compliant height toilet and then regretted it?

Yes (Toto Vespin II); no regrets.

If purchasing a Toto toilet, does it matter if the toilet uses "double cyclone" versus "E-max" flushing technology? Is one considered superior to the other?

Toto's "Double Cyclone" design is effectively a clone of Inax's "Double Vortex" design. Either of those two designs is superior to other gravity flush designs when all aspects of flushing (including bowl rinse and noise) are considered. However, there are some special needs where a pressure-assisted flush may be indicated. If you get a lowboy one-piece design with scant gravity assist, you may well appreciate the extra power of a pressure assist flush.

Here is a link that might be useful: Explanation and videos of gravity flushing systems


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

hags00 -

Thank you for responding to my post.

You indicated that your Toto toilet is difficult to keep clean. Do you have any idea how old the toilet is and whether or not it has a SanaGloss finish? Was it difficult to keep clean from the moment it was installed?


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

dianne47 -

Thanks for answering my questions.

Initially, I had not considered purchasing a skirted toilet, but it looks like they are probably a lot easier to keep clean.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

herring_maven -

Thanks for the detailed response to my post.

As far as I know, Inax is not well-known in my area. Their web site does look interesting, however. How easy is it to find a competent plumber to install/repair an Inax toilet? In the past, I have been surprised at how difficult it can be to find a competent plumber who installs/repairs less popular brands.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

hags00, dianne47, and herring_maven -

It's interesting that all of you are happy with your ADA-compliant height toilet. Does anyone in your household have short legs?


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

I can't answer a lot of your questions -- I've never had a Toto. We have replaced all of our toilets now with Kohler comfort height in two different styles. We had one done when we had an under slab repair and the plumber suggested a deal on replacing the 20 year old toilet while we were at it. We later did the others ourselves.

I like a 2 piece for ease of installation, ability to replace only the tank (we had one crack before) and the ability to remove the tank for painting or wallpapering without having to uninstall and re-install the whole thing.

I think round vs elongated is a personal preference thing but my preference is an elongated bowl unless room is very tight. To me, a round bowl is a child size toilet and even my boys noticed the difference and complained before they were full grown.

My understanding is that comfort height is middle of the road height -- more like regular seating. No regrets at all.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

My Toto is one year old and it has been difficult to keep clean from the beginning. I do not believe it has Sani-gloss finish.

I believe it is hard to keep clean because if flushes so efficiently and rapidly and does not keep much water in the bowl. It also does not move a lot of water around the bowl.

Without being crude, at times deposits are left after flushing a BM and you need to let is sit for a second and then second flush. Also because if the low amount of water it moves through the bowl, it tends to get a mold faster than any toilet I have ever had. I know the solution to that is to scrub it out more often but I always seem to have better things to do than scrub the toilets!! I would imagine Sani Gloss would be better for both issues.

There are no children in my household so no short legs. The comfort height is only and inch or two higher than regular and I don't think any adult would have difficulty with it. I have one toilet of each height now and I feel like I am sitting in a hole when I use the short one now!


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

Q: "Initially, I had not considered purchasing a skirted toilet, but it looks like they are probably a lot easier to keep clean."

A: Yes, and they look much nicer. I hate the curvy shape of the outflow pipe (I don't know the correct term) and it's hard to bend down and clean all the recesses and turns. I'm extremely happy with the skirted Soiree.

Q: "Does anyone in your household have short legs?"

A: Haha, that would be ME. I'm five feet tall with short legs. I have no problem with the Toto Soiree ADA height. My husband insisted on a taller seat, it's not a problem for me. The best way to decide is go to a good plumbing showroom and actually SIT on the toilets. The heck with what anyone thinks, it's necessary to know if what you choose fits you and your family.

Lascatx above made a good point, a 2-piece is easier to dissasemble for painting and it's easier to move into the house, too. Take a look at Terry Love's forum about toilets, it's the go-to spot for research into specific brands and models. You'll find lots and lots of information there.

The double cyclone flush on the Toto Soiree is very very efficient and sometimes a toilet needs to be brushed after one uses it. That's just a fact of life. I've never had the problems described by hags00, the Soiree has SanaGloss.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

Skirted toilets require the water supply to be placed further away to allow for the skirt. If you are replacing a non-skirted toilet with a skirted one, you might want to check the installation manual to see that your water supply is in the correct location for installation.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

UpgradeResearch: "As far as I know, Inax is not well-known in my area. Their web site does look interesting, however. How easy is it to find a competent plumber to install/repair an Inax toilet? In the past, I have been surprised at how difficult it can be to find a competent plumber who installs/repairs less popular brands."

Inax opened their United States office only late (November or December) 2010, so other brands have a head start with the large plumbing supply houses. OTOH, Inax, a giant company that is a division of an even more giant conglomerate (Lixil), is probably a lot bigger, and able to throw more resources into marketing and distribution, than the makers of most of the other brands with which you are familiar; so Inax in the spring of 2012 probably is positioned now relative to the United States plumbing fixture market roughly where Honda was positioned relative to the United States automobile market in the mid-1970s. And you know how that went.

Following the lead of Toto who went before it in entering this market, Inax apparently has decided to keep its products out of the hands of big-box stores and Internet discounters, so you will not see an Inax (or a Toto) at Home Depot or Lowe's. However, Terry Love has at least two models of Inax toilets in stock (Dover & St. Clair); and when I ordered an Inax advanced toilet seat from Terry Love earlier this year, he said that Inax had opened a big warehouse in Lynnwood (a Seattle suburb), that the item would ship immediately; and -- sure enough -- the ordered Inax Clessence was on my front doorstep within 48 hours.

As for installation, whether because of intense competition in Japan, or just sensible standardization, Toto toilets and Inax toilets have identical installation requirements (and Toto Washlets fit Inax toilets and Inax advanced toilet seats fit Toto toilets); both companies make adapter plates that make their toilets suitable for rough-ins of any dimension between 10" and 14".

Toto toilets sold in the United States use standard American parts in their internals (flapper valves, etc.); I expect Inax to have followed Toto's lead in respect of that aspect of Inax's entry into this market, also.

In short, I think you need not worry whether an Inax toilet would be difficult to install; and repair -- including getting parts -- would probably be neither easier nor more difficult for an Inax toilet than for any other name brand toilet.

"Does anyone in your household have short legs?"

We have a 20-month-old grandson; does that count? Also, we are a predominantly born-in-Japan Japanese household, and our Japanese-born family members have industry-standard-length Japanese legs.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

We had such bad luck with the Totos in our rental house that we went with Kohlers in our rebuilding project.

One of the Totos in our rental always clogged, even when given very little reason to do so, and another one ran when it shouldn't, even after the plumber was out twice.

I don't know if they make builder-grade Totos, but this wasn't a builder-grade sort of rental. It was a high-end house that wasn't selling, and that the owner was happy to have our insurance company rent for us for a year while we rebuilt our home.

FWIW, there are some good prices on Kohlers if you shop around-- I could find better prices than the plumbing supply house my contractor
uses.


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Follow-up on parts availability

This past Thursday, I posted in this thread:

Toto toilets sold in the United States use standard American parts in their internals (flapper valves, etc.); I expect Inax to have followed Toto's lead in respect of that aspect of Inax's entry into this market, also.

More (and more authoritative) information: "In regards to Toto tank parts, they switched their tank parts from Lavelle/Korky to WDI around 2006. WDI parts are not readily available, although some Toto dealers may stock the tank parts."

As to Inax toilets sold in the United States, "the tank parts come from R&T Plumbing. They are UPC listed fittings. However, you can use an aftermarket fill valve (such as Fluidmaster or Korky) in place of the OEM fill valve. The dual flush drain valve is not an off-the-shelf part, but it is very easy to service. About the only part from the drain valve that would ever need to be replaced is the gasket. The drain valve that Inax uses is very similar to the one used in the Toto Aquia and the Kohler Persuade. Inax stocks the parts in their Southern California warehouse."

The information that I bracketed with quotation marks above was posted by a representative of Inax in one of the threads on Terry Love's site.

NaRo: We had such bad luck with the Totos in our rental house that we went with Kohlers in our rebuilding project. One of the Totos in our rental always clogged, even when given very little reason to do so, and another one ran when it shouldn't, even after the plumber was out twice.

Depending on the age of the rental house, the issues that you encountered could have been caused by the Lavelle/Korky internal parts that Toto no longer installs in its toilets made in the Toto factory outside of Atlanta.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to the thread referred to above.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

Kohler vs Toto

I have used both products and I am a huge Kohler fan. First, they are an American Company and that is important to me.

Second, I have noticed that Kohler is out performing Toto on independent tests. This is not to say Toto is a horrible product, but it shows that Kohler is definately upping their game.

Finally, Toto's finish work on their products is not the best. I notice molding lines on their products and found out they do not glaze all of their trapways. My plumbers swears by Kohler and was the one who showed me this.

As for 1 piece vs 2 piece, that comes down to what you are looking for. 1 piece is a more high end look, they can be easier to clean, but they are usually more expensive.

When chosing the toilet height, this again is a matter of preferance. The market is moving toward the ADA height, but if you are shorter, you may want to go with a regular hieght. I am well over 6 feet tall, so I like the taller version.

On Dual Cyclone flushing, if you do buy a Toto, make sure you purchase the upgraded flush and Sanigloss. I have not liked the base model toilets. I have moved to the Cimarron 2 piece toilets in my projects due to the overall performance. They do a great job of cleaning and flushing, without having to upgrade to different flush cycles or a magical gloss treatment.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

Hawk21: "I am a huge Kohler fan. First, they are an American Company and that is important to me. "

Our primary people mover is a Mazda6; it was made in Michigan with UAW labor. The Ford Fusion (and the late Mercury Milan) and the Lincoln MKZ are based on the identical platform to the Mazda6, but they are assembled in Mexico and imported to the United States. So which, the Michigan-made Mazda, or the Mexico-made Ford, Lincoln, and (formerly) Mercury, is an "American Company"?

Our Toto Vespin II toilet was made in a suburb of Atlanta; most Toto toilets sold in the United States were made in the same factory. Do you know where your Kohler Cimmaron was made? How many American jobs does your toilet support?

"I have noticed that Kohler is out performing Toto on independent tests."

Please tell us what you mean by the undefined term, "out performing."

This post was edited by herring_maven on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 21:10


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

I recently bought a kohler toilet and it leaked from one of the bolts attaching the 2 pieces together . No matter how much the plumber tightened it , until he told me that he cannot go any further or the tank can crack . He had to remove the whole toilet , empty it , and seal the three bolts with silicone fron inside the tank . That cost me a extra 50 dollars charge . Huh .. I thought I had a good deal on my kohler versus the toto. Now I am remodeling my MB and I am going with one piece ToTo.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

If I were replacing my toilets I would get the taller ADA height and elongated.

Kohler makes great quality products. Buy American, lol.


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

I guess my response is too late for the OP's information. However, I have replaced toilets in three houses. The first house had two BR's and the next two had three bathrooms. First house was our entry level house in the Los Angeles market; we installed two boring Kohlers that performed well and quietly and I never needed a plumber for anything. Our next move up house was a huge jump up in cost, it was almost double square footage but the premium in cost was mostly because it had an amazing ocean view and marina view and this even from the shower in the master bath. In this house we upgraded with Kohler's San Raphael in the master and guest bath and in the powder room, we splurged on the St. Martin (or San Martine?) an incredibly beautiful toilet with what we thought was a pretty high price tag of over $800, which was a lot for that time period (the early 90s) though not so much in these days of the $3000 "hatbox" toilet from Kohler. None of these toilets ever caused a problem, though our plumber who was the BEST, (JEFF of family-owned and run Argyll Plumbing, if you're reading this out there in Torrance CA. it is you to whom I refer as the BEST) warned us that we possibly could have problems with the high-end San Martine but these never developed, at least not while we still owned the home. Because of a precipitous move downward in the income and wealth index by a lot (thanks to very serious mistakes by physicians at the Jacksonville Fl. Mayo Clinic, mistakes that could and should have been caught and avoided, mistakes that served to end my husband's corporate and international business development career with its comfortable income and more important, true meaning in his life, while at the same time our savings got used up and our retirement funds were almost breathlessly depleted while we looked on, heads spinning, and as we are now, the proverbial unhappy campers, saddled with credit card debt run up in a few years time but that will take years if ever to pay off, and forced to be "re-educated" and to deal with new goals not of our making: like living on a fixed income that has little extra for not much of anything and maintaining a home that we'd rather not, since our goal at the time this all began had been to sell the house and return to the West Coast, our real home, but then this "merde" came our way and by God, did it ever hit the fan!) the Kohlers in our three bathrooms in our current home are more modest models, either the Kohler Highline or the pretty little Kohler Santa Rosa. These toilets got replaced a second time though because of the newly introduced comfort height toilet, this a great feature that hadn't been available in 1999 when we moved into the one-year-old home and immediately upgraded the cheapy contractor's grade toilets, and a feature that we would only come to fully appreciate later on (my husband has had both of his hips surgically replaced,plus one knee, so far) and now wouldn't give up for any reason. We are getting around to replacing the master bath's standard-height Santa Rosa and I've come to this dependable forum for help with our decision. Because decisions like this now take on amazing significance. So rather than replace a Santa Rosa with another Santa Rosa, even as pretty as they are, we are seriously considering the Kohler Persuade Curv. I love the look, its slender beauty and the ease of cleaning the look suggests. (I'm not getting any younger). But I hesitated and have for a while. It doesn't seem possible that Kohler could offer that great look (a smooth bowl that jumped forward into the 21st century, leaving behind the tired look that mimicked the pipes, the interior function) and do it at a price point that actually was possibly attainable by the majority of the toilet-needing masses, this from the company that shocked the world (well, I was shocked!) with the $3000 "hatbox" toilet. After many years of nothing but success with Kohler toilets now when we don't have the resources to reverse a bad decision, the wrong choice, after all I've read about the Persuade, I am stuck. Is going with the Kohler Persuade because of the beauty of the look, (and because I internet shopped and found a very very good price) while I bury my head in the sand as to any problems lurking down the road, problems I learned about also on the internet as I researched WHICH KOHLER TO BUY, is all this by definition telling me I'm in a new world here and to tread carefully with my few precious dollars?


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RE: Toilet Selection (Toto vs Kohler)

frenchmadeline,

The Kohler Persuade looks a lot like the Inax Magellan Dual-Flush. According to houzz.com, a company in New York City is selling the Inax Magellan Dual-Flush for $375. See my comments posted above, in the early days of this same thread, about the international giant Inax, which in 2013 purchased one of the major "American" toilet companies, but still sells its top-of-the-line toilets under the Inax brand.


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