Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh Crap

Why does every home improvement project result in bouts of excessive research? Must be a side effect of being an engineer. Today's dilemma is the toilet, and after reading many reviews all over the internet I am a bit overwhelmed.

Some background... For the downstairs toilet I wanted a toilet that was a bright white, had an elongated bowl, and had a minimum of depth from the wall since the space was small. Simple enough. Now that it's in, I'm not all too thrilled with it's performance. You see, it has a tendency to clog. Not pleasant. I guess the Queen just puts too much down it's lil ol' gullet. :-)

For the upstairs bathroom I am being a bit more picky. I want bright white, modern looking, elongated, preferably a taller height, would be nice to have a dual flush, hopefully stays clean long, and I want performance, performance and more performance. This thing should be rush excrement down the drain at the speed of a bullet train. And I want it cheap. I must be asking too much, because the ones with the specs I'm looking for are running $400-500 including shipping. For a toilet. After skimming through reviews there is universal praise for Toto toilets, so I'm leaning toward this brand.

Meet the Toto Ultramax (MS854114SG).


  • Looks good and modern

  • Stays clean longer due to the sanagloss glazing

  • Excellent performance for flushing

  • Comes with a soft-close seat ($40 value)

  • One piece. Not sure why this matters, but it seems as if people like this?

  • Cons:
  • Isn't dual flush

  • Over $500 after shipping. Yowza!

  • Meet the Toto Drake (CST744SG).

  • Looks good

  • Stays clean longer due to the sanagloss glazing

  • Industry leading flush performance!

  • About $300 after shipping.

  • Cons:
  • Isn't dual flush

  • Not as modern looking as ultramax

  • Needs a soft-close seat ($40 value)

  • Meet the Toto Aquia (CST414M).

  • Looks great - nice and modern, without a skirt

  • Is dual flush. I also like the dual flush buttons on top of the tank - they just look swanky.

  • About $320 after shipping.

  • Cons:
  • Ok performance, but smaller trap and doesn't have G-max system

  • No sanagloss glazing, so more cleaning. :-(

  • Needs a soft-close seat ($40 value)

  • Now how was this post for exciting? On a scale from 1-10 I'd say it's an 11. Anybody have any recommendations or thoughts? What are the most important issues on a toilet for you? Maybe I'll look at other brands other than Toto, seeing as this seems like a lot of cash for a crapper.


    Gene said...

    We live in drought-prone and too-many-people-for-the-resources California, so water-saving is high on the list. But good flushing is important, or people just flush multiple times.

    We've got at Toto Aquia that I installed in our new bathroom, and it's great. I researched (and researched and researched), including on Terry Love's site, and we finally went with the Aquia. It's worked great and looks very nice. We've had zero problems with it since I installed it 10 months ago (eek! it's been that long already?)

    It's a bit harder to install than a regular toilet because of the skirtless design (you have to install the trap, then push the bowl back onto it), but not overly so.

    When I bought ours at a local plumbing supply place, the soft-close seat was included in the price.

    The only negative about it (and is true of toilets with plastic traps in general from what I've heard) is that it's a little noisier when, um, stuff enters the bowl and the corresponding amount of water goes out. But that's pretty minor.

    Dru said...

    I will talk with Kate and see what she thinks... she used to be in the bath deptartment before moving to Kitchens.

    Ethan@OneProjectCloser said...

    oooo! Go with the dual flush Aquia. I've heard good things about Toto brand toilets and the dual flush fascinates me (plus it's more efficient).

    SmilingJudy said...

    Stick with Toto. Definitely worth it. The Sanigloss doesn't seem to be all it's cracked up to be, so don't worry if you pick one without that. I haven't noticed a difference.

    They now sell retro-fit dual flush systems, so that's an option. I don't remember which model I have, but it has G-max. That thing just SWALLOWS the ...erm...stuff.... in one gulp.

    My other toilet is a Kohler dual-flush with an electric pump (sounds like a commercial/airline toilet when it flushes). The dual-flush is nice, but I wish it was another Toto that didn't require electricity.

    momnipotent said...

    - The "staying cleaner" claim is a bunch of crap IMHO.
    - Val knows Toto.
    - The Aquia base will be easier to clean.
    - Can't one be bought locally to save on shipping?
    - Do any of them come with a target inside the bowl?

    Corey said...

    Looks like I'm leaning toward the Aquia. I found a place that will sell it for about $365 bucks including tax and the seat. Online it would be $357 and I'd have to deal with freight shipping - ugh.

    Momnipotent - The bunch of crap that is what I'm worried about cleaning, especially since the Aquia has a lot less water in the bowl all of the time.

    Gene said...

    The smaller amount of water in the bowl of the Aquia does make for a smaller target. Not a problem for liquid waste, but something to consider if, um, larger amounts of solid waste are an issue.

    modernemama said...

    We have the Toto Nexus, which has a skirt similar to the Aquia. Love it - also no Sanagloss but no problem, everything flushes away perfectly. We never have to clean it!

    Ms. Homeowner said...

    We have the Toto Drake in our 3 current bathrooms, and are putting it in our new basement bathroom as well. It's not a true dual flush, but it is low flow, so you can depress the handle for as long as you need the flush to be- we LOVE that feature. It's also pretty comfortable (well, as comfy as a TOILET can be), fits well into a small space, and is a snap to clean.

    My one complaint is the lid- when I clean the toilet, I clean the seat first, put it down, then clean the lid. The hinge that connects the seat and the lid is vary tight, so when I put the seat down, the lid slams down on my wrist as well. Not pleasant.