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Kohler are a popular toilet brand, and have been for many years. When looking to upgrade or replace your current model, choosing a manufacturer with a good reputation behind it should be high on your list of priorities. This is something they provide.
This is a buying guide designed to help people familiarize themselves with some of their best toilet collections. We will be exploring individual product spec sheets, get an understanding of their flushing performance, and compare them to a few of the alternatives on the market.
We chose the K-3950 as we believe it's one of the best all round toilets for residential usage. It has a high, 1000 gram score on the maximum performance flush scale, meets the WaterSense criteria set by the EPA (1.28 GPF), and is also comfort height, helping your bathroom remain accessible for the elderly, disabled, and tall people.
From the outside it looks great too, with beautiful detailing on the tank and base of the bowl. The only issue we have with the design is that the trapway isn't concealed.
However, all things considered, we like the K-3950, and it could be the upgrade your washroom has been asking for.
|Kohler Tresham||Kohler Memoirs||Kohler Veil||Kohler Highline||Kohler Persuade|
|GPF||1.28||1.28||0.8 / 1.28||1.1 / 1.6||1.0 / 1.6|
Rim height Height without seat
WSA Water surface area
|11-1/2" x 9"||11-1/8" x 8-1/2"||7-15/16" x 5-5/8"||11-3/8" x 8"||4-1/2" x 5-3/4"|
Water level Rim to surface
|Dimensions||28.5 x 16.5 x 14.5"||31.4 x 28.2 x 20.1"||26.4 x 17.2 x 21.4"||35.5 x 25 x 23"||38.5 x 31 x 23.2"|
|Weight||72.8 lbs||101 lbs||110 lbs||70 lbs||N/A|
|Colors||White, Biscuit, Bone||White, Biscuit, Almond||White||White||White|
Kohler are in our opinion one of the top toilet brands available. They are a company which produce bathroom and kitchen hardware such as sinks, toilets, showers, baths and faucets. They have a long history in this industry, having started way back in 1873. They also own another well known brand known as Sterling.
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They have a number of different product collections that are popular with consumers. Some of our favorites include Memoirs, Wellworth, Cimarron, Archer, Adair, Persuade, San Souci, Corbelle, Santa Rosa, Tresham, Karing, and Veil. Each of these have their own strengths that enable them to hold their own against their competitors, be it low water consumption, or intelligent designs.
The Tresham K-3950 is not only one of our favorites from this brand, it's also one of our top picks overall. The combination of AquaPiston flushing technology, an ADA compliant bowl, and solid performance in the MaP testing have a lot to do with it.
The flushing mechanism is activated via a trip lever on the side of its tank rather than the front, and it sends just 1.28 gallons through the bowl to rinse it of waste. Perhaps what's surprising about these specifications is that this relatively small amount of water used achieves a 1000 gram score on the MaP scale. Which is in the highly recommended category as far as power and performance goes.
But that's not the whole story either, because it uses less water, it manages to meet the Environmental Protection Agencies WaterSense standards, and is labelled as such. If you have time, you can check out our calculator on the amount of water that can be saved by upgrading to a WaterSense toilet.
From a external design perspective, we would say this offers buyers something different. The ridging on its tank and the base of its bowl add a contemporary touch that is missing from many of its competitors. Despite this, we think there is room for improvement on its design. The lack of skirting around the bowl leaves the trapway outline exposed.
If comfort is important to you, and it should be, you will no doubt appreciate the elongated, comfort height bowl. This means it's easier to sit and stand up, due to its additional inches in height. It also means your legs are positioned more naturally thanks to the oval shape extending further from the wall.
The installation process is made less time consuming too, through the three pre installed bolts attached to the tank. And to give you an idea of the amount of floor space required, it measures 28.5 x 16.5 x 14.5 inches.
Overall, we believe this will serve as excellent family toilet, it's got the performance built in to handle bulk waste effectively and efficiently, and has a modern theme. You're also covered through a one year limited warranty policy.
The Memoirs range is another great option. Similar to the K-3950, the K-6669 has excellent waste handling performance, thanks to it's 1000 gram, Aqua Piston flush that lets water intot he bowl from all angles. What does this mean in laymans terms? It means your rim and bowl surface gets an extensive rinse, often cleaning areas that are difficult to get to for other mechanisms.
When there is extra power involved in a flush, people tend to assume it utilizes a lot of water. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, this is a low flow model that uses just 1.28 gallons of water. If you're a fan of environmentally friendly products, this could be a good match.
It fits a twelve inch rough in, measures 31.4 x 28.2 x 20.1 inches, and weighs 101 pounds.
The elongated bowl provides comfort and support, and the base to rim measurement is slightly taller due to it being right height. This allows it to meet American with Disabilities Act standards, and ensures sitting is easier on your body and joints.
It's made in Vitreous China, and finished in white. However, you can also find it in a number of different colors including Almond, Biscuit, and Dune. We think that the ridging on the tanks lid give it a more traditional style. What's more, the trapway is concealed from the outside, winning it a few visual points in our book.
The Veil is a smart toilet, with some top features built into the spec list. These specification are not just for user comfort, but convenience too, making your time in the bathroom more relaxing and enjoyable.
One of our favorite innovations included is the bidet spray mechanism. For cleansing purposes, it is superior to paper, with warm water sprayed to the back and front depending on usage. So how does it do this? Well there is a stainless steel wand which in the rim / bowl area which send a variety of spray shapes at differing water pressure settings. In addition to this, users get a warm seat to sit on with temperature control. After you've finished, there is a dryer too.
The K-5401 is different from the others selected above due to its built in dual flushing mechanism. That's right, users will have the option of two different flushes. The interesting thing here is that both of these flushes meet WaterSense standards of the EPA (0.8 / 1.28 GPF). This makes it highly efficient, even more so than some of the leading low flow products on the market.
Externally, we think it looks great. Contemporary, as one piece designs usually are. However, the fact that the trap is hidden helps too. It's fairly compact too, with no bulky tank included. Product dimensions are 26.4 x 17.2 x 21.4 inches, so it could work well in a compact washroom.
The seat is motion activated via sensors, better for general hygiene, and it's quiet closing too, preventing the slamming shut of the lid/seat, potentially saving it from scratches on the rim.
When you use the toilet in the evening, you will also appreciate the LED lighting which illuminates the bowl and eliminates the necessity of turning the main lights on at the switch.
You may be thinking to yourself what happens in the event of a power outage? Well they have an emergency flush system for this very purpose.
However, with all these positive points, there is a negative. All these innovations come at a cost, and that is an expensive price tag in comparison to your standard units. So if you have a small budget, the k-5401 should be ruled out.
The K-3989 from the Highline collection has a lot of pros. It's a two piece unit, elongated / oval shaped bowl for better support and comfort, and a solid options if water efficiency is important to you.
Furthermore, it's bowl height makes it far more accessible to people with mobility difficulties. This is known as right, or chair height. To gain such a label, manufacturers must ensure the seating height is at least seventeen inches tall. This typically translates to a sixteen and a half inch rim, then the addition of a seat to meet the requirements.
You can choose either a half or full flush through the dual flush system. A 1.1 GPF for lighter waste management, or a 1.6 GPF for a little bit more power. In fact, if you look at the 3rd party testing done by maximum performance, they give it an impressive 1000 gram score. This is the most powerful on that scale and a good indicator that it handles larger quantities of waste effectively.
All this is operated through a trip lever. This lever is easily accessible on the side of its tank, and has a beautiful chrome style which could work well with matching faucets etc.
The K-3723 may not be one piece, but the tank (K-4441) and bowl (K-4353) are close together, with limited exposure to the bolts and joint between them. In fact, looking at the design as a whole, they have gone to great lengths to hide all the inner pipes thanks to it being fully skirted at the front and the sides.
It measures 28-5/8 inches in length by 14-3/16 inches in width by 32-1/2 inches in height. What's more, if you have a standard size rough in (12"), this will fit.
The flushing mechanism is dual flush, operated via the buttons that are mounted on top of the bowl. It consumes 1.6 gallons through the use of the full flush, and a rather efficient 1.0 gallons for the partial one. By averaging out both of these options, it meets EPA WaterSense guidelines, saving you on utility bills, and in certain municipalities, you may be entitled to rebates. To give you an idea of the performance and power levels achieved, it scores an impressive 800 grams on the MaP scale.
And if you're not a fan of spending lots of time fitting it, the two bolt installation system makes things simpler.
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Rough in - Get the measuring tape out if you're not familiar with the term rough in. That's because you'll need to know the rough in size before you start shopping. It's a simple process that we cover in more detail on our 10" and 14" guides.
Bowl shape - Elongated shape bowls are generally what we recommend going with. Not only are they more comfortable and provide the necessary space for the male anatomy, they also extrude far enough from the wall to give your legs enough support whilst sitting down. However, there are some scenarios where you may prefer a round bowl. The first is to save money, they are shorter and therefore require less material to build. The second is if your current bathroom is small and you need to save as much floor space as possible. Their low profile design is perfect for that.
Bathroom layout - While it's certainly important to know the details of your chosen sanitary ware, you still need to have knowledge of how and where it will be installed. What we mean by this, is you should know how big it can be, how far it can extend from the wall, and the actual location. Will it need specialized equipment, such as a triangular tank for fitting it into a corner? Or do you have enough space to pick a larger unit? Planning ahead is sensible if you wish to avoid sending it back.
Gallons per flush - Check how many gallons of water each toilet uses in their flushing systems. Most of the newer products produce a strong flush using less water as they use the water they do have more effectively. Less is wasted, and they have got better at rinsing out the bowl too. You can go one of two routes as far as GPF rate is concerned. The first is a low flow, watersense mechanism. These use up to 1.28 GPF and are EPA labelled. The units with these labels are among some oif the most efficient in the industry and will significantly reduce your households water usage. The second is the standard 1.6 GPF rate. These are designed for consumers wanting that extra bit of power to handle heavier loads of waste easily.
Alternative brands - If you know a bit about the industry and the different manufacturers out there, you'll no doubt of heard of competitors like Toto, Mansfield, and American Standard. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find a number of alternatives that can sometimes have advantages in price and design. Some examples of these include Sterling, Swiss Madison, Icera, Mirabelle, Woodbridge, and Gerber. You never know, you may come across something with similar features for a cheaper price. Doing this extra research is a sensible step to take, especially if you're working with a low budget.
Consumer reports - Scrutinize each of the customer reviews you find before you decide to buy anything. See if there are any obvious problems being complained about, then check to see if others are repeating them. Not all of these comments will be helpful, but among the fluff, you'll find some great information that will let you know if it has any obvious problems.
The products we've chosen above are among the top Kohler toilets. They earn their place on our list through having well rounded specifications. These specs ensure they have the capabilities to be part of a modern family bathroom. There is a good mix of water efficiency, flush power, and innovative design features in each.