Kohler and American Standard are two of the biggest names in the bathroom industry. They manufacture a wide range of sanitary ware including toilets. In this guide, you will learn about the main differences between them, including their history, flushing performance, bowl shapes, innovations, and how efficient they are. We'll also be exploring the specifications of two of our favorite toilets from each brand to compare them side by side.
|KOHLER Tresham||American Standard
|Model number||K-3950||2034.014.020||Rough in||12"||12"|
|Flush type||AquaPiston||Siphonic action|
Rim height Height without seat
WSA Water surface area
|11-1/2" x 9"|
Water level Rim to surface
|Dimensions||28.5 x 16.5 x 14.5"||17.8 x 29.8 x 29.5"|
|Weight||72.8 lbs||118 lbs|
|Colors||White, Biscuit, Bone||White, Linen, Bone|
This is a two piece toilet with an elongated shape bowl. It's finished in white, but is also available in several other colors like biscuit and bone. We've listed this in several of our buying guides due to its impressive power and performance. It has a 1000 gram rating on the MaP scale, which is as high as you can get. It may not tell us much about its bowl wash ability, but we know it is unlikely to get clogged up from your average day to day usage. As a rule, we typically tell our readers to stick to products scoring 500 grams or more. This is far above that.
How does it manage to do this? It's using AquaPiston tech and a large 3 inch flush valve. This ensires the transfer of water from tank to bowl happens quickly, generating more flushing power. And even with this extra power, it still manages to meet Environmental Protection standards, with a 1.28 GPF flow rate. This can help your household save more than ten thousand gallons every year.
Combining the height of its bowl (16-1/2 inches) with a seat, it manages to comply with the ADA. This helps people sit and stand by reducing the range of motion in bending down. A smart choice for seniors or disabled users. However, the seat doesn't come with it. We recommend purchasing a standard slow closing one as it protects the rim and stops the lid from banging shut.
It's mounted to the floor, and has a standard floor outlet which requires a 12 inch rough in measurement. You can expect quite a large water spot (11-1/2" x 9") which helps keep smells down until you flush the waste through the outlet, and a reasonable water level (5-3/8") that will ensure the waters surface is far enough away to not splash up and hit you.
As a one piece toilet, the 2034.014.020 has a beautiful exterior. There is no gap at the bottom of the tank exposing materials either, reducing the chances of damage to the plumbing fixtures of leaking. While it may not be the most efficient option available (1.6 GPF), it makes up for it in performance.
The 1000 gram MaP rating highlights how well it's able to push waste through the trap without problems. Such a score means it's unlikely to block up in a residential environment. The siphonic action combined with its much bigger than average flush valve (4 inches), mean that it's able to send larger volumes of water through the bowl at once.
It has a rim height of 16.5 inches, making it comfort height and meeting ADA standards. The bowl is also elongated which has its advantages in terms of providing more leg room and space for the male anatomy. And because they generally extend further from the wall, they more evenly distribute users weight when seated.
You won't need to purchase a seat separately with this one, it comes with a quiet closing seat. It also has a larger than average (2-3/8") trap passageway, which helps it move larger quantities of waste.
CleanCoat - This is a type of bowl glazing that can help reduce the amount of bacteria, lime scale, mold, and mineral deposits being left behind after each flush. Its Anti-Microbial properties include nanoparticles which produce one of the smoothest layers above the ceramic. This stops waste sticking to the bowl and helps the flushing mechanism rinse the bowl more effectively.
Revolution 360 - The clue is in the name. This is a type of flush which swirly water in the bowl three hundred and sixty degrees, enabling it to reach the areas within that are often missed by other mechanisms. The Corbelle is known for having this tech.
ContinuousClean - Combines the two above with a self cleaning system. This automatically washes the bowl with a cleaning solution. Inside the tank there will be a reservoir that allows you to put special tablets inside. Once that's done, you simply set how much cleaning agent you want to send through the bowl with each flush.
EverClean - Similar to CleanCoat, the EverClean surface helps stop waste particles adhering to the surface. This will smooth over the china and help reduce staining and streaking.
ActiClean - Like the ContinuousClean, this is their own version which sends cleaning solutions through the bowl, giving users a choice between a quick or deep cleaning cycle. Instead of tablets, they use cartridges. The VorMax uses this technology.
Both companies have their fair share of standard height bowls. These are typically around 15 inches in height. However, there is a newer, more accessible style being produced which is commonly referred to as comfort height. This is a name given to a bowl that is taller than usual. Measurements vary, but they have to be between 17 and 19 inches to be labelled as such. Brands tend to have their own labels for this. American Standard use right height, and Kohler use the standard comfort height. However, you may see other names like universal and chair height being used too. They all mean the same thing.
When it comes to protecting the environment and not wasting water, both brands offer a number of low flowing models that consume up to 1.28 gallons per flush. Why is 1.28 gallons a significant flow rate? Well, this ensures that they meet the Environmental Protection Agencies residential toilet water standards. The Tresham meets these standards, is WaterSense certified (EPA), and gets labelled as such. On the other hand, the Champion 4 doesn't meet this criteria. It does however consume less than older 3.5 GPF units (1.6 GPF) and you can still find plenty of efficient alternatives like the Cadet 3 (1.28 GPF). The difference between these two flow rates may not seem like much on paper (20% more water savings), but over a longer period of time, the number of gallons the Tresham can save begins to add up. We've built a calculator that can help you visualize how much these savings can effect your utility bills too.
In terms of detailing, the K-3950 is unique. They have some stylish ridging near the base, on the bowl, and all over the tank. However, for some, this may look a bit busy. If that's the case, you'll appreciate the seamless exterior of the 2034.014.020. It has an advantage in this regard because it's one piece instead of two piece. A two piece product will leave a gap between the tank and the bowl which is not as aesthetic and can be a place which bacteria and odors build up. However, neither of them hide the trapway, which can be seen as both good and bad. On one hand, the manufacturing process costs less because they require less material to make. This makes them more affordable to consumers. However, when the trap pipes are visible, it can negatively effect the overall aesthetics. However, should you wish to get something with skirting, both brands have some great alternatives. The Memoirs and the Town Square are both seamless and hide the trap.
Who wins? Kohler or American Standard toilets? In all honesty, we really like both. However, in this particular comparison, we like the eco friendly flush of the K-3950 over the Champion 4. Outside of this, they have similar strenths. For example they both get top marks in the MaP flush ratings (1000 grams), and are both ADA compliant. However, the 2034.014.020 does win in certain aspects, it's one piece, and comes with a soft closing seat. Both are solid brands in our opinion. Take a look through their product catalogs and start reading what both plumbers and consumers are saying in their reviews of specific models online. Try to identify the pros and cons through this type of feedback and it will help you filter out the poor quality products.
Want more comparisons? Check out our Toto vs Kohler guide.