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What are the main differences between the Toto and Kohler toilet brands? It's a simple question, but one that has quite a complex answer. There are a number of variables that could effect your decision. Where one manufacturer could specialize in a specific area, the other may excel elsewhere. So personal preferences will always play a role. To help our readers get the full picture, we have been exploring and analyzing their innovations, flush mechanisms, aesthetics and designs. Hopefully, this will help provide an insight into which is better suited to your own requirements.
|Model number||MS604114CEFG||K-3950||Rough in||12"||12"|
|Flush type||Double Cyclone||AquaPiston|
Rim height Height without seat
WSA Water surface area
|7-1/8" x 9-1/8"||11-1/2" x 9"|
Water level Rim to surface
|Dimensions||28 3/8 x 16 1/2 x 28 3/4"||28.5 x 16.5 x 14.5"|
|Weight||99 lbs||72.8 lbs|
|Colors||White||White, Biscuit, Bone|
The MS604114CEFG is carved from one piece of ceramic. No gap between the tank and bowl means there is less exposed plumbing fixtures that can decay or cause problems such as leaking. It also means bacteria can't get into a gap between them both like they can in two piece units. That's a breeding ground for bacteria and bad odors. This also means installing it becomes simpler.
The trip lever is located on the side of its tank and once pulled it releases 1.28 gallons through the 3 inch valve. The double cyclone system then swirls and rinses the bowl with this water, leaving the bowl cleaner, especially near the rim. An area that often gets ignored. This is even more effective due to the SanaGloss glazing which smoothes over the pores in the ceramic china.
But with such low volumes of water flowing through the bowl, you'd expect its bulk waste handling capabilities to suffer. The truth is that it still scores 800 grams through MaP, an impressive score and only 200 grams away from the maximum. This means it's less likely to get blocked up as the average human isn't putting 800 grams through the waste outlet. We often say anything above 400 grams is more than sufficient.
The 16-1/8 inch bowl height meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and ensures users are able to sit and stand with less stress being put on your legs and back.
You get a soft closing seat that will slowly shut when you drop it, reducing noise. Considering that many companies don't offer a seat, this is good news. You won't need to shop around of measure for something that fits.
An important part of our research involves looking at how effective individual flush mechanisms are. We look for common defects and areas they excel. How do we do this? Well, there is certainly no right or wrong way to get this information. In our case, we like to utilize MaP ratings to form a opinion on a toilets flushing performance. These ratings are an essential part of our criteria as they show us how much waste can be removed from the bowl in one go. Products are scored from zero to a thousand, and the higher score it gets, the more effective they are.
The K-3950 is one of the most impressive in this regard, scoring 1000 grams and further highlighting why the Kohler brand are known for their flushing systems. While this is important, you still need to take into account the overall water usage (or flow rate) as you don't want to buy anything that wastes water. This unit offers a eco friendly 1.28 GPF. Much more efficient than standard 1.6 gallon options, and will enable your household to save several thousand gallons of water. The Environmental Protection Agency has some good information relating to this. Alternatively, you can learn how much water your toilet uses in a year. Everything you need to know about the money saved on utility bills can be found on this resource.
So despite being low flow, it achieves such a strong flush through its AquaPiston mechanism and large 3 inch flush valve, which lets more water escape the tank at once, creating a faster rush of water through the bowl.
So that's the various mechanisms covered, what about the external design? To start with, it's got a modern feel to it, thanks to its unique styling. Many of its competitors are smooth sided and seamless, so this style helps it stand out. It's also finished in white which is exactly the sort of brightness you need in a bathroom as it makes the room feel open and spacious.
Its bowl is elongated, which is really just an oval shape. Our guide explains the pros and cons of each here: what's the difference between elongated and round shape bowls? It's also ADA complaint and comfort height, measuring more than 17 inches to the seat from the floor, and 16-1/2 inches to the bowls rim. The purpose of this is to make sure everyones needs are catered for. For example, the elderly are known to have issues sitting and standing. Taking some of the weight off joints by making the bowl taller can alleviate this somewhat. If you want improved accessibility, this is a must have feature. This can also be advantageous for someone who is taller than average.
The water spot dimensions are 11-1/2" x 9". This is quite a large surface area, and something that can be beneficial to you. The bigger the water spot is, the more effective it becomes in keeping the bowl clean and smelling fresh. There will be a larger area to aim for, so less chance of streaking, and the water level from the rim is far enough for splashing not to be a worry (5-3/8").
As for the negatives, two things are more notieable to us. The first thing that stood out was that it's two piece. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but there are some clear advantages that one piece units have over it. Secondly, it doesn't skirt the trapway. The outline and curves of the pipes are clearly visible. Again, not the end of the world, but we definitely prefer it when the trap is concealed as we think it is more aesthetic.
With all that said and done, it's clear that this could work well as a residential toilet. It ticks all the right boxes for us. It has solid flushing performance, water efficient, and takes into account user comfort.
You'll find that both companies have focused on improving water efficiency. The two products chosen above demonstrate that fact with a WaterSense standard, 1.28 gallon flow rate. If you want to buy something with more water volume, they also make a number of 1.6 gallon units such as the Wellworth and Promenade. Just remmeber that more water doesn't necessarily mean more power, and that can be seen in the MaP ratings of both of our picks above (800g and 1000g).
The feature that they all share in common is the bidet or washlet seat. These can be an effective replacement to paper as they also come with built in dryers.
But it's not just about users hygiene, it's the sheer comfort and convenience that you won't find in traditional types. The ability to warm up the seat, automatically flush, or even self clean are all options that will make your bathroom visits easier.
Having looked through the specs and technology of each company and their toilets, what's the verdict? Which is better, Toto or Kohler? If you're after a floor mounted, gravity fed option, we think they're evenly matched. Both offer their fair share of toilets that are meet WaterSense standards with strong flushing performances according to MaP scores. Despite this, the inclusion of the soft close seating on the Ultramax tips the decision in Toto's favor. Purchasing seats separately can potentially cause more problems than necessary.
Want more comparisons? Check out our Kohler vs American Standard guide.