Kohler Vs American Standard Toilets: Which One Is Better?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

If you’ve seen one toilet, you’ve seen them all, right? Wrong. There are so many different styles and brands of toilets on the market that it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin. So, why not go with a trusted brand name, like Kohler vs American Standard?

American Standard and Kohler toilets both share similar qualities but Kohler tends to be the stronger choice based on durability and consistency. Kohler is also more eco-friendly and had better design features. American Standard offers a stronger flush and is more affordable, but there are several quality issues and limited design options.

Two of the most trusted names in the toilet game are Kohler and American Standard. But which is the best option and why? Here’s a look at how these two brands compare regarding price, design, maintenance, quality, and more.

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What Makes A Good Toilet?

Of course, before you can begin comparing Kohler and American Standard, it helps to know what to look for in a toilet. While there is not necessarily a universal option, there are more than a few common traits that make up a quality flush.

  • Style. There are two primary types of toilet: one-piece and two-piece. The one-piece tends to have a more high-end look to it, but the two-piece is easier to install and maintain. There are also integrated toilets that are easier to clean and have a nice, modern feel. Finally, there are high-tank toilets that provide the quaint, retro look that so many strive for.
  • Flush type. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a toilet. Pressure-assisted flushing mechanisms are becoming more common. This type of toilet gives a little extra pressure while flushing to keep the bowl cleaner. Standard flushing is fine, but pressure-assisted will ensure that you have to clean less often.
  • Placement. The toilet has to be in a comfortable spot, but there are also design standards to be met. A toilet should be able to fit in a space that is at least 15 inches from any other object. Pick a toilet that will fit comfortably into those spaces.
  • Levers and Buttons. We are more likely to be familiar with the traditional lever. But modern toilets have buttons. The latter is typically on toilets that help with water conservation. If you are trying to be water-conscious, go with the two-button option. They are more water-efficient.

Kohler vs American Standard: Price

This comes down to which models that you look for. Both have affordable options while still maintaining a standard of durability and reliability. Below, you will see a comparison for some of the offerings of both companies.

KohlerAmerican Standard
Highline Arc$169.00Reliant$99.00
Elmbrook$189.00Cadet 3$189.00
Santa Rosa$319.00Champion$199.00
Cimarron Revolution$249.00Cadet 3 (one-piece)$249.00
Valiant$288.00Optum VorMax$269.00

The Winner: American Standard. So, which is the better price? The slight edge goes to American Standard. After all, you don’t get to have “standard” in the name without setting a precedent for quality and consistency in your field. Really, both companies are quite affordable. Kohler toilets tend to be slightly more expensive than their counterpart. So, if you are on a budget, American Standard would be the right choice.

Kohler vs American Standard: Design Features

Like it or not, one of the most important aspects of choosing the proper toilet is making sure that it looks right. When we tend to think of a toilet, we are most likely going to think of the classic model offered by American Standard.

KohlerAmerican Standard
Best Flush: CimarronBest Tall: Champion 4
Best Value: Wellworth DualBest Value: Fairfield
Best Premium: Memoirs StatelyBest Premium: Boulevard FloWise
Best Overall: Santa RosaBest Overall: H2Option

American Standard. Though the design is a classic, it is nothing that really pops out. American Standard toilets are generally enough to get the job done, but nothing that will grab your attention. Moreover, with a reputation for questions about structural integrity, it makes the simplistic design feel even more outdated.

Kohler. Kohler, meanwhile, tends to have more modern-looking toilet offerings. That’s not to say that they do not offer the traditional two-piece toilets that we have grown accustomed to. They also do not carry the structural issues that American Standard toilets have had from time to time.

Otherwise, both brands are basically on the same level. Both offer both single- and dual-flush toilet options with very similar flush rates. They both also have similar flushing mechanisms in both gravity and pressure-assisted options.

The Winner: Kohler. For the most part, both manufacturers are quite simple in their toilet offerings. Kohler, however, seems to have adopted better to modern looks. If you want something that feels classic, American Standard is the choice. But for modern aesthetics, Kohler is the only option.

While you’re comparing design features for your toilet, you may also want to consider whether you want a wooden or plastic toilet seat.

Kohler vs American Standard: Quality

No matter what, looks should be secondary compared to the overall quality of the toilet. After all, no one wants to have to deal with frequent repairs or constant issues. You want to leave the toilet as out of sight, out of mind most of the time.

American Standard. American Standard is known for consistency and that is what you will get regardless of choice. They may not have the high-end offerings that Kohler does, but the quality from the base model to their best offering will remain about the same.

Most of their toilets use Vitreous China for the core material. That said, American Standard does suffer from structural integrity issues. The porcelain has been known to crack and break on occasion with American Standard.

Kohler. Kohler also features Vitreous China as its core material, but that is where the similarities tend to end. They offer a wider array of bathroom features that help them stand out in a significant way from American Standard.

And while Kohler has a weaker flush than American Standard, they have none of the same structural issues. So, while you may spend a little more time with a plunger in hand on Kohler toilets, you won’t have to worry about more serious issues at play.

The Winner: Kohler. The weak flush is not ideal, but structural issues are less so. Though it is not necessarily a common issue with American Standard toilets, it has happened often enough that buyers should be wary.

Kohler vs American Standard: Water Efficiency

Now more than ever, having efficiency in each area of the home is of the utmost importance. That also means having a toilet that uses less water with each flush. That helps with water conservation and cutting down on water bills over the life of the toilet. After all, it is great to help the environment, but we all tend to respond to lower bills.

American Standard. The American Standard water-efficient toilets have been certified by the EPA for saving 20% in water efficiency over the average product in that category. They don’t have a ton of options available in the WaterSense line, but they do that one thing really well.

Kohler. Not only does Kohler have water-efficient options, but they have made it something of a mission statement for their company. Kohler has been honored each year by the EPA since they introduced the WaterSense program. With that kind of dedication to reducing water usage, it is clear to see who has the edge.

The Winner: Kohler. While American Standard’s offering in water-efficient toilets is perfectly good, they can’t match the vigorous pursuit of water efficiency that Kohler has demonstrated. Being honored by the EPA each year since the inception of the WaterSense program is a big deal and guarantees that you are getting a water-efficient toilet.

Kohler vs American Standard: Flushing Power

Flush power may seem inconsequential at first. But where it becomes truly important is in the cleanliness of the toilet. Toilets that have weaker flushing capabilities tend to be dirtier, requiring more frequent cleaning. The more powerful the stream, the cleaner the bowl stays. That means less time spent cleaning on your part.

American Standard. This may be the first category where American Standard truly stands a cut above. They are known as having one of the best quality flushes in the business. They are so powerful that they wash away even the toughest of particulate on a regular basis. Over time, you will come to appreciate a more powerful flush and what it can mean for your cleaning schedule.

Kohler. If there is one major downside to Kohler toilets, it is that the flush is weak. In some instances, it can even require multiple flushes to fully clear the bowl. Moreover, it results in dirtier, stained bowls that require more cleaning than normal. That will result in major frustration really quickly.

The Winner: American Standard. If you did not appreciate quality flushing power, you certainly will with the American Standard option. Keeps bowls cleaner by washing away even the toughest of particulate with ease.

Kohler vs American Standard: Cleaning

Alongside efficiency, design, and durability, ease of cleaning is one of the pillars when choosing a toilet. No one wants to spend their free time scrubbing a toilet that looks dirty more often than not. So, who takes the cake when it comes to keeping the bowl clean?

American Standard. The more powerful flush offered by American Standard will become an asset sooner rather than later. The more powerful flush means less particulate clinging to the bowl after each use. If you thought that flush quality was inconsequential, there is a major difference between Kohler and American Standard here.

Thanks to that more powerful flush, American Standard requires less cleaning. And when it does come time to do a little bit of scrubbing, you will be starting off on a much better foot.

Kohler. The weak flush becomes very noticeable in short order. It oftentimes takes multiple flushes to fully clear the bowl. That means more particulate that sticks around, resulting in the need to break out the scrub brush sooner rather than later. Kohler toilets may look nicer, but they will require substantially more cleaning than their American Standard counterpart.

The Winner: American Standard. This one is not even really close. American Standard and its more powerful flush make cleaning far simpler and easier. More importantly, you won’t have to clean it nearly as often as if you went with a Kohler toilet. If you hate cleaning the bathrooms, that may be the deciding factor when choosing a toilet and American Standard would be the right option.

Kohler vs American Standard: Pros And Cons

Now that we have lined both of these quality brands up against one another, it is time for a further breakdown. Each toilet line has its benefits, but it has its downsides, too. Here is how they stack up.

KohlerAmerican Standard
Eco-friendlyWeak flushPowerful flushIntegrity issues
Better designMore expensiveCheaper options

Each toilet has clear-cut pros and cons, especially when compared to one another.

Kohler. When you opt for Kohler, you know that you are getting an eco-friendly toilet. Moreover, the designs are more comprehensive and tend to look better on the whole than American Standard. But the weak flush can be frustrating, especially considering Kohler tends to be the more expensive option.

American Standard. On the other hand, American Standard tends to be slightly more affordable. On top of that, they have a superior, powerful flush that leaves bowls cleaner for longer. But the structural integrity issues should not be ignored.

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Kohler vs American Standard: Which Is The Better Option?

The truth is that you really can’t go wrong with either option when comparing Kohler vs American Standard. Both have a consistent quality, both are pretty affordable, and both come in a multitude of designs and styles. But this piece isn’t about that, it is about picking a clear-cut winner.

The Winner: Kohler. When it comes down to all factors involved, Kohler is the better option. Sure, the flush tends to be weaker, meaning more cleaning and more time with the plunger, but that is the only true weakness.

Their designs are more modern than American Standard, making them the better option for more modern bathrooms. They also hold the edge in water efficiency, which is one of the most important aspects of toilets today.

American Standard is a fine choice, but there are known structural integrity issues. Combined with the lack of modern options, it is clear to see why Kohler gets the nod in this head-to-head battle.

While Kohler has been crowned the winner in this round, you may also want to check out our comparison for Toto vs. American Standard toilets.

Related Questions

What are some other top-rated toilet brands?

When you’re toilet shopping, American standard and Kohler are undoubtedly two of the most popular and trusted brands. However, they aren’t your only options when it comes to choosing your porcelain throne.Other highly-rated toilet brands are TOTO, Gerber, and Jacuzzi. TOTO toilets are manufactured in Japan and feature sleek, modern designs. They also include many features, like heated toilet seats.Gerber has been around for a long time and consistently produces high-quality dependable toilets at affordable prices. Jacuzzi is worth mentioning here too since many people assume they only do tubs. But the company does make toilets that feature a powerful flush.

Are Sterling toilets the same as Kohler?

Another quality toilet brand is Sterling, but technically it’s the same as Kohler. Sterling started as the Sterling Faucet Co. in 1907, creating top-notch brassware and faucets.Now, Sterling is a brand of Kohler, joining the brand in 1984. They produce tough, long-lasting products that can hold up to the demands of a busy life while sharing Kohler’s world-class reputation. Plus, they feature mid-level pricing putting them within reach of a remodel on a budget.

How long does a toilet last?

On average a toilet lasts for about 25 years, although many porcelain toilets can last longer, maybe even 50 years. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to replace the inner workings (or the guts of the toilet more often). The guts might last for between 10 and 15 years before you need to replace them.If your toilet clogs constantly, has cracked porcelain, or rust, or corrosion, it’s time to replace it. Also, if you just don’t find the toilet comfortable anymore or it’s so old it’s extremely inefficient, it’s worth replacing it.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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