By Matthew Power. Some brands can jettison a holiday turkey. Others would do better service as decorative planters. That's the bottom line of the just-released "Water Closet Performance Testing," an NAHB Research Center study on low-flow toilets.
Although the study is loaded with disclaimers about the chaotic and unpredictable process of flushing toilets, the reality is that this is a well-orchestrated, long overdue, toe-to-toe comparison of water closets. It reinforces what we at BUILDER discovered recently when we looked into low-flow problems--that issues with water-saving toilet performance are brand specific, not universal.
The researchers looked at 49 different models and established a performance index against which to compare. They then tried various materials down the drain. Three "complaint" toilets were used to establish a benchmark for the level at which performance is unacceptable. These toilets actually came out of people's homes, where they were said to clog frequently, or require double flushing. (Don't worry, the report confirms that they were thoroughly cleaned first.)
The test team went to town, flushing sponges and other materials down the drain and noting performance. The biggest surprise came when they created a scatter chart equating performance with price. Result: No correlation.
1. Toto Ultimate Elongated Bowl
2. Toto Ultramax
3. Toto Ultimate Round Bowl
4. Niagara Flapperless
5. Mansfield Alto
6. American Standard Dual Flush Asia
7. Corona Orchid
8. Crane/Universal Rundle Atlas
9. Western Pottery Aris
10. Gerber Ultra
(ranked worst to better) 1. American Standard Hydra
2. American Standard Antiquity
3. Complaint 2*
4. American Standard toilet to go
5. Complaint 1*
6. Complaint 3*
7. Eljer Cypress
8. Eljer Savoy
9. St. Thomas Mariner II
10. American Standard Hamilton
*Complaint brand names were not given. All three models have been taken off the market.
Source: NAHB Research Center