About six years ago I helped a friend of mine equip his entire house with Toto Drake toilets. He spent a lot of time researching toilets and settled on the Drake. I was living in a new condo unit at the time and the toilets there were the standard American Standards you see just about everywhere. Double flushing was part of my everyday life. What a senseless waste of water, I used to think. These efficiency toilets where a joke, but what are you going to do? That's just the way they make them now'days.
Or so I thought...
So over the course of an afternoon my friend and I put together and installed four of these suckers and they all worked great! Maybe we got lucky, but none of the toilets leaked and they were all really straight forward to assemble and install. This is the extent of my experience with them. I only installed them, but didn't have any user experience... Yet.
In late 2005, I purchased my first house. It was a 1974-era, Brady Bunch-style home with Brady-era counters, floors, and toilets. They were really old and really ready for replacement. So, remembering my friend's research from a few years back, I did my own research. I eventually landed on ANSI's Web site and learned my friend was correct... Very correct, in fact! The Toto Drake, for the money, was one of the best toilets in its class. You know, the ANSI actually fills condoms with soy and rice filler and tests these toilets by flushing condom sausages until they clog. The Toto Drake had one of the best flush records.
That was good enough for me... I was so sick of double flushing, I was ready to pay whatever it took (within reason) to flush once and be done with my daily business.
So I looked at the Drake and learned it comes in a regular or SanaGloss finish, which is a micro-fine surface that resists mineral and debris buildup. I called my friend and talked to his wife about what they thought of the SanaGloss finish (I know my friend paid extra for this upgrade). They love it! I mean, I've never seen a couple actually *excited* to talk about their toilet! She said the SanaGloss finish reduced their cleanings by half as much. She also strongly suggested purchasing the SoftClose seat, which slowly drops the seat and lid so you don't experience the 4am SLAM because you let go too soon.
I was sold... I ordered one SanaGloss Drake with the SoftClose seat and eagerly waited for it to arrive. When it did, my friend and his wife were there for our "Toto party." Within an hour it was in and we cracked a magnum of wine and celebrated with a massive meal to help christen the install of the new Toto toilet! Well, the christening actually occurred after the meal was digested, the following day. <grin>
This was nearly five years ago and I have almost a half a decade of experience behind this review. I have never had to plunge this toilet... EVER! That's not to say you won't... You *can* clog it, but under normal usage, you should never expect a clog or double-flush. Also, the SanaGloss finish works as advertised. Routine cleanings are reduced primarily to the rim and outer sides of the toilet. I don't have to clean the inside every time I clean the toilet. But be forewarned DO NOT CLEAN THIS SURFACE WITH AN ABRASIVE CLEANER. It will scratch! Lastly, the SoftClose seat is wonderful! I've found though that once in a while I let go of other seats too early, forgetting that not every toilet has a SoftClose seat. I'd highly recommend purchasing this upgrade with your toilet.
For those who are considering the Toto Soirée toilet, I would never tell you not to purchase it, but do want to share one last thing.
Because of my experience, another close friend of mine spent a lot of time deliberating over whether to buy the Drake or the Soirée. The Soirée is a more expensive toilet that Toto offers in an ADA style that he wanted. He purchased the Soirée and I think he regrets it to some extent. When he flushes it, he has to hold the handle down two to three seconds to ensure a solid flush. I purchased a space-saver Toto toilet for my small, spare bathroom and it requires the same hold-down-the-handle flush. The Toto Drake doesn't require holding the handle down for a few seconds. It has a powerful "G-Max" flushing system that only requires a quick push of the handle to activate.
So if you're trying to decide which toilet to buy, you have me and my two friends here to tell you, you're looking at an excellent toilet for the money! If you buy it, throw your own Toto party, eat hearty, and know the next day your happy engorgement won't result in a double flush! :-)
on May 30, 2012
First off, I researched toilets, and found that this was the toilet to purchase. Bought 5 Toto Toilets (2 round, 3 elongated-Sanagloss) from Amazon. Toilets are good. Happy with the flush, etc. But in shipping, 2 of the elongated arrived broken. A little hassle with shipping: (I've always had very easy returns with Amazon, but the toilets were a little more of a head ache. Here's why: 5 Two-piece toilets = 10 boxes. 2 were broken. Amazon wanted the top and bottom shipped back...so needed to ship back 4 boxes. I filled out the return page online, and the UPS guy showed up with ONE label for the 4 packages. Sent him away, called Amazon, and they contacted UPS and issued 3 more labels. Then UPS guy showed up WITHOUT the original label, so still have 4 return boxes and only 3 labels now. Sent the 3 boxes on with the UPS guy (they take up the entire porch so needed them gone) and called Amazon to request one more label. They contacted UPS again, and had him come the next day with the 4th label. So returns were fine...but UPS guys are a little annoyed at the lady buying tons of toilets and shipping them back and forth.
Then when I went to install the 3rd toilet (the unbroken one from Amazon) it was not the Sanagloss one, and had a different model number than what I ordered. So I had to send it back. That return was not a problem as I called Amazon (vs using the online return) and told them I needed 2 LABELS since it is 2 boxes. This return was fine.
On a side note: Amazon did not have toilets in stock to replace the broken ones, so I ordered from National Builder Supply which had free shipping and about $10 less overall. Two of the 5 from Amazon/UPS arrived broken. Two from National Builder Supply/freight arrived intact. Ordered a 3rd from Natioanl Builder Supply, and it came from Fed Ex and IT WAS BROKEN. So, in short...ordering toilets online via UPS or Fed-Ex has a high probability of arriving broken regardless of where you purchase them from. The freight delivery was the best shipping method by far. But NBS only sent the first order by freight because it was 2 toilets, and sent the 3rd on by Fed-Ex since it was only one toilet. Just be prepared to inspect your toilets before your plumber arrives so that you know whether or not they arrived safely and unbroken. They are heavy and made of china, so breakage is likely. Luckily my remodel is falling behind so the turn around on shipping toilets back and forth has not been slowing us down. It is just very large packages that are hard to open, difficult to inspect (I'm a small woman, so have to lift the thing out of it's bigger box) and then repack it when it's broken...have used about $20 or more of tape to box the packages back up to ship back. Sorry for the novel!
on September 25, 2011
DEC 3 UPDATE. A few months ago I replaced the main floor toilet with this. Even with no venting at all, this toilet has astonishing flush power. Again - this in a bathroom with NO venting. The toilet is so powerful that, at the end of the flush, it needed to pull "some air" from the pipes. Since there was no other proper vent, the air was pulled through the traps of the sink and shower. I installed an air admittance valve under the sink at that problem was solved. No more gurgling.
Ok so I'm an engineer by trade and always do my research. I actually bought this from another Internet source that has much better pricing than Amazon (it doesn't happen often though and we usually buy through the big A). But I wanted to share our experiences.
We remodeled our master bath recently. As part of this we certainly needed a new toilet as the old one, while functional, was maroon (yeah ... bad I know). I considered the Drake II for the sanigloss finish but it seemed like it was only available in the higher format and my girlfriend is short so this just wouldn't have been as comfortable for her. The Drake is available in the Drake and Drake II and there are differences. Also there are only so many options here through Amazon - other sites have more options.
The remodeled master bath has amazing gorgous natural stone travertine tiles on the floor and throughout the shower.The last thing we wanted was a toilet that was overly bright, so that the tiles took center stage. So we went with Toto's Colonial White, rather than Cotton White. It's perfect. It is still white just not glaringly so. Other people have written that Colonial White was like a "white with a touch of grey added in". And we feel this is accurate and also useful as we went with a light grey for the walls. Bear in mind the Toilet doesn't look "light grey" - it's just a nice muted white and doesn't scream, "Hey Look at ME ... I'm a Toilet".
We decided to go with the Drake rather than Drake II, because it has a high gram capacity and I wanted the best possible gravity system available for this remodel. The bathroom is very unique as it is a LONG horizontal run from the sewer main. Also the only venting that I was able to add was a 3" run from a Y just under the toilet to a nearby air admittance valve. The home is historic so it would be near impossible or quite expensive to add a proper outside vent. So the best I was about to do was add that air admittance valve and hope for the best. The old toilet seemed to work well enough with NO venting (unless one counts a crack in the old cast iron pipe as venting ...). Ok so at least the new one would have SOME kinda venting ... :-)
Also the piping itself is unique. It first goes one way down the length of the bathroom, about 6', then curves around 180 degrees to run about 15' back to a 90 where it FINALLY goes out and connects to the horizontal main to the outside. I redid all the lines under the master bath from scratch, replacing ancient cast iron with 4" PVC (yeah I know I could use 3" but I wanted overkill). I also used a mix of 22.5 and 45 couplings to minimize the turns so the water slug would have the smoothest possible path, and double-checked the slight drop in level all the way through. Anyway, with all these considerations, I wanted a monster toilet that could handle it's normal job and really blast that water slug down that twisty curvy exit path.
We have now had the Drake for a month of regular use and are VERY pleased with it. There is a slight gurgling at the end of the flush. I expected that to be from the less-than-optimal venting that i could provide. Apparently, this seems to be somewhat common to this unit? The majority of the time, we just use the "quick flush" instead of the "full flush option", even when pushing out a deuce, and ... WAM! Everything disappears faster than we would really believe. I have to admit that I have flushed it a few times just for the fun of it. I'm super impressed by the speed and force of the flush.
A Plunger? We still own it but can't imagine ever needing it again, at least not in that bathroom. We have used the brush a bit here and there but not too much really.
A few years ago I had to replace a toilet upstairs in one of my rental units. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to try out the American Standard Cadet 3, based on the info at one of the big box stores. I didn't do my usual thorough research for that one but it just didn't seem overly necessary since that toilet is a mere 3 feet from the main vertical sewer stack that emtpies directly down into the horizontal main 2 floors below. This vertical pipe is also fully vented to the roof just above that unit.
Ok! So now I can compare the performance of a Drake, with a HUGE horizontal run and vented merely by an air admittance valve - to a Cadet 3 with a TINY run and MASSIVELY vented. My gosh, there is just no comparison. The flush of the Drake is VASTLY more forceful and quick. Last night I examined part of the horizontal main where I added a cleanout valve. And ... it's all nice and clean. As I had hoped and tried my best to plan for, all the water slugs have actually made it all the way from the Drake down some 25' of piping that doesn't even include the final 15-20' ... all the way to the sewer main. Sweet!
Today, I just placed an order for our second Drake, same color and model for our main floor bathroom. The toilet in that bathroom is TERRIBLE, always has been, and isn't vented AT ALL. It has trouble just trying to flush water. Well we got lucky and a house guest this past weekend tripped and cracked that toilet - how AWESOME. So, now we HAD TO replace it instead of merely wanting to. Eventually, we'll rip that bathroom out entirely and move it to the rear of the house (and install venting) but soon enough we'll be able to know how well the Drake performs with no venting whatsoever in the current main bath.
UPDATE: DEC 22
Both Toto Drakes are working great. I installed an air admittance valve for the main floor one. The toilet worked very well without it - but it was so powerful that it was pulling air through the shower and sink traps. Adding an AAV under the bathroom sink fixed that. Now we have 4 months straight without touching the plunger once. The water bills are lower too and that's always nice.
Especially in older homes... go right now and measure your wall's baseboard to the toilet bolts of your space. The center of your floor flange (roughly where the bolts are) to your wall's baseboard must equal 10 3/4 inches distance or longer. That is my distance on 1 install.... and the toilet's bottom rear touches a skinny wall baseboard. I could make a cutout in the baseboard to get an extra 1/2 inch.
Sani-Gloss stayes CLEAN from my experience. I haven't had to clean it in 6 weeks, and the bowl still looks new.
Installation is smooth and easy... I did 4 and not a single one was defective in any way. Using clear silicone to seal the bottom to the floor prevents rocking (blue tape the edge of toilet & the floor). The parts in the Tank look heavy duty commercial plumber's grade (thick PVC in the valve trap area... no metal whatsoever for corrosion.. only the lever which is solid brass).
As for toilet seats, the most popular Toto seat models are the SS114-01 & SS154-01. They are however heavily concaved downwardly (not flat like a normal seat; mostly the SS154-01), but they do match the toilet color precisely. I prefer a more flat seat like the best selling 'Church' Lift off from Lowes (not the exact bright-white, but more comfortable and more solid when it comes to rocking side-to-side). I tried 11 seats from Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes... kept only the SS114-01 & that 'Church' model from Lowes (model 1720SLOW000).
As for wax rings, I was very skeptical about these new 'green sani seal wax-free gaskets' I see everybody using nowadays. I tried them and tested them for a week before finalizing the install on these Drake II's to make sure I was for sure about them. They do work great, and are an improvement over the old wax ring types.
These toilet DRAKE II's (by far) are better than several top-of-the-line toilets that Home Depot & Lowes carries (that I have in other homes). Drake II flushes like a champ, and is commercial grade. I plan for them to be there for 25 years minimum.
Please click 'Yes' if this was helpful to you.
on September 7, 2012
I'm not typically the kind of person who gets sentimental over bathroom fixtures, or feels the need to wax eloquent over flushing action. Nevertheless, buying this toilet compelled me to write a review.
We bought our house about 6 years ago, and it came with a bunch of builder-installed Made In USA Mansfield toilets. I had never encountered such worthless bathroom junk before. The Mansfields are leaky, tempermental, and such poor flushers that they can barely flush liquid, much less anything remotely solid. At least once a year, sometimes more often, I have been forced to replace parts on every one of the toilets to keep them functional. I have purchased so many flush valves, fill valves, gaskets, and tank rebuild kits for these worthless things that I probably could have replaced all the toilets at once for the money I've spent. The sad part is that we're talking about a two-adult/one-child household with the occasional houseguest, not a big family or party house. I checked with our local water authority, and the water doesn't contain any unusual minerals, solvents, or alkaline that would accelerate wear or damage.
Anyway, one of the toilets developed a leaky tank bolt gasket for the 2nd time this year, so instead of rebuilding the tank seals yet again, I decided to replace the toilet. I visited Japan earlier this year, and Toto was everywhere. The fixtures seemed to be of high quality, and reading reviews here suggested that the US versions are also high quality, so I bought the Drake.
The tank and bowl arrived double-boxed, with lots of padding. Despite my UPS guy crabbing a bit about the size and weight of the box the bowl came in, everything was intact. The instructions are clear and concise, and they tell you exactly what other items you need to buy (wax ring, new bolts for the closet flange).
Installation was very straightforward, and the new foreign-made toilet performs so much better than the domestic junk it replaced! I am going to replace all the other toilets in the house with Toto toilets before the year is out.
UPDATE 11/19/2012: I've been so pleased with the initial Toto purchase that I followed through and bought two more. As before, the tanks and bowls arrived double-boxed, with lots of padding, and were in pristine condition. I installed them this past weekend, so now all three of our upstairs bathrooms have Toto toilets. My timing could not have been better, because one of the Mansfield toilets started randomly flushing itself the day before I planned to install the replacement.
I've noted a couple of negative reviews, just prior to my purchase, and one really brutal, overly graphic review since. In the time we've had the first Toto, there has never been any issue with clogging, no matter what. It seems to me that anyone having problems with this toilet has some other serious plumbing issue that the Toto can't fix. Prior to the Toto, we kept a plunger next to every toilet. Now they aren't necessary.
on December 22, 2012
Unfortunately, the Toto toilet came with a defect.
Shortly after it was installed, we noticed that the toilet would flush spontaneously every 1-2 days. Our plumber replaced the flapper. That did not solve the spontaneous flushing. Our plumber, an honest man, surmised that a leaky seal in the main part of the toilet was the likely reason for our problem. Its replacement would cost more than the toilet.
I have requested a full refund plus the cost of installing the toilet from the manufacturer, Toto. I will update this review when I hear back.
Update: Toto's customer service Department called. They were very courteous and are trying to trouble shoot the problem. Toto will send a replacement valve in the event this is the problem.
More in about a week.
The problem was resolved after the replacement valve was installed.
I never thought I'd be excited about a toilet, but this one has been a great buy for me. I purchased from another online retailer for less than offered here. Toilet was very easy to install for this average do-it-yourself homeowner. The great thing about this toilet is it can handle the bulk. I've had it for one year now and never had a problem compared to the toilet it replaced that would always clog up. Also, the sani-gloss finish makes cleaning a breeze. I'm very happy with it and plan to replace the other two toilets in my home with this model as well.
on June 13, 2012
I did alot of research and based on company and product reviews I chose this toilet over the dual flush and power assisted toilets. We have an older home so the plumbing used to get stopped up a bit from a particularly large load in the toilet. Needless to say in a home with 5 adults it was a little frustrating. We have had this toilet up and running for about 4 weeks now and not a single clog.
I thought this one was supposed to have the swirly flush that cleaned out the inside everytime you flushed it, but twice now I have noticed streaks in the toilet after being used. (Not a big deal, just something I noticed)
We completely remodeled both bathrooms, and one thing we were surprised by, is that we had to add a bit of flooring material (we used concrete) underneath the bottom of the toilet because there was such a large gap there once it was fully screwed down to the flange.
It is an extremely comfortable and efficient toilet! We got the soft close toilet seats and lids, and I am so sooo happy with this purchase. Once I decided on TOTO for the toilet brand, I found out that I'd have to order them in, since Home Depot doesn't even seem to carry this brand neither in-store nor online. But it was totally worth it. I have the power and efficiency I needed, as well as the quiet flush I wanted
on May 12, 2013
Bought a Drake after reading such great reviews by plumbers on a popular plumbing blog. This was replacing a low-flow American Standard that was 14 years old, and would clog occasionally. Never sure if the problem was the toilet or the user (11 year old son, and guests use it mostly). Well, the Drake has been in for two months and the other day it clogged completely, would not clear with a plunger (which I could always do with the old AS). So I had to spend $40 on a toilet auger to clear this one. Otherwise, the toilet seems well-made. We had bought an AS Champion II a year ago to replace another older AS. There is no comparison in quality, the TOTO blow away the Champion in terms of quality. The Champion is also supposed to be a no-clog, super-flusher, but it has clogged as well. It doesn't clog as often as the old one, but again, when it did, a plunger would not clear it. Had to use an auger. Overall, I think these new power-fush type toilets do not clog as often, but they also do not clear as easily when they do. And the TOTO seems much better fit and finish than American Standard. Assembly was not difficult on the TOTO. On the AS, the wax seal it came with was damaged in the box, and unusable.
on July 2, 2015
Ordered two of these toilets last year for some bathroom renovations. One of them broke a couple of months back as there is a crack on both sides of the toilet bowl along the bottom side of the toilet where the trap is or that part of the toilet that prevents the odors from the sewers from going back up.
Emailed support a couple of weeks ago and they took a relatively long time to respond back. I had problems sending in the photos and proof of purchase to support over email and I had to resend the photos. I waited a couple of days only to get no response and had to call them up again to figure out if they have received the photos. Only having the warranty rep say that they haven't received the photos that were emailed. After re-sending the photos I waited to hear a response and I had to email them back asking what's going on only to read that that the crack would have only appeared if it was done by an impact. So I waited a month only to hear that my toilet would not be covered under warranty.
Also, apparently TOTO's warranty has went down from a 5 year Guarantee to a 1 year guarantee.