Toto Ultramax product review, comments & pictures
Toto Ultramax, Made in USA
Just a short followup to my April 2005 review. I’ve had the Toto Ultramax a year now. I have no regrets that I selected this toilet over others. It gets the job done on the first flush and has never clogged. I’m always amazed how little water it uses. In addition, it’s a beautiful addition to the bathroom. I can honestly say it was worth the extra money to move up to a TOTO!
How a Toto toilet flushes
toto ultramax vs Kohler Cimarron
Terry, Purchased both one month ago and installed at he same time. No sweat for either though the one piece Toto was quicker. After a couple years of plunging some old '93 model Kohler Wellworths something had to be done. Both work very well and we have had not even a suggestion of a plunger need. These toilets are deadly with solid waste, no "victory lap" around the bowl. You simply say "brown buddy you're going down" and that's that. Thanks for the helpful site. JH
Let me explain briefly why the Toto is so simply amazing.
I am a civil engineer (water, sewer, flooding, paving). At my office the landlord recently installed a Toto toilet, and I am effusive about it! I don't know which model it is, but it is amazing, and in inspecting it, I can see it has a double siphon below the bowl. The only thing I can't understand is why there aren't more double siphon toilets around, unless Toto has a patent on the double-siphon concept.
Let me explain briefly why the Toto is so simply amazing. Most toilets have a single siphon below the bowl that gets started when you dump water into the bowl (by flushing it the normal way or with a bucket) and then stops when the siphon gets broken either 1) by running out of water in the bowl and letting some air in the top (making that end-of-flush gurgle) or (and this is the catch) 2) by slowing down to the point that water dribbles away and lets air enter from the sewer and break the siphon. But Toto toilets have a second siphon near the floor that doesn't let the first siphon break until the flush is done and water runs out in the bowl. This forms what Toto calls a Power Gravity Flush. You get the vacuum effect of the entire height from the bowl down to the floor pulling the water and solids out of the bowl. Very ingenious. I've sketched it below.
Tom Haws, P.E.
Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors
Toilet review, Toto Ultramax
My house was built in 1978 as an energy efficient model and the main
bathroom had a French made low-volume toilet. (It used more water than the
Toto, but was low volume in the 70's.) My 1/2 bath had a full volume unit
that would plug occasionally... and this got worse when I replaced it with a
medium range American Standard. That unit does have features going for it...
it's comfortable, attractive and can be double flushed... but a double flush
was necessary for solids... which used as much water as the unit it
I began remodeling the 1/2 bath, decided to do some research, and came
across your website. I was doubtful of the claims for the Toto Ultramax. I
bought it because it fit the new decor and moved the AS to the main
bathroom. Was I shocked!
The AS does well in this bath, but the real winner is the Toto in the
problem bathroom! When my dogs spill water, I'll walk to the back of the
house and use the new toilet... because it can handle 6 paper towels in a
single flush, as if it were nothing!
I was originally concerned because the tank on the Ultramax is so tiny. What
was not mentioned is how fast this unit flushes and fills. Previously I had
the water valve partially closed due to the noise of the previous toilets
when filling. I replaced the faucet valve with a lever type. It's quiet
enough that the valve can be wide open and the unit cycles (flush to full)
in a mere 15-16 seconds! So, even if a double flush were needed, it's faster
than the average toilet.
BTW, this has also made a difference in removing clutter in my bathrooms.
With the new arrangements, the plunger has been relegated to the garage,
where it belongs, instead of being a necessary accessory.
Thank you so much for posting this information. Not only did I find the
perfect toilet, but your low prices saved me $223 over the cost of the same
toilet purchased locally.
My review of the Ultramax (w/Sanagloss - MS854114SG)
I bought a new house and the generic toilets they installed were terrible (you kept a plunger on call). After several months, I'd had enough and did some online research. I ended up buying 2 non-ADA, elongated, Sanagloss Ultramax toilets (MS854114SG) last summer based on the glowing reviews here (and after a local plumber's suggestion). My thoughts:
Pros: 1) They flush like champs! Between both toilets, I've had two clogs total, one of which was on the day I installed it, pushing the limits of what it could flush with some crazy food/beans/TP tests. (It does have a limit, and when it finally clogs the bowl fills in a HURRY, so watch out... :)). Based on this point alone, these were a good buy. 2) Low water usage. It doesn't appear to use much water. 3) Fairly quiet flush and quick tank fill. From pushing the lever to the tank shutting off it is about 20-25 seconds (we have average water pressure here). Note on flushing noise levels: I have found that the drain in your floor makes a difference on how loud (and well) the toilet flushes, so saying this toilet will flush really quietly everywhere isn't 100% true to say. One toilet flushes really quietly (and notably has never clogged) while the other one flushes more like an average toilet (somewhat louder - clogged once). 4) Mostly easy to clean (see below for cleaning flaw under the lid base). 5) The install was fast and easy. It was a little heavy, but it's no heavier than a whole, regular toilet (the combined bowl and tank). It's nothing an average guy can't handle. (Note to all ceramic tile installers - be really careful how level your tile is where your toilet will be installed. If you don't, you may have to use door frame shims to level your toilet properly.) 6) Looks nice - they're sleek. When I opened the box, I thought, "Man - these are small!"
Cons: 1) Very expensive. 2) the tank's lid is smaller and slightly sloped towards the bowl. Don't plan on putting too much on the lid (i.e. magazines, larger toilet paper holders, etc.) - it won't stay on. 3) The bowl wash (especially in the back) is lacking. Residue will collect in the bowl and it will have to be cleaned more periodically than you'd hoped with the Sanagloss surface. In other words, don't buy the Sanagloss thinking you'll never have to clean your toilet again (as my wife had hoped :)). 4) The soft close lid you sit on is a little different in shape. It's not as flat as you might be used to - you feel kind of feel like you need to be a smaller person to fit properly (I'm not huge - 6', 200 lbs). It took a while for me to get used to (admittedly, I don't think about it now). 5) The soft close lid does its job (you can't slam it easily), but it feels a little like cheap plastic. It's hard to quantify, but I guess I expected more. 6) Urine can collect between the soft close lid's and the bowl where the soft lid attaches to the bowl (the base). It is almost impossible to clean out w/o a spray bottle of some kind. A seat that has a gap between the seat base and the bowl would've been a better design for cleaning.
Bottom line: Despite a couple of flaws, the two Ultramaxes work great overall, and I'm glad that I bought them. They out-perform any other base-line toilet I've used, and I don't worry it'll clog when I flush. I'd give them a 8.5 out of 10. Don't let the length of the list of my Cons dissuade you - I'm being really picky in order to answer any questions I might have had when reading reviews. Also, you'll see that 3 of the 6 cons were related to the soft close lid, which was disappointing overall. Yes, it doesn't slam, so it does its job in that respect, but again I just expected something different/better/not-so-plasticky. (I can't speak for the Ultramax's "regular lid" for quality comparison).
If you put a better lid/seat combo on it and put a little more bowl wash in there and you'd just about have perfection.
Would I buy the Sanagloss coating next time? I'm not sure. With the so-so bowl flush the residue issue could be worse without the Sanagloss, but I don't think it was worth it because I see only a little difference between these Ultramaxes and my old toilets.