Choosing a toilet for an apartment
We recently needed to replace one of the toilets in the apartment building we own. Previously we had just bought whatever the home center associate recommended. This time we did a bit of research as to which brand would best fit our needs. We ended up picking the American Standard Cadet 3.
We wanted a reliable toilet that used standard parts, that was moderately priced and that was available at one of the large home centers where we routinely shop.
We looked at the following sources:
Maximum Performance (MaP) testing of popular models, 2008 -The Consumer Reports test results were not useful to us. They listed too few models to be able to find a match with what the home centers carry. In addition, most of the toilets they listed were the pressure assisted ones. We rejected these because they are loud, have more complexity which might be a source of maintenance problems, cost more and there seem to be many gravity toilets that perform very well.
The most highly rated gravity toilet by professional plumbers seemed to be the Toto Drake. Nobody seemed to have anything bad to say about it. Unfortunately the home centers didn't seem to carry it and it was fairly expensive.
Lowes and Home Depot both carried the American Standard Cadet 3. This passed the 1000 gram MaP flush test, the largest load that they test with. Terry Love's toilet report didn't mention it, but there was some grudging support for the Cadet 3 amongst professional plumbers who in general seemed to have a low opinion of American Standard quality. There were some reports of numerous installs of the toilet without any problems. That was good enough for us and we went with it.
We paid $121 for the white round front (RF) version at Lowes. We needed the RF version because the bathroom where it was installed is very small and the elongated version would have been too large.
The toilet came with a FluidMaster valve. That is the only kind we use, the cheaper toilets that we had purchased previously came with ball cock type valves. I replaced them before installation. It also came with some snap in bolt caps. They're the style I like to use so that was nice. It didn't come with a toilet seat. The cheaper toilets we have purchased previously came with very cheap plastic seats that weren't worth much anyway in my opinion. It also didn't come with a wax ring or toilet mounting bolts.
The toilet went together easily and I didn't have any complaints. It even came with an inexpensive socket tool to help with tightening the tank bolts. The only non-standard part that I saw was the large flapper. This doesn't seem to be much of an issue as I assume they're widely available and the large tank drain seemed to be a necessary element of why this toilet flushed so well. The tank drained almost instantly when the lever was pushed. It really looks like this thing is going to be a very reliable, very good flushing toilet. So far we're happy with the choice and we think it will be the toilet we install from now on.
You buy what works for you. In an apartment, it makes no sense to install top of the line fixtures that could be easily ruined by tenants who just don't care. I have the AS Cadet (not the 3) and have installed many of them for customers. No problems. What I look at in a toilet is the discharge hole being large. They can vary from 1-1/2" to 2-3/8". Full glazing through the trap to allow smooth flow of waste. I always use Fluidmaster fill-valves. If someone thinks they need a $500 toilet that will flush 16 golf balls, it is likely they need a Doctor and not a Plumber.
I have 2 American Standard toilets in my home and have had no problem with them. They are elongated models of another name but they work well for us.
I have been to a Plumbing Convention and Expo where Toto was flushing his16 golf balls and making his brags. I was the first to tell him I had witnessed an American Standard display in his same booth space the year before..... where they flushed 30 golf balls. And his Toto costs double.
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