Kohler vs American Standard: Flush of the Titans

When you need to buy a new toilet for your home, there are not so many brands to consider. Comparing Kohler vs American Standard toilets, both manufacturers are around for over a century, both with a solid reputation.

Let’s see their similar models, compare the parameters, the feel, and buyer’s experience.

Detailed Kohler vs American Standard Toilets Comparison


While these vendors are both originally American, only Kohler maintains its status as an American national brand. American Standard, despite its name, is now owned by a Japanese corporation named Lixil.

Still, it operates within the U.S. as a resident, with its plants here (and some more in Mexico, as well as Kohler does). It can be seen as both good as bad; if you want an advanced Japanese toilet, you better take a closer look at Toto’s catalogs, as American Standard sticks to its roots. It helps it remain among the most recognizable brands.

American Standard

Both companies offer a wide range of toilets and other plumbing products. Both have significant shares of the whole market. No wonder that if you are in search of a regular toilet but a very good one, you will be choosing between Kohler vs American Standard toilets one day.

It’s a common point that American Standard toilets are usually more affordable for being simpler, and Kohler makes more premium models. In a long-distance run, Kohler’s show fewer flaws in materials and construction, but neither is perfect.

On the other hand, American Standard shows off with a more powerful flush, being WaterSense-marked as well, thus less likely to clog down and easier to maintain.

american standard toilet

Comparing the Top Toilets by American Standard and Kohler

While all these considerations are curious, they are not meant to sit on. So let’s see two typical toilets by each brand, both from the most popular ones, rather affordable, but not budget-oppressed. Belonging in the same category, these ones are a bit different, and this difference may be the clue for you in choosing between Kohler or American Standard toilets.

In the following two Kohler and American Standard toilets review, we focus on what’s different about their approach. Each of these will look great in most bathrooms, but… Let’s talk about that “but”.

  1. Kohler K-3999-0 Review:

No products found.

Dimensions: 29-3/4″ x 18″ x 31-1/4″
Comfort height: Yes
Flush type: Water-Saving Toilets
Water Consumption: 1.28 GPF
Bowl shape: Elongated
Rough-in: 12”
Material: Vitreous China
Certification: WaterSense

This K-3999 Highline series model is an elongated two-piece toilet, though you can opt for a round bowl as well. The 18” height even exceeds the ADA minimum requirements, so it might be easier for disabled persons and not so hard for anyone else. Taller ones or those whose legs easily fall asleep will prefer it as well.

The material is vitreous china, available in four colors (white, biscuit, almond, and black) which will suit almost any bathroom interior. Though it does not boast the trademarked CleanCoat technology. The surface is still easily cleanable.

The flush system is traditionally silent and even tender, using 1.28 GPF, which is WaterSense compliant. There is a single flush system, with no partial flush option. Sometimes you may have to repeat the flush; luckily, it happens very rarely. Due to good coating, the flush does not require extra force to do the work.

Kohler Highline toilet

This one is rather affordable (as for Kohler), being available at about $370. It does not include the seat, though, and only offers one year warranty. On the other hand, it’s compatible with both seats by Kohler and third-party ones, no matter if you opt for a round or an elongated bowl.

9.7Expert Score

It is easy to install due to the 3-bolt design and standard rough-in. On the other hand, its height requires longer water supply lines. If you take care of that before you proceed to the installation, it will work out fine. The installation guide it comes with is wanting; Kohler, though, offers a video guide on its website.

Material and Design
Flushing technology
Value for Money
Pros: Cons:
  • Lots of shape and color options;
  • Good flush system;
  • Stain-resistant coating;
  • The height makes it easier on the knees;
  • Easy installation;
  • Reasonable price.
  • Requires non-standard accessories;
  • Only one year limited warranty;
  • Seat not included.

2. American Standard Cadet 3 Right Height Elongated Review:

No products found.

Dimensions: 28-1/4″ x 15-3/4″ x 30-3/4″
Comfort height: Yes (Right Height)
Flush type: Water Saving Toilets
Water Consumption: 1.28 GPF
Bowl shape: Round
Rough in: 12”
Material: Vitreous China
Certification: WaterSense

While most of its parameters are the same as Kohler’s, with a two-piece design and a round bowl, this one is slightly smaller and lower. Still, its height is 15-3/4”, with a seat (that’s usually included) it exceeds the 16” it takes to call it “Right Height” (the mark American Standard uses instead of Comfort Height, meaning just the same). Lower than the rival, it’s still ADA-compliant.

Cadet 3 is made of vitreous china, with a trademarked EverClean surface which makes it easier to clean and harder to stain (even if you return to cleaning it after some short period). It’s only available in white color, which suits most bathrooms, of course, unless conceptually colored different.

The shape, though, is quite great for cleaning, given that it’s a regular two-piece with no trace of that “skirted design”. It’s assisted even more with a slow-close seat, which is easier to remove for cleaning and harder to do any harm.

As we have mentioned, American Standard toilets have generally a more powerful flush system. It is achieved through a longer flush valve, +3 inches over the standard (pun unintended).

It only features a single flush that takes the default 1.28 gpf. Due to a well-engineered system, this provides a powerful stream that may even require no extra cleaning after (though in perspective, of course, it does).

As for installation, the standard rough-in (12 inches) and size promise it easy. Not in real life, though: installing it can be a bit of a mess, partly due to a misleading guide. Given that with AS toilets your chances to run into problems are slightly higher, you may need to replace it sooner than you thought, needing to relive this trouble.

9.6Expert Score

Good if it’s covered by the standard 5-year warranty, if you get through to it; the support’s reputation is far from perfect, and you may have even a harder time negotiating the replacement. The regular price of this model is around $510-520, but there are frequent discounts that let you have it for less than $450.

Material and Design
Flushing technology
Value for Money
Pros: Cons:
  • Great surface;
  • Powerful flush;
  • Water saving;
  • An easily cleanable design;
  • ADA-compliant.
  • Hard installation;
  • Poor support;
  • You may want a higher one.

P.S. It may be a little unfair to choose a more affordable Kohler model versus a rather expensive one by American Standard, non-typically for their usual pricing.

This pair, though, demonstrates that when you are choosing American Standard or Kohler, not everything depends on the price. It’s the system approach by the vendor that matters as well.


Are Kohler toilets better than American standard?


Their look and feel are more premium but so is the price. As for American Standard, though, they are more affordable and eco-friendly. Our comparison shows that it’s not always about the price. Both have their pros.

Where are Kohler toilets made?

Though they say everything is made in China nowadays, Kohler toilets are made OF (vitreous) china, not IN it. By the way, if you ask where are the American Standard toilets made, the answer will be the same. Both brands’ actual facilities are located in the U.S. and Mexico.

What brand makes better ADA toilets?

ADA toilets are regulated by ADA standards, not by developers. Regardless of the vendor, ADA-compliant toilets will be suitable for those with disabilities. Nevertheless, there are individual differences in pricing, service, installation process, and so on – that’s what this article is about.

Is American Standard a good toilet brand?

Otherwise it would not have been around for over 100 years. Yes, AS toilets are very decent, though slightly less popular than Kohler. Not as technological as Toto (a brand that originated in Japan and very popular in the U.S.), they are decent, high-quality toilets for homes and offices.

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Even If You Win, They’ll Sit on You

There is no undoubtable winner in this American Standard vs Kohler toilets comparison. American Standard is more budget-conscious (like it’s advertised) and boasts a better flush – at least, a more powerful one, free from clogs, but often a loud one too.

As for Kohler, they look and feel premium, they will rarely break unless there is an earthquake, and they fit in posh interiors way better, at the same time implying it’s not a problem for you to call a plumber.

If you want to share your own experience of using toilets by these brands, please leave your comments down here. Or share it on your Facebook or Twitter if you have a wish to hit the fan with it.

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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