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Clean or Green? The Toilet Debate

by - Sunday, November 23, 2008

One thing we haven't been too concerned about with the bathroom reno is finding a new toilet. Early on, we spotted the American Standard Cadet 3 Compact at our local Home Depot. The size was right, the price was right, it was on the city's rebate list, and it had good reviews. We weren't entirely fond of the design and we'd have to wait for the toilet to come in (its currently out of stock across the city) but those definitely weren't deal breakers.

But then HandyMan and I paid a visit to PMF Plumbing, a distributor who would let DH take advantage of his architect's discount (gotta love that!). We went and visited their showroom... and all our original selections about fixtures went right out the window :o\

We found another viable option for the toilet, the Kohler Prelude. It is dual flush high efficiency toilet, even more compact in size, a comparable price, and the stylish design works with the vanity we've chosen. Some drawbacks though... well, I worry about the toilet's ability to expel waste cleanly on the first flush (sometimes a problem with high efficiency toilets). Plus, the Prelude toilet has a Maximum Performance (MaP) rating of 350 grams, compared to the Cadet 3's impressive 1000 grams.

What is a MaP rating? A Canadian and American engineer developed Maximum Performance (MaP) testing to identify how well popular toilets (nearly 730 different models) performed bulk waste removal using a realistic test media, and to grade each toilet model based on this relative performance -- an excellent reference for anyone shopping for a toilet! The MaP level is "the maximum media loading (expressed in grams) at which the toilet model successfully clears all media from fixture in at least four of five attempts." Basically, a MaP level gives you an indication of a toilet's flush performance - the higher the level, the better. For the study, the minimum recommended MaP level was 250 grams.

So here is the dilemma... while the Prelude saves on water, it has lower flushing performance. You could argue that even with the occasional double-flush, you'd still be saving water overall with the Prelude. What to choose, what to choose... a toilet that is sure to get the bowl "clean", or one that helps you be "green" and conserve water??

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  1. Personally, if the toilet is for you and your hubs and the idea of multi flush doesn't bother you, then go for the green. But if this is going to be for guest use, go for clean. You don't want your guests to be grossed out, or feel self-conscious that they have to flush more than once. Just my gut reaction to the question...

  2. I agree w/ Kylie. Practicality aside, I love how the Prelude looks, so sleek.

    We would love to go green toilet-wise but our pipes are iron ones w/ a problematic "elbow" so it's recommended that we have "forceful flushing" toilets otherwise we could have a back-up problem. It sucks (literally, HA).

  3. The MaP rating of the Prelude is a bit worrisome (350, where 250 is the minimum). Between the Kohler Prelude and the AS Cadet, I'd go with the Cadet. But first I'd consider other options.

    We've got a Toto Aquia (not sure exactly which of the 4 sub-models listed it is; they range from 500-800) which is at least 500. It's dual flush 0.9 / 1.6 gallon, and does a good job flushing. It's a bit harder to install, but not overly so. You can read a bit more about the install on my blog here.

  4. I guess it was good we had no choice of toilet , I know ours conserves water , if there is a LOT to flush you need to hold the handle down for a more thorough flush but I do need to clean my toilets quite often , but I just see that as normal ,my kids forget to flush at all, funny it is fine with the yucky stuff but soggy cereal will stick around all day , crazy .
    So what would I do , I would get a good toilet that uses less water but flushes well, it must be out there, as far as style I would save money on a toilet and splurge else where in the bathroom .Ok here is my thing I am desperate to rip out my ugly sinks but I don't even consider the toilets so that says it all right ,they must not bother me , low water model would be my personal choice.
    Good luck with that .

  5. I live in an RV, which has a pretty green toilet as it uses a minimum amount of water. I can adjust the quantity based on what needs to be flushed. I don't find this to be a pain at all and, in fact, I like knowing that I'm not wasting water when I don't have much to flush. So, I'd definitely go with the greener choice.

  6. Anonymous11:47 PM

    My head would swim after even just two minutes of looking at row after row of toilets in brochures or online, so I made my husband pick our out (and I now wish I hadn't :). So good for you for narrowing it down. One thing he did choose was "seat height" which is nice. And anyway, aren't most all toilets now pretty much low-flow anyway?

    Good luck!


  7. If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works, looks sleek and is affordable, I would highly recommend a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. Caroma toilets offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the nineteen eighties and has since perfected the technology. Also, with a trap way almost double the industry standard, these toilets virtually never clog. All of Caroma's toilets are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET's and qualify for several rebate programs currently available. Please go to for more detailed information or visit to see why they work so well. More info can also be found here

    Best regards, Andrea Paulinelli, owner ecoTransitions Inc, a proud supplier of Caroma Dual Flush toilets in Georgia.

  8. I say go with the dual flush. My toto aquia kicks the crap out of my cadet downstairs. :-) It has a nice modern design w/o the skirt, which helps keep it clean and it makes me swoon at it daily.

    As Gene said above, it is more difficult to install though.

  9. Go for the dual flush. I've had a Toto Aquia for over year and I kid you not when I say it is like magic!! (I have a teenage son who uses that bathroom.) Plus the design w/the skirt makes cleaning a breeze and it looks great.) When we chose our toilet we used the MaP standards you mentioned. Can you consider an Aquia? - I had mine shiped from Cowan Plumbling Supply in Atlanta directly for me and the toilet plus shipping was under $400. I will be replacing our next 2 toilets w/that brand.

  10. Go for the Prelude...even with 2 flushes, you'll happy you picked it!

  11. You guys are awesome - thanks for all the feedback! I'm now on the hunt for a Toto Aquia. It will fit in the space and it has MaP rating of 800! Excellent suggestion, guys. Thanks!!

  12. Anonymous11:30 AM

    I'm of the opinion that in the midwest, at least, there's no water shortage and since we don't pay much for water, it's a non-starter environmentally. Furthermore, cleaning less is more green than cleaning more.

    Thus, use as much water as is necessary to do the job right. Get a jon with max MAP rating, regardless of water usage.

    If you're really worried about water, make sure you keep the jon properly maintained so you don't develop a leak, and turn off the faucet while your brushing your teeth.

    If you want to have a more important impact on waste water, get that water coming off your roof into your yard and garden instead of into the storm sewer.



  13. In my opinion, in finding the best toilet one should consider the number of times a particular toilet needs to flush in order to remove the waste. Certainly, a single flush is better compared to double-flushing, since the more attempts you make to flush increases the chance of the toilet getting all clogged up.

    Many years ago, I bought a brand new toilet for my new house, but I haven't checked its flushing power, coz' I did not know then its importance. All I know is "If it flushes, it's good". One day, I clogged up the toilet and I panicked, I ran in circles, since it is also the first time I've experienced a clog. I instantly called a Plumber (Minneapolis-based serviceman, since I live there), and he fixed my clogged toilet. Furthermore, he gave me helpful tips in choosing a toilet preferably with a strong flushing power.


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