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Kohler Cimarron Toilet Review: “5 Best Toilets” Picks

"Top 5" Spot
 #2
Wrench wRatings
Bronze Wrench; Workhorse; Best Bang
Options
High Efficiency Green Wrench Value
Class 6 Flush

5 Best Toilet Picks: Kohler Cimarron Full Review K-3888-0 Cimarron 2 pc Kohler

Kohler's unrivalled claim to fame in plumbing products is design. They have set the standard so many times on so many products, there are way too many to list. Just one example: their introduction of the WaterTile body spray a few years back (the COOLEST new thing to come out in custom showers ever, I think) sent faucet manufacturers around the world scrambling to their drawing boards to play catch up. (Click here if you are curious to see one.) Performance, however, took a back seat for a while in the Kohler R&D department and they paid a few prices for the oversight. By the time Kohler finally introduced the Cimarron, with their new Class V flushing system, they had already become notorious for poor flushing performance, a reputation unfortunately well deserved at the time. Somebody, somewhere must have put their foot down, and all that really did change with the advent of the Cimarron line, and the Class V flush. 

Learning from their mistakes, Kohler gave it's full attention to the performance of the Cimarron line in both flushing and the secondaries which keep to the bowl cleaner, longer.  I've had one of these in my own house (one piece model) since they came out, and it's still going strong. The water spot is large, and Kohler claims it has "best in class" washdown (Not sure who rated the washdown, and while it does do a good job, it's not like the old 3.5 gpf toilet I have in my other bathroom.) 

Tech Tip: I use the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel to keep my bowl clean longer; works like a champ! 

Installation has always been relatively easy, and they have redesigned it to make less water mess during install although I haven't tried this feature yet. As for flushing, the maP score of >=1000 for the 1.6 gpf is as good as any out there. (MaP flush scores are done by independent labs and test the amount of bean curd shaped like, ahem, solid waste which a toilet can flush at one time. Kinda' funny when you think about it…) In my busy house with 3 kids, 2 dogs, 2 birds and hamster I've had to pop in a plunger maybe three times in five years—MUCH better than my old 3.5 gpf fares under the heavy load. As with my other "Top 5 Toilet Picks" the Cimarron is made in almost all configurations with one notable exception: it is NOT made in standard height; all models are Comfort (ADA) Height. The good news: a round front ADA toilet can be hard to come by, so this is a great choice if that is what you need. If you are looking for a Standard height model, try any of my other "Top 5 Toilet Picks." 

In the style department, none of the toilets in my Top 5 will win any awards but all blend well into any decor. The Cimarron is no exception, with clean, classic lines. It works in nearly any setting, and the model design was recently tweaked for better comfort. 

Bottom Line: Round front gets my "Best Bang (for the buck)" award—you won't find a better Comfort Height toilet at that price. Elongated models upgraded to Class 6 flush system, so not as cost effective but excellent toilets—all models get a Bronze Wrench: top 20% in their price class. I've got one in my house; and that's all I have to say about that. 

Color Note: Kohler's White is a bright white and matches most other manufacturers' white EXCEPT American Standard's white. There is a noticeable difference, so if you have American Standard for your other bath fixtures, look at an American Standard model or Toto's Colonial White.  Bonus: If you are looking for an off-the-beaten path color, Kohler offers the widest color selection. Some of them are by special order only, and I'm not sure if you can order one online. It might take a trip to a plumbing supply house or showroom to get that going. 

Option: High Efficiency Cimmaron—Their 1.28 gpf (gallons per flush) version of the Cimarron. MaP scores don't lie, so it looks like Kohler learned from their previous missteps and made sure they had a good performer before putting this into the marketplace. As lower consumption is where the industry is headed, Kohler seems to be phasing out the 1.6 model over time and "oops" rough ins are only available on the 1.28 gpf now. 

What is the real difference? Obviously, it will use less water every time it is flushed–good for the earth and your pocketbook. My only two cautions:

  • All 1.28 and lower toilets are relatively new to the market, so performance over time has yet to be seen.
  • If you are replacing a toilet in an old building–pre 1950s or so–people sometimes have problems with their lines clogging. Plumbing lines were installed a bit differently back then, and piping that worked fine for the old 3.5 gpf toilets sometimes doesn't carry all the waste down with only about one third of the water, resulting in recurring nuisance clogs. 

Bottom Line: the High Efficiency Cimarron makes the best choice in most cases, unless you have very old piping, particularly when you have a household member that regularly produces large waste amounts at one time.

Option: Class 6 Flush System (elongated models): Kohler's upgrade of the Class V system, with what they are calling their new AquaPiston technology. I haven't worked with it, so don't have an opinion, but the maP score is the same, so my guess is the main improvement is in washdown. It seems to be replacing the older Class V system. When the Class V's are gone, this newer model may not be a "Best Bang" anymore with it's hefty price jump.

Upcoming Option: Touchless Flush Cimarron: (K-6418, K-6419): I'm not sure at this writing if these are shipping yet, but this is Kohler's newest Cimarron. I'm mentioning it so you know it's here, but am not ready to weigh in on my thoughts. It hasn't been maP tested yet, and I can't tell from the documentation available if there is a manual override for the flush system. In my experience, there are always hiccups with automatic flushing systems so that is a must. (Hard to imagine it woiuld be overlooked, but one never knows.) I'll update my thoughts on this as more data becomes available, but for now, I'd stay away until it has some history. Let somebody else be the guinea pig.

 

By The Numbers: Model Details 

NOTE: Before buying any toilet, check out our Toilet Basics to determine the configuration you need.  Make sure to measure for your rough in; don't be tempted by the lower price to put in the wrong size—it creates leaks and problems down the line!

 

Model Shape/ Height GPF maP Flush Score Rough In MSRP Discount eFaucet $*

Cimarron K-3888

Round/ ADA 1.6 >=1000 12" $302 $226.20

Cimarron (Class 6) K-3589

Elongated/ ADA 1.6 >=1000 12" $398

$298.58

Cimarron High Efficiency K-3887 Round/ ADA 1.28 >=1000 12" $299 $197.37
Cimarron High Efficiency K-3851 Round/ ADA 1.28 >=1000 10" $422 $316.39
Cimarron High Efficiency (Class 6) K-3609 Elongated/ ADA 1.28 >=1000 12" $398 $262.75

Or find the best price on Amazon below. Just type model number in search box:

 

*Discount price as of 5/2014 through eFaucets.com. Products and pricing are solely under the control of the vendor.

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