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In the past, after toilets in the U.S. were mandated by Federal laws to go to low gallons per flush there were many toilets that flushed poorly.
There have been a few studies done and also some magazines (such as February 1995, May 1998 and October 2002 issues of Consumer Reports) which did short studies of toilets and how well they perform. In most of those studies that we have seen (such as from C.R.) not even 10% of the available toilets that could be purchased in the U.S., were tested.
The most comprehensive low gallons per flush toilet flushing performance testing done (that theplumber.com is aware of) can be found here: Our hat's off to that latest study and theplumber.com agrees with most of the results of this study. To see which toilets flush best go to their last (bottom) list which has them listed by best flushing. theplumber.com recommends only buying a toilet that is rated 900 or higher.
Based on our own personal experiences and input from plumbing professionals, the Toto Ultramax, the Toto Ultimate Elongated Bowl, The Toto Drake, the Mansfield Alto and even the Kohler Cimarron have great flushing performances. Western Pottery Aris and the Gerber Ultra also are right up there and theplumber.com recommends any of those models as ones the we know to flush well.
Many other low gallonage toilets from other manufacturers flush well these days. From what we have seen here at theplumber.com, we are somewhat disappointed with the popular Kohler Wellworth toilet. It flushes ok initially but if you install a regular, non Kohler OEM type replacement flapper (most flappers with today's water quality need to be replaced every 5 years or less) then your flush uses a lot of unnecessary water and therefor we did not recommend the Kohler Wellworth for a number of years. We also did not recommend the American Std. Antiquity or Hydra, as well as the Eljer Patriot, Savoy and Cypress. Please do note that possibly those models have improved since we saw them flush (as well as since the NAHB tests). It seems that toilet designs are changing/improving constantly these days. theplumber.com believes that if you study the fantastic CWWA MaP study and follow their advice you can't go wrong.
For day in and day out use age nothing beats Delta. It's widely distributed thorough the U.S. and sold in most home centers. Their parts are easy to get (although fairly expensive). A real workhorse faucet and easy to repair.
For foreign upgrade faucets, theplumber.com likes Grohe, and Danze.
For foreign "budget" faucets theplumber.com likes Banner brand faucets.
Americh is great quality.
Water Heaters tank type:
The G.E. that theplumber saw at HomeDepot is made in Mexico (by Rheem).
Maytag is made by State (which theplumber believes is now owned by A.O. Smith).
Bradford White and American Water Heater are theplumber.com's favorite brands.
Water Heaters tankless type:
To us the Takagi looks like one of the best brands made.
Steam generators are great and theplumber.com likes Steamist and Thermasol.
Water softeners? Be careful not to confuse the word "conditioner" with the word "softener."
The Economizer has some great features and is reliable.
theplumber.com recommends these brands but is not responsible for or associated with these brands
Brands not listed is no reflection on their quality.
Hill shown above in 2010