Kohler Santa Rosa Review – Pros, Cons & Comparisons

Kohler Santa Rosa Review – Pros, Cons & Comparisons
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Kohler Santa Rosa is one of the best toilets not only among other Kohler toilets but as well as across the industry. In this review I will look at its features and specifications as well as compare it with other powerful flushing toilets so that we can establish if it is worth your money.

Kohler Santa Rosa is a single flush one-piece compact elongated WaterSense and comfort height toilet. It uses Kohler’s AquaPiston flushing technology that’s designed for bulk flushing.

A compact elongated size, high-water efficiency, powerful flushing, many color options, one-piece design and a comfort/ADA height is what makes the Kohler Santa Rosa a great toilet option.

The colors available are white, sandbar, dune, almond, biscuit, black and ice gray. Kohler Santa Rosa black toilet is actually one of the best black toilets alongside these ones.

So, why should you choose to buy Kohler Santa Rosa and not any other toilet in the industry? Let us start by looking at its features and specifications.

Feature Specification
Style One-piece toilet
Bowl type Compact elongated
Water use 1.28 GPF
Flushing system AquaPiston technology
Bowl height 16.5 inches
Toilet dimensions Depth: 27.75 inches
Width: 18.75 inches
Height: 28.18 inches
Rough-in 12 inches
Colors white, biscuit, almond, black, dune, ice grey and sandbar
Toilet seat Soft close seat
Warranty 1-year limited

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Now let us look at the features and specifications of the Kohler Santa Rosa in more details.

Flushing System

The one thing everyone considers a priority while buying a toilet is its flushing power. Flushing twice or more times is loathed by all. This is why every toilet manufacturer worth their name has designed a system that allows for powerful flushing while at the same time being water-efficient.

Modern Kohler toilets Kohler Santa Rosa included use the AquaPiston flushing system which is very different from what most toilets use. Instead of the usual flapper flush valve, this system uses a canister type flush valve.

The difference between a flapper type flush valve and a canister flush valve is that while the flapper is hinged on one side, the canister is not. When you flush the toilet the canister lifts off completely allowing water to flow down the flush valve from a 360 degrees angle.

The effect of this is that water flows down to the bowl faster, and the faster it flows the more force it exerts inside the bowl and as a result a powerful siphon. The canister flush valve is also designed in such a way that its water entry is wider than the exit in a ratio of 3:2.

What this does is that as the water exits the flush valve it is compressed and dumped inside the bowl forcefully. This is what creates the powerful flush of the Kohler Santa Rosa while using only 1.28 gallons of water per flush.

Kohler Santa is compliant with the requirements of bodies like EPA’s WaterSense and CalGreen due to its low water consumption. It can therefore be sold an every part of United States including Texas and California.

The only downside to this flushing system is that you cannot buy cheaper third party parts to fix the Kohler Santa Rosa especially the flush valve and seal. You must always buy original parts from Kohler which are usually more expensive than those sold by Fluidmaster or Korky.

One-Piece Design

Toilets are manufactured with the tank and bowl joined together (one-piece toilets) or with tank and bowl as separate pieces (two-piece toilets). Each of them have their advantages and disadvantages.

Kohler Santa Rosa is a one-piece toilet. It is therefore shipped to your address in one big box. Two-piece toilets are usually shipped in 2 different boxes. Due to their weight and size, one-piece toilets tend to break more often than two-piece toilets during shipping. Always inspect your toilet after receiving it. Most importantly check the bowl and tank for hairline cracks.

One advantage of buying a one-piece toilet like the Kohler Santa Rosa over two-piece toilets is that they are usually more compact, allowing them to fit in small spaces. This is however not always the case as there are very big one-piece toilets.

Cleaning a one-piece toilet like this one is way easier compared to a two-piece toilet. The seamless integration between the tank and the bowl eliminates the small gap found in two-piece toilets that easily attracts dirt but is so hard to clean.

Kohler Santa Rosa’s toilet tank does not have as many toilet tank parts as two-piece toilets. It has no tank bolts, washers and tank to bowl gasket. After years of usage, these parts tend to wear out causing the toilet to leak between the tank and the bowl. This is not a problem you will have to deal with if you buy a one-piece toilet.

One disadvantage with one-piece toilets like the Kohler Santa Rosa is that if one piece (the tank or the bowl) breaks, you will need to replace the entire toilet. With a two-piece toilet you will only have to replace the broken piece.

I have written a detailed blog post on the pros and cons of one-piece vs two-piece toilets. Read it here.

Compact Elongated Size

There are 2 main types of toilets based on the shape and size of the toilet bowl. These are elongated toilets and round-front toilets. Elongated toilets are oval-shaped while round-front toilets are circular.

The length of an elongated toilet bowl is 18.5 inches while that of a round toilet bowl is 16.5 inches. Elongated toilets are therefore more comfortable to use than round-front toilets as they give the user more surface area to sit on.

Round-front toilets are however more economic with bathroom space and are the preferred toilets by people with small bathrooms.

Kohler Santa Rosa is however a compact elongated toilet. A compact elongated toilet is an elongated toilet that takes up the same bathroom space as a round –front toilet without compromising the comfort of an elongated toilet.

Compact elongated toilets allows you to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. You enjoy the elongated bowl and save space at the same time.

The dimensions of the Kohler Santa Rosa are:

  • Depth: 27.75 inches
  • Width: 18.75 inches
  • Height: 28.18 inches
  • Rough-in: 12 inches

You will not find many elongated toilets with a depth of 27.75 inches. If you have an old round toilet that you need to replace with a modern one-piece elongated toilet then Kohler Santa Rosa is the toilet for you.

Comfort/ADA Height

Kohler Santa Rosa is a comfort height toilet. The distance from the floor to the top of the bowl rim is 16.5 inches. This translates to 17.5 inches seat height which falls between the 17 and 19 inches set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Comfort height toilets are way more comfortable for users than standard height toilets, especially for the elderly and tall folks. You are able to sit and stand with less strain on your knees and back.

Comfort height toilets like this one are also known as right/universal/chair height toilets. This is because the seat is usually at the same height as a chair.

I have also written a detailed article on the pros and cons of comfort height vs standard height toilets. Read it here.

Kohler Santa Rosa comes with a soft close toilet seat. A soft/slow/quiet close toilet seat helps to eliminate the very irritating sound of a seat slamming on the bowl every time someone uses the toilet.

I have however always found the quality of the Kohler Santa Rosa toilet seat wanting. If you would like a quality and comfortable seat go with the Kohler Cachet toilet seat.

Kohler Santa Rosa vs Toto Ultramax II

Toto Ultramax II is a one-piece single flush WaterSense elongated and comfort height toilet. It is one of the best flushing Toto toilets. You can say that it is the improved version of the Toto Ultramax which was not as water-efficient as the Ultramax II.

Kohler Santa Rosa and the Toto Ultramax II have a lot in common both being one-piece toilets with a flush rate of 1.28 gallons per flush. The main differences among the 2 revolves around the flushing system, size and toilet bowl height.

Toto Ultramax II uses Toto’s Tornado flushing system also known as double-cyclone flushing system. This flushing system involves the use a 3-inch wide flush valve and a rimless bowl, only using 2 powerful nozzles, one on each side of the bowl.

When you flush the toilet, water enters the bowl through the 2 nozzles in a cyclic manner scrubbing, rinsing and evacuating the bowls content. The 3-inch wide flush valve allows water to be dumped in the bowl faster and forcefully.

The dimensions of the Toto Ultramax are:

  • Depth: 28.375 inches
  • Width: 16.625 inches
  • Height: 28.75 inches
  • Bowl height: 16.125 inches
  • Rough-in: 12 inches

As you can see, although Toto Ultramax II is compact toilet, Kohler Santa Rosa is more compact than it. It therefore becomes a better choice for people with small bathrooms.

Toto Ultramax II’s toilet bowl height is 16.125 inches compared to Kohler Santa Rosa’s 16.5 inches. It goes without saying that if you want to sit on a higher toilet then the Santa Rosa is the toilet you should buy.

While both of this toilets have a great flushing power, I would slightly favor the Toto Ultramax II given its bowl cleaning action combined with the Cefiontect glaze. Toto Ultramax is however more expensive than the Kohler Santa Rosa.

Check out the Toto Ultramax II below.

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Toto Ultramax vs Kohler Cimarron

Kohler Cimarron is a two-piece single flush elongated and comfort height toilet. It is one of the best flushing toilets not only among other Kohler toilets but across the industry.

Depending on your preference, you can opt to buy a Kohler Cimarron toilet with a flush rate of 1.28 gallons per flush or one with a flush rate of 1.6 gallons per flush. Just like the Kohler Santa Rosa, Kohler Cimarron uses the AquaPiston flushing technology.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Kohler Santa Rosa and Kohler Cimarron is the design and size. While the Kohler Santa Rosa is a compact one-piece toilet, Kohler Cimarron is a two-piece toilet and also big in size.

The dimensions of the Kohler Cimarron toilet are:

  • Depth: 29.5 inches
  • Width: 17.625 inches
  • Height: 30.75 inches
  • Bowl Height: 16.5 inches
  • Rough-in: 12 inches

As you can see, Kohler Cimarron’s depth is 2 inches larger than that of the Kohler Santa Rosa. It is also taller by 2 inches. This is why Kohler Santa Rosa is preferred by folks with small bathrooms.

Both of these toilets are however comfort height toilets. Their toilet seat height is 17.5 inches although Kohler Cimarron is not sold with a seat.

A better comparison of the Kohler Santa Rosa would be with the Kohler Cimarron one-piece toilet. Although both are one-piece toilets, the Kohler Cimarron one-piece toilet is still bigger than the Santa Rosa.

The dimensions of the Kohler Cimarron one-piece toilet area:

  • Depth: 29.31 inches
  • Width: 18.937 inches
  • Height: 28. 812 inches

To read more about this toilet and more Kohler Cimarron toilet models check out this post.

Kohler Santa Rosa vs Kohler San Souci

Kohler San Souci is a one-piece single flush round-front toilets. It is one of the most compact toilets in the industry.

The main difference between Kohler Santa Rosa and Kohler San Souci is the toilet bowl shape, size and seat height. While the Kohler Santa Rosa is an elongated and comfort height toilet, Kohler San Souci is a round-front toilet with a standard height and more compact than the Santa Rosa.

The dimensions of the Kohler San Souci are:

  • Depth: 25.625 inches
  • Width: 16.75 inches
  • Height: 24.25 inches
  • Bowl height: 15.25 inches
  • Rough-in: 12 inches

Going by the dimensions above, you can see how small the Kohler San Souci is. For people with a small bathroom or those looking to install a half bath then the Kohler San Souci is more than ideal.

Kohler San Souci will however not be a toilet choice for most people especially the tall and seniors who prefer sitting on a tall toilet. It is also not as comfortable as an elongated toilet so it has its own intended users.

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Kohler Santa Rosa vs American Standard Champion 4

American Standard Champion 4 is one of the best flushing toilets in the market. It is available in white, linen and bone with linen and bone being more expensive than the white model.

There are several models of the American Standard Champion 4 but the one-piece model is the best one. It is a single flush comfort height and elongated toilet with a 10-year warranty.

The main difference between Kohler Santa Rosa and the American Standard Champion is the flush rate and size. While Kohler Santa Rosa is compact elongated toilet with a flush rate of 1.28 gallons per flush, American Standard Champion 4 uses 1.6 gallon per flush and is bigger in size.

The Champion 4 uses a 4-inch wide flush valve to dump water inside the bowl faster than a 2-inch flush valve resulting in a stronger siphon and that is why the Champion 4 toilets hardly clog. They are said to have the capability to flush golf balls though I have not tried it myself.

Due to their high water consumption, American Standard Champion 4 toilets are not compliant with the requirements of WaterSense and CalGreen and can hence not be sold in states like California, Texas and Colorado.

The dimensions of the American Standard Champion 4 are:

  • Depth: 29.75 inches
  • Width: 16.75 inches
  • Height: 29.5 inches

As you can see, the depth of the American Standard Champion 4 is 2 inches longer than that of the Kohler Santa Rosa. Again, the Santa Rosa is the preferred toilet for small bathrooms.

If you don’t live in California, Texas or Colorado and don’t have a small bathroom then the Champion 4 is not a bad toilet at all to have. I would personally pick it over the Santa Rosa.

Check out the detailed review of the American Standard Champion 4 in this post.

Kohler Santa Rosa vs Toto Drake

If you wish to spend less money on a toilet but still get a powerful flushing toilet, Toto Drake is the best option for you. It is a two-piece comfort height and elongated toilet, although there are dual flush and round-front toilet options.

The main difference between Kohler Santa Rosa and Toto Drake is the size, flush rate and design. While Kohler Santa Rosa is one-piece, compact elongated and WaterSense toilet, Toto Drake is two-piece toilet that is not WaterSense compliant and is also bigger in size.

The Dimensions of the Toto Drake are:

  • Depth: 28.125 inches
  • Width: 19.875 inches
  • Height: 30.5 inches
  • Bowl rim height: 16.5 inches

Toto Drake is not as visually appealing as the Kohler Santa Rosa. If you want a better-looking toilet check out the Toto Drake II. I have reviewed and compared Toto Drake and Toto Drake II in a separate post. Read it here.

Conclusion

Kohler Santa Rosa is a decent pick for a toilet. There are not many bad things to say about it. In conclusion, here are the reasons for buying the Kohler Santa Rosa:

  • One-piece design
  • Variety of colors
  • Powerful flush
  • Compact size
  • Water-efficient
  • Elongated bowl