Kohler Gleam – Full Toilet Review

Many of us don’t realize the number of details that go into designing a good toilet – not until it’s time to buy one, that is. The design and functionality of any toilet will have their pros and cons. When deciding on the right one for your household, as well as price and aesthetic, you should consider keeping the following factors in mind:

  • Will it be comfortable enough for the people using it the most?
  • How powerful is the flush? How much water is used per flush?
  • How easy will it be to fix/replace the parts?

For a toilet that is economical, built-to-last, and looks good in your bathroom, most people favor brands like American Standard, Toto, or Kohler, etc. These bathroom fixture specialists sure know how to design a first-class toilet.

People trust Kohler because they have delivered intuitive, forward-thinking, and beautiful bathroom solutions for more than a century. They consistently aim to provide the best in experience and design with every product they develop, and their products rarely disappoint. In all the Kohler toilets that we’ve tried and reviewed, rarely is there a significant issue with Kohler models.

Read on as our review discusses the most important features of the Kohler Gleam toilet.

Kohler Gleam

What the Reviews are Saying

Search for reviews for almost any Kohler product, and you’re likely to find mainly five-and four-star reviews. Typically, customers who rate their products on the three to one-star end of the scale have complaints with the seller and not the product itself, e.g., the wrong color was received.

Many customers who have purchased the Kohler Gleam model admire its beauty, easy installation, and powerful, quiet flush. Others complement the smooth base making it easier to keep clean. Their comments essentially suggest that Kohler has yet again impressed the consumer with another model.

What We Like About the Kohler Gleam

We think that the Kohler Gleam model has many merits. We especially like its two-piece design, making it easier to maneuver and allowing for easy replacement of the tank or bowl. It offers comfortability, using the recommended comfort height and an elongated bowl. We also like its classic and effortless elegance. We admire Kohler’s commitment to long-term water conservation across their toilet models. They produce cost-effective toilets that help the consumer save money on water bills.

But perhaps one of the most important item we noticed about the Gleam was its warranty. More on that below.

Let’s go through all the features, as well as some of the things we didn’t like. To give you an idea of what you’d be physically getting with the Gleam, we’ll start with some of the hard numbers.

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The Dimensions

  • Fully-glazed trapway: 1-1/8 inches (54 millimeters)
  • Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 (4.8 LPF)
  • Flush valve size: 3 inches
  • Rough-in: 12 inches
  • Bowel height: 16-1/2 inches (from the floor to the bowl rim)
  • Overall depth: 29-3/16 inches (from the back of the tank to the front of the rim)
  • Overall height: 31 inches (from the bottom of the base to the top of the tank)
  • Overall width: 18-1/2 inches (from the right to left edge of the toilet)

Installation

The separate tank and bowl help make it easier to install. If you decide to install it yourself, you’ll have less weight to manage, and the trickiest part may be mounting the tank onto the bowl.

Kohler has tried to make installing the Gleam more straightforward. The design offers a “Readylock” system to save you the bother of drilling holes into your floor. It also incorporates a “DryLock” fast install system to ensure that installation is not only quick but helps to prevent water leakage. However, you’ll need a socket wrench to fasten the tank to the bowl without the need to bolt holes in the tank. Detailed instructions are included and can be found via their official website.

Flush Strength and Trapway Size

Kohler uses technology for an economical toilet with a powerful flush. Their toilet models can remove up to two pounds of waste in a single flush.

As far as the Kohler Gleam model goes, the powerful siphon is created using a combination of natural gravity force, a precision-engineered tank, and a glazed trapway. In addition, it uses “Class Five” flushing technology for a virtually clog-free performance and a powerful rinse for a clean bowl.

Its durable canister design (flapper less) has 90% less unprotected seal material than a three-inch flapper. A flapper-less system means less maintenance as it won’t eventually need replacing. There will also be less chance of leakage, and with no flapper installed, there is zero chance of it deteriorating. Another plus is that the light-touch canister flush requires less actuation force than a flapper design.

Kohler Gleam is also WaterSense certified. This means it has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a high-performance toilet using less than 20% water than the standard.

Glazed Trapway

The Gleam has a glazed trapway. This sought-after toilet feature allows an effortless exit path for water and waste. It’s valuable in reducing the number of clogs typically experienced by regular toilets. Generally, the wider the trapway, the better. Trapway sizes vary from the industry-standard two-inch diameter to an industry-leading 2-3/8 -inch diameter, while the Kohler Gleam’s trapway offers a reasonable diameter measuring 2-1/8 inches.

The trapway is also fully skirted, meaning it has a clean line from its front to the back of the tank. In comparison, a concealed trapway only has a smooth surface at the back of the toilet. Fully skirted trapways help to simplify cleaning, making it a preferable design for most users.

Height

The measurement between the toilet’s base and the seat’s top is another significant toilet attribute. It determines how comfortable it will be to use by most adults. Toilets are designed using three types of seat heights:

Standard Height

A standard height is more commonly used. This type is between 13 and 15 inches high from the base to the seat. However, this height can be low and uncomfortable for people suffering from leg and back pain.

Universal Height

Universal height is ideal for people with mobility problems and is installed in bathrooms across the U.S. This height measures 15 to 17 inches from the ground to the seat.

Comfort Height

Comfort height toilets are the highest, measuring between 17 and 19 inches, the height of a regular chair. This type is also better for people with mobility problems, the elderly, tall people, and generally anyone who may have trouble sitting down and standing up from a standard or universal height toilet.

For an inclusively designed toilet, the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) recommends the comfort height. The Kohler Gleam adheres to this as it measures 16-1/2 inches from the floor to the bowl rim without the toilet seat, which will increase the height slightly.

However, comfort height isn’t comfortable for everyone, so consider the types available and try to balance it with the needs of the people who will use it the most.

Construction Simplicity

The Kohler Gleam is a beautiful two-piece design. It comes with everything you’ll need to get the toilet up and running: bowl, tank, slow-close seat, wax ring, and hardware. Its construction includes an enamel coating of vitreous china.

Vitreous China

Since Ancient Egypt, an enamel coating has been applied to porcelain products to protect them. However, vitreous china resists spills, scrapes, and other bathroom misfortunes better than porcelain. The high-gloss, smooth enamel surface also provides durability, sanitary essentials for a clean and elegant bathroom piece.

Bowl Shape

The Gleam has an elongated or oval bowl shape. It extends several inches towards the front of the room. This elongated bowl style is more common in larger bathrooms for a more contemporary appearance.

Compared to a round bowl shape, the additional space offered may be more comfortable to sit on. The wider area may also be easier to use with less mess. A toilet with a more extended bowl size also meets another ADA compliance criterion.

Bells & Whistles

Here are the trimmings that make the Kohler Gleam design stand out from other toilets:

Quiet-Close Lid

The Gleam comes with a quiet-close toilet seat lid to prevent slamming and offers some toilet seat safety for children and adults. For example, it prevents users from accidentally getting their fingers slammed by a regular fast closing seat. This feature also helps to protect the bowl rim, so both the rim and the seat last longer.

Ten-Year Limited Warranty

The 10-year warranty typically covers the mechanical parts of the toilet and usually includes a one-year warranty to cover the toilet seat.

Chrome Trip Lever

The chrome trip lever enhances the simple elegance of the Gleam toilet. In addition, its flapper-less mechanism only requires a light pull to flush.

Where the Kohler Gleam Could Be Improved

We found that that the most common one- to three-star reviews complained about missing, broken, or the wrong pieces delivered. So we guess Kohler could improve by ensuring its suppliers make sure the end customers are happy when they receive one of their toilets. So if you decide to purchase a Kohler Gleam, make sure it’s from one of their reputable suppliers.

Additionally, some customers complained that installation was complicated or that the flush was weaker than expected.

In terms of the toilet model itself, we think Kohler could improve the Gleam with the option of having a right-hand trip lever version to add to its inclusivity.

The ToiletsMan Verdict

To conclude, the Kohler Gleam could be a suitable toilet for you if features like elegance, water conservation, and comfortability are essential. The Gleam also makes it easier to keep clean, with a powerful flush and fully skirted trapway. Although the price is slightly more than standard toilets, it’s WaterSense compliant, so you’ll make savings on your water bill.

In short, if you’re attached to the look of the Gleam, then the toilet itself can more than handle the job. But given some of the drawbacks that we noticed, there are certainly other toilets out there that may be more suitable.

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