Kohler Santa Rosa – Full Toilet Review

Kohler is one of the oldest and most trusted names in American plumbing fixtures with a history stretching all the way back to 1873. They are responsible for some of the most recognizable toilet models in history, and they haven’t stopped producing high-quality toilet models since day one. 

One of their most recent superstars is the Kohler Santa Rosa, which shows off a decidedly modern appearance and robust one-piece construction. The Kohler Santa Rosa is known for its comfort height, or chair height, seat that sits higher than on standard toilets. It also reduces the water cost per flush, saving hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water per year.

Kohler Santa Rosa

After having a noisy toilet for so long, I’m happy to now have one that is much quieter.

-S. Chadwick

What The Reviews Are Saying

No matter where we looked, whether it was online retailers, giant digital marketplaces, small hometown hardware store chains, or national big box store brands, the reviews that we found for the Kohler Santa Rosa were overwhelmingly positive. 

We found stories left and right about how this model was the best toilet their family had ever used, that it was so strong, or that it was so quiet. They all seemed similar, so we were skeptical at first. We even found repeated mentions of how it takes up a lot less space than similar standard models, and since it can fit in some smaller areas, it can provide a more comfortable experience. Could they all be right? We had to take a look and dive into the Kohler Santa Rosa.

What We Like About The Kohler Santa Rosa

Kohler has a lot of toilet models and version variations, so what exactly is it that makes the Kohler Santa Rosa such a great toilet? We look at things like the height, the weight if we feel it needs mentioning, the construction, whether it is a one-piece or a two-piece toilet, the bowl shape and overall design, any additional bells and whistles that the model or product line might have, and finally, price. We’ve also included any downsides to the item so that you can weigh both sides before making a purchase.

The Dimensions

When it comes to dimensions, there isn’t anything too different or worrisome for the Kohler Santa Rosa. Here are the specifications:

  • Rough-in: 12 inches
  • Bowl rim height: 16 ½ inches
  • Trapway: 2 ⅛ inches
  • Flush valve: AquaPiston Single 360 Gravity Flush
  • Depth: 29 inches
  • Width: 20 ¾ inches
  • Height: 31 inches
  • Weight: 102 pounds

Installation

The installation for the Kohler Santa Rosa is relatively straightforward provided that the 12-inch rough-in is already in place (See: Toilet Rough-In Dimensions and How to Measure it?). The only challenge presents when the toilet needs to be put in place on the wax seal since the size, weight, and one-piece construction of this model can make that difficult for a single individual to accomplish.

That said, unlike with many other toilet models, you shouldn’t have to hire a handyman or plumber for installation of the toilet. Although, a second person to assist in managing the cumbersome installation process would certainly be helpful.

Flush Strength and Trapway Size

The flushing system on the Kohler Santa Rosa is nothing short of amazing. The AquaPiston flushing system lets the surge of water from a flush flow into the bowl from the entire circumference of the flush valve, optimizing the power and effectiveness of the flush. This results in the easy removal of the entire contents of the bowl.

The combination of the bowl engineering and the trapway configuration allows the flush to immediately remove solids with an environmentally friendly 1.28 gallons per flush. Depending on your location, this may make you eligible for rebates on your water bills through the EPA WaterSense certification program. This effect is enhanced by the glazed trapway, which resists build-up and flow resistance.

Height

Most models have a height of around 15 inches, leaving them feeling short and uncomfortable to many people and not to mention without ADA compliance. The Kohler Santa Rosa features a comfort height of 17.5 inches from the floor to the seat, making it ADA-compliant and more comfortable for the majority of adults.

Construction Simplicity

The one-piece Kohler Santa Rosa is made from vitreous china and has a very smooth and sleek appearance. The corners and all transitions are rounded to ensure simple cleaning, and the flush handle is polished chrome. One of the additional benefits of the design is the compatibility with many soft-close toilet seats, and it includes a Brevia Quiet-Close, which also features a Comfort Height design that makes it incredibly comfortable.

Bowl Shape

The Kohler Santa Rosa has an elongated bowl, which, despite the longer depth, performs with the same efficiency as standard 1.28 GPF round bowls with increased performance in solids removal in some cases. This is a huge benefit since far more people find elongated bowls comfortable to sit on and would prefer to use them. However, they are also known in many cases for being “two-flush” bowls, particularly if the toilet is a low-flow or badly engineered EPA WaterSense toilet and suffers from high turbulence and inadequate flush and flow power.

The elongated bowl of the Kohler Santa Rosa is designed to allow solids to be swept away much easier, even with the eco-friendly 1.28 GPF flush volume. The Kohler Santa Rosa is also EPA WaterSense certified with its water efficiency of 1.28 GPF.

Super-Low Noise

Another benefit of the elongated bowl and the AquaPiston flush is the significantly lower noise level of the flushing action. The specially engineered bowl facilitates a more complete removal and cleaning, and the lower turbulence results in much less noise when the unit is flushed.

Bells and Whistles

One of the things that we liked about the Kohler Santa Rosa was that it is available in a slightly wider array of color choices than some competing models in the same class. Most competing models often only have two or three similar off-whites. The Kohler Santa Rosa can be obtained in not only black, biscuit, and sandbar but also almond, ice grey, and dune. This variety of choices makes it much easier to coordinate in bathrooms that may not look like they’re in a house staged for sale.

The Kohler Santa Rosa is also extremely easy to clean. This is primarily because the powerful flush eliminates any waste from remaining in the bowl and washes the bowl as well. The unique AquaPiston flush lets more water enter the bowl quicker for a more complete removal. Both the bowl and the outside of the Kohler Santa Rosa have been designed without any lines, corners, or creases, and it lacks any finicky finish, so any common cleaning agent is able to tackle the job in moments.

The fully glazed trapway is something not seen in many models. Most manufacturers figure that once the waste is down that far it doesn’t matter, and they leave the trapway china unglazed to save on production costs. This can lead to the build-up of waste residue, and over time it can slow the transfer of waste from the bowl to the drain line. Using a glazed trapway means the waste will have a smooth transition from flush to drain, resulting in fewer maintenance costs, less clean-up, and more durability over the long term.

Price

The Kohler Santa Rosa is commonly found to be $500 to $600, depending on where you shop. Considering the performance of this unit and the aims that Kohler took to ensure its cleanliness and longevity, it is considered an incredible value, particularly over the long term. This is definitely an investment into a luxurious and high-performance bathroom and should not be considered for areas where it will not be cared for accordingly. Click the button to check out some instantly updated prices.

Where The Kohler Santa Rosa Could Be Improved

Weight

At over 100 pounds, the Kohler Santa Rosa is no lightweight contender, but with toilet installation not often being a one-person job anyway, that is not a huge concern. The weight does end up being a concern for homeowners who are doing a renovation or remodel themselves as installing the Kohler Santa Rosa may take some advance planning or a friend willing to help for a few minutes while it’s placed into position. This may also be a concern if the toilet is merely being bought for a remodel in an apartment and needs to get up several flights of stairs.

Included Seat

It’s great that the Kohler Santa Rosa includes a seat. Many of the competitors in the same class do not include a seat and may only offer one as an additional purchase. That said, the Brevia Quiet-Close seat is subpar quality when put into the same context as the toilet itself. You don’t put ketchup on a filet, and you shouldn’t put the Brevia Quiet-Close on the Kohler Santa Rosa.

The Final Word

For a 17-inch seat toilet with an elongated bowl, the Kohler Santa Rosa is an amazing option, and it’s in a really nice price range for an affordable remodel as well. The more compact size and configuration means it can be installed in a wider variety of locations. The powerful piston flush and soft-close seat make it an ideal choice for families as well where it can tackle bigger jobs without adding to the cleaning burden or noise level.

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