Kohler vs. American Standard: Which of the Two Brands is Better?

If you are planning to remodel your old bathroom or to build a new one from scratch, some of the most important components are of course the plumbing fixtures. Whether you need tubs, sinks, faucets, toilets, and everything in between, you obviously want the best quality that your money can buy.

Today, we are here to compare two of the most popular brands in the world of plumbing fixtures, Kohler and American Standard.

Which one should you choose?

Kohler vs. American Standard: Which of the Two Brands is Better?

A Brief History of Kohler and American Standard

As a company, Kohler is one of the oldest and largest entities in the world of plumbing, at least as far as American companies go. Kohler was first founded in 1873 by none other than John Kohler. This is a US-based manufacturing company that is currently operating out of Wisconsin.

At this time, Kohler is best known for producing an array of items including sinks, tubs, toilets, faucets, and bathroom accessories.

What is surprising is that although this is a huge company, one that currently has over 32,000 employees and estimated annual revenues of 6 billion dollars,  it is still privately owned.

One of the largest achievements made by Kohler was in 1883 when John Kohler took an old cast iron horse trough and applied an enamel coating to it, which thus resulted in the creation of the brand’s first bathtub. Ever since this, Kohler has been focused mostly on plumbing and bathroom fixtures.

Next, we have American Standard, which at this time is officially known as American Standard Brands. This is a North American company that manufactures and sells a wide assortment of plumbing fixtures, both for the bathroom and the kitchen. At this time, it is based out of New Jersey, USA.

The history of this company and brand can be a bit confusing, so we will do our best to explain.

At first, the brand started with the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company in 1875. After this, in 1899, the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company merged with several other companies. By 1929, the company had become the world’s largest producer of bathroom fixtures.

Also in 1929, the Standard Sanitary Corporation merged with American Radiator Company to form the American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation. Then, in 1967, the company began calling itself American Standard.

Moreover, the company we know today, American Standard Brands, was formed in the year of 2008, when American Standard Americas, Crane Plumbing, and Eljer all merged together.

Then, in 2015, the Lixil Group purchased American Standard Brands. As a company, in terms of size, American Standard is about half the size of Kohler, or even smaller, with just around 15,000 employees and estimated annual revenues of roughly 2 billion dollars.

Kohler vs American Standard: Which Offers Better Quality?

When it comes to the overall quality of the products which Kohler produces, the brand is well regarded. The general consensus is that the products which it manufactures and sells are quite high in quality.

Now, they are not regarded as being the number one products in the world, but when it comes to the top competitors, Kohler definitely holds its own. People seem to be especially happy with Kohler’s line of faucets and bathroom fixtures, particularly the high-quality toilets, tubs, and other such items.

Keep in mind that Kohler products are definitely not the cheapest out there, and are indeed rather expensive. Kohler products are some of the pricier ones that you can get your hands on. That said, the vast majority of consumers agree that the high cost of the products is well worth the investment, due to the high level of durability and longevity.

Kohler has several production facilities in the USA, specifically in Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, and Arkansas, which make toilets, faucets, sinks, and more. Kohler does make a select few products in Mexico, India, and China, although the majority of manufacturing is still in the USA.

All that said, Kohler appears to be moving manufacturing outside of the USA more and more, so what effect this will have on product quality is yet to be seen.

As for American Standard, although it is a giant in the world of plumbing, it does need to be said that the reviews about it from consumers are very mixed. There are some sources which will give this brand an 8 or 9 out of 10 for quality, some give it a 6 or 7 out of 10, and some even lower than that.

From what we can tell, it appears as though the quality of American Standard products is fairly high across the board, but there are also minor issues to address with most of the products. What kind of quality you get depends on the exact products, with some being really nice, and some not so much.

What seems to make a difference is whether or not the fixtures are professionally installed. It seems as though people who have their American Standard products professionally installed are much happier with them than those people who try DIY installation.

Keep in mind that while American Standard products are designed in America, they are made mostly in Mexico and China, something that could explain the limited quality to an extent.

Which Offers a Better Warranty?

From the information we have been able to find, it seems as though Kohler offers a one-year warranty on all of its products, unless otherwise noted. There is no other warranty information for Kohler that we have been able to find.

In terms of American Standard, cartridges feature lifetime warranties, finishes have lifetime warranties, and mechanical parts have lifetime warranties too. From what we can tell, American Standard, although not as high in quality as Kohler, does have better warranties.

Kohler vs American Standard: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?

Something that is worth noting here is that the American Standard website has a section dedicated to commercial installations, something which Kohler does not. Therefore, in terms of commercial plumbing, American Standard is definitely the brand to go with.

Now, both of these brands produce a variety of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, everything from bathroom and kitchen sinks and faucets, to bathtubs and toilet, shower fixtures, and everything in between, even bidets too. However, something that Kohler sells which American Standard does not, are lighting fixtures.

Let’s take a closer look at some specific product categories to see who has the better selection.

Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Toilets?

There is no doubt about the fact that American Standard has a much larger selection of toilets, with around 200 listed on its site, compared to the 44 listed on the Kohler website.

Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Bathtubs?

On the other hand, American Standard’s selection of bathtubs is not nearly as large as that of Kohler’s. American Standard currently has just over 70 bathtubs listed on its website, whereas Kohler has literally hundreds and hundreds to choose from.

Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Faucets?

At this time, Kohler offers over 700 models (bathroom sink, bathtub, and shower faucets) compared to the roughly 500 presented on the American Standard website.

Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?

Which of the two brands you choose depends on what your needs are. What it really all comes down to is price and quality.

American Standard products feature a slightly lower level of quality, but also cost less. What is surprising is that Kohler has a larger selection in many product categories, but American Standard appears to have the better warranties.

Summary

At the end of the day, both of these plumbing giants have an excellent product portfolio combined with relatively high quality products, with Kohler being the slightly higher quality of the two.

Both are great options to go with if you are looking to build a new bathroom or kitchen.