When it comes to the world of plumbing fixtures, specifically bathroom and kitchen fixtures, one brand that you may be familiar with, especially if you live in North America, is Kohler. The Kohler brand has been around for almost 150 years, and in that time, it has managed to garner a reputation of quality craftsmanship that doesn’t cost a fortune.
With that being said, it’s definitely not the cheapest bathroom and kitchen fixtures producer out there, but it is one of the best hands down. Let’s find out where Kohler makes its products, specifically its toilets, faucets, tubs, and more.
What Is Kohler and Who Owns it?
Kohler, officially known as Kohler Co., was founded by John Michael Kohler in 1873, in Kohler, Wisconsin. Yes, the Kohler name does come from Germany but seeing as there is an area in the USA, right in Wisconsin, named after this family, you can assume that it is quite important.
Indeed, to this day, the Kohler name is very well known around the world, particularly in North America, and of course, this is primarily due to its production of relatively high-quality bathroom and kitchen fixtures, including but not limited to toilets, urinals, sinks, bathtubs, and more.
Kohler is also known for producing custom-made and custom-painted fixtures, for a certain price of course. At this time, Kohler has well over 40,000 employees, thus making it quite the large competitor in the world of toilets and bathroom fixtures.
On a side note, Kohler also produces engines, generators, furniture, cabinets, and more. What is quite surprising is that Kohler is not a publicly-traded company, but rather is privately owned by, you guessed it, the Kohler family, mainly David Kohler, the chairman and CEO, as well as Herbert Kohler Junior, the Executive Chairman.
Are All Kohler Products Made in America?
OK, before we get to talking about where exactly Kohler manufactures all of its products, in terms of the question or heading, the answer here is no, absolutely not. In fact, the vast majority of Kohler products are manufactured abroad, not in the United States.
Moreover, even many of the American factories don’t really produce the faucets per se, or at least they don’t actually do any of the forming, welding, and so on and so forth. Many of Kohler’s American factories simply take various components that were made overseas and assemble them into the finished product.
Although one could say that this is still technically American-made, realistically, manufacturing the various components and simply assembling them are two very different things.
What can also be said is that many of the products that are still made in the USA aren’t really made for mass production and mass sale, such as in retail outlets, but rather are sold at relatively small and niche bathroom and kitchen shows or conventions. At the end of the day, most things Kohler are made in one of three countries, these being China, India, and Mexico.
When it comes to Kohler toilets, there do still appear to be some that are made in the USA, actually manufactured there, not just assembled. It appears as though there are three USA toilet production plants owned by Kohler, and these include ones in Kohler, Wisconsin; Brownsville, Texas; and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Second, there is also a large Kohler toilet production facility located in Monterey, Mexico. However, it does appear as though more toilet production is steadily moving to the Global South, particularly India and China.
In terms of faucets, as we mentioned before, keep in mind that there is a difference between something being made in the USA and just being assembled in the USA. From the information that we have gathered, it is quite clear that the majority of the faucets sold in the USA are assembled in the USA, specifically in a factory in Sheridan, Arkansas, but most of the components (if not all of them), come from China, India, and Mexico.
When it comes to sinks, there are still quite a few that are made in Kohler, Wisconsin, particularly the cast iron sinks. However, with that said, the majority of Kohler sinks are made elsewhere in the world.
Kohler Factories Around the World
As mentioned previously, Kohler has around 40,000 employees, and no, most of them are not in the USA, but in India and China, with one of the largest production plants being in Foshan, China (with this plant recently having been flagged for human rights abuses centered around unethical work practices and the unethical treatment of its workers).
Most Kohler products do not require a lot of skill or technology to make, but do need a lot of labor, and therefore, seeing as labor in China and India is relatively cheap, this is where Kohler chooses to make most of its products (as well as in Mexico). At the end of the day, percentage-wise, most Kohler products are made in one of the various Chinese factories.
Should You Avoid Kohler Products Made in China and India?
When it comes down to it, seeing as many of Kohler’s products that are “made in” the USA are actually just assembled there, it serves to reason that if there is a difference in quality, it’s quite negligible. Of course, the products that are made in the USA from beginning to end are likely the highest quality of all, but we see no reason to recommend that you avoid those Kohler products made in China and India. For the decent cost that they come in at, they are more than good enough.
At the end of the day, although much of Kohler’s production happens in the Global South, it is still a great kitchen and bathroom fixtures brand to consider. What you get here is relatively high quality for moderate prices.