About six years ago I helped a friend of mine equip his entire house with Toto Drake toilets. He spent a lot of time researching toilets and settled on the Drake. I was living in a new condo unit at the time and the toilets there were the standard American Standards you see just about everywhere. Double flushing was part of my everyday life. What a senseless waste of water, I used to think. These efficiency toilets where a joke, but what are you going to do? That's just the way they make them now'days.
Or so I thought...
So over the course of an afternoon my friend and I put together and installed four of these suckers and they all worked great! Maybe we got lucky, but none of the toilets leaked and they were all really straight forward to assemble and install. This is the extent of my experience with them. I only installed them, but didn't have any user experience... Yet.
In late 2005, I purchased my first house. It was a 1974-era, Brady Bunch-style home with Brady-era counters, floors, and toilets. They were really old and really ready for replacement. So, remembering my friend's research from a few years back, I did my own research. I eventually landed on ANSI's Web site and learned my friend was correct... Very correct, in fact! The Toto Drake, for the money, was one of the best toilets in its class. You know, the ANSI actually fills condoms with soy and rice filler and tests these toilets by flushing condom sausages until they clog. The Toto Drake had one of the best flush records.
That was good enough for me... I was so sick of double flushing, I was ready to pay whatever it took (within reason) to flush once and be done with my daily business.
So I looked at the Drake and learned it comes in a regular or SanaGloss finish, which is a micro-fine surface that resists mineral and debris buildup. I called my friend and talked to his wife about what they thought of the SanaGloss finish (I know my friend paid extra for this upgrade). They love it! I mean, I've never seen a couple actually *excited* to talk about their toilet! She said the SanaGloss finish reduced their cleanings by half as much. She also strongly suggested purchasing the SoftClose seat, which slowly drops the seat and lid so you don't experience the 4am SLAM because you let go too soon.
I was sold... I ordered one SanaGloss Drake with the SoftClose seat and eagerly waited for it to arrive. When it did, my friend and his wife were there for our "Toto party." Within an hour it was in and we cracked a magnum of wine and celebrated with a massive meal to help christen the install of the new Toto toilet! Well, the christening actually occurred after the meal was digested, the following day. <grin>
This was nearly five years ago and I have almost a half a decade of experience behind this review. I have never had to plunge this toilet... EVER! That's not to say you won't... You *can* clog it, but under normal usage, you should never expect a clog or double-flush. Also, the SanaGloss finish works as advertised. Routine cleanings are reduced primarily to the rim and outer sides of the toilet. I don't have to clean the inside every time I clean the toilet. But be forewarned DO NOT CLEAN THIS SURFACE WITH AN ABRASIVE CLEANER. It will scratch! Lastly, the SoftClose seat is wonderful! I've found though that once in a while I let go of other seats too early, forgetting that not every toilet has a SoftClose seat. I'd highly recommend purchasing this upgrade with your toilet.
For those who are considering the Toto Soirée toilet, I would never tell you not to purchase it, but do want to share one last thing.
Because of my experience, another close friend of mine spent a lot of time deliberating over whether to buy the Drake or the Soirée. The Soirée is a more expensive toilet that Toto offers in an ADA style that he wanted. He purchased the Soirée and I think he regrets it to some extent. When he flushes it, he has to hold the handle down two to three seconds to ensure a solid flush. I purchased a space-saver Toto toilet for my small, spare bathroom and it requires the same hold-down-the-handle flush. The Toto Drake doesn't require holding the handle down for a few seconds. It has a powerful "G-Max" flushing system that only requires a quick push of the handle to activate.
So if you're trying to decide which toilet to buy, you have me and my two friends here to tell you, you're looking at an excellent toilet for the money! If you buy it, throw your own Toto party, eat hearty, and know the next day your happy engorgement won't result in a double flush! :-)