Product Review: KOHLER’s Touchless Toilet Flush Kit

With two little boys running around the house, germs are a constant factor we are combating.  Currently both boys have a virus and are running fevers of 100+ with sore throats…so this seemed like a good week to install a KOHLER Touchless “No Touch Flush” system and see how it worked. Kohler-Touchless-Toilet-Flush-Kit img_8817_draftMax (3) is potty trained and has transitioned into underwear, only wearing a pull-up at night in case of accidents while Dodge (1) hides behind the door and grunts out his business into a diaper.  One of the things I worked on with Max that I LOVE was teaching him to go on a full-sized toilet…which means when we go out to eat or travel, he can do his duty anywhere without me holding him over the seat.  All was well and fine til one night at our regular Sunday night dinner spot.  The bathroom had very nice toilets with the forward facing sensor as you see in most restaurants and airports.  You sit, you do your thing, you stand, and it flushes for you.  Unless, of course, you are a squirmy little 3-year-old.  Then it flushes while you are still sitting on it.  This toilet was also flushed with great vigor and the sound echoed throughout the high-ceiling bathroom scaring the sh*t out of Max…literally.  Since that moment, Max has been afraid of toilets and potty training has taken a step backwards.  Much of that is due to an error on my part, and it went like this:

Max:  “Why did you flush it Dada?

Me:  “I didn’t.  It did on its own”

Max:  “Why?”

Me:  “Because it has an eye, and it thought you were done.”

Max:  “It has an eye…like a robot?”

Me:  “Yeah, like a robot.”

Max:  “…and it was watching me.”

Me:  “Yup, to make sure you pooped.”

Max:  “I’m afraid of robots.”

Me:  “Oh…well…um…its not really a robot…er…its…”

Max:  “Is it watching us now?”

Kohler_Touchless_toilet_conversion_kitOops.  Smooth move Ex-Lax!  Now my kid is deathly afraid of toilets and bawls every time we go into the bathroom.  Incidentally, he hold his hands over his ears whenever we go to a bathroom (public or private) in fear of the loud sound, which means his dirty hands are touching his face and he can’t sit on the toilet without me supporting him.  He is scared to death of “THE EYE!”  Like Lord Saruman is constantly watching him as he treks through Middle Earth with the one true ring.  With that in mind…I thought the KOHLER Flushless System could be a great way for him to learn that not all toilets are loud and he can get back to going all by himself.

Kohler TouchlessThe install took about 10 minutes and is very self-explanatory.  The hard part is getting the right height because if the sensor is touching the lid it will flush every time you flip the seat up, bump the top, etc.  If it is too low it either won’t flush or you have to touch the lid of the tank to flush.  I didn’t need any extra tools, everything clipped into place, and once tweaking things a little bit my toilet was magically flushing by waving my hand over the top of the tank instead of reaching over to the handle.  Fun.  Kate and I keep reaching to the side for the handle and then remembering the sensor is on top and there is no need for the handle (which I chose to leave on for guests).  One of the things I love is that we had one of those old toilets where you had to hold the handle down for a good flush.  The KOHLER Touchless eradicates the need to do this because the kit automatically holds the flush for a set period of time.

Max Kohler ToiuchlessThe real story though, is Max.  Max thinks the Touchless Sensor is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  The old handle was too hard for him to flush and this one is a piece of cake.  He liked it so much we had to have a talk about how it isn’t a toy since he was flushing it over and over and over again.  I like that he can get up on the toilet and do his thing, then flush the toilet without touching the handle and spreading…whatever he has touched to the rest of us.  We also picked up a KOHLER Transitions seat which has a seat for the little guys as well a seat for the adults which is going to be a blessing when Dodge is ready to stop hiding behind the door and grunting.  Max is pretty excited about it too.  The seat fits our downstairs toilet while the sensor was installed upstairs and Max has asked if I am going to put one on the downstairs toilet as well…and I think I may have to.  Maybe a touch-less faucet too?

Here is the breakdown of PROS vs. CONS:

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • No more touching the toilet
  • Less germs/cleaner
  • Can leave handle on for guests
  • East to use
  • Kids can use it easily
  • Makes potty training fun for kids

CONS

  • Can accidentally flush when lid is bumped
  • Can’t place anything on top of lid
  • Can be confusing for guests
  • Can’t set length of flush hold

20140728_092248The pros greatly outweigh the cons and honestly, the only part that I don’t like is that we can’t place anything on the lid of the tank anymore since that is where the sensor is.  Also, I had to make a little riser to get the sensor just right for my old janky toilet.  Not being able to put things on the tank lid is why we chose the upstairs bathroom over the downstairs.  In the downstairs bathroom the tank lid is home to a vase of flowers, 2 picture frames, and a box of Klenex since it is the only surface in the small powder room.  If we installed the sensor, the Klenex would have to go.  I like that the kit holds a timed flush but it would be great if there was a way to set it for short, medium or long depending on your toilet…or a way to do a long flush if you held you hand over the sensor for a long period of time.  This would allow you to do short flushes for water conservation when flushing #1 and having a little more force for #2.  I also think future models should look at the idea of a remote sensor so you can put it wherever you want instead of only on top directly over your canister or flapper, you could even install the sensor in the old handle hole.

In conclusion, I think this is a low-cost and effective way to reduce the spreading of germs on any toilet and I would definitely recommend it to anyone with little kids that like to touch everything…which is every little kid.  It has helped Max start to get over his fear of auto-flush public toilets, made going to the potty easier since it is now fun, and made me feel better knowing that I’m not touching a ton of germs on the toilet handle.  I think it would be great in houses without small children as well, as a sophisticated option for guests to show you care about sanitation.  I am also recommending my office buy them as it is a great option for small businesses or restaurants.  For me, I like going to a restaurant and having the toilet, sink, and hand drying all be touch-less.  It shows the restaurant cares about sanitation and is a direct reflection of how clean the kitchen is.  The KOHLER Touchless Kit is the same concept but in your home.  Great for kids, great for parents, great for adults, easy to install/use, and an affordable upgrade.  I give it 2 thumbs up and Max jumps for joy!

UPDATE:  After 2 months of use we began having issues with it not giving a full flush and needing to touch the lid to get it to respond.  I pulled the generic batteries and replaced them with Duracells, it immediately went back to good working order.  However, the problems came back about 2-3 weeks later.  I swapped the batteries again and confirmed that the unit we have is now only holding a full charge for 2 weeks, tapers off in the 3rd, then ceases to function properly in the 4th.  This is a much shorter time period than advertised for the product and more upkeep than I am personally looking for.  I am glad we chose to keep the handle, otherwise you would not be able to flush after 2 weeks of use.  I think this is a great product in theory but in practice results will vary.  Our toilet’s tank lid is very thick and I think the sensor is working twice as hard as it was designed to in order to work.  If you have a modern toilet (preferably a Kohler) I think you would have good success and around 2-3 months of battery life vs. the 2-3 weeks I am experiencing.  For me and my circumstances though, the best solution was to remove it.  Thumbs up for the concept – thumbs down for the practicality.

20140728_100257

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9 thoughts on “Product Review: KOHLER’s Touchless Toilet Flush Kit

  1. We tried the kohler autoflush and was totally disappointed; It was hard to manage a courtesy flush. I had to wave my hands several times before it would flush. We are planning to return it if possible.

    Kurt

  2. We had trouble with phantom flushing. Kholer has redesigned the battery holder and top of the unit and sent free replacement. Seems to have fixed the problem.

    1. Mike
      Did you find a fix … mine just started; I replaced batteries(got me 5 hours), adjusted height, put tap on lid … nothing seems to fix it.

  3. Bought two n had Home Depot install
    One stopped working after a month
    Replaced batteries/nothing
    The other worked ok for six months and now flushes non stop every four minutes . Replaced batteries and still flushes. No changes in anything to cause this
    WASTE OF MONEY JUNK!!!!!
    no Kohler ever again for me

    1. Same problem for me. A bought a Touchless Kohler toilet, and it started phantom flushes after 4-5 months. I bought a replacement flush unit from Home Depot, and after about 9 months the phantom flushes started again. I’ve heard there’s an update to the flusher to fix this issue, so I checked back at Home Depot yesterday and they are still selling the older unit (internal part numbers match my phantom flusher) so I’m not buying it again. Toilets should not be high maintenance. I recommend staying away from the Kohler touchless products until they’ve truly fixed the issue and get the unreliable product lines off of the market.

      1. Guy’s
        Your posts refreshed my memory(nightmare). So, I went to the Kohler site http://www.us.kohler.com/us/static/contact.jsp

        Of course its been a week and absolutely not response.
        If you have not reported the issue please do so.

        Ugg… I would think Kohler would want to have happy returning customers. Clearly no longer a priority and eventually wonder why they can’t give away their 5h!t … when we flush them from our shopping list.

  4. I bought 2 Kohler toilets and they have the same problem. Kohler, of course, won’t admit there is a problem and keeps jerking you around with their defective design. No more Kohlers for me. I don’t own a battery factory.

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