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American Standard Optum Vormax Toilet Review

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American Standard Optum Vormax Two-Piece Right Height Elongated Toilet

American Standard Optum Vormax Toilet

Is This American Standard Optum Vormax Toilet A Jinx Toilet?

The world of toilets is a funny place to be in, especially when you are making a living out of toilet reviews. You get all shades of opinion, sometimes helpful, at times moronic to outright hateful.

Hateful?

Yes. And that will depend on where you bought your toilet and what the model is. When you purchase the wrong toilet at the wrong place you’re cursed, regardless. The same toilet make and model can have very different user opinions. The nightmare begins when you have two reviews on each extreme and coming from 2 of the most trusted online shopping sites in the country.

If you need a classic case to make sense of why this is so, this American Standard Optum Vormax toilet review is it.

Two Almost Similar Vormax Toilets, Two Extreme Ratings

So which is the other VorMax model that is similar to this Optum Vormax toilet?

Answer: The Ultima Vormax Toilet.

Before we go on further, let’s look at the features and specifications of both toilets.

Optum & Ultima VorMax Toilet Features & Specifications

Optum VorMax Toilet

  • CleanCurve Rim
  • EverClean Surface
  • Water consumption (1.28 gpf/4.8 Lpf)
  • Comfortable 16-1/2″ rim height
  • 2-1/16″ fully glazed trapway
  • Water surface area 9″ x 8″
  • 12″ rough-in
  • WaterSense mark
  • ADA compliant
  • MaP rating: 1000
  • Dimensions: 30-5/8″ x 18-1/16″ x 30-13/16″

Ultima VorMax Toilet

  • CleanCurve Rim
  • EverClean Surface
  • Water consumption (1.28 gpf/4.8 Lpf)
  • Comfortable 16-1/2″ rim height
  • 2-1/16″ fully glazed trapway
  • Water surface area 9″ x 8″
  • 12″ rough-in
  • WaterSense mark
  • ADA compliant
  • MaP rating 1000
  • Dimensions: 30-5/8″ x 17-1/2″ x 30-11/16″

Optum & Ultima VorMax Toilet Dimensions

As you can see, the features of both toilets are similar. And the specifications are almost identical. Except for the height and length, which the difference is only a tiny fraction.

But the user ratings for the Optum and Ultima VorMax toilets are worlds apart. Now let’s focus on the Optum since it is what you are interested.

Confusing Customer Reviews

At Amazon, the Optum VorMax toilet manages a 2.6 stars rating with only 12 customer reviews. Whereas over at Home Depot, it’s a bright 4.4 stars with 408 reviews.

Optum VorMax Amazon Reviews

Why is that even possible? Is Amazon shipping a different Optum VorMax toilet from Home Depot? Are Home Depot customers more gracious, or more tolerant?

Not at all. It has a lot to do with how they moderate customer reviews.

Amazon is pretty liberal when it comes to reviews. You can voice your frustration for just about anything, even it has nothing to do with the product performance or quality. But they are strict with authenticity, and they won’t tolerate fake reviews. You probably have heard about people getting sued by Amazon for selling fake reviews. That’s how serious Amazon is when it comes down to customer reviews.

But it’s not like you can easily game Home Depot’s review system with fake reviews, they are more particular about relevancy to product quality and performance. And they are heavily moderated to make sure the reviews are informational and helpful.

Then where is the problem?

More Confusing Customer Reviews

Since the Ultima VorMax toilet is in the picture, why not have a look at its review status. They are similar, remember? So if Optum is so poorly rated on Amazon and highly praised in Home Depot, surely the reviews shouldn’t be that far off. Right?

Wrong.

There are no reviews at Home Depot for Ultima VorMax, so go ahead and be the first to leave one. And Amazon has 28 reviews, all positives with a 4.7 stars rating. That’s very rare of Amazon to have zero negative reviews.

So what leaves you to decide? Almost nothing.

Ultima Home Depot Reviews

If you are trying to make sense of the customer reviews to base your decision on, be prepared for disappointment. There isn’t any consistency you can rely on to determine if the VorMax is a great toilet American Standard wants you to believe. And that makes you wonder if the Optum VorMax 4.4 stars review over at Home Depot is rigged.

But let’s not just depend on customer reviews to judge. Don’t you think it’s fair to look at the design as well? And from the toilet design, you should be able to draw some conclusion about its advantages and disadvantages.

Is This A Case Of Excellent Concept With A Flawed Design?

The design of the VorMax flush mainly revolves around the bowl and the way water exit the tank. To make a stronger water flow, it uses two flush valves with a flapper each. The idea is to get water to flow into the bowl at twice the speed. Hence, a powerful flush.

VorMax Dual Flush Valve

VorMax Dual Flush Valve
Image Source: terrylove.com

And each valve serves a different water channel in the bowl. One for rinsing the surface of the bowl, while the other is for pushing solid waste out through the trapway.

The water channel for rinsing has a large opening on one side of the bowl near the top towards the back. So when water gushes out, it spirals along the bowl surface from the top down to the bowl outlet. This help to remove any stains or sticky waste smears on the bowl surface.

And to make the rinsing even more efficient, the EverClean Surface coat on the bowl ensure nothing sticks. So you should get a clean bowl with every flush.

With this water channel design, it breaks away from the conventional bowl rim with small jet holes lined along it. So it’s rimless with a name, it’s called the CleanCurve Rim. The advantage is there are no hidden areas for bacteria and dirt, and cleaning is easy. And with the EverClean Surface, mildew, molds and bacteria are kept away. So like the ad says, “It keeps the toilet cleaner and stays clean longer.”

So far so good? But have you picked up any clues that spell disadvantage?

Disadvantages

Though the contradicting reviews at Home Depot and Amazon are almost useless, you can still find some gold nuggets that will help you decide. What are they?

From an engineering perspective, more moving parts means higher risk of failing. And cost more to maintain.

The two flapper valves provide a powerful flush, but at the same time, it also means the chances of leaking is twice as high. If you need a replacement for the flapper assembly, you can’t get it anywhere except to call American Standard’s customer service. You got to cross your fingers and hope they have it in stock.

Previously, the most complaint with this Optum VorMax toilet is the flapper valve. And the problem of leaking almost nominated the negative reviews in both Amazon and Home Depot. However, American Standard seems to have made an improvement to the flush valve. Unfortunately, that don’t seem to change anything. There are still complaints about water running caused by the flappers.

Another potential problem with the flush valves is their proximity to each other. As each flapper has a float attached via a chain, it is possible for one float to interfere with proper opening and closing of the flapper. That can potentially lead to running issue and cause weak flushing.

Verdict?

While the concept of the dual flush valve to boost flushing power is good, AS needs to focus more on the flapper design to make it fail proof. Often the difficult part is the transition from concept to design. If not well planned out, the latter can make or break a great idea into either an excellent product or a disaster.

It’s a pity it didn’t quite leverage on the momentum from the initial buzz when it first launched. The design flaws is probably the main stumbling block that leads to conflicting reviews. Otherwise, it would have been a great water saving toilet.

Until there are significant improvements made, this American Standard Optum VorMax toilet shall remain in this Negative Reviews section.

Sorry AS, we are not superstitious.


Better Alternative

Do you like this American Standard Optum Vormax toilet but are undecided? Since the reviews are not helpful at all, you may be thinking of alternatives. Well, you are not alone.

Like most people, you probably like the vortex flush and the CleanCurve Rim. Of course, the 1.28 gpf is ideal for saving water and money in the long run. But is there an equal to this American Standard Optum VorMax toilet, or even better?

Yes, there are.

On the same price point, you may want to consider these (better) alternatives.

Both of these TOTO toilets are using the Tornado flushing system, which is similar to VorMax. But instead of one jetted water ways for bowl rinsing, they have two. Extremely powerful at bowl rinsing and removing solid waste. And just like the VorMax, they are also rimless. And if you prefer a toilet that is really easy to clean, consider the one-piece TOTO Ultramax II. You will love it.

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Comments

  1. I am a plumber and I installed one of these in my own house. It was fine at first, but then one day it clogged. This toilet cannot be plunged because the bottom of the bowl is square and I have not found a plunger yet. Using a plunger does not clear the clog because it cannot seal to the bowl outlet. To make matters worse, because of the two flush valves in the tank, any pressure you do manage to create with the plunger goes right up the siphon jet outlet into the tank thru the 2nd flush valve.
    I am ready to replace this toiler with something that works….

    1. Author

      @Peter Thanks for sharing your valuable experience.

  2. I purchased one of the Home Depot Vormax II toilets about 7 months ago. From day one I had problems with the flush action. Sometimes it will flush fine and others it just swirls around and fills the bowl but will not flush. I have been in a running conversation with AS and they even sent a new bowl as a problem solver. Didn’t help a bit. The old toilet I had in there flushed fine and the others in the house (not AS) work fine too. I changed it to go to the taller bowl but will soon be taking this one out as well. AS has designed the worst toilet possible with this one.

    1. Author

      Hi Paul. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just installed 2 of these today for the first time. They were picked out by a customer and it looked like a good idea on the box. She already had them there, I personally had never seen them before. After flushing both of them 3-4 times I noticed that the first one was running constantly. I removed the tank lid and noticed that the float attached to the flapper on the right side was stuck under flapper on the left. I moved it back to the correct side and flushed several more times. It didn’t do it again, but I know after seeing that happen its just a matter of time before it does. Not even sure what to do as in this is how it’s designed. I took several screen-shots of the info above to show the customer when the call does come. Not looking foward to it, but like I said I know it’s coming. I agree with the Toto recommendation. I’ve installed several of these and never had any problems. Kohler is good as well.

    1. Author

      Hi Steven, thanks for sharing.

      I don’t know why they still use the flappers. A.S. sure have the resources and capability to build a new flush valve without the flappers. The problem could be solved with tower flush, whether dual or a large valve opening.

      My 2 cents
      Martin

  4. Got a Vortex (the tall model) that had been returned to Home Depot Everything was still sealed in original packing none had been opened includind the tank package but when i got ready to install there was no flapper unit in the tank. It had to have come from the factory thst way. So i had to order the unit on line for $42. Not available at LOCAL plumbing supply houses. Looks like we picked a lemon.

    1. Author

      Hi Wayne.

      I’d send a copy of the receipt to AS or Home Depot as proof and ask for a refund. 🙂

      Martin

  5. We purchased four from Ferguson. They are awful. Flush poorly, generally have to flush twice. Clog easily. For $420.00 plus seat they are a huge disappointment.

  6. horrible experience with this toilet – leaks constantly and had to change flappers twice- ridiculous AP can’t improve flapper design and exorbitant costs of flappers and even worse with whole assembly- if you can’t figure out which flapper is leaking – so sorry I bought this and was recommended by very large professional plumbing company in FL- this simply is not fair and they have audacity to actually sell this unit as an top of the line toilet

  7. I bought 2 of the Optum Vormax toilets from Home Depot about 1 1/2 years ago. Had no problems and very satisfied with the product. Toilets stay cleaner and the flushing is strong.

    1. Author

      Hi Suzy. Thanks for sharing your experience and glad you to hear your satisfaction for the Vormax toilets.

  8. I have the Americsn Standard Vortex # 661097.
    The toilet mechanism is such a bad design. After the first few days there was trouble w the flappers.
    I wish i had seen these reviews before spending so much money.

    1. Author

      Hi Fran.

      Thanks for sharing. When did you bought the toilet?

      Martin

  9. American standard toilets are no good model 4149a total bunk! Needs a new gasket , when brand new , no recall just screw the customer, do not buy water flow release ,company total sucks

    1. Author

      Thanks for the feedback.:)

  10. I have 2 of these toilets. It is impossible to keep the bowl clean. I get mold/mildew inside the bowl no matter how much the toilet is flushed. I am regretting my purchase of these from Homo-Depot,

    1. Author

      Hi Joe. Thanks for the comment and sorry to hear about your problem.

      It may not necessary due to the toilet. Have you check your other fixtures like bath tub, sink (porcelain) and even the walls to have the same issue? Is your bathroom or toilet surroundings well ventilated? Are you using rainwater, used-water….etc to flush? What about the water quality? Is it hard? You didn’t mention how fast the buildup appears. Typically mold will form after 2 or 3 days with stagnant water in a humid surrounding. You may want to investigate further otherwise whatever toilet you have in place will have the same problem.

      To remove and prevent mold from growing again you may want to try this – http://blackmoldcontrol.com/how-to-remove-black-mold-from-your-toilet-bowl-tank-and-seat/

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