What Is a Smart Toilet and Should You Buy One?

Get the scoop on high-tech toilets

A smart toilet is a device with many built-in features such as an automatic dryer, heated seat, and more. For smart homes around the world, smart toilets are becoming the norm, but is it really worth purchasing one?

What Is a Smart Toilet?

A smart toilet is an advanced toilet using built-in smart technology, or technology capable of interacting and connecting with the user. These toilets are often found in smart homes around the world and in high-tech regions such as Japan.

Photo of white smart toilet in bathroom
 Ratchat / Getty Images

These devices are capable of many things, from playing music to flushing at the touch of a button, all while saving precious water.

The History of the Smart Toilet

A device once thought of as a luxury, toilets have been in use for many, many years. In fact, the first toilet device was invented in 1596, when Sir John Harrington created a flushing lavatory with a built-in cistern. Fast forward to the 1980s, and smart toilets gained popularity in Japan rapidly.

In 2011, company Kohler released the Numi, hailed as the world's first smart toilet, for a whopping $6,400. The Numi was revolutionary, allowing users to set their own ambient lighting, adjust the water temperature, and even listen to music with the built-in radio.

Photo of controls on a white smart toilet
Supawat Bursuk / Getty Images

Now, many companies have entered the smart toilet race, each developing unique features you didn't know you needed.

The TOTO Neorest 700H, for example, not only cleans your body but also cleans itself and freshens the air. The KOHLER Veil's bidet offers users the ability to change the water temperature and the water pressure to fit their specific preferences. Meanwhile, the Ove Decors Tuva can change the seat temperature to fit your preference, even as you approach it.

The Most Popular Smart Toilet Features

Smart toilets come with a wide range of popular features, making them irresistible to some. These features include:

  • Seat warmers: The majority of smart toilets can warm the toilet seat to fit your preferences.
  • Automatic lid: Enables the toilet to open or close the lid automatically, leaving the experience completely touch-free.
  • Nightlight: When you need to answer nature's call at night, some smart toilets offer ambient night lighting.
  • Spray adjustment: If you purchase a smart toilet with a bidet, some allow you to adjust the spray pressure and water temperature.

The Pros of Purchasing Your Own Smart Toilet

Thinking about purchasing your own smart toilet? Before you do, it's important to understand the pros and cons. To start, let's discuss the pros.

  • Space-saving: Smart toilets are often smaller than typical toilets, even placing the cistern and required buttons on the wall. This saves space in otherwise cramped bathrooms.
  • Hygienic: Smart toilets are often operated completely touch-free, meaning they're incredibly hygienic. As mentioned previously, some models even clean themselves.
  • Great for the aging and disabled population: Smart toilets are easier to use for those with disabilities or those who are aging, making it easier to take care of their personal hygiene.
  • Low water consumption: Smart toilets flush using the right amount of water, every single time. This dramatically reduces the amount of water used on each flush.

The Cons of Purchasing Your Own Smart Toilet

Although the benefits of owning a smart toilet are plenty, there are some important cons to know.

  • Cost: Smart toilets are costly. In fact, the price of most models is in the thousands, while standard toilets, on average, cost $350 or less.
  • Electricity usage: Technology like this will also consume more electricity. Adding another smart device to your home may also increase your electricity bill.
  • Repairs: Just like any piece of technology, a smart toilet will require specific repairs and maintenance as needed. This type of maintenance can be costly and not necessarily readily available in your area.
  • Ease of use: Using a smart toilet may take time to learn, depending on the number of features you choose.

Should You Buy a Smart Toilet?

If you're looking to save on water or space and wish to upgrade, a smart toilet might be an option for you. However, if you don't have the extra cash to spend upfront and don't want to take the chance on costly repairs, it might be best to skip one. Either way, only time will tell if smart toilets are the future of the modern bathroom.

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