It’s easy to take toilets for granted. There’s been little to no innovation in the industry until recently. But now however, technologically advanced smart toilets have hit the market that might sway even the most frugal of shoppers. Are smart toilets worth the money? We’ll give you the facts and expert opinions so you can decide!
It’s time to consider all that our trusty toilets do for us, and what smart technology can improve about them. Smart tech, after all, has taken over many other areas of our home — from fridges to coffee makers. But it comes at a cost.
If you’re the type to have all the latest tech-y gadgets and gear, will a smart toilet make a worthy addition to your home?
Can smart tech really improve the toilet using experience? And if so, are these features worth the money? Continue reading and we’ll answer these questions and more.
Table of Contents
- Smart Toilet Features
- Types of Smart Toilet
- Pros of Owning a Smart Toilet
- Cons of Owning a Smart Toilet
- Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Toilets
- The Verdict: Are Smart Toilets Worth the Money?
Appeals of the Smart Toilet
Aaron Barnett of DIY construction and tool advice website Banging Toolbox has over 11 years experience as a qualified builder with supervisor experience. He first discovered smart toilets while traveling in Japan.
“My friend was surprised to get shot by a jet of warm water when he stood up too soon,” Barnett tells RAVE Reviews. The toilet also had a heated toilet seat and even played music.
For his part, Barnett is surprised smart toilets haven’t taken off in the West. “I don’t know why a toilet is so overlooked in the design of a new building or house,” he says.
But besides a heated seat, music, and a bidet wand, what exactly makes a smart toilet an intelligent toilet?
Are the features of a smart toilet really enough to justify the cost? You’ll need to decide how much you value these features to make that call.
Smart Toilet Features
Here are a few common toilet features in the best smart toilet:
- Remote Control
You can control your smart toilet with the press of a button on the remote control. The settings available on the control will vary, but some even allow presets to match the preference of different users in the household.
- Automatic lid
Automatic lids allow for the convenience (and hygiene) of touch-free opening and closing.
- Heated Seating
One of the most appreciated features of the smart toilet is the seat warming technology with adjustable settings. Each time you visit your smart toilet, you’ll enjoy the heated seat calibrated to your desired temperature.
- LED Nightlight Feature
The ambient night lighting helps users to navigate the bathroom at nighttime. Most smart toilets provide automatic light adjustments based on the time of day or night. Some models of smart toilet offer additional nightlight features.
- Adjustable spray
Back on the subject of bidet functionality, many smart toilets allow for adjustable water pressure, pre-mist, and variable water temperature to get that cleansing jet just right. Then, dry off with the air-dry function.
- Next-level flushing
But perhaps the biggest flushing-related perk to a smart toilet is touchless, automatic flushing. Smart toilets have a sensor, and that sensor picks up motion, either from the movement of the body as it stands up or from the wave of a hand, which activates the flushing mechanism.
Many smart toilets come with dual-flush technology that ensure everything goes down smoothly, which helps keep the toilet looking fresh and clean.
- Overflow protection
Speaking of flushing, nobody wants to deal with a flooded bathroom and that’s where overflow protection comes in. Smart toilets know when there is a toilet paper clog, stopping the flush before it starts by keeping the water level low in the toilet bowl.
But that’s not all — you can also expect:
- Not only a bidet but also a massaging bidet wash with a pulsating spray.
- Foot warmers to keep your feet nice and toasty while you do your business.
- If not with a remote control, you’ll be able to adjust the settings on a control panel.
- Warm air dryer with adjustable dryer temperature to keep you feeling fresh!
- Self-cleaning features, because bathroom duty is the worst chore.
- Built-in sensors alerting you to potential tank leaks.
- Self-deodorizer, which lessens the need for an air freshener in your bathroom.
- Emergency flushing system that will allow continued use during power outages.
- Self closing lids, cutting down on those inadvertent late-night noisy lid slams.
- Smart toilet seat that opens as you approach and closes when you’re done.
- Bluetooth and MP3 compatibility so you can listen to some tunes. We find a little Kenny G really helps us go. You can even ask Google “Who directed Gunga Din” while seated upon a smart throne of your very own.
It’s pretty clear that smart toilets can do a lot. But how much does a smart toilet cost?
These days, smart toilets range from about $650 up to many thousands of dollars for higher-end models. That’s while a standard toilet can cost as little as $350 on Amazon. There’s no way around it — smart toilets are an investment that will cost at least double the price of standard toilets.
Types of Smart Toilet
Not all smart toilets are created equal. But which type is right for you will depend on your preferences. Here are the different types of smart toilet.
- Smart toilet bidet system
A smart toilet bidet provides a water spray adjustment system so that you can decide the water pressure and water temperature that feels best to you. More expensive models even allow you to lock in user profiles, so that each member of the household can enjoy their ideal bidet experience.
Smart toilet bidet systems also cut out the need for toilet paper, and some researchers suggest that they may be more sanitary. But the research is mixed. Healthline points out that certain pathogens might be transported by the water spray feature if they are not properly cleaned.
- Tankless design
Most smart toilets–if not all of them–provide a tankless design which creates an ergonomic shape which will appeal to those who find traditional toilets to be an eye sore.
- Budget Versus Expensive
There’s two categories of smart toilet. Some smart toilets will provide all of the features that we’ve discussed but you’ll have to pay for them–anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more. Other smart toilets are designed to exclude unnecessary features, so that customers on a budget can afford them.
If you’re looking to get the most value, pick a smart toilet that offers only the features that you really want.
Water Saving Features
But smart toilets save in other ways, primarily in water consumption. The federally mandated maximum water usage for any toilet is 1.6 GPF (i.e. gallons per flush). Today, however, that’s considered too much water, and many toilets go lower.
Smart toilets go as low as 0.6 GPF and some will allow you to adjust the water saving feature to use more or less water.
But on the flipside, it takes energy to power all those extra features we just told you about.
Power for smart toilets comes in one of two ways — either from a battery or from a plug in the wall, just like any other kind of appliance.
For example, some brands of Tankless Toilet run for a year on four AA batteries. If you go with a battery-powered smart toilet, you’ll have to periodically buy new batteries and expend the time and energy installing the battery.
So, what you save in water usage is lost on the expense of new batteries and labor.
With that said, the average person can change the batteries in a battery-operated smart toilet, which means you won’t have to call, or pay, a plumber or electrician.
All smart toilets are pretty energy efficient, so plugging one in isn’t going to add too much to your monthly energy bill. Plug-in style smart toilets do save you the expense and hassle of changing the battery. After all, who wants “Did you change the toilet battery?” added to their to-do list.
So, are smart toilets worth the money?
We have covered the extra features, water usage, and energy efficiency. Let’s now look at the pros and cons of owning a smart toilet.
Methodology of Pros and Cons Section
When gathering the pros and cons of smart toilets, RAVE Reviews consulted plumbers, electricians, licensed contractors, interior designers, and other building professionals.
We also considered our own personal experience with home renovation projects.
What we sought was a thorough and comprehensive list of all the pros and cons of owning a smart toilet, including:
- Added benefits
- Hidden expense
- Ease of use
- Unexpected drawbacks
Pros of Owning a Smart Toilet
- Space savings
In addition to water, smart toilets can save space. Tankless smart toilets are often smaller than traditional toilets overall.
- Extra hygienic
We’ve covered a few reasons smart toilets are more hygienic than standard models, but did you know many smart toilets are also self-cleaning?
- Perfect for the aging or alter-abled
Extra hygiene features also make smart toilets a good choice for the aging or the alter-abled, many of whom can no longer reach the small spaces and hidden surfaces of a standard toilet when cleaning.
Additionally, smart toilets come with comfort height, or chair-height seating, making sitting down and standing up easier for most adults.
But owning a smart toilet doesn’t always smell rosy. RAVE Reviews discovered some drawbacks as well.
Cons of Owning a Smart Toilet
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: a smart toilet will cost you. Before you consider buying one, make sure it’s in your budget.
- Energy Requirement
Most smart toilets will need power, meaning that you’ll need an electrical outlet in your bathroom capable of providing the necessary voltage. This might be a troublesome barrier for some bathrooms.
- Power usage
Smart toilets take electricity. While most are pretty energy efficient, this will add to your power bill. A feature-rich smart toilet might take quite a lot of electricity, so be sure to check the energy requirements before you buy.
If you go with a battery-operated model, there is the added expense of buying and changing the batteries.
Extra functions in a smart toilet means there’s more stuff that can break, and fixing a smart toilet is more difficult and expensive than repairing an average toilet.
- Learning curve
All these remote controls and added features take some time to get used to. Regular toilets offer simplicity, but a smart toilet offers
A smart toilet with all or most of the above mentioned features may be larger than a traditional toilet by height and length. This might cause some issues in tightly spaced bathrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Toilets
If you’re not quite ready to decide whether a smart toilet is worth the money, then we’ll answer a few more questions that might be lingering in your mind.
How do I know what features each model of smart toilet offers?
Like many forms of modern technology, smart toilets may offer more features or less features depending on their price tag and the manufacturer. As a general rule, if you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll probably need to expect that models within your price range may sacrifice some features.
To check the features offered by a smart toilet, consult the model’s product page on both the manufacturer’s website and on Amazon or Google Reviews. This will tell you what features come with the model you’re interested in.
Unfortunately, with so many bells and whistles, some features are bound to last longer than others. The Amazon and Google reviews will often let you know if any features are missing or if they are lackluster.
How long does a Smart Toilet last?
There are several factors that will determine how long a smart toilet will last. The best smart toilets can last decades with some maintenance every couple of years. But some models will use parts that might break down quicker than others.
This is why it’s important to consult real user reviews to see if there’s any commonly reportedly problems.
The next major factor comes down to the frequency of use. Even the best models might breakdown quicker if they are used in busy public spaces. But if your household will have a few people using your smart toilet, then there’s no reason it won’t stand the test of time.
On the other hand, some say traditional porcelain toilets need to be replaced every 15 years. So in general, when used with care a smart toilet should last just as long–if not longer–than a traditional toilet.
Will a smart toilet work in my bathroom?
To answer this question you will need to know two things:
- The available space in your bathroom for your toilet.
- The electrical design in your bathroom.
So first things first. Measure your bathroom’s toilet space and then compare this to the dimensions of the smart toilets that you’re interested in. Next, check to see if the model requires an electrical outlet and the required voltage.
Some models will require a special outlet, while others can use a standard outlet. Most bidet toilet seats will need a GFCI protected 3 prong outlet with at least 15 amps.
For a more detailed explanation of how to install a smart toilet, consider our article on the subject.
The Verdict: Are Smart Toilets Worth the Money?
If you’re after all these fancy features, smart toilets earn their place in any smart home.
They come with a range of features for added comfort, ease of use, and hygiene, not to mention some things you never knew you needed from a toilet, like bluetooth compatibility, a heated seat, or a slow-closing lid. You’ll also enjoy significant water savings.
Smart toilets also tend to be smaller and better-suited for design plans where space is an issue. They’re more comfortable for the aging and alter-abled as well.
But all that comes at a price, as well as added power usage. You’ll also have to contend with some costly repairs, and there’s a learning curve to simply use the things.
But if all this sounds good to you, then smart toilets may definitely be worth the money. And with all the smart toilets on the market, you’ll likely be able to find one in your price range. If you’re ready to find a smart toilet, RAVE offers a deep dive covering the best options on the market.