We take toilets for granted.
We want them to be there when we need them, but once our toilet performs its loyal service we shut the lid, spray some deodorizer, and close the door.
We’d rather not think too much about it.
Maybe it’s time to consider all that our trusty toilets do for us. The best way to say thanks could be upgrading to a smart toilet for your home or office remodel. 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, can you do without a smart toilet? Can smart tech really improve the toilet using experience? And if so, are smart toilets worth the money?
RAVE Reviews found out.
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?
Here are a few common toilet features in the best smart toilet:
- Automatic lid
Automatic lids allow for the convenience (and hygiene) of touch-free opening and closing.
- LED Nightlight
And on those nights we groggily wander into the bathroom, ambient night lighting helps us hit our mark.
- 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 for extra power.
Speaking of flushing, nobody wants a toilet that overflows. 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
- An air dryer with adjustable dryer temperature to keep you feeling fresh!
- A foot warmer, because the bathroom is no place for cold feet
- Self-cleaning features, because bathroom duty is the worst chore
- Built-in sensors alerting you to possible tank leaks
- Self-deodorizer, because…well, you can imagine
- Emergency flushing system for power outages — the feature you didn’t know you needed
- Soft-close seat, 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 throne of your very own.
And perhaps best of all, many of these features operate from a control panel or remote control.
It’s pretty clear that smart toilets can do a lot. But how much does a smart toilet cost?
Released in 2011, the Kohler Numi is commonly considered the world’s first smart toilet. It cost $6,400 dollars, which is a pretty hefty price tag.
These days, smart toilets range from about $1,000 (the Woodbridge B-0960S, for example) 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.
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. That’s some efficient water usage right there, which is never a bad thing. But on the flipside, it takes energy to power all those extra kush 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, the Kohler Avoir One-Piece Tankless Toilet runs 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 balances out with 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. The Ove Decors Smart Toilet, for instance, runs on 120V.
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 honey-do list.
So, are smart toilets worth the money? So far we’ve covered extra features, water usage, and energy efficiency. Let’s now look at the pros and cons of owning a smart toilet.
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
All this means RAVE Reviews is pretty smart about smart toilets. If you’re considering purchasing one but you’re not sure if it’s worth the money, then you’ve come to the right place.
There is, of course, no single answer to the question “Are smart toilets worth the money?” But if a smart toilet is something you’re interested in, and it fits your budget, hopefully the following information will help make up your mind.
Pros of Owning a Smart Toilet
- Space savings
In addition to water, smart toilets save space. That’s because smart toilets are often smaller than traditional toilets. Go with a one-piece toilet with a tankless design like the Toto Washlet, featuring CEFIONTECT glaze and PreMist functionality, for instance, and you’ll realize even further space savings.
- 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? Check that off your to-do list.
- 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.
- Power usage
Smart toilets take electricity. While most are pretty energy efficient, this will add to your power bill.
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. We all learned how to use the toilet a long time ago — do we really want to learn it all over again?
The Verdict: Are Smart Toilets Worth the Money?
So, from what have we learned, we know that 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 and a slow-closing lid. You’ll also realize 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 yes, smart toilets are definitely worth the money.