As smart technology begins to enter the bathroom, the toilet is evolving from a mundane necessity into a stylish tech centerpiece. Smart toilets have been around for several years, though, to date, most of the technology has centered on touchless flushing, automated seat lifting and heated seating. In 2018, we will see the first toilets that connect via WiFi, and integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri to enable voice control.
What are Smart Toilets?
The category of smart home products typically refers to how the products connect to the internet through a WiFi (or other protocol) via another device, like your phone. For toilets, many manufacturers have broadened this definition, and instead focused more on features that are tech-enabled such as touch free, automatic cleaning, and overflow prevention. In this post, we will use the broader definition of smart toilet, though also highlight Kohler's Numi intelligent toilet which will be the first toilet to meet the industry definition by connecting to the internet and enabling remote access through the new Kohler Konnect™ app.
What are the Features of Smart Toilets?
Smart toilet features vary by manufacturer, and here are some of the common ones:
- Touch Free Flushing - Probably the most practical and beneficial feature for a smart toilet is the ability to flush without touching the handle. For most models this is achieved through a motion sensor, though later in 2018 Kohler's Numi will allow you to flush by voice command.
- Integrated Bidet - Personal cleaning features are integrated into the toilet and include front and rear warm water spray as well as warm air drying.
- Automatic Bowl Cleaning & Deodorizing - If you are grossed out by your toilet cleaning brush, you will likely love the self cleaning features of smart toilets. These systems use UV light and electrolyzed water to keep the bowl clean, and some even have automated deodorizing systems to keep the toilet smelling fresh.
- Automatic & Heated Seats - Simply walk into your bathroom and wave your hand to lift your seat and push a button to activate the seat warmer to take the chill off before you sit down.
- Overflow prevention - Sensors in the toilet identify clogs and prevent you from flushing, eliminating the risk of water damage from a potential overflow.
- Night Lights - No need to turn on your bathroom light if you need a restroom break during the night as most smart toilets come with integrated night lights.
- Music - Connect your Bluetooth device to wirelessly stream music in your bathroom.
What are the Best Smart Toilets Available Today?
There are a few intelligent toilets on the market today, here are the top ones to know:
Kohler Veil Intelligent Toilet: At just over $3,000, the Veil offers minimalist style with elegant curves and all of the key features you should expect of an intelligent toilet. The toilet is tankless, and thus less imposing in your bathroom. From a technology standpoint, the Veil features personal cleansing with warm front and rear sprays, touch free flushing, a heated seat and an integrated night light.
Kohler Numi: The current version of the Numi offers the most technology features of any smart toilet on the market today, and is priced over $5,000. Later in 2018, an even more advanced version is planned that will integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri to enable voice controls. The Numi is a contemporary boxy design and features a motion activated seat, integrated bidet and dryer, a heater for the seat and your feet, illuminated panels and night lights, plus the ability to play music wirelessly from a Bluetooth connected device.
Kohler Numi with Kohler Konnect™ (Coming 2018): In early January, Kohler announced the launch of Kohler Konnect, its new smart technology app that enables homeowners to connect remotely to their bathroom fixtures. The new technology will be available in the next generation Numi featuring Kohler Konnect. In addition to the features of the existing Numi, Kohler Konnect will enable you to personalize your toilet preferences and use voice controls through your preferred voice assistant (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri). Pricing is not yet available.
Toto Neorest 750h: Toto offers a couple of intelligent toilet features in its Neorest line, though the 750h is the flagship toilet, and priced over $10,000. The toilet offers a zirconium coating on the bowl that resists waste sticking, and uses UV light and electrolyzed water to keep the bowl extra clean. It also features a deodorizer, integrated bidet, heated seat and automatic lids and flush.
Is there an Alexa enabled toilet?
Not yet, though sometime in 2018, the Kohler Numi with Kohler Konnect referenced above will integrate Amazon's Alexa (and Google Assistant and Apple Siri).
How do I Know if a Smart Toilet is Right for Me?
Realistically, smart toilets are going to be cost prohibitive for most homeowners. These toilets need access to electrical outlets to function, so beyond the cost of the toilet itself, there are also additional installation costs to be aware of. If you are interested in a more cost effective option, there are a number of bidets on the market that can be installed on your existing toilet and offer some of the benefits of heated seats and personal cleansing. These options start at about $200.