Renovation 101: Do you really need a smart toilet?

Smart toilets are becoming more popular in Australia as homeowners begin to appreciate the bathroom not just for its functionality but also for its luxury. Is it worth investing in this “toilet technology”?


The smart toilet, which was popularised in Japan in the 1980s and is used in 80 per cent of Japanese households, is considered an innovation in health and personal care due to its special features that are aimed to improve even the most basic personal wellness routine.

From 2015 to 2016, the demand for smart toilets in Australia doubled. Since then, over one per cent of homes across the country already enjoys the modern toilet fixture, according to the Facility Management magazine.

Aside from the luxurious effect that it adds to the bathroom and the relaxing experience that it offers its users, the product also boasts health benefits and cost-efficiency.

However, this innovation obviously comes at a hefty price. Will the benefits outweigh the costs?


What is a smart toilet?

Smart toilets combine sophisticated style with intuitive technology to provide a better user experience, improved hygiene and sustainability.

Most smart toilet fixtures available in the market have heated seats, built-in bidets with drier, automatic opening and closing, automatic flush and other hands-free options. They are also rimless, with special coatings, no-splash flush and a self-cleaning and overflow protection mechanisms to reduce the spread of any germs in the bathroom.

Other units even offer remote control support, oscillating massage, adjustable water temperature and pressure, adjustable drying temperature, foot warmer, self-deodorizer, Bluetooth and MP3 capabilities and a night light.

Depending on the supplier, homeowners may choose from floor-mounted toilets, wall-hung toilets or close-coupled toilets.

Advantages of smart toilets

To address the need for space conservation in most homes, most smart toilets allow for in-wall cisterns or the installation of cisterns and flush buttons into the wall. Some units, on the other hand, integrate cistern and button into the pan itself.

Aside from wellness and comfort, improvements in health and hygiene are the most common benefits of the smart toilet.

Due to the wash-and-dry function, rimless technology and other automated and hands-free functions, this modern toilet fixture is deemed more hygienic than the average toilet. In fact, one distributor claimed that it reduced the risk of urinary tract infections after a six-month study in a nursing home.

As a result of its hands-free features as well, the modern toilet fixture benefits people with disability as well as the aging population who have limited mobility.

Moreover, due to the toilet’s smart features, homeowners can save on toilet papers and cleaning materials and products.

Water consumption may also be significantly reduced since smart toilets are programmed to flush using the just the right amount. In comparison with basic toilets that use 6 litre per flush, units with smart flush technology can use as little as 3.3 litre per flush.

Disadvantages of smart toilets

While you save water and paper by using smart toilets, the bathroom fixture will require you to use a lot of electricity and power.

The most common power options are using batteries for the smart functions or connecting to the home’s main wiring system. Batteries will not have installation costs but a wired system may prove to be less of a hassle since you don’t have to go changing batteries regularly.

Aside from the costs of power, the unit itself does not come cheap. Smart toilets seats can go from $800 to $2,000. An entire unit can cost a couple of hundred dollars to a whopping $8,200 depending on the features.

Homeowners are also advised to consider installation fees and maintenance costs. Since smart toilets use high-level technology, repairs or replacement of parts are likely to entail high costs.

‘Balance form and function’

At the end of the day, experts strongly advise homeowners to take advantage of their ability to combine form and function when renovating bathrooms. After all, over the years, it has become a place of luxury and relaxation in most households.

According to Properybuyer’s Rich Harvey, striking a good balance between form and function may just add value to your asset.

Without neglecting the bathroom’s basic functions, he recommended adding a few stylistic touches to make a good first impression.

The property expert said: “For each dollar [that] you spend on your renovation, your goal should be to add at least twice the value in equity.”

If the smart toilet will not stretch your budget too thin, it may just be the ‘wow’ factor that your bathroom needs. However, keep in mind that, as an investor, your main priority should be to avoid overcapitalising.

Consult certified builders and other property professionals in order to make the best decisions for your home without breaking the bank.


This information has been sourced from Roca, Reece Plumbing & Bathrooms, Kohler Company and Business Insider Australia.

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