In most American homes, a toilet is a toilet is a toilet. The shape of the bowl, size of the tank, or color of the porcelain might vary a little, but more or less in this country we all sit on the same throne. But elsewhere in the world, people have tinkered and toyed with toilets, adding technologically advanced luxury features to make something more than your average pot. These techno-toilets are starting to catch on in the US, too, including their easier to install, less expensive brethren high tech toilet seats.
Now, what kind of technology am I talking here? It varies a little from one to the other, but I’ll use one of the high tech toilets the toilet seats are modeled after to help you get an idea. This Regio Toilet is the star of INAX’s toilet collection and comes complete with a heated, self-raising and lowering seat, two fully adjustable bidet nozzles, an air deodorizer, and even a night light. Heck, it can even play you your favorite music, in addition to all of INAX’s water saving features.
Now, high tech toilet seats will only be as good as the toilets you mount them on in terms of ease of cleaning, water consumption, and noise levels. But good high tech toilet seats will offer you almost all those same features. Take this R-Series Toilet Seat from INAX. It simply screws on to your existing toilet the way any ordinary toilet seat would, but with a quick plug in and water connection, adds a whole host of features. From a heated seat and air purifying deodorizer to a multi function adjustable bidet and warm air drier, all accessible by remote control, this baby offers the most important features of a high tech toilet at a mere fraction of the cost.
Of course, what features you get depend on the toilet seat, and not all high tech toilet seats are exactly the same. Though this L-Series Toilet Seat is from the same company, and costs about the same amount, it nixes the deodorizer in favor of a self-cleaning nozzle feature. Others have built in remotes, night lights, or other features, so be sure to factor in the perks you want the most compared to the price you want to pay.
Now, night lights and heated seats are pretty cool, but the main draw of high tech toilet seats like this C-Series Seat is that they have built in bidets. Bidets are slowly catching on in America, but compared to the rest of the world, they’re practically unheard of – in some cases quite literally. I’ve found that in this country there are three kinds of people: those who have never even heard of bidets, people who know what they are and think they sound kind of weird, and people who have used them and love them.
For those in the first category, bidets have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. Traditionally they look like a small second toilet with a faucet instead of a toilet seat, and are used to wash the posterior and genitalia. If it sounds a little weird, you definitely aren’t alone, but in some parts of the world, bidets have allowed people to go entirely TP free. In fact, some cultures consider the use of toilet paper to be insufficient or even unclean. And while bidets have been slow to catch on in this country because few people would bear the expense of installing a separate bidet just to try it, high tech toilet seats, especially less expensive ones like this C-Series Toilet Seat, are making it possible for people to give ’em a try without much risk. Worst case, you still get a heated toilet seat!
The fact is, though, that most people that try bidets end up liking them, regardless of their preconceptions. Even if you don’t use it regularly, the warm water wash and massage features are a good way to freshen up (one of the original reasons for the invention of the bidet!), and the heated seat and warm air drying functions offer a unique (if, you know, slightly weird) kind of luxury. Plus, all high tech toilet seats allow you to customize your experience (the intensity of the spray, and which nozzles spray where) to your own tastes. In fact, this Sensowash from Duravit even allows for two pre-programmed user settings, so you can get your own custom wash at the touch of a button.
All that said, it’s important to note that if you intend to just replace your existing toilet seat without replacing your toilet, you need to be very, very sure that the dimensions of your toilet match the requirements of the seat you’re buying. Most models come in both round and elongated bowl models, but even if you assume your toilet is “standard,” it’s definitely not a mistake you want to make, especially with something like this L-Series, where there are multiple shapes and sizes in the same design. You’ll also need access to an outlet to power all these features, and if you aren’t comfortable connecting the water hose to the warm water tank, you might need a professional to help complete your installation.