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The Smart Toilet Lifestyle: Everything you need to know about having one in your space

You have all the 'smart' things – smart phone, smart car, smart home, but what about a smart toilet?*

It’s no secret that here at APD we are big fans of the smart toilet aka smart bidet – and for every bathroom renovation we tackle, we try to encourage our clients to incorporate one because they truly are lifestyle game changers.

We have noticed the uptick of smart toilet installations in North American homes and restaurants, and as they slowly gain more exposure and popularity (like the viral video of DJ Khalid thanking Drake for gifting him the Toto Smart toilets), they have been a standard plumbing fixture just about everywhere in Japan for years.

In this blog post* I’m going to break down my own first experience with smart toilet, their many benefits, and what you need to have one in your space.


The First Brush With a Smart Toilet

In 2012 I went on a design school trip to NYC and my good friend insisted we go to Morimoto restaurant to check out its beautiful interior. As we’re soaking it all in, she tells me I have to go to the bathroom no only to check out the unique design, but for the toilet. Truthfully, I was totally perplexed by this: she insisted and said to have an open mind and ‘trust me on this one’.

So I did, and discovered the toilet had a remote control with full bidet functions, including the finishing touch of drying. Needless to say it was a bizarre, and a total novelty experience.

Fast forward to 2019 my husband and I are in Japan – and to our amazement we discovered that every single bathroom we encountered had a smart toilet. I mean EVERY single bathroom: our hotel, our Airbnb, retail stores – anywhere you needed to use a bathroom you’d find a smart toilet. They were also sold everywhere and accessible to everyone.

It was clearly the standard here, and well, we got used to it too!

Growing up, stand-alone bidets were always permanent fixtures in our respective family homes, so the immediate cleaning concept was familiar, but truthfully more of a conscious choice to make.

In the early days of my design career, I’d design bathrooms for Middle-Eastern hotels, where we always integrated a fixed hand-held hose next to the toilet for the same intent.

Smart Toilet + Bidet in Washroom
Our First TOTO Floor Mount Smart Washlet

With Smart toilets, having this cleaning function fully integrated in the toilet seat itself, while having it be a standard everywhere was revolutionary in our minds. It was no longer a choice to be clean, it was part of the entire bathroom experience and was so easy. From that Japan adventure, my husband and I agreed that one day we would own a smart toilet in our future home.

Fast forward to 2020, just before COVID we moved from condo to house, renovated our main bathroom and installed a TOTO* smart toilet. We were especially happy about our decision when in the beginning of the pandemic, you couldn’t find a single roll of toilet paper on the shelves.


The Benefits of Smart Toilets:

We recently added a Powder Room to our home, and when approaching its design, it was a no-brainer that we would install a smart toilet again in this new space. Our why? There are just so many benefits that I’m going to break it down:

  1. Cleanliness

  2. Clean Lifestyle Culture

  3. Environmental Impact

  4. Health Benefits

  5. Flexible Design

  6. Stage Fright + Noise Cancellation

1. Cleanliness + Clean Lifestyle Culture

Owning a smart toilet is as much about having and offering a pleasant bathroom experience as it is about a shift in your own lifestyle and cultural values. Clean lifestyle is promoted with the use of smart toilets, and the benefits of being clean after every bathroom use is pretty self-explanatory. Cleanliness is number one in my books.

On some models, there are touchless features like automated seat lift function and automated which means less surfaces for your hands to touch from start to flush. Some bowls have UV cleaning ability and deodorizer mists that spray into the bowl.

2. Custom Experience + Features

What I love about the smart toilets is that you can typically customize/pre-set your seat settings just the way you like it. For example, you can pre-set the temperature of the seat, which is a bonus in the wintertime when it’s just plain cold outside! Some other features and customizable options include:

  • Heated toilet seat

  • Self-clean settings

  • Night Light

  • Cleaning Cycle Setting

  • Music Settings

  • Deodorizer

  • Automated Seat-Lift

  • Automated Flush

3. Environmental Impact

The development of toilets have come a long way especially in terms of gallons of water used per flush. In our experience with Toto Smart toilets, they have worked on reducing their water consumption with innovation on flushing methods that control water usage while still successfully disposing of waste and keeping the toilet bowl clean.

Not to mention the general reduction of household toilet paper used - and savings in your own pocket!

4. Health Benefits

Regular cleaning can assist greatly for anyone with gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s, chronic hemorrhoids, monthly menstrual cycles and post-partum challenges

5. Flexible Design

Toilet design keeps evolving to consider universal design approaches that benefits every walk of life and design footprints! They come in standard floor-mounted models as well as wall-mounted models.

6. Stage Fright + Noise Cancellation

That’s right. Stage Fright, because it's a real thing, as well as general audible courtesy. What do I mean? I'm talking noise cancellation. Some models include a flushing toilet sound button to mask less than desirable noises, or the ability to program your own custom music as the time passes making the general experience more comfortable for everyone.


What you need to have a smart toilet in your space

There are a few things to consider in order to install a smart toilet in your space:

1. Higher Investment

2. Electrical Connection

3. Special Layout Requirements (for wall-hung toilets)

1. Higher Investment

If you are considering installing a smart toilet, expect to pay higher upfront costs for both the supply and installation of the fixture.

Smart toilets are generally more expensive than a standard toilet. Their prices can range from $2000 - $20,000+ depending on how many bells, whistles and customization you are looking for.

It is also more expensive to install a smart toilet from a labour point of view, as you will need an electrician involved and for any wall-mount toilets additional framing than would ever be required for a regular toilet.

In our own home we have the TOTO Aquia IV* and the TOTO AP Washlet S550E Wall-Hung.* They have slight function differences, and we love them both and are happy with the level of features that they provide for our family (and our guests love them too!).

AP Washlet S550E Wall-Hung

2. Electrical Connection

For that seat to be heated and that water to be warm, you need a proper electrical connection for the bidet. Depending on the model of bidet you install, the manufacturer may recommend a dedicated outlet. Any outlet should be located in close proximity to the toilet and meet the manufacturer's power requirements.

3. Special Layout Requirements (for wall-hung toilets)

If you’re looking at a wall-hung solution, you will need ample space in your wall framing to ensure the wall-carrier (manufacturer made to support weight of person and toilet) fits and is properly secured. Commercial toilets usually need a 6" studs for the wall -carrier, and for residential applications Toto offers a standard 4" in-wall tank carrier.

Again speaking to the cost, this is more involved installation with your framer and can drive the cost of installation.


Retrofit Solutions

We realize that simply replacing your toilet with a powered smart bidet is not always a plausible solution, and recently we have discovered a great retrofit alternatives. We recently gifted a friend a Tushy bidet*, a battery-operated bidet seat that can be installed on just about any toilet. The catch is that it will only ever spray cold water, but not a bad in-between solution to start that clean lifestyle sooner.­

If you are in the midst of a renovation but perhaps don’t want to splurge on the exact smart toilet model of you dreams just yet, then don’t! But at minimum add that electrical outlet for when yo­u are ready to convert your toilet later on.


So About That Smart Toilet Lifestyle...

Maybe it’s my use-a-bidet-while-growing-up-in-an-Italian-household mentality, but having a smart toilet and the cleanliness it brings is now a necessity and not a luxury in my books. The overall benefits are so worth it for myself and everyone in my family. I would never go back, in fact I generally don’t feel as good without using one now. It has made a big difference - and a fun things to introduce to family and friends that come over.

Talk soon,


*This Blog post is not sponsored by TOTO or Tuschy. We just have a real passion for cleanliness and were lucky enough to work with TOTO on our recent Powder Room Reno!


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