Technology Comes to the Toilet

Michael Brown

I recently attended the PCBC homebuilder’s conference in San Francisco and encountered what has to be the world’s coolest toilet seat. If I hadn’t already blown so much money turning my new house into a real-world test lab, I would have ordered one on the spot.

Toto’s new Washlet S400 has every technological feature you can imagine, including a wireless remote control. That’s right, a remote-controlled toilet seat (just be sure and drop it into the wall-mounted holder when you’re finished, so it doesn’t get lost like all the remotes in your living room).

The Washlet S400's "user sensor" won't allow the seat's cleansing functions to operate unless it detects a body sitting on the seat.

What could be better for us guys than pushing a button to raise and lower the seat without having to touch it? (Seat and lid both automatically close when you walk away from the unit.) And geeks of both sexes will appreciate having their bottom warmed by the heated seat (choose from temperature settings of 86- to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).

But the Washlet S400 does much more than warm your bum. When you’ve finished your business, pushing another button on the remote activates a cleansing wand that delivers a soothing flow of warm, aerated water. You can choose front or rear wash; still, oscillating, or pulsating massage action; and two levels of pressure for the rear wash. After the water treatment, pressing yet another button on the remote activates a blower to dry you off (at temperatures ranging from 104- to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). This blow-dry feature is of particular interest to me, since I’ll be on a septic system (as opposed to a municipal sewer). The less paper down the drain the better!

To paraphrase Tim Allen (playing Tim "The Toolman" Taylor on the ABC television series Home Improvement ) once cracked : "You've got oscillating, pulsating, and ' Who needs a man?! '"

And if that’s not enough technology for you, the seat (constructed from anti-bacterial ABS plastic) features a built-in catalytic deodorizer, which—according to Toto’s press materials—“uses activated oxygen to break the molecular bonds of odor and return clean air to the room no matter the ventilation.” Mmm... Nothing like a breath of fresh air in the bathroom!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The moment when I finally get around to informing you just how much this bit of high-tech sanitation is going to set you back. (Come on, admit it. I know this seat has aroused your keen sense of techno lust.) The Washlet S400 sells for between $1,890 and $2,174, depending on color (choose from Cotton White, Colonial White, or Sedona Beige). You can also buy the Cotton White version pre-installed on Toto’s one-piece Carlyle and UltraMax model toilets (MSRP: $2,462 to $2,631) and their two-piece Drake model toilet (MSRP: $2,270 to $2,405).

Yes, Toto even thought to include a panic button.

Toto has some brilliant videos that explain how the Washlet works. You can check those out here .

Around the web