As a country, the United States doesn’t take its toilets and toilet seats all that serious. True, the functionality and the practicality of our sanitary products are first-rate, but bells and whistles are not something that’s important to us (Yankee practicality, I guess). Now, Japan and Europe–different story. Take the new line of multi-function toilet seats/bidets from German manufacturer Duravit. The new SensoWash line offers heating capability, a variety of wash settings, illumination, and power actuated lid and seat that open at the touch of a button. In addition, the seat comes with rear, front and oscillating washes that are differentiated for men and women; a nozzle with adjustable positioning and jet strength; and individual adjustments of water, air and seat temperature. To top things off, it comes with a wireless metallic cube remote control—just in case. At a cost of about $1,900, the seat is a fraction of the cost of an entire new luxury toilet, which will set you a back a cool $7,500. www.duravit.com.
Anyone familiar with Kohler knows that the Wisconsin-based company is often ahead of other brands as far as technology and design are concerned. When it comes to overwrought and decadent toilets, however, the company is playing catch up with Japanese brands TOTO and Inax. Still, Kohler’s recent introduction of the Numi toilet ups the ante. No ordinary toilet, Numi makes your commode look like a latrine. The unit has a built-in bidet and deodorizer, a lid that opens and closes automatically, built-in music system; heated seat and foot warmer; and an LCD touch-screen remote control (of course) in case you want to feel like you’re playing X-box in the John. It offers two flushing options: 1.28 gallons of water or .6. The question remains: Do you need a toilet that costs $6,400? www.kohler.com.
Back in a January post, we took leading-edge Australian toilet manufacturer Caroma to task for the design of its Profile Smart high-efficiency toilet that incorporates a sink into the lid of the toilet tank. We’re fans of the idea but not the execution. As far as reviews go, it was a mild thrashing. We simply called the idea “unresolved,” if I remember correctly. At any rate, the post was written out of love since we are fans of the company that brought us the dual-flush toilet. And to prove its awesomeness, the company has launched its One Flush Promotion in honor of the upcoming Earth Month. Under the deal, you get 50 percent off the list price on qualifying products, including toilets, sinks, and accessories. The promotion ends June 30, 2011. Now that is a fully resolved idea. ww.caromausa.com.
Today’s topic of discussion is this: Does one really need a $5,000 toilet? The answer, of course, is maybe…kidding! Up until a handful of years ago, this wasn’t something we really had to think about. Sure, some units cost in the upper hundreds of dollars, but you had to be a Saudi prince, a Russian oligarch, or a Wall Street Ponzi schemer to buy gold commodes and other baubles. But TOTO USA brought the issue mainstream some years ago when it introduced the Neorest toilet (about $5,800) to the U.S. market. Kohler got into the act with not one but two high-priced offerings of its own: the Purist Hatbox ($4,348 to $5,660) and the Fountainhead ($4,638 to $6,030). (A little birdy told us that another super premium unit from a European manufacturer is set to hit the U.S. market later this year; we’ll keep you posted.) Now another Japanese company, INAX, has joined the party with its REGIO toilet. Achieving new heights of decadence, the dual-flush unit (1.1 gallons of water per flush or 1.6) offers automated function, hygienic cleansing, and antibacterial technology. LED lights illuminate the interior of the bowl, music plays as the lid automatically opens to uncover a heated seat, deodorizing begins when the seat is occupied, a retractable wand offers personal cleansing, and then the unit flushes itself with what the company calls ”the industry’s first automatic ‘Silent Stream Flushing System.’” We have no idea what that means, so don’t ask. After the flushing, a purifier activates to cleanse the air in the room. And for good measure, the toilet saves energy by automatically powering down when not in use. So what does all of this unnecessary luxury costs? $5,900 to $7,350. www.inax-usa.com.
So, recently we did a post on a toilet design that, in our humble opinion, the very cutting-edge Australian manufacturer Caroma got wrong. But here is an example of a line that it hit out of the park. Last fall, the company unveiled the Invisi Series II wall-hung and wall-faced toilet line. Unlike U.S. toilets with a visible tank, these products feature the tank and flushing mechanism installed between the wall studs. The resulting look is sleek European, but it also frees us space in the bathroom. The toilets also continue Caroma’s reputation for saving water: the units can flush with 0.8 gallons of water for liquid waste or 1.28 gallons for solid waste. They start at about $1,000. www.caromausa.com.
First of all, let me just say that we here at homeiq love Caroma, an Australian company that introduced American consumers to water-saving dual-flush toilets. But we’re not sure about one of their latest creations: the Profile Smart high-efficiency toilet that incorporates a sink into the lid of the toilet tank. As a water-saving design, the Water Sense certified unit is ingenious. A user washes his hands—hopefully!—and the water he uses drains into the tank to be used for the next flush. On top of that, the toilet uses 1.28 gallons of water for a full flush—as opposed to the standard 1.6 gallons per—and 0.8 gallons per flush for a half flush. We like the idea, but we dislike the design. It’s hard to really wash your hands because of the limited space, plus the sink is a little small. Hopefully, Caroma will improve the design in the years to come. www.caromausa.com.