What is a shower toilet – and how could it change our behaviour?

Grohe Sensia shower toilet

There’s no real way to improve a toilet, right? At least when it comes to function – the design, of course, has come a long way, and there’s a surprisingly wide choice of styles for such a straightforward fixture.

But what if I told you that, yes, even the humble loo can get a seriously smart upgrade?

That would be the shower toilet. Hugely popular in Japan, they combine the functions of a WC, bidet, and air dryer in one single fixture, controlled via a wall panel, remote, or even an app.

In times of pandemic-induced loo paper hoarding, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, right?

So, if you’re thinking of making the switch – or even if you’re just curious – here is a handy lowdown on what to know about these high-tech bathroom fixtures.

shower toilet
The new generation of shower toilets from VitrA combine the functionality of a toilet and the cleaning properties of a bidet into a stylish WC. Pictured here is the V Care Prime Rim-ex wall-hung WC, £2399, VitrA.

What is a shower toilet?

As I already mentioned, they combine the functions of a classic WC with a bidet and – the thing that makes them smart – air drying. They also often offer the option of a heated seat, for extra comfort.

And it goes beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, too. Many of the latest models not only offer a range of different spray settings, from Lady Wash to different levels of intensity, you can also personalise and save user profiles for everyone in your household.

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And the really smart models – the ones offering app control – often even allow you to pair your device with any shower toilet of the same range.

The TOTO Neorest AC wall-mounted pan & washlet, from £12504, C.P. Hart, features hands-free operation using a remote control, warm-air drying and air purification.

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What this means in real life, I hear you ask? Well, you could be travelling Japan, encounter the same loo as you have at home… and instantly have the same settings to hand.

As if all of these were not enough yet, many shower toilets also have motion sensors so the lid opens automatically, plus a night light function to lead the way in the dark.

How clever is that? Suddenly, the WC doesn’t like quite so humble anymore.

Why should I have one?

Probably most obviously, a shower toilet is often thought of as more hygienic, as it’s a hands-free way to clean yourself.

Generally, hygiene is a big point as many of these designs also have self-cleaning functions, so are easy to keep in their best shape.

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As you’ll need to use less toilet paper, it’ll also reduce your impact on the environment.

shower toilet
The AquaClean shower toilet with chrome cover plate, £3654, Geberit, offers innovative technology and reliable quality, while being a sustainable solution for your bathroom.

Okay, but do you have a shower toilet fun fact?

You might be surprised, but I do. Shower toilets are so popular – and so widely available – in Japan that they are an official measure of the country’s prosperity. Yes, really.

In short, the more homes have electronic toilet seats (which equate to shower toilets), the better Japan is doing.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to make the switch?

Enjoy smart technology, from the proximity sensor for the hands-free opening of the lid to the different adjustment possibilities of the seat heating, the water spray and the warm air dryer with the SensoWash Starck f shower toilet, £2785.20, Duravit.

Featured image: Grohe‘s Sensia Arena shower toilet, price on application, provides touch-free cleaning using only water and warm air using multiple spray patterns, so you can find your ideal settings – from choosing the water temperature to managing the spray pressure. A warm air drier then provides quick, efficient drying. It also has a built-in night light, automatic lid opening and closing, plus an anti-stick, anti-limescale, and anti-bacterial coating that banish 99.9% of germs.

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