If it sings to you, cleans and blow drys your derrière, self-flushes or provides a nice, heated seat; it’s not a toilet, it’s a waste of money.
According to Smart Money, the kitchen and bath industry are cooking up toilets that are meant to drain your wallet:
Make that a “smart toilet.” The Kohler Numi, a toilet/bidet, comes with a touch-screen pad that controls everything from the built-in stereo’s treble output to the seat temperature and rear dryer pressure. The lid rises in greeting as you approach, and a floor heater keeps your toes toasty on a cold winter morning. The price: $6,390.
Smart toilets have long been the rage in Japan, where 70 percent of households have commodes that play music, heat your seat and flush themselves. So far, Americans have resisted the trend, preferring to stick with 19th-century toilet technology. But the U.S. kitchen and bath industry, which relies heavily on new home construction, has been struggling and is desperate to goose spending. Since most people who would buy a Viking range or Thermador dishwasher already have one, the toilet remains the final frontier. Barbara Higgens, executive director of Plumbing Manufacturers International, says the fancy commode technology may persuade Americans to upgrade their toilets just like they do their cell phones and laptops.
It’s not just Kohler offering high-end toilets. Japanese manufacturer Inax recently entered the U.S. market with the $5,900 Regio, which comes programmed with nature sounds (chirping birds, a babbling brook) and an ion-emitting air purifier. Toto offers the Neorest, which has a sound-masking white-noise function.
They won’t be an easy sell. The typical American spends $250 on a toilet, and even designer bowls tap out at around $1,200. But plumbing makers, who plan to market the new high-tech models using suit-clad salespeople in fancy showrooms, say they can sell $6,000 toilets to the same folks who buy Sub-Zero refrigerators and Jacuzzi tubs — those who want the best of everything. The Numi, for example, is being touted as “truly the ultimate flushing experience.” In postrecession America, of course, shoppers demand value. So companies plan to recycle the pitch they used in past years to sell Americans on $10,000 mattresses: This is a product you use every day.
Below CNET checks out the Koler Numi and he’s not test driving a rocket pack. That’s not a dishwasher he’s explaining.
Quick poll: who feels like they need this? I’m fairly confident that no one responded in the affirmative. However, should radio toilet become trendy, I guarantee it would be hard for many to resist.
That is why this toilet provides such a teachable moment. How many gadgets and expensive purchases have we made that we once thought ridiculous or wasteful, only to later accept them?I have doubts that this toilet would ever become popular, but what if it did? Once the market as a whole accepts such dramatic design changes, it becomes the standard. American consumers would increase toilet spending from $250 to nearly $7,000.
The power of trendy is great. Identify purchases which are silly and never take them seriously. You never need a toilet that docks to your smart phone….EVER!