Japan is known for a number of things: sushi, an inexplicable love of baseball, Godzilla, and, of course, amazing high-tech toilets. Seriously: Stepping into a Tokyo loo is like walking into a spa (and definitely puts the “rest” back in restroom). We’re talking heated seats, spray bidets, and enough bells and whistles to make your throne feel like an outhouse. And while companies have been selling these contraptions stateside for years now, they are expensive, a pain to install, and, not surprisingly, ridiculously rare (seriously: have you EVER seen one?)
Enter the Toto Washlet B100: A DIY toilet seat that seeks to transform your old toilet into a high-tech cradle of comfort. And while it’s not the first such device, with street price of just $330 (note that the MSRP is $650, so shop around for a deal!), it’s by far the most accessible. So how does it work? And can a random guy with a wrench and no knowledge of plumbing install it? I put one to the test to find out.
Getting This Thing Installed!
Before getting my hands on a Washlet, the most plumbing I’d ever done involved a simple plunger. But installing the Washlet proved surprisingly simple.
The device comes with detailed instructions. And unlike the sheet that came with your disfigured Ikea bed, you definitely do not want to throw this booklet away—it will walk you through everything (including the daunting task of removing your old seat). Fortunately, the instructions are clearly illustrated and written (no messy translations or indecipherable hieroglyphs here!) The only tool you really need is an adjustable wrench. The total time for the task: 10 minutes if you know what you’re doing, 45 if you’re going into this thing blind.
One note: The Washlet requires power. If you don’t have a power outlet right next to your toilet, you may need an extension cord or power strip for the cord to reach the wall. In the case of my bathroom, this resulted in an unavoidable and unsightly cord crossing under my sink. Oh well.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a flexible supply line to connect your toilet to the wall. A rigid one may have worked just fine before, but this Toto business can throw off that precisely cut length of pipe. Just go to a hardware store and ask for a “flexible toilet supply line.” The thing will cost you five bucks or so.
Taking It For A Spin
Yep, it works. Brilliantly. The seat heater warms the thing in seconds, while the spray bidet works well enough that you may seriously reconsider your weekly investment in toilet paper. Seriously: I now feel kind of gross even considering using a toilet with just dry paper. Just think about it: Yuck. And, for the ladies, there’s even a front spray to help with their business. And did I mention it’s an absolutely ridiculous conversation piece? Since installing it, I haven’t had a single houseguest who hasn’t asked me about it.
Of course, buying this thing is a pure act of luxury. Nobody really NEEDS it. And it is also likely to add a few bucks to your electricity bill every month. But if you’ve got the cash, you can rest (sit?) assured that it will do its job as advertised.