Buying a self-cleaning toilet is an excellent way to minimize maintenance around the bathroom. However, many wonder whether these units actually do the job, especially with models on the market that still require the user to perform additional cleaning, which is money poorly invested. In this article, we will present our top picks that have been widely tested and proven to make you forget about maintenance completely.
- Self Cleaning Toilets – How They Work
- Traditional vs. Self-Cleaning Toilets
- Quick Comparisons
- 7 Best Self Cleaning Toilets – Expert Reviewed
- Self Cleaning Toilets – Pros and Cons
- Final Verdict
Self Cleaning Toilets – How They Work
There are various mechanisms that make a self-cleaning toilet work, depending on the model. The most popular models use cartridges or tablets that reach the bowl as soon as you flush. Some units also have special sensors that measure the exact amount of cleaning solution needed in each flush.
Usually, units have either a continuous, deep, or quick cleaning. Some models even have UV light and electrolyzed water that kills bacteria and viruses. However, with advanced features comes a higher price, so be ready to pay a few thousand dollars depending on the model.
Traditional vs. Self-Cleaning Toilets
When you compare the upsides and downsides of both types of toilets, you notice that there is no “winner.” For example, a traditional toilet might not be able to rinse the bowl perfectly, but it has fewer mechanical issues down the road compared to a self-cleaning toilet. When it comes to design and water efficiency, there is no great difference between traditional and self-cleaning units.
7 Best Self Cleaning Toilets – Expert Reviewed
1. Toto G400
Among all the units that we tested, Toto G400 is definitely one of our top choices. Although it’s a bit costly, the price is justified with all the handy features this unit offers. First, it has a very powerful 3D Tornado flush system. The flush leaves no waste behind, and you won’t need to worry about hygiene or skid marks. The unit also comes with a beautiful Cefiontect glaze which prevents bacteria and viruses from sticking.
The toilet also features a remotely operated temperature and pressure control, which can come in very handy. The seat itself is heated, making it perfect for cold winter days. Under the seat, there is an automatic air deodorizer, as well as an illuminated touchpad. The toilet can also “remember” two different profiles, so even if you’re sharing the toilet, you won’t have to adjust the temperature and pressure every time you use it.
2. American Standard 714AA154 ActiClean
This unit has features similar to the Toto G400 but is not as expensive. It’s a fantastic choice if you want a quality toilet without paying too much. The toilet features a one-minute cycle that perfectly cleans small marks and removes odors. Additionally, there is a ten-minute Deep Clean Cycle that cleans the inside of the bowl completely. The cleaning system is battery-operated and works on 4 AA batteries which are included in the package.
Like most units in this price range, this model has a beautiful EverClean finish. It prevents microorganisms from sticking, leaving the toilet surface completely clean and safe. American Standard also offers some pretty nice warranties, including a 10-year warranty on chinaware and a one-year warranty on the seat and electronics.
3. Kohler K-4026
With its tankless design, K-4026 is a fantastic choice for any modern bathroom. It’s compact and streamlined, and with its LED nightlight, K-4026 makes using the toilet a completely different experience. It also has an intuitive touchscreen remote that can be easily mounted on the wall for convenient access.
Like the G400, this model also allows you to save up to two profiles so you can pre-set your preferred seat and water temperature, as well as water pressure. Another nice feature is that the toilet performs the rinse cycle automatically after each use, leading to a completely touch-free experience. Further, the toilet has a carbon filter that reduces odors and lasts up to a year.
4. Ove Decors 735H
Ove Decors 735H is another great choice if you are looking for an affordable yet high-quality solution. This toilet is amazingly effective at cleaning and provides a completely hands-free experience. It also looks sleek, especially at night when the LED lights turn on.
The toilet is very efficient and meets WaterSense and EPA standards. With 1.6 gallon-consumption on full flush, it will save you at least 20% on your water bills each year compared to other toilets. Plus, it comes with a heated seat that features SoftClose technology to prevent unintentional slamming. However, we noticed that some people reported defective parts right out of the package, which is definitely a concern area.
5. Kohler 3814
As soon as we installed this toilet, we had to test its famous 360-degree flushing technology. Obviously, we were overly satisfied! The toilet perfectly removes any type of waste and keeps the bowl clean for much longer than standard toilets. On top of that, it consumes only 1.28 gallons of water and meets WaterSense regulations.
The toilet also features a compact-height seat, which is ideal for most adults and even younger children. The chrome trip lever comes pre-installed on the left side. The lever is small, short, and easy to use., although it would be nice to be able to install the lever manually on any side.
Also, we noticed that the unit is a bit challenging to install, so if you are not a DIY professional, you may need to call a plumber.
6. Toto Carlyle II Washlet+ C200
Being “Washlet+”, this model comes with additional features compared to traditional Washlets. This unit includes both the toilet and the bidet seat that perfectly fit together, however, you can buy a different bidet seat if you prefer. If you do want to buy a different model, be sure to select one with the “Washlet+” sign. Thinking about efficiency, this toilet has an extremely powerful Tornado Flushing System that uses 1.28 gallons and meets EPA and WaterSense standards.
The bowl is elongated, with a universal height, that may be a bit uncomfortable for young children. When it comes to design, the C200 perfectly fits any modern bathroom. There is also a minimalistic, almost unnoticeable chrome trip lever on the right side, which adds a specific detail to the overall style. However, you should be careful with the lever, since some reviewers reported that it might be fragile.
7. Kohler K-5401
Although expensive, the K-5401 is a beautiful model with flawlessly balanced curves, an ergonomic one-piece design, and immersive performance. It’s made from durable vitreous china, which is also covered by a 1-year warranty. The bowl is elongated, making this unit very comfortable and modern.
With the high price also come some great features. The toilet has a warm-air dryer and uses UV light and electrolyzed water for self-cleaning. You can use it completely hands-free since it’s activated by motion sensors, leading to a perfectly clean experience.
Finally, the seat is heated and features QuietClose technology to prevent unintentional slamming and damage to the unit.
Self Cleaning Toilets – Pros and Cons
Here’s a list of three considerations when choosing a self-cleaning toilet.
The main advantage of these units is that you won’t have to pull on those rubber gloves and clean as frequently since the toilet rinses itself completely. Also, these units are able to trap odors for longer compared to traditional models. After you install the unit, which may be complicated in some cases, it will be extremely simple to use.
Unfortunately, even though the unit is self-cleaning, you will still need to clean the exterior from time to time. Additionally, you may need to buy batteries and cleaning tablets to support continued self cleaning. These items are not expensive but do add an extra cost. Also, these units have many more parts than traditional toilets, which increases the chance of possible maintenance issues.
#3. Other Considerations
Some highly intelligent toilets might require access to an electrical outlet. Be sure to check if you have a free and accessible outlet in your bathroom, ideally one on the floor or wall behind the toilet. Most plumbing systems have floor outlets, but some systems have outlets on the rear. Floor outlets usually work by using gravity, while rear outlets use compressed air.
Finally, you should consider MaP performance—how much waste a toilet can handle per flush. Most high-quality units will have a rating of 1000, while some can go down to 300-400.
Although these units were very expensive in the past, they are becoming more and more affordable. However, it doesn’t mean that these units are better than traditional toilets—they simply have extra features. If you are ready to invest more to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning, buying a self-cleaning toilet is your best choice.