More Jackson Homeowners Paying Up To $20,000 For Smart Toilets

One of the trends sweeping the U.S. bathroom industry are smart toilets, packed with technology and luxury. Homeowners in Teton County are following that trend and paying up to $20,000 for their pimped-out potties.

AR
Andrew Rossi

May 12, 20247 min read

The Toto Neoresrt NX2 deal-flush toilet is the top of the line in top-of-the-line smart toilets, retailing for $21,000.
The Toto Neoresrt NX2 deal-flush toilet is the top of the line in top-of-the-line smart toilets, retailing for $21,000. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

How smart does your toilet need to be, and how much would you pay to have your commode put its own seat down, heat and massage your glutes and operate through voice control? The only reason it doesn’t wipe for you is because of its advanced bidet features.

The extravagances of these “smart toilets” might seem like something only the super-sensitive heinies of California celebrities would need. And certainly way — WAY — out of place most anywhere in blue-collar, down-to-earth Wyoming.

Nevertheless, these plush potties are making their way into more homes across the Cowboy State.

You think dad spends a lot of time in the can with his Sunday newspaper now, don’t also put him on a throne that’s equipped with Alexa voice assistance and digital entertainment options.

A smart toilet serves the same purpose as a regular toilet, but offers several built-in technologies and luxuries to craft a better bathroom experience. None of these technologies is necessary, but interest and demand are growing.

Then There’s Jackson

“I tell everybody to install an electrical outlet behind the toilet, just in case,” said Caroline Romanosky, a sales representative at the Jackson showroom of Mountain Land Design, an appliance and hardware company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Romanosky said there’s a smart toilet in the Jackson showroom so prospective buyers can take in the majesty of the 21st century bathroom. But they’ll need to go to MLD’s Salt Lake City showroom for the full experience, where a smart toilet is plumbed up and ready for a full test-drive.

“If you're building a new house, go ahead and put an electrical outlet behind it in case you want a washlet one day,” she said. “Because once you use one, you’ll want one.”

Better Business

Washlet is the technical term for the electronic bidet developed by the Japanese company Toto in the 1980s. The cleansing toilet seat was designed to clean up comfortably and hygienically without toilet paper.

“From my understanding, washlets were originally meant for older folks to give them more independence as they get older,” Romanosky said. “Other people didn’t have to be all up in their business. Now, it’s turned into more of a luxury item.”

Higher-end smart toilets include built-in deodorizers, adjustable under-seat driers, nightlights and lids that automatically open and close.

Imagine a world where the tedium of remembering to put the toilet seat down has been vanquished forever. That world exists, but that piece of mind costs a pretty penny.

  • The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant.
    The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant. (Kohler)
  • The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant.
    The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant. (Kohler)
  • The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant.
    The Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet is a top model in the United States, selling for more than $9,900. It features LED lighting, automatic lid, heated seat, bidet and even a built-in Alexa voice assistant. (Kohler)
  • With today's smart toilets, you don't have to worry about knocking your shins in the dark in the middle of the night.
    With today's smart toilets, you don't have to worry about knocking your shins in the dark in the middle of the night. (Kohler)

Money In The Toilet

If there’s an ideal environment in Wyoming for smart toilets, it’d be the affluent avenues of Jackson, the nation’s wealthiest county. And already, it’s becoming easier for Jackson residents to complete their business luxuriously.

“We put at least one washlet in almost every house,” said Romanosky. “Some people do them in every single bathroom. But for the most part, I would say every primary bathroom has a washlet or a Neorest in it.”

If it sounds expensive, it is. Toto’s Neorest NX2 Dual Flush Toilet, the toilet flush with the best features, costs more than $21,000, the Rolls Royce of porcelain.

The Neorest NX2 includes the automatic Premist, which sprays the bowl before each use, the warm air dryer has five temperature settings, and boasts in its literature having “multifunction ergonomic stick-style remote control.”

The more modest Neorest 700H offers a heated seat and deodorizer for an investment of almost $9,000. Of course, all Neorest smart toilets come with the trademark Tornado Flush.

On Amazon, the most expensive smart toilet is the Kohler Numi 2.0, which compared to the Toto is a bargain at $9,900. It features Alexa, a digital smart screen control center and colorful LED lights that change color. It also has a heated seat and choice between two flush speeds.

Romanosky said hygiene is one of the primary reasons Jackson residents are willing to pay more for smart toilets. It’s expensive, but they aren’t flushing their money — or any paper — down the toilet.

“From a sanitary perspective, it's much more sanitary to have water spray to clean you off then use a dirty piece of toilet paper,” she said. “So, hygienically, it's a much better option than just toilet paper.”

But there are other perks to having a luxurious throne in Jackson, especially during ski season.

“It's nice to sit on a heated toilet seat when it's negative 10 degrees outside,” Romanosky said.

No Pooh-Poohing Their Popularity

One might think a smart toilet is the epitome of extravagance, but there are more practical reasons to own one.

Smart toilets are touted for their low water consumption, compact design without a cistern or tank, and accessibility for elderly and disabled people in addition to the hygienic alternatives they provide.

When the COVID-19 pandemic created a shortage of toilet paper, many people started seeking innovative solutions for their bathroom business. Romanosky said more people are researching and requesting smart toilets themselves rather than having the idea presented to them by a contractor.

“People that get the Neorest, in the $5,000 to $20,000 range, know exactly what they want,” she said. “And they're getting that.”

  • The digital control pad for the Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet.
    The digital control pad for the Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet. (Kohler)
  • Instead of the typical flush handle, the Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet has this control knob with multiple options.
    Instead of the typical flush handle, the Kohler Numi 2.0 smart toilet has this control knob with multiple options. (Kohler)
  • Another model of smart toilet by Toto, the Neoresrt 700H.
    Another model of smart toilet by Toto, the Neoresrt 700H. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)
  • Another model of smart toilet by Toto, the Neoresrt 700H.
    Another model of smart toilet by Toto, the Neoresrt 700H. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Not In Coal Country

Shawn Leair, the operations manager of Gillette Winsupply in Campbell County on the opposite side of the state from Jackson, knows little about the growing popularity of smart toilets. He also doesn’t think it’s a smart idea to keep them in stock.

“I very seldom get requests for smart toilets, and I don’t order any,” he said. “There’s not a demand for it.”

Smart toilets might be all the rage in Jackson bathrooms where the average price of a home has hit a record $7 million. Leair thinks heated seats, warm air dryers and built-in deodorizers are superfluous in Campbell County.

“Jackson’s a wealthy community,” he said. “You get people from California and New York buying summer homes in Jackson. Those people are well off, and they are used to being pampered by that. But this is a coal mine community, an oil field community. The demand for the luxurious lifestyle is not here in Campbell County.”

Gillette Winsupply installs bathroom fixtures and amenities that are more “practical,” Leair said. Touchless faucets, in-floor heat and Wi-Fi thermostats are becoming more popular, but he thinks smart toilets are too far afield for most Campbell County residents for now.

“Having a fancy heated toilet is not something that I see anybody having a strong desire for right at the moment,” he said.

Perhaps there will be a time when smart toilets will be standard in every corner of Wyoming. Maybe indoor plumbing and the modern toilet was seen as a similar unnecessary luxury when the standard was the outhouse.

As Romanosky put it, it’s hard to go back to the papered past after someone experiences the flushed future.

“They are definitely growing in popularity across the board,” she said about the demand for the expensive fixtures. “Once someone uses and experiences it, they want it.”

Contact Andrew Rossi at arossi@cowboystatedaily.com

Andrew Rossi can be reached at arossi@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Andrew Rossi

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