Smart Home

Don’t rest on restroom technology. The flow of innovation can give you a smarter bathroom


From smart mirrors and a bidet and trash can with built-in sensors, there are many ways to improve your bathroom with technology. USA TODAY

While many would like to flush the year 2020 down the toilet, bathroom tech is no joke.

From smart toothbrushes and self-cleaning bidets to voice-activated showers and Android-powered mirrors, you might be surprised how much innovation there is for that small room we spend a considerable amount of time in.

How much time, you ask? Conservatively, 30 minutes a day, according to several studies and surveys over the years (such as here, here, and here), which averages out to roughly eight days a year.

Tech that you sit on, stand under and stare into may add convenience, comfort, and in some cases, smarter water consumption to help save money on your monthly utility bill.

The following is a look at what’s available today, ranging in price from $99 to $1,599.

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Powering up your shower

You use for voice for many tasks around the home – such as adjusting the thermostat or turning on the outside lights – so why not control your shower the same way?

With support for the three main voice-activated assistants, the U by Moen Smart Shower system lets you start and stop the shower and activate personalized preferences. For example, say, “Alexa, turn on my shower to 103 degrees,” or “Hey Siri, start preset ‘Post-Workout Shower,’” or “Ok Google, turn off the shower.” You get the idea.

You can also use an app or an in-shower controller, or add the shower to a voice-activated routine, such as one command that closes the blinds in the bathroom, turns on the lights, plays your favorite playlist, and starts the shower.

Prices start at $1,599 for the two-outlet valve and controller; shower heads are purchased separately.

If you’d prefer to only upgrade your shower head, Kohler’s Moxie (from $229) doubles as a high-quality Bluetooth speaker with audio by Harman Kardon. Simply pair your phone to the IPX7-rated Moxie to begin streaming music, podcasts, audiobooks, or local radio apps.

Battery life tops nine hours between charges, and you can remove the speaker to charge up (dock included) or to take it with you somewhere else, such as a bedroom, to continue listening while you get dressed.

Coming soon is support for an Alexa smart assistant, allowing you can ask to play your morning music playlist, hear the news or request how long it will take to get to work – and will give you an accurate look at the roads by taking real-time traffic into account.

A better bidet

Bidets are getting smarter, too, including a new model with a built-in UV sterilizer to automatically cleanse the nozzle after each use.

Called the Discovery DLS Bidet Seat from Bio Bidet ($899), it also houses a warm air dryer, which eliminates the need for any toilet paper, offering a more comfortable (and economical) way to wrap up your cleaning routine.

Speaking of hands-free, the Discovery DLS’s occupancy sensor opens the lid when you get near, and closes when you walk away.

The seat on this low-profile bidet is also heated, with adjustable temperature controls.

This smart wastebasket seals the deal

The townew T1 Automatic Trash Can ($99) may look like an ordinary bathroom (or kitchen) trash can, but it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

When you have filled the bag inside with trash, press and hold a button on the outside and it will use a bit of heat to seal the bag for you. Lift it up to toss it into a garbage bin or down an apartment’s trash chute, and it will automatically get the next bag ready for you (it stores excess bags in the ring under the lid).

Each ring holds 25 bags; refill rings are $25 per 3-pack (75 bags) or $32 for a 6-pack (150 bags).

Like many other trashcans, the battery-powered townew (available in white or teal) also has an infrared sensor in front that detects your presence to the lid will open, handsfree.

Reflect on this

Mirror, smart mirror

You might not want your mirror to criticize your skin conditions, but if you believe information (not ignorance) is bliss, the HiMirror Slide ($279) is a smart vanity mirror that can scan your face and analyze skin issues (including dark circles, red spots, fine lines, and so on) and give you personalized tips and product recommendations.

This mirror also lets you watch videos, such as makeup tutorials on YouTube, and copy techniques, plus the aptly named Slide features sliding panels and a foldable stand that can be rotated between portrait and landscape view.

HiMirror Slide has a built-in face light and is Alexa-powered, so you can use your voice to access weather, stream music, hear the news, and so on.

Another company, Hilo Mirror, is selling Android-powered smart mirrors, including the circular Hilo Light ($849), with 13.5-inch touchscreen, and limited-edition Hilo XL ($1,499), a rectangular 21.5-inch touch screen. Both models have speakers and a microphone, and can display videos and web content, show photos and play music. A motion-sensor turns on the mirror when you approach.

A toothbrush on steriods

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9700 Rechargeable Toothbrush ($279) can pinpoint where you’re brushing and where you’re not, and show you the info in real-time on a companion app.

With two colors to choose from, there are five modes and three intensities to choose from – for a more personalized brush – plus you’re notified if you’re applying too much pressure. You can set goals and even see a weekly progress report on your brushing habits.

Along with the toothbrush, in the box you also get a charging glass, several brush heads, and a travel case. An optional brush head reordering service automatically orders brush heads for you when it’s time (via the app).

The smart weigh

Have weight-loss goals in 2021? The Withings Body+ ($99) is a smart bathroom scale with a couple of twists.

This Withings scale, which recognizes up to eight users, can also show your BMI (body mass index), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Body+ can also analyze and display estimated water percentage, and muscle and bone mass.

The info can be read on the scale’s bright screen (along with your local weather forecast), but built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity means the info can also be immediately uploaded to the password-protected Health Mate app or website.

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast at

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The following is a look at what’s available today, ranging in price from $99 to $1,599.


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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