It wasn’t so long ago that the bathroom consisted of a privy several yards away from the house. Today’s smart bathrooms are a long way from that basic hole in the ground. The latest bathroom technology, including smart toilets, showerheads, and mirrors, add style and efficiency to your daily routine.
And as a bonus, smart bathrooms can add value to your home at resale. Tobin Bossola, a top real estate agent who completes more sales than the average Jacksonville, Florida agent by 16%, advises that smart technology is especially attractive to buyers in high-end markets.
We compared smart bathroom products and gleaned expertise from Bossola to curate the best smart bathroom features on the market.
Getting ready for the day or the evening is easier and more enjoyable with the help of a digital mirror that shines a light and plays your favorite tunes.
Budget-friendly: iHome 10x/1x Beauty Vanity Mirror and Stereo Speaker with Bluetooth Speakerphone for $247.99
Listen to your favorite music while getting ready for a night out or a busy day.
- Bluetooth streaming capabilities with speakerphone for hands-free calling and audio caller ID
- Voice control
- Distortion-free mirror offers 10x magnification with removable detail mirror
- Full-spectrum lighting offers 1,000 LUX with four levels of brightness
- True color lighting features three dimmable hue adjustments, including bright daylight, soft, and warm evening modes
- Room-filling dynamic sound with a passive subwoofer that has enhanced bass
- Fast USB charging with a USB charging port
Mid-range: Unity Lighted Mirror for $550
The minimalist design of this mirror will add some polish to your bathroom … and we don’t just mean its frameless edge.
- Dimmable and replaceable LEDs included
- Frosted LED light around the border
- Comes with copper-free, corrosion-resistant PrimeMirror glass
- 5-year limited warranty
- Easy to mount
Splurge: Dimmable Lighted Mirror Harmony for $1,129
Hang this mirror vertically as a full-length mirror or horizontally above your bathroom sink.
- Available in LED strip 6000K for daylight color or 3000K for a warmer color
- Option to style vertically or horizontally
- Approximately 120,000 Hours Lifetime
Smart toilets captured 33.6% of the market in 2019. These high-tech toilets offer self-cleaning and self-deodorizing features, hands-free flushing, motion-activated and heated seats, and built-in night lights — all convincing homeowners that they are a more hygienic choice for the commode. Some don’t even require toilet paper!
Budget-friendly: Contemporary Smart One-Piece Floor Mounted Toilet and Bidet Foot Induction and Automatic Flushing for $629.99
Going to the bathroom is a tankless job with this sleek model that washes and dries you on the spot.
- Rear spray wash, bidet wash, heated seat, air-drying function, and night light
- Adjustable heat, water temperature, and jet intensities
- Foot sensor flushing offers 1.32 GPF~1.58 GPF for solids and liquids
- Remote control operates on two AAA batteries
Mid-range: C0328 0.9 GPF (Water Efficient) Elongated One-Piece Toilet Smart Toilet for $999.99
This toilet sees you coming and does everything for you, from flipping its lid to deodorizing the air when you leave.
- A wide range of settings including post-cleaning, female cleaning, pulsating cleaning, adjustable water pressure, and sanitary filtered water
- Hands-free automatic flushing
- Adjustable functions, including water pressure, water temperature, dryer temperature, and heating seat
- Air purification with air filter
- Dual-mode flip: Toilet seat can automatically flip by radio locator when a person walks in or with a foot-like flip
- Memory function automatically memorizes the water temperature, seat temperature, water pressure, and other settings each user prefers and automatically saves the settings before powering off
- Automatic energy-saving system and environmental protection design saves water and electricity
Splurge: TOTO Neorest NX1 MS900CUMFG 0.8 / 1 GPF One-Piece Elongated Chair Height Dual Flush Toilet for $7,000
This toilet both “fits most” and is fully adjustable for a comfortable experience.
- Dual Flush function with water-saving options
- Universal Height for more comfort across a broader range of individuals
- Oscillating and pulsating comfort washing
- Auto open/close lid and flush functions for a more hygienic process
- Automatic air purifying system to mask odors
- Adjustable heated seat and spray position settings
- Programmable energy saver system
- Back-up manual flush
- Multifunctional remote control for added luxury and convenience
Adjustable LED lighting
LED lights use less energy and last longer (60,000 vs. 1,500 hours) than standard incandescent lights and provide a truer light spectrum … unless you want to choose from an array of colors and effects for added ambiance.
Budget-friendly: 3.15″ LED Recessed Light – Standard Bright for $40.50
These small recessed lights fit into tight spaces to light up every corner of the bathroom.
- Fit into tight spaces that a traditional recessed can light can’t (ceilings with ductwork/piping/obstructions, hot-roof ceilings with limited vertical clearance, and tight soffits)
- LED face is fixed and points straight down
- Customizable: voltage, color (or color-changing), beam angles, brightness levels, and adjustable gimbal heads
Mid-range: Globe Electric Globe Smart Collection 4 Light 31″ Wide LED Fixed Rail Smart Ceiling Fixture for $108.77
“Track” your lighting with Wi-Fi or control it with voice commands.
- Download the GLOBE SUITE App, connect to your Wi-Fi, and sync your track light
- Compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri to control with voice commands
- Adjustable lights to synchronize lighting for a whole room
- Pairs with multiple smart devices
- Integrated 7-watt LED lighting
- ETL rated for dry locations
Splurge: Light Dimmable LED Bath Bar for $322.15
Go for a retro vibe with this dimmable LED fixture that can be mounted as a sconce or a vanity light.
- Built-in LED Light
- Dimmer Switch
- ETL rated for damp locations
Speaker shower head
Life is stressful. What better place to unwind than in the shower? With a smart shower head, your shower can be relaxing, refreshing, and invigorating. Don’t settle for builder-grade features when you can have a super shower with built-in speakers that transforms your bathroom into a spa.
Budget-friendly: Surround Sound Shower System for $99.99
This surround sound shower system is perfect for music lovers and shower singers.
- Set of two showerheads
- Wireless sound for up to 8 hours
- Onboard controls let you play, pause, skip and reverse tracks, adjust the volume, and answer an incoming phone call
- Installs easily with built-in suction cups
- Compatible with all iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxies, and other Android devices
Mid-range: Moxie 2.5 gpm Bluetooth Showerhead Speaker in Polished Chrome for $179.00
Magnets let you take the speaker with you so you can listen to the rest of a podcast after your shower.
- Waterproof Bluetooth-enabled speaker
- Up to 9 hours of music
- Magnets hold the speaker in place
- Easily toggle between two sound-performance settings: “Shower” and “Normal”
- Charging dock quickly charges the speaker
Splurge: SoundTile 4.875-in 135-Watt Indoor In-ceiling/In-wall Speaker for $392.47
Match your Kohler WaterTile body sprays with these speakers in a variety of colors.
- Integrate with the DTV custom showering experience or use with any audio system
- Low-profile design
- 5-year warranty
Of all the smart technology options, Bossola says he sees touchless faucets most often. Digital faucets are a less messy, more convenient way of washing.
Touchless technology also helps conserve water: an environmental and financial benefit. Digital faucets can reduce tap flow by turning off automatically when they no longer sense hands. Many offer programmable features such as timed shower and teeth-brushing settings.
Budget-friendly: LED Single Hole Touchless Electronic Bathroom Sink Waterfall Faucet in Brushed Nickel for $149
Change the color of the LED light and the temperature of the water without a single touch.
- Color-changing LED lights with temperature reminder
- Automatic sensor
- Waterfall spout design
- Suitable for single-hole sink mounting
- Operates on four AA-size batteries or plug-in
Mid-range: Digital Display Temperature Sensor Faucet for $269.99
See the precise temperature on this faucet’s digital display.
- Digital display indicates water temperature
- Single hole for installation
- 5-year warranty
Splurge: American Standard Paradigm 1.5 GPM Single Hole Bathroom Faucet with Selectronic Programmable Sensor Technology for $341.64
With a sleek design, you’d never guess this faucet had smart features.
- CR-P2 lithium battery preinstalled
- 5-year battery life with 4,000 uses per month
- Hygienic touch-free operation
- Flexible Selectronic platform with programmable sensor and interchangeable power supplies
- Self-cleaning solenoid valve to prevent clogging and reduce maintenance
More luxury on the way with smart tubs
The ultimate in luxury, soaking tubs have passed jacuzzi tubs in popularity. And manufacturers are taking note. For example, Kohler recently introduced a $16,000 smart tub for the ultimate Japanese-inspired spa experience. It features chromotherapy, full-spectrum lighting surrounding the tub, fog, and a place to add essential oils.
Smart bathrooms add value, but not as much as you think
Kitchens and bathrooms can sell a house or sink the deal. Although bathroom remodels don’t usually recoup the total investment, they tend to be one of the higher ROI projects, and even small improvements can add 2% to 3% more to the sale price.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry calculates ROI of bathroom remodels at up to 50% of the cost put into the project. Small improvements like installing smart bathroom fixtures provide a better return than a full remodel.
Weigh the risk vs. reward with smart bathroom features
Smart bathrooms are connected to the Internet, typically via Wi-Fi. This subjects homeowners to security risks such as hacking and data mining. Only California protects consumer rights relating to the access to, deletion of, and sharing of personal information collected by businesses.
Product longevity and relevancy are also worth considering. Technology changes rapidly. If a company goes out of business, its app may no longer be available – or updatable, leaving you vulnerable to security breaches and performance issues. And if a big company like Google or Amazon cuts ties with a small, third-party IoT company that makes smart technology, there is no way to retrofit these devices to be so that they can become obsolete e-waste.
Something else to consider before spending big money on smart features is what stays and what goes when you sell your home. Consult your real estate agent for advice. If it’s not clear, Bossola says it can kill the deal or cost the seller.
He mentions one seller who inadvertently damaged a home in the process of removing smart technology. “The seller had to write a $1,000 check to the buyer for repairs.” Because smart technology is inexpensive, he advises leaving it behind.
Although Bossola doesn’t see a significant amount of smart technology incorporated into the homes in his market, he acknowledges that “for a small group of homes,” at a high price point, “it makes a difference.”
Header Image Source: (R ARCHITECTURE / Unsplash)