Seats of (unexpected) power


The country that’s far and away the most famed for its ‘smart toilets’ is unquestionably Japan, where these electric devices can cost as much as $11,000. That’s the price tag for Toto’s top of the range Neorest which opens the lid when you approach, warms up the seat, deodorises your deposit, auto flushes and then shuts the lid when you walk away.

‘Smart toilets’ are increasingly popular in China too. This prompted the Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Administration to test the safety of 28 of the trendiest electrical toilets seats currently available for purchase online.

Most of the brands on sale were priced well below the Toto toilet (between Rmb1,000 and Rmb2,000) but they weren’t nearly as advanced, and according to the Global Times, 39% of the candidates failed to pass quality tests. Some were downright dangerous, the Shanghai testing team claimed, with warnings that a few could even give off electric shocks.

The newspaper said that some of the local manufacturers had diversified into seat-making from their core business of making ceramic toilet bowls. However, it also pointed out that three out of five smart seats from South Korea failed to make the grade too.

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