Toilet Advice

Best Self Cleaning Toilets 2019 (Reviews, Buying Guide & Ratings)

We prioritize keeping our bathroom fresh and hygienic in our homes. Failure to do so can result in lingering odors, plus the spread and growth of bacteria. Until recently, the only effective way of combating this was by getting on your knees and scrubbing the bowl and tank. Now, there are self cleaning toilets that can help reduce this workload.

You'll find that different manufacturers offer their own solutions and flushing mechanisms for this. American Standard have ActiClean, Kohler have ContinuousClean, and Toto have their own smart toilets with UV lighting and premist technology included. We take a look at some of the innovations being built and explain how they can benefit you below.

Our pick

Toto Neorest 700H MS992CUMFG

The Neorest has some unique specifications that set it apart from its competitors. The bidet functionality with a built in dryer and automatic flush is impressive and comforting, but if you've landed on this article, you're going to want to explore how it keeps the bowl clean.

First of all EWATER+ is used, also known as electrolyzed water, which turns normal water into a cleaner alternative. When combined with the CEFIONTECT ceramic glazing and tornado flush you get a powerful rinsing action that leaves the bowl immaculate for the next user.

Compare toilets

Toto Neorest
700H
American Standard
ActiClean
Kohler Corbelle
Model number MS992CUMFG 714AA154.020 K-5709-96
Rough in 12" 12" 12"
Flush type Dual HET HET
Touchless
Trip lever
Button
GPF 0.8 / 1.0 1.28 1.28
WaterSense .
MaP 800g 1000g N/A
ADA .
Elongated .
Round
Square
WSA Water surface area
8-3/4 x 7-1/4" 9 x 8" N/A
Water level Rim to surface
N/A N/A N/A
Dimensions 32.5 x 15.5 x 21.5" 30.2 x 20.7 x 31.4" 16.4 x 29.4 x 31.3"
Weight 124 lbs 50 lbs 71.2 lbs
Trap size 2-1/8" 2-1/16" 2-1/8"
Concealed trap
Skirted
One piece
Two piece
Intelligent
Floor mount .
Wall mounted
Colors White White Biscuit
Seat
Soft close
Bidet
Supply
Rating 88% 83% 83%

What are they and how do they work?

There are several different designs and mechanisms available on the market right now, the most common of which are the ones which use cartridges or tablets that contain a cleaning solution. The only other thing users would have to do is pull the trip lever / push the button to activate the flush. Some of them have a dial within the tank that handles how much cleaning agent goes through with the water.

Depending on the model you choose, you can have either a continuous, deep, or quick clean. A deep clean cycle will increase the amount of time the bowl gets rinsed. Some models, like Toto make use of a UV light (Actilight), electrolized water, and a special ceramic glazing to break down the dirt, mold, and mildew within the bowl. However, the advanced features puts it at a higher price point, and out of reach for many consumers.

Traditional vs self washing toilets

When you compare the pros and cons between a traditional unit and a self washing one, there isn't a big difference between them. A traditional toilet may not have the ability to rinse the bowl as thoroughly or effectively, but they are less likely to require replacement parts. The majority of functionality relating to flushing performance, design, and water efficiency is retained in both styles. The only thing you're really debating is how often you're happy to be cleaning it and how fresh you want your bathroom smelling.

Outwardly, there isn't much difference in appearance. Buyers can have their preferences of course, but they still share similarities with regards to shapes, sizes, and colors as their standard counterparts.

Advantages

You won't have to get your hands dirty as often. Because the bowl is automatically cleansed at a regular interval, you will be putting on the rubber gloves far less frequently. This in itself keeps bad smells at bay for longer.

While the concept may seem complicated, they are actually quite simple to operate once they're installed. It's just a case of making sure you have the compatible pods and tablets. After that, it's pretty much set and forget.

Disadvantages

No matter how effective the inside of the bowl gets washed, you'll still have to clean the exterior of the tank and bowl. You have to ask yourself if it's worth upgrading if you're going to be cleaning parts of the toilet every so often anyway?

Some products will require people to go out and purchase batteries and special cleaning tablets. That's extra money coming out of your monthly budget.

Because there is extra functionality included, there will usually be more moving parts inside the tank or bowl. More moving parts means more room for issues. You should think about how easy it will be to replace or repair them in comparison to a standard toilet.

List of in depth reviews

Toto Neorest 700H MS992CUMFG#01

This is the 700H range of Neorest, they have a number of alternatives, but this is one of our favorites, and arguably one of the most advanced options available. We take a look at the specs below.

EWATER+ is a electrolyzed water solution to keeping the bowl free of grime and dirt. By utilizing glazing, premist, EWATER+ and it's dirt repelling effects, it's able to sanitize itself and prevent waste adhering.

If flush performance is high priority to you, you'll love the 800 gram MaP score that the MS992CUMFG#01 achieves. While not necessarily an indication of how effectively it rinses the bowl, it does provide insight into how much waste it can push through the trap in one flush. Keep in mind 1000 grams is the absolute maximum products can score, so this is right up there with the best.

Staying on the topic of flush mechanics, it uses two separate flushes, also known as dual flush. While not uncommon, the level of water that can be saved in comparison to traditional tanks stands out. A 0.8 and 1.0 GPF flow rate is great for the environment and your wallet. As you would expect from such numbers, it meets EPA's residential water guidelines.

There are other ways it can help you economically too. Because it runs on electricity, there can be worries about power consumption and the effect it's having on your utility bills. To alleviate these concerns, there is a energy saving mode built into it.

Upon your arrival to the bathroom, it has sensors that detect your movement nearby. This enables it to automatically open and close the lid without needing to touch it. This is great if you're not a fan of germs.

There is adjustable seating height on its elongated shape bowl and it's ADA compliant, meeting the spatial and accessibility requirements of those in need. It's also comfort height, measuring more than 17 inches to the top of its seat. This is not only a design feature for those with disabilities, taller people and the elderly can significantly improve the seated comfort too.

It's designed to be installed on a twelve inch rough in. You don't want to get this measurement wrong as it can lead to unnecessary gaps behind the bowl and tank.

The trapway diameter is 2-1/8”, and it has a water surface area of 8-3/4 by 7-1/4". This water spot isn't the largest we've seen, but it's big enough when combined with glazing and premist to limit the amount of streak marks or staining.

The integrated washlet sends jetted sprays of water to the front and back, offering multiple water patterns, temperatures, and different levels of pressure, enabling you to soften it if you wish. We believe this is more convenient and hygienic than paper.

Overall, it has everything you look for in a toilet. It uses low volumes of water, it clears the bowl well, and includes some innovative specs for a touch of luxury. However, it's important to note that this is not recommended to people with a small budget. Let's face it, all this technology is expensive, and you can find much better value elsewhere without all the extras.

American Standard ActiClean 714AA154.020

The ActiClean is a more affordable alternative to the 700H. While it may not have as lengthy a list of specifications, it covers the basics for day to day usage.

It's two piece, elongated, and right height. This right height bowl measures 16-1/2" to the rim, with the addition of the seat that's included, it reaches the required 17-19". The added height can reduce the amount of pressure being put on joints in the bending motion, making them ideal for senior citizens.

The seat itself is non slip and ensures users can remove it from the bowl quickly and easily. This is great for people wanting to wash around the seat. Many older seats still require a toolbox to remove them.

It operates on VorMax technology, CleanCurve and ActiClean. A powerful trio that will leave the bowl surface spotless. CleanCurve will help prevent mold, mildew, and other dirt building up near the rim. VorMax eliminates the usual rim holes and instead utilizes jetted sprays and dual injection flush valves to swirl water all around the bowl.

You can expect it to do all of this with just 1.28 gallons of water. This translates to 4.8 LPF, and is very green in comparison to 3.5 gallon tanks and even 1.6 gallon ones. Over a products lifetime, this will equate to tens of thousands of gallons saved. Our water calculator can help you understand this and the effect it can potentially have on your household bills better.

The sanitizing cycles are controlled by buttons on the tanks lid. It will send part of the contents of the cartridges through the bowl and can last for many weeks at a time depending on how many people are living in the home. Just remember this requires you to regularly stock up on these cartridges and AA batteries.

Kohler Corbelle 5709-96

We've looked at the Corbelle range in our other product guides and have been impressed by whats on offer. It has a visually appealing exterior thanks to the skirting surrounding the bowl which gives it this seamless appearance. However, it's not completely seamless because it is two piece. This will require a little extra work in the installation process because the bowl and tank need to be screwed / bolted together.

The trip lever is located on the side of its tank, and it's finished in a polished chrome. The color theme used is biscuit on the 5709-96, but sometimes there are white, dune, ice grey, sandbar, and black alternatives if you look in various shops around the web, namely lowes, Amazon, and Home Depot. Just remove the 96 at the end and search for the 5709 alone.

It offers people a taller, chair height experience that promotes easier access and less stress on your joints and muscles. The elongated shape of the bowl will acommodate the male anatomy better than round front units, and they generally provide better leg support.

Similarly to our other choices above, this is also water efficient and WaterSense labelled. It uses 1.28 GPF, and Revolution 360 swirl flushing technology to wash down the waste. The CleanCoat glaze will help both of these technologies and prevent bacteria and mineral build ups.

To operate, you insert the specially made tablets inside the tank. You then adjust the dial which is also in the tank. This dial can be used to determine how much cleaning solution gets released in each flush.

Potential problems

There have been reports from buyers online that find that the flushing mechanism can become defective and leave water running for longer than it should. We've also come across some complaints talking about a ineffective swirling action that doesn't hit the higher areas of the bowl surrounding the rim for long enough.

Other things to consider

Power outlet - If you're considering getting something intelligent like the Neorest, you may need to check if it requires access to an electrical outlet. Not every washroom has one readily available, but some of these smart features like the bidet require electricity to function.

Floor or rear outlet? - Which direction will the waste be exiting? Most residential homes plumbing systems are set up with floor outlets, but there are some that will require waste to be pushed through a rear outlet. Think this through carefully as they generally operate on completely different types of flushing mechanisms. Floor outlets tend to be gravity fed, and rear outlets typically utilize compressed air.

MaP - MaP performance ratings are a great way to learn about the volume of waste a specific toilet can handle. It will help you understand which products are likely to clog up, and which are not. Some will have the highest possible score on their scale (1000 grams), others will score poorly (less than 400 grams in our opinion). We use these test results as part of a larger set of criteria designed to weed out the poorer quality products. Learn more about their testing data here.

Conclusion

Are self cleaning toilets a game changer? We don't think so. It's not a particularly new idea and in the past they were expensive. However, improvements in technology and the manufacturing process has made them more affordable and effective in recent years. They certainly bring a level of convenience to the bathroom that wasn't there previously. No ones a fan of washing them, so if their is an option available that makes carrying out the dirty work less time consuming and simpler, it might be worth taking it into consideration. Just remember, no matter how spotless the inside is left, the outside is always going to need to be cleaned. Maybe one day a company will come out with something that cleans absolutely everything including the seat and external plumbing fixtures. For now, this is the best solution we've got.