Don't care for our Toto Acquia toiler or S300 washlet

SusanCFNovember 15, 2012

When we remodeled, I really wanted a washlet. Then we let the decision drift and suddenly found we had to buy in a hurry. I loved the INAX I had seen at one place, but it was $5K for that particular system and with no time to do extensive research, we went for the well-known and somewhat cheaper Toto Aquia toilet and the S300 washlet.

On the good side, we like the dual flush function that allows you to choose whether you want a "big" or a "small" flush (1.6 or 1.2 gallons per flush). And we like that that Aquia fits well in our rather limited space.

What I don't like about the Aquia is the the "big" flush is simply not strong enough to wash out the residue that sometimes clings to the sides. Multiple flushes don't help. I have to scrub the toilet every day or two to keep it looking clean. We have not had this problem with any other toilet, including a 1.6 gpf one that we bought a few years ago. I suspect the problem may lie in the shape of the inside of this toilet and the way the water is directed into it.

We chose the S300 washlet for the combination of features and not-too-exhorbitant price, but there are a couple of things I really dislike about it. The main one is that the spray is just too far back. There is a "back" spray option and a "front" spray option, and even the front option is so far back that it requires toilet gymnastics to get the spray to the desired area. (If you do a search of reviews of this washlet, you will find other people making this complaint.) It's hard for me to believe they made a washlet wish this problem, but there don't appear to be any adjustments to improve the situation.

There are two other things I don't like about this washlet First, the clanky mechanical sounds that it makes when you sit on it and it activate (wish there were a convenient "hold" button to turn that off). Actually, you get used to the sound, but in the quiet middle of the night it can still be pretty jarring. Second, and more importantly perhaps, I don't like the narrowness of the stream. You can adjust the amount of pressure but not the breadth, so it's like a jet of water aimed at your privates rather than a fountain. I just don't find this as pleasant as I'd expected.

Anyway, it's not exactly a hardship to live with these fixtures. Having a washlet is DEFINITELY worth it -- I find myself reaching for washlets on toilets that don't have them! And the warm seat is very nice. I would just recommend looking around a little more before you buy.

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herring_maven

SusanCF: "We chose the S300 washlet for the combination of features and not-too-exhorbitant price, but there are a couple of things I really dislike about it. The main one is that the spray is just too far back. There is a "back" spray option and a "front" spray option, and even the front option is so far back that it requires toilet gymnastics to get the spray to the desired area. (If you do a search of reviews of this washlet, you will find other people making this complaint.) It's hard for me to believe they made a washlet wish this problem, but there don't appear to be any adjustments to improve the situation."

You are invoking history and corporate culture there. When Inax pioneered the first "shower toilet seat" (as it was marketed then), it had two spray arms, one for "posterior" and one for "feminine." The arms extended to different lengths, and each was designed to spray at a specific angle for its dedicated function.

Toto, even though it had units of the Inax in-house to reverse-engineer during its development work, chose to perform both functions with separate nozzles on a single spray arm for its first Washlet; and Toto has stuck with the single spray arm mechanism on subsequent models ever since. Corporate culture tends to ratify past decisions once they are made, especially if the company has become the market leader as Toto has.

The issue that you identify is one of the main reasons that, when we chose an advanced toilet seat for our home in North America, we chose an Inax (ours is the Clessence), as Inax, too, has continued to adhere to the decisions that were made in the development of its first models, many years ago.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:04PM
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enduring

Herring Maven Thanks for your info. Can you tell me if the Inax fits the Toto toilets?

Ok, I have to ask. Doesn't stool fall onto the wand when using the posterior wash? How are these wands kept sanitized for the next use?

I have a coworker who got a bladder infection using a bidet in Europe. I am very curious about the risk of bladder infections with this type of system.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:03AM
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kmcg

Susan - I had a Toto Aquia installed temporarily during my remodel, and I decided to take it out and sell it on Craigslist. I loved the way it looked, and loved how quiet it was. But I found it irritating in a couple ways: small "water spot" so more likely to leave residue, and it was hard to tell when the larger flush button had reached the point for a complete flush.

I replaced it with an Inax Cedar, which is great so far. It's a 1.28 gallon flush and does everything it needs to do.

enduring - on many models I've seen, the wand moves forward when in use and retracts when you're done.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:05PM
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herring_maven

enduring: "OK, I have to ask. Doesn't stool fall onto the wand when using the posterior wash? How are these wands kept sanitized for the next use?"

We have not seen any evidence of wand soiling from stool falling from above; remember that the user does not initiate the wash function until after the bowel movement is complete, so the wand remains retracted while solids are falling. I think that, during the wash, some "backsplash" from the water stream hitting the posterior _may_ impinge onto the wand under some circumstances, but the amount is minimal and highly diluted with water.

When the wash function is commenced, and while the wand is still in its sheath, the sheath is flooded with water under pressure before the door at the end of the sheath is opened and the wand extends. During the posterior washing itself, any backsplash from the water stream hitting the posterior would be mostly deflected by the upcoming direct stream from the wand that is under higher pressure at the point where the water drops would collide. Again, when the washing is completed and the wand retracts, a stream of water washes over it on all sides, rinsing it down before it retracts completely.

On most (perhaps all: I have not researched the point in depth) brands and models of advanced toilet seats, the wand washing is performed with straight water, the same water source as is used for the posterior washing itself. Thus, "sanitize" would exaggerate the function performed. However, in Japan, toilet seats of that kind are found in all of the airports and in many train stations, and in the restrooms off the lobbies of hotels and in restaurants; and the very germ-conscious Japanese would not tolerate a situation where any evidence existed that there is a significant danger of transmittal of disease.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:07PM
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enduring

Thanks Herring Maven, the info is helpful. I understand that the wands stay retracted until initiated by the controls, after urination or BM. Water is the universal solvent.

I have watched the Inax system work on their product video. I see that there is a separate wand for the feminine wash. Does the feminine wand get splashed with the used wash water?

I have my BR wired for a seat like this if I decide to take the plunge. But it worries me about the cross contamination, not only from back to front (female), but person to person. That is why I ask.

Over and over I hear that people love these units and state they don't know how they lived without them :)

I am gaining confidence. Thanks Herring M

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:35PM
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herring_maven

enduring: "I have watched the Inax system work on their product video. I see that there is a separate wand for the feminine wash. Does the feminine wand get splashed with the used wash water?"

The same considerations apply as with the posterior washing -- only more so. The feminine wand directs the stream at a shallower angle for a greater horizontal distance, so one might conceptualize that the amount of splashback (if any) would be less.

Incidentally, a major difference between the Toto and the Inax engineering approaches to the posterior cleansing is that the dedicated posterior wand of the Inax directs the stream upward at a 70 degree angle from horizontal, just 20 degrees from vertical, whereas the dual function single wand of the Toto directs the stream upward at a 43 degree angle from horizontal, which is actually two degrees "more horizontal than vertical." The Inax angle makes for more efficient and thorough posterior cleansing than the Toto, but, theoretically, it also increases the possibility of backsplash contamination. I say, "theoretically," because we have never seen any evidence of it in actual use.

"But it worries me about the cross contamination, not only from back to front (female), but person to person."

In two-wand advanced toilet seats, only one wand at a time extends, so you need not be concerned about front to back cross contamination. We have used the facilities at Tokyo Narita Airport, Tokyo Haneda Airport, Kagoshima Airport, Nagasaki Airport, and Sapporo Chitose Airport, all of which are equipped with toilets fitted with advanced toilet seats (mostly, Inax). We also have stayed in public accommodations in Japan where the en suite facilities in the guest rooms included advanced toilet seats. It is very hard to imagine that such facilities would be installed in the first place and, once installed, would continue in use for years, if there were any field evidence of person to person cross contamination.

"Over and over I hear that people love these units and state they don't know how they lived without them :)"

Once you have used an advanced toilet seat for any length of time (say, more than a week or so), there really is no going back. This past summer, we spent four days at a resort here in the United States that had only (brand new) old-fashioned toilet seats, and we felt vaguely dirty during the time we stayed there; we also found ourselves conscious (to a degree that we never had been conscious before) that the other people swimming in the swimming pool with us had not been using advanced toilet seats in their own personal hygiene: that is an ironic unintended consequence of long-time use of an advanced toilet seat.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:49PM
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enduring

Thanks for the added response Herring Maven. It is so true about the feelings and sense of self consciousness we can get with habit changes. I think these tendencies are hard wired in us humans. I will keep the Inax and Toto wash seats on my list of things that I would like to try in my bath remodel.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:57PM
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jkom51

Interesting that you have problems keeping the Aquia clean. We have had no problems with ours, in fact it stays much, much cleaner than any of our other three low-flush toilets, including an older model Toto Ultramax.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:30PM
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jkom51

I came back to this old thread because I owe SusanCF an apology! We are still happy with Acquia (see my post directly above), but I should have realized this is not our primary toilet. It's a secondary bathroom, used mostly by my petite MIL, on the main floor of our home.

My DH has started using it just for convenience (when he doesn't feel like climbing stairs, the lazy bum [smile]) and now yes, I can see Susan's point about the small center of water.

I wanted to post this update for people who are considering the Acquia. We still think it is a very good toilet, with a powerful flush despite the low volume of water. But you may or may not be happy with the fact that the sides can streak and do not flush clean with one flush.

My MIL has no problems; I've only had a few problems. But DH - well, I'd like to ban him from using it except for 'liquids', LOL.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:46PM
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enduring

LOL Jkom.
I will keep this in mind as I approach the demo mode, for our old commode, (and need a new one :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:53PM
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