Monday, April 27, 2009

Looking deeply into toilets

Discussing Japanese toilets and the sometimes hi-tech functions that they carry, as well as the subject of traditional Japanese toilets (where you crouch over it) are subjects that have been discussed to death all over the place and the people who haven't heard of that probably won't visit this blog in any case.

However, there are still significant differences between the design of "normal western toilets" that I have taken notice of across the world which I would like to take this chance to elaborate a little on. In the picture above you can see an example of three toilets from Sweden, Germany (although the design is similar in France) as well as a Japanese "Western" toilet. The top level view might make it a little difficult to easily see the differences but please allow me to elaborate on the pros and cons of each contraption.

The Swedish Toilet

The Swedish toilet is characterised by the lack of any significant "ridge" before the water and a decent size of the location of the hole with the water in. This means that any waste you drop into this toilet will eventually slide down into the water and help cover up some of the stink that might otherwise come up.

Also, the water is located at a far distance from the sitting ring make it completely feasible to stand and pee down one without having any backsplash from when making touch with the water in the toilet. The lack of any "ridge" also makes sure that it camly dripples down without and significant backsplash that might otherwise come back to haunt you if you're not powerhosing it down.
The Continental Toilet

This type is mostly seen in continental Europe and is most strongly characterized by a "ledge" before a relatively small "water hole". With this design there are significant risks if you happen to miss the hole, this includes your waste ending up on the ledge stinking down the place and forcing an extra flush to avoid stinking down the place. Also when standing up and peeing down one there is a significant risk of heavy splash damage in case you miss the small hole. The toilets are designed for people with great precision both on the front and the back sections.

The Japanese "Western" Toilet

There are two things that specifically stand out in the Japanese "western style" toilet. The first is that they are usually quite a bit lower than the other types, resulting in a closer proximity from the disposal unit and the water in one case and an increased distance in the other. Also, there is a small "ridge" on these units as well, but the shorter distance between the seat and the largest "water hole" area of this design ensures that it is extremely unlikely that any waste will end up on the ridge stinking the place up.

However, the proximity of the water from the seat results in a greater risk of a large splash of water in case of more significant output in terms of weight. Similarly the same risk occurs from standing and peeing. Also noteworthy is the opening at the front of the ring for the Japanese toilet which I assume is for the benefit of men sitting down and peeing, I have no issues with this design but neither do I see any concrete benefits.

Conclusion

In terms of risk of stink, the Japanese toilet is without doubt the safest way to go, but it also carries with is a large risk of splash damage.

From my perspective I have difficulties seeing any concrete benefits in the continental toilet, unless you have great accuraccy there is a high risk of both stink and splash damage.

The best design is without doubt the Swedish toilet which strikes a perfect balance between risk of stink and risk of splash damage.

(In the name of globalization, I probably should've included US toilets in the study, but I cannot for the life of me remember which style the toilets over there are built around...)

11 comments:

ThePenguin said...

Truly there is little that escapes your incisive analysis! However it appears you have not much experience of the water closets of Germany and Central Europe - the ledge and the hole in the "German" example you show are the wrong way round.

See "Flachspüler" pic hereI will leave the details to your imagination.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Oh, the infamous "Flachspüler"! I knew there were worse things out there, I have experienced the horror of this one in the past in rural Germany!

That one combines maximum stink with maximum splash, worst of those worlds, remembering this one, the newer German ones don't seem that bad anymore!

Nor-Cal Nikkei said...

Dude, you R E A L L Y need to get out more when you go on vacation!

lina said...

Such in-depth observation.You must have spent plenty of time in each of those toilets.

sixmats said...

I agree with Nikkei.

Nor-Cal Nikkei said...

YEAH! A new poll!

Martin said...

I think you forgot the downside with the Swedish style toilet. There is great risk of splaches up your backside from heavy "dumping".

Isn´t the german style "Flachspüler" useful for people whom like to check their feces for fiber? Something i guess germans like to do.

App said...

US toilets are similar to the Swedish ones, but with more water, like the Japanese western. They can have either the split seat or the regular, with the split seat being more common in public facilities and the regular in homes.

Incidentally, the split seat isn't designed for men that sit when they pee. It was designed for the ones that stand and don't have the courtesy to lift the seat. The split was created to combat some of the mess they make so the next person will have a cleaner seat to sit on, should they need it (rarely works out that way though)

Mr. Salaryman said...

App - Thank you for that piece of information, I didn't actually know that interesting piece about the split seat!

However, I think we both agree that this is the wrong approach, it's giving in to terrorism and has given up combatting it. For the record, I always raise the seat before peeing and do clean up after me in case of collateral splash damage!

Anonymous said...

Toto is a japanese brand of toilet and other bathroom appliances and it's one of the best in the world! Why didn't you take pictures of nice toilets with bidets?!

It's nice to hear that you are one of the good men who lift the seat to pee. I hope you also put the seat back down though... I guess you weren't living with any women at the time (?) and so would not run into any issues...

restroom trailer said...

i prefer the high water!

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