You might not think of the bathroom as a bastion of innovation, but the room has benefited from several new technologies. That includes smart devices that protect against leaks (a common threat where so much water is present), as well as innovative fixtures that increase your comfort and convenience throughout the space.   

Go Hands-Free

You don’t have to be a germophobe to appreciate a toilet you can flush without touching the handle. American Standard and Kohler have introduced “touchless toilets” that flush when you wave your hand over a sensor; the feature tends to be on pricier models. "But if you want no-touch flushing, you can buy a conversion kit for about $50 that brings battery-power flushing to almost any toilet," says John Banta, who oversees CR's toilet tests. Kohler is one manufacturer that sells conversion kits. 

More on Bathrooms

And the Toto Washlet is a remote-controlled toilet-seat bidet with a wand that sprays a warm flow of cleansing water. Kohler recently introduced a cleansing toilet seat, the Kohler C3 050. Both seats are compatible with any elongated toilet. You’ll need a ground-fault 120-volt outlet rated for bathroom appliances, and it will need to be within 3 feet of the Washlet for the cord to reach.

For more innovations in toilets, read Today's Toilets Use Less Water and Make Less Noise.

Supercharge Your Showerhead

If you’re living with a wimpy showerhead, replacing it with one of our top picks will mean a more stress-free start to the day. Consider the Speakman Reaction showerhead, which we installed in the gym at Consumer Reports, where 20 staffers evaluated it over the course of several weeks. They described the spray as relaxing and soothing yet strong enough to rinse the thickest locks of hair. And at $25, the Speakman is an invigorating home improvement that costs less than a bottle of designer shampoo.

Catch Leaks Early

If you're concerned about the sink in that basement bathroom leaking, install a networked water sensor that will ping your smartphone if it detects water—long before it reaches flood levels. The hockey-puck-shaped sensors are available from manufacturers including big names such as GE and Samsung and smaller tech players like D-Link and Fibaro.

The leak detectors are either battery-powered or plug-in. Some work independently through your home’s WiFi network; others are part of a hub-based smart home system. Standalone sensors start around $30, and packages with a hub and multiple sensors might set you back a few hundred dollars—considerably cheaper than the aftermath of a flooded room or basement.

Find out about smart-home devices that stop leaks and water damage.