Many men are reclaiming their homes' dens, garages, and basements as “man caves” where testosterone rules. And what fixture is better suited to defining the man cave than the urinal?
Most plumbing manufacturers have urinals in their product lines, and a few note an emerging trend of such units being installed in homes. Companies including Kohler and Caroma offer urinals with sleeker, more compact styling than commercial units. And, manufacturers agree, water savings is an important benefit of having a urinal in the home.
“Residential use of urinals has been a trend in Australia for some time because there's a constant shortage of water in that country,” says Glenn Sheargold, owner of Sustainable Solutions International, the U.S. distributor of Australian brand Caroma. “Water use can be as low as 1/8 of a gallon, which can be considered a lot when it comes to a urinal.”
Eliminating water altogether, Kohler's Steward waterless urinal functions like usual but uses a vegetable-based sealing liquid, with a lower specific gravity than urine, to carry away waste. “Since its introduction, the waterless urinal has gotten more popular every month,” says product manager Shane Judd. “In addition to water savings, another benefit is ease of installation. Being waterless, you don't have to plumb a supply line for these models — all you need is a waste pipe.”
Sheargold says urinals can cost upward of $400, which may make homeowners balk when a $150 toilet serves the same purpose. But, he says, urinals pay for themselves. “With lower water costs helping you run a more efficient household, the return on investment is quite short.”
Judd says many women initially scoff at the idea of a urinal in their homes, but several attributes appeal to them in the end. “In addition to the water savings, women can stop worrying about cleaning up splashes, or having the toilet seat left up,” he says. “More builders are also seeing these benefits as a way to differentiate a custom home.”