It's so popular because it's actually awesome.
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Nearly two years ago, I was browsing Amazon, looking for something fun, weird, and cheap. I had an itch to buy something ridiculous, and stumbled across the perfect thing—a motion sensor light for my toilet. (This same gadget would later become one of the biggest hits of 2017 among our readers.) It was on sale for less than $10, had endless potential for toilet humor, and promised to make my toilet glow like something out of a bad SyFy made-for-TV movie.
I was beyond sold, so I added it to my cart, placed my order, and delightedly told my boyfriend what I’d done. He was as giddy as I was to see this bizarre thing in action (what a keeper).
When it arrived, it looked a little crappy (ha!), but we figured what the heck, let’s give it a go. We loaded it with half-drained batteries taken from our remotes, strapped it onto the toilet, and waited.
And nothing happened. Duh. It was the middle of the day and the single LED bulb dangling into our toilet bowl couldn’t compete with all that natural light. We had to wait a few hours until it got dark, and by that time we actually kind of forgot the light was even there.
Cue me going to get a drink from the kitchen, walking past the bathroom, and jumping a mile when the whole rooms goes from pitch dark to glowing green. Holy crap! It worked. (Pun totally intended.)
I excitedly called my boyfriend to come and look, refusing to take “I’m in the middle of a game” for an answer. While I cost him the match, he was as amused as I was by our alien toilet. We immediately set about pressing the little button to cycle through the 16 different colors and find the one we liked best.
Red? Nope, looks like blood. Too creepy. Yellow? No, for obvious reasons. White was too boring, pink was too Barbie-like.
Blue, purple, and green were all fun without being weird, but the neon teal stole our hearts. And so began our journey with our glowing toilet. We spent the next few months cracking jokes, trying new colors, and having way too much fun with such a ridiculously stupid novelty item.
For something that only cost a few bucks, this chintzy piece of plastic packed a pretty impressive punch. It was super easy to set up, and the way it wraps around the bowl, it doesn't get dirty as long as you clean your toilet before putting it on.
The motion sensor was strong enough that passing within a few feet of it was enough to trigger the lights, making it super useful when you had to get up late at night to use the facilities. The glowing bowl led you right to your target, and it was bright enough that you didn’t have to blind yourself turning on the regular lights.
The only downside, as a female, was that sitting down blocked a lot of the same light I was using to see, which totally did not freak me out the first few times.
Plus, whenever we had friends over, we got to enjoy their reactions. Most thought it was cool, some were confused, and a rare few were grossed out (as long as the rim’s clean when you set it up, the device is sanitary enough). But they all laughed when they first saw it, and that alone made it worth the investment.
As much as we loved our toilet light, all good things must come to an end. And it did. The toilet light worked for a few months, and lasted for a couple battery changes. But eventually the motion sensor stopped sensing motion, even with fresh batteries. I’d like to tell you I had a big, over-the-top sitcom-style send-off for our little glowing friend. But we just left it on the toilet for a few weeks until we got around to tossing it in the trash.
We’ve talked about buying another one on and off ever since. There are dozens of these things online, typically the same price range of $7-$15, and all with mixed reviews. The Vintar toilet light, which boasts 16 color choices and a disco mode, has some of the highest ratings and goes on sale fairly often. The toilet light was one of the most popular products our readers bought last year, and whenever it goes on sale, people snatch it up like it's their last chance.
While I was writing this very article, there was a Lightning Deal on Amazon for the Vintar toilet light, so I ordered one before the deal ran out. Now I am living in absurd luxury once again, basking in the glow of my toilet bowl. And I couldn’t be happier with my not-so-crappy gadget.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.