Curious about getting a bidet, but don’t know where to start? This bidet comparison guide will help you decide.
Social Life. Work Life. Night Life. Private Life. Long ago, the four elements of normal life lived together in harmony. Then suddenly, in 2020, everything changed.
That will be how I explain the story to my grandchildren while I lounge on my rocking chair. (Or perhaps my rocking toilet? Who knows!) So many things changed. Everything turned on its head. As denial turned into widespread panic, the hoarding began. It led to what will be remembered as “The Great Toilet Paper Shortage Of 2020.“
People started hoarding TP like their lives depended on it. It was as if, in the coming apocalypse, all essential goods and services were going to be bartered in exchange for rolls of toilet paper.
This got a lot of smart and somewhat desperate people thinking – Is this the only way? As soon as this was spoken out loud, millions of voices all across the world suddenly chuckled in sheer dumbfoundedness, and Americans woke up to the possibility of a better way of cleaning their butts.
What people considered for so long to be a fancy European oddity turned out to be an extremely practical and convenient way of taking care of oneself after doing their business. The fact is that bidets are not only more sanitary, but also very good for the environment, and a better experience overall.
Turns out the rest of the world was already in on the secret. Water is something that humans have relied on forever for personal hygiene. In fact, it is toilet paper that is the new kid on the block. Let me stop being vague and introduce it.
…Yes, yes I know some of you already know what it is. For the rest, it’s the weird looking sink you saw on your trip to Europe a few years ago. You may have dismissed it as something alien, but it may soon become a ubiquitous attachment in bathrooms all around the world thanks to the recent explosion in demand.
You don’t want to be the last horse to cross the finish line. May as well get on board and buy one now!
Why buy a bidet in the first place?
A bidet uses a mild jet of water to clean out the area around the anus. The use of water for cleaning is much more hygienic than using toilet paper alone. Water offers a much deeper cleanse of the affected area than toilet paper.
But aside from the direct sanitary advantage, one benefit that is hard to describe is the lingering feeling of freshness that you get after using one. It is just different and much more wholesome. Compared to the harshness and dryness of toilet paper, the experience of a bidet is almost soothing and therapeutic.
To show you the big picture, Americans spend over $6 billion dollars on toilet paper every year and the average family spends over $100 on toilet paper every year. Apart from mitigating the environmental damage, if you wean off toilet paper you are also going to save a lot of money. Frankly it’s an easy step to take towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Bidet toilet or washlet? What’s the difference?
You may have heard it referred to as a washlet or as a bidet. So what’s the difference? The truth is that a Washlet is a registered brand trademark of the Japanese toilet company TOTO. Furthermore, a Washlet is a toilet seat which can be installed on top of an existing toilet. So if you are using a toilet where the seat has a spray like attachment, it is not a bidet and unless the unit has been imported from Japan, it is not technically a Washlet.
Common Pros and Cons
Whether you go for a bidet or a washlet, here are some things to keep in mind before making either purchase:
- Money. You are going to save money on toilet paper. The bidet or washlet will pay for itself in time.
- Environment. Bidets and washlets are better for the environment as they reduce paper wastage
- Cleaner. They offer better sanitation and fewer health risks due to thorough cleaning.
- Learning curve. There is a slight learning curve which may be off putting to some. I can help with that.
- Still need toilet paper. You might need to invest in some toilet paper anyway to dry the affected area after using the bidet or washlet
Bidet Pros and Cons
- Stream options. You can either get bidets that spray from the front to the back or those that shoot water from the bottom up.
- Simpler. Bidets use the home plumbing for adjustable water temperature and flow pressure. Hence they are simpler to operate and more reliable than washlets.
- Space. Bidets require extra space in the bathroom. It may be a problem for apartments or rooms with smaller bathrooms.
- Mobility. Straddling the bidet can be a challenge for elderly people or people with disabilities.
- Tricky installation. Installing the bidet is going to require extra plumbing and labour, especially for North American bathrooms where extra plumbing for a bidet is not built into the house.
- Costly. They are a bit on the expensive side because it is a whole new ceramic bowl which requires installation. Regular bidets will require you to sit on cold porcelain, but a bidet with a heated seat is going to be even more expensive.
Washlet Pros and Cons
- Easy installation. Installation of a washlet is very easy since it merely replaces your existing toilet seat.
- Inexpensive. Washlets are inexpensive compared to a brand new bidet.
- Options. You can buy washlets with heated seats and dry air sprays. There are washlets with nozzles from the front for female genital areas.
- Power source. They require an electrical outlet nearby. Since the heating is electrical, in some cases, the heater might not work properly or be unreliable.
- Price. An original trademarked Washlet is going to be imported from Japan and will be more expensive.
Things To Consider While Buying A Bidet
Bidets are made to make the whole bathroom experience frictionless (literally!) and pleasurable. However here is a list of things to keep in mind before investing in one.
The type of bidet you choose is going to be important. You have to choose between the front to back firing one or the bottom firing one. Try to experience both first hand to definitely know which style of bidet you prefer.
The extra cost of plumbing and installation has to be factored into the purchase. A quick calculation of how much toilet paper you buy in a year and the amount you are planning to spend should give you a rough estimate as to how many years it will take to pay itself off.
You are going to require plenty of space in your bathroom. It is recommended to have at least 60 inches of space to install both a bidet and a toilet.
If you have elderly people or those with mobility issues who are going to use the bathroom, then a bidet is just an added tripping hazard. Unless they have used bidets for a while, teaching an old dog new tricks is going to be difficult.
It has to match your interior. If the rest of your bathroom has matching fixtures, it may be a challenge to find a bidet that fits in with the rest of your style.
Now that you have a good idea of what to expect, here is the list of bidets and washlets that I recommend.
This is the washlet I personally own. I recommend the C200 for anyone who is curious about upgrading their bathroom routine. It comes in at a decent price and while it’s a healthy starter washlet, the fact is you never really need to upgrade.
This is a Washlet with heating elements over the full seat surface. It is an easy way to upgrade your current toilet. The water spray has adjustable temperature and pressure settings.
It also has a deodorizer which eliminates bathroom odors. It comes with a remote that lets you control all the functionality of the Washlet. You can even set and save 2 custom user settings.
The Washlet also comes with a warm air dryer which dries you off after the spray. This takes care of one of the aforementioned cons of getting a bidet or washlet and helps save money on toilet paper.
There is a special PREMIST functionality which emits a cleansing mist to clean the toilet bowl before every use. The spray wand is also designed such that it cleans itself after every use. So there is no worry about leftover residue anywhere.
One problem I found with this model is that the warm water is limited and lasts only for around 30 seconds before it starts going cold. The water pressure is a little weak even at the highest setting.
This is a Washlet that costs more than an actual bidet. For that amount of money it should come with some serious features. To be fair, it does justify its price with some amazing functionalities.
Firstly, it has all the features of the aforementioned entry level Washlet. This model comes with an extra sensor that allows for a touchless experience. It detects automatically when you approach, finish and move away from the toilet. The lid even opens and closes automatically! So no more arguments in the house about leaving the toilet seat up.
Trust me when I say that this is an experience straight out of a sci-fi movie. If you want to impress your buddies who are over for a barbecue, this one definitely fits the bill. Just be ready for heaps of wonderment and awe from them. It also has a nightlight that I think adds great character to the whole package. It gently illuminates the bathroom at night.
One major difference with the previous model is that this is a tankless system. Because of this, it doesn’t have to store heated water within itself. This removes the warm water limit of 30 seconds.
If money is no issue and you want the whole shebang, I definitely recommend checking this one out.
This amazing bidet toilet seat is super affordable. I cannot use the term Washlet for this one because technically it isn’t one. It is however enough to get started for people on a budget.
It lacks a remote and all the functionality is on the side panel next to the toilet seat. The main buttons are large and accessible. The UI is clean and easy to understand.
A major upgrade even at a lower price here is that it comes with two nozzles. One for regular wash and one for feminine wash. It is great to see more functionality at a low price. It comes with the usual functionalities like heated seats, warm air dryer, and heated water from a small reservoir on the bottom of the seat.
There are even massage and oscillating modes present if you need them but I wouldn’t count on them to work exceptionally at this price point.
It comes with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty in case any problems arise. Be sure to check that the GFCI outlet is less than 4 feet from the toilet because that is how long the inbuilt cord is.
This bidet seat from Korea is from the same manufacturer as the last one but is a little cheaper for someone who just wants the basics and doesn’t want to spend extra on the fancy features.I would recommend this one for cautious purchasers who want to dip their toes in this well while being secured if something goes wrong.
It does however offer a wireless remote. It is an upgrade in one department and a downgrade in other ones. Assuming the same build quality, this is all about selecting the right mix of features and the money you are willing to pay for them. It doesn’t skimp on the very important features like dual nozzles and the reservoir for the heated water.
The bidet seat offers the same eco-friendly benefits as its older brother while providing a 3-year limited warranty on the product.
The company behind these has been making bidet seats since 2003. They are experienced in their craft and it shows because I am going to cover quite a few of their models here today.
This bidet seat comes with stainless steel nozzles that just look really futuristic. The nozzles sterilize themselves after every use.
There is no warm water reservoir. Instead the water is heated in place by a ceramic core instant heating system which means there is no limit on the warm water spray. This helps for those difficult long visits to the toilet. The wash spray is aerated so that the stream is not too solid and harsh. It covers a greater area which is adjustable.
Other features include a warm air dryer, heated seats and wireless remote control.
Word of warning – This one comes in 2 sizes and shapes – elongated and round. The correct one for you depends on the size of your own toilet bowl. A handy graphic on the product page will help you choose the right one. Make sure to get the one that fits perfectly.
This is a budget seat that ticks most of the right boxes for a balanced experience. It is available for as low as $400.
It keeps some of the convenient features from the previous model like the wireless remote control and warm air dryer. The water temperature and pressure can be adjusted in 4 and 5 separate discrete levels respectively.
One feature that they managed to squeeze in the massager which provides a pulsating cleaning motion for the spray. This one keeps the auto mode which is a preset for running the dryer right after the rear wash cycle is complete. It is a great feature that comes close to a touchless experience like some of the high end models offer.
The thing that is missing here is the aerated wide spray. Though it may seem like an important feature, if saving money is a top priority then you can make a case to live without it.
This is one of their higher end models from Brondell. There are some advanced features here that the folks with the money to spend will appreciate. It has a memory setting to remember personal preferences like spray width, water temperature and pressure. This makes for a quick switching between profiles and no fumbling around with the controls at night when you are drowsy and just want to go to bed quickly.
It comes with everything from the above covered seats from the same company along with extra features like nozzle oscillation, a deodorizer and a calm illuminating night light. The deodorizer is replaceable in case it loses its potency after a lot of use.
One feature that I appreciated in this model is the natural silver coating on the nozzles. Silver is known for its antibacterial properties. The silver coating keeps the nozzles hygienic and corrosion free. Coupled with the self sterilizing mechanism, you don’t have to worry about maintenance of the components of the seat for a long time.
|TOTO C200||TOTO S550E||BioBidet BB-600||BioBidet USPA 6800||Brondell S1000-RW||Swash CL950||Brondell Swash 1400|
|Warm Air Dryer||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Auto Open and Close Seat and Lid||Y|
|Tankless Instantaneous Heated Water||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Wide Front Cleanse||Y||Y||Y|
|Wireless Remote Control||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Posterior and Feminine Warm Water Wash||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Adjustable Water Temperature and Pressure||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Ergonomic Heated Seat||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
* – Proprietary feature
So these are the best bidet seats on the market today. Like I said, I own the Toto C200, and based on that would probably recommend it above the others.
I am honestly excited for the bidet revolution that is coming. If you want to be ahead of the curve you should pick yours up soon before your pompous and smug neighbor buys one. As is with everything in life, you don’t want to end up as number two 😉