For any potential buyer looking at today’s modern bidets and washlet toilets, it is essential that you know what’s available and what functionalities each particular type of product can offer you. The Lavatory Lab reviews the 4 types of modern bidets and washlet toilets and provides our opinion on all of them. We have decided to forgo discussions regarding the traditional ceramic bidets since 90% of the population will lack the required space for for these appliances. We have also left out portable bidets since we’re not yet convinced that they offer better utility than basic wet wipes.
If you’re new to bidets and washlets, check out The Lavatory Lab’s article “What is a Bidet and Why Everyone Should Own One.”
The Toilet Seat Bidet (Electronic and Non-electronic)
The toilet seat bidet is the most commonly used type that most people will have heard about given their widespread popularity throughout Japan and the rest of Asia. The toilet seat bidet can either come as a fully stand alone toilet seat, replacing your current toilet seat, or as a simple toilet seat attachment to your existing seat. There are advantages to both types of toilet add-ons. Let’s start with the latter.
The attachable add-on bidet for your existing toilet seat is the easier of the two to install. Given that these toilet seat attachments are mostly non-electronic, they are very simple to install and only require 10-15 minutes of your time for an affordable bidet option. These attachments will provide the most basic function of washing your anus and allow you to change the pressure of the water. Unfortunately the user will be unable to control the temperature of the water with most models, so if you’re okay with cold water then this is an option you may want to consider. These attachments generally run from $20 to $100 so are a great starting point for those curious about bidets.
The electronic toilet seat bidet, as the name suggests, replaces your entire toilet seat. Although more expensive than your non electronic add-ons, the electronic toilet seat bidet provides a much wider range of functionality, comfort, and personalization. In addition to being able to control water pressure, these seats will also allow you to change the temperature of the water. We believe this feature is an absolute must if you can’t stand cold water on your sensitive parts, especially if you live where there are winter seasons! Additional features include a seat warmer (our personal favorite), a bottom dryer, the ability to change the position of the bidet wand, and female wash functions. Some of the higher end models boast extra functions such as toilet bowl sprayers, UV lights to kill bacteria, deodorizers, and an automatic lid opening and closing function. The price range for electronic bidets can run anywhere from $30 to $5000+ depending on the model. Thus, there’s an electronic bidet that’s right for any budget.
Besides being more costly, electronic toilet seat bidets do have another distinct disadvantage: not all bathrooms have an electrical outlet near the toilet. If this is the case in your home, you may be unable to install one of these seats, which would most likely be a travesty in our opinion.
The Fully Integrated Bidet Toilet
The fully integrated bidet toilet combination (also known as the “smart toilet”) is a step above the toilet seat bidet. Instead of just replacing your toilet seat, the fully integrated bidet toilet will replace your existing toilet entirely. Obviously, these washlets are the most expensive option available. Unless you are completely renovating your bathroom or replacing a broken toilet, we wouldn’t recommend this option over a typical electronic toilet seat washlet.
However, the fully integrated bidet toilet does provide a much higher quality and sturdier experience than a typical toilet seat bidet. Because the bidet is built directly into the toilet itself, there is no “wiggle” that you sometimes get when sitting on a toilet seat attachment.
The Handheld Bidet
The simplest of the bunch, the handheld bidet is really just a separate shower head that’s attached to a hose that’s connected to your toilet’s water supply. The bidet itself is typically mounted on a wall right next to the toilet. Installation is extremely simple and the bidets themselves are typically very affordable. However, usage is a bit more complicated than a washlet toilet seat because you’ll have to manually position it for each use. This can provide complications if you’re new to handheld bidets or have difficulty aiming properly. One also has to be conscious of where the spray after usage lands, which isn’t a problem at all with your typical bidet toilet seat.
Here at the Lavatory Lab, our team is overwhelmingly in favor of the electronic toilet seat bidet. These provide all the basic luxuries of a modern bidet, with numerous models available across all price ranges. Electronic toilet seat bidets provide the most utility and functionality per dollar spent. We can’t recommend these enough.
It is difficult to recommend the handheld bidet because we have found that usage is not as easy as a washlet, and the aftermath of the spray can become annoying, especially if your bathroom doesn’t have a central drain on the floor. Although drainage isn’t as much of an issue if you’re located in Asia, we still much prefer the simplicity of pushing a button to clean your anus, rather than having to carefully position the handheld bidet manually every time. If cost is a big concern, we’d recommend a non-electronic seat attachment over the handheld bidet.The costs are comparable, but the ease of use heavily favors a basic seat attachment.
For those of your who are designing a brand new bathroom or replacing a broken toilet altogether, we would definitely recommend a fully integrated bidet toilet over your basic porcelain toilet. The fully integrated bidet toilet provides all the functionality you could need, while also providing a more seamless experience than a bidet toilet seat replacement. Keep in mind that these bidet toilets are most costly, but since you’ll have to replace your toilet anyways you may as well consider it!