James Lin, president of BidetKing, Monterey Park, California, which sells major bidet brands and provides bidet comparisons and information.
Bidets have been more of a European thing than an American thing—but the temporary shortage of toilet paper this year created a surge in sales.
The bidet’s stream of water not only reduces the amount of toilet paper you need to use, it’s also more comfortable than wiping for people who have hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome. Some research even suggests that bidet use can reduce the risk for bacterial infections, especially among older people.
Although you might think of a bidet as the stand-alone fixture common in countries such as France, there’s an easier, less expensive option—a version that consists of a water-squirting seat or an attachment for the traditional toilet. It isn’t even necessary to call a plumber to install one—many models can be added to existing toilets by a homeowner in less than a half-hour. However, all but the entry-level bidet attachments require an electrical outlet near the toilet.
Best overall bidet seat for elongated bowls: BioBidet Bliss BB-2000, which replaces a toilet’s existing seat, delivers warm water instantly when activated via its remote or built-in controls, followed by warm-air drying. Unlike with some bidets, there’s no initial cold spray before the water is properly heated…and the temperature can be adjusted ranging from room temp up to 105°F. It also has a seat-heating system, nightlights, a remote control that can be used to activate the unit and adjust settings, and a self-cleaning system for the unit’s stainless-steel nozzle. At its highest setting, the water pressure is superior to most other bidets, which even can be useful for those who are constipated—it can act as an enema. It’s available only in white and only in “elongated” shape, which fits toilet bowls measuring 18 inches to 20 inches from the seat mounting bolts to the front edge. $699. BioBidet.com
Best overall bidet seat for round bowls: Brondell Swash 1400 offers many of the same features as the BioBidet above, including adjustable warm water temperature (from 85°F to 104°F)…adjustable air drying…heated seat…remote control…and a self-cleaning function. But it’s available for round toilet bowls (16 to 17¾ inches from the mounting hardware to the front edge of the seat) in addition to elongated bowls…and in beige and white. The Swash 1400 falls short in a few details—it can’t match the BioBidet’s top water pressure setting, although it’s enough pressure for the average user…and its tankless water-heating system doesn’t deliver warm water quite as quickly. $649. Brondell.com
Best budget bidet “attachment”: Tushy Classic is a simple plastic spray device that attaches to the seat bolts of most toilets in minutes. It’s the only one in this article that doesn’t require access to an electrical outlet. Downside: The water it sprays is as cold as the water from the bathroom sink’s cold-water tap. Most bidet users prefer warmer water. Tushy also sells a warm-water unit called Tushy Spa that requires attachment of an additional nine-foot hose to the hot-water supply under your sink. $89/Tushy Classic…$109/Tushy Spa. HelloTushy.com
Best bidet if price is no object: Toto Neorest NX2 Dual Flush Toilet is the Rolls-Royce of bidet toilet bowls. This bidet/toilet combo offers virtually everything the bidet seats above do—plus sensor-operated automatic toilet seat open/close…“tornado flushing” that’s extremely effective at clearing waste despite using only 1.28 gallons per flush…germ-killing UV lighting…and an advanced ceramic glaze that remains cleaner than other toilet bowls. Downside: It costs as much as a small car. $17,300. TotoUSA.com