Bidet Basics: reviews, how-to’s, and why to use one!

Updated by Lynda Stevens

funny man face Bidets have been used for many years across Europe and Asia. However, they’ve never caught on strongly here in America. Now that they’re becoming increasingly popular and available to US shoppers, we wanted to answer some FAQ’s about bidets!

What’s a bidet, anyway?

Bidets began in Europe, originally in France (hence the French name!). In Europe, they took the shape of a basin or sink that you’d use to wash your nether regions after using the toilet. In many European countries today, you’ll see a bidet fixture next to a toilet. You turn on water from a nozzle, and clean yourself before drying off.

Bidets are also incredibly popular in Asia, particularly in Japan. There, they’re integrated with the toilet itself. So, after doing your duties, a nozzle under the seat will wash you off, and usually blow-dry as well.

Why are bidets so great?

For one thing, they basically eliminate the need for toilet paper. Many people actually think bidets do a better job cleaning your bottom than you can do with your hand and a wad of bathroom tissue. So, you can save lots of trees without sacrificing cleanliness at all! Even if you want to use some paper to do a preliminary wipe or dry off at the end, you’ll still end up using much less.

For another, they’re very enjoyable to use. Bidets usually offer adjustable water pressure and temperature, much like a shower head. So, you can get a personalized experience exactly how you like it. And while it will seem strange to newcomers, having a warm rinse down below is a lot more pleasant than rubbing away with paper until you’re chapped. Since some models have heated seats, too, they turn the whole bathroom experience into a mini spa visit!

Why haven’t I heard of one before?

For some reason, bidets have never caught on in a big way with American consumers. To some degree, that’s probably due to lack of exposure. Even upscale hotels don’t have them here, whereas every public bathroom in Japan does.

Still, as the population begins to travel more and become more globalized, a lot of Americans who have used bidets abroad are demanding them here at home. Toto (the leading manufacturer of toilet-integrated models) offers a whole range of bidet seats here now, and there are some rather good independent/Euro-style offerings as well.

Do I have to buy a whole new toilet?

Nope! Unless you want the full Japanese experience, with a tech-filled toilet costing thousands, you’ll probably be using either a separate bidet fixture or a bidet toilet seat. Either way, you won’t have to buy a new toilet! Bidet fixtures can fit neatly between a toilet and a sink, and the seats should fit any standard US toilet, as long as you choose one matching the shape of your toilet bowl.

How do I install a bidet toilet seat?

Very easily! You’ll need to unscrew your old seat, and get rid of that. Then, fit the bidet toilet seat over the mounting holes, and bolt that on. Your new seat should come with a water hose to supply it, and a T-bracket that will fit between your toilet’s water line and tank hookup. Once you’ve added the diverter valve, you’ll just need to plug in the power cable, turn the unit on, and wait until the water’s warmed up!

Which models are the best to buy?

Toto was the original manufacturer of bidet toilet seats, and of toilets with integrated bidets. While many brands have produced knock-off’s for less money, they still don’t compare with the original. So, if you’re in the market for a bidet toilet seat, you’ll want to choose something from Toto’s Washlet lineup.

Toto Washlet C100

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If you don’t mind ditching a few luxuries, the C100 is a great entry point into bidet life.

If you don’t mind ditching a few luxuries, the C100 is a great entry point into bidet life. It has many of the same features as the more expensive C200, but costs substantially less.  There are also fewer adjustment options.  Still, it gives you a decent range of settings to choose from, and it works well. The C100 heats up water promptly, dries effectively, and has a great reputation for reliability.

Pros

A misting function is performed before each use to help prevent waste from adhering.

You can adjust the temperature and pressure setting.

Front and rear cleansing options

Has a heated seat and warm air dryer.

Comes with an automatic air deodorizer.

You can adjust the temperature and pressure setting.

Hardware is included.

The wand is self-cleaning, and it automatically cleans the inside and outside of the wand before and after each use.

Cons

You’ll have to sacrifice remote control and make do with an attached control pad and ditch the ability to save user preferences.

Toto Washlet C200

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It’s the best you can do without spending around a grand for a premium bidet/toilet combo.

If you can send a bit more, the C200 is our recommendation to the average buyer. It has more settings in the adjustable features, plus the added convenience of a remote control. The water stream oscillates, which is both comfortable and more effective at cleaning. You can attach the control panel to your wall, or keep it in a magazine stand.

Aside from those upgrades, the C200 is largely the same as the C100. It looks practically identical, and has the same basic features: pre-misting, blow-drying, and adjustable temperature for the seat and water flow.

It’s the best you can do without spending around a grand for a premium bidet/toilet combo.

Pros

The self-cleaning wand will automatically clean itself both inside, and outside, before and after each use.

Comes with a heated seat and warm air dryer.

A misting function will be used before each use to help waste from adhering.

It comes with five adjustable temperature and pressure settings.

Front and rear warm water cleanse.

Comes with a heated seat and warm air dryer.

The automatic deodorizer will keep your bathroom smelling fresh.

Comes with hardware included.

Cons

Many said that installations was hard, and tech support was not very helpful.

Duravit D-Code Bidet

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This is a very simple porcelain fixture that works with any number of design styles.

Finally, if you want a Euro-style standalone bidet, Duravit makes a great unit for a low price. This is a very simple porcelain fixture that works with any number of design styles. You can customize it however you like with a bidet faucet ($50-$500).

Pros

The porcelain material will last for years.

Can customize it with any bidet faucet you like.

A classic design that works with almost any bathroom style.

Can customize it with any bidet faucet you like.

Customers said it was packaged very well to care for the porcelain.

Cons

Some complained that it wasn’t available from many online stores, and it wasn’t actually made in Europe.

Need help finding a bidet faucet to go with it? Hansgrohe makes a very classy one:

Hansgrohe Focus S Over-The-Rim Bidet

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Enjoyed this guide? Check out our guide to the best Bio Bidet models here!

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