Today’s article covers how to choose a bidet that’s best for you. I’ll mention a few models, but this article isn’t stuffed with product links. Instead, I’m focusing on answering some of the most common questions I get like, what kind of bidet should I buy? What kind of bidet is best? How to choose a bidet, etc.
For those who are knew to the subject, here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of bidets mentioned in this article.
For those in a rush, here is a summary:
Which Bidet Should I Buy?
The best bidet to buy fits a person’s toilet, bathroom, and budget. In most cases, an entry-level electric bidet is the best option. The best bidets for minimalists and those on a budget include attachments and handheld sprayers. For odd toilet designs, a specific bidet may be needed.
As we’ll get into below, the “bidet” label can be used on products that cost anywhere from $15 to over $6,000.
The huge price range has to do with how the term is used to refer to anything from a squeeze bottle (a primitive portable bidet) to a high-tech Japanese toilet that looks like something out of the SpaceX R&D department.
Here we’ll go over the main factors and touch on a few things you may want to consider.
How to Choose a Bidet
Step 1: Consider How Much You Want to Spend
Bidets can cost anywhere between $30 and $5K. A quality bidet attachment can be had from $40 to $80 while the average bidet-toilet combo goes for $1,300. The cost for an electric bidet seat averages $330. A good handheld sprayer can be purchased for $30 to $40. Standalone bidets cost around $300.
For more info, check out the article on how much bidets cost.
For now, the different price ranges are summarized here.
Seat: $200 to
Seat: $350 to
$45 to $100
|Dual Temp: $70
$50 to $120
The main factor determining the price of electric bidets is the number of features offered and the quality of the bidet construction and parts used (usually reflected by the brand).
Electric bidet seats range from $190 to almost $1200. The average price for an entry-level model with a dryer and tank-type water heater is $330. Models without a dryer can be found for $200. Models with instantaneous type water heaters start at around $500.
Quality bidet attachments can be found for between $45 to around $100. Attachments offer few features so the price range is narrower compared to electric bidets. The brand, quality of construction, and warm water capability affect the price.
The average bidet-toilet combo costs around $1,400. You can find them as low as $800 (less than some bidet seats alone) and as high as $6K. The price depends on the brand, quality of the toilet, and features offered by the built-in bidet.
The price for handheld bidets averages $40. You can find them as low as 10 to $15 and as high as $70, with name-brand sprayers averaging $50 to $70. The least expensive models are made of cheap parts and thus are prone to leaking.
A quality battery-powered portable/travel bidet can be found for $90. The manual squeeze bottle variety can cost as little as $5 to $15. Among the factors that influence price include the brand of the bidet, quality, and spray time (the size of the reservoir).
The cost of a standalone bidet depends, in part, on whether it has a horizontal or vertical spray design, with the latter being more expensive. Most standalone bidets can be purchased online and at retailers for between $250 (horizontal spray) and $480 (vertical spray).
Horizontal spray (aka over-the-rim) bidets have a traditional sink-like faucet that pours water into the basin. Vertical spray (aka ascending spray) bidets spray water up from the bottom of the basin like a fountain.
Standalone bidets cost way more when you add up the expenses. For example, a faucet, pop-up assembly, and p-trap are often sold separately (they don’t usually come with the basin). Also, this type of bidet has a more involved installation and most folks choose to outsource the job to a plumber which isn’t cheap.
Step 2: Consider Your Toilet
A bidet can be found to fit almost any toilet, but some toilets pose more problems than others. Installation is usually easy, but some situations require alternative parts and installation methods. Skirted designs cause issues but can be worked with. Tankless toilets are the least bidet-friendly.
Toilet compatibility is summarized in this table:
|Type of Toilet
Bidets for Round Vs. Elongated
This is only important when you want a bidet seat (electric or non-electric). They differ in length by a couple of inches.
So, a given bidet seat can’t fit both.
Most seats are available in both round and elongated but that’s not always the case. In my experience, if a seat isn’t available for both, it’s usually only compatible with elongated toilets.
Also, sometimes a bidet is more expensive in one form vs the other.
Two-Piece Toilets Fit Most Bidets
Standard two-piece non-skirted toilets are the most bidet-friendly. With this kind, the tank and bowl are made separately and bolted together. They provide more room in the back of the toilet, have easy-to-access fill valves, traditional dimensions, and are compatible with bidet mounting hardware.
When installation problems arise, it’s usually the fault of the bathroom setup.
Some Bidet Attachments Don’t Fit One-Piece Toilets
Among the semi-bidet-friendly toilets are conventional one-piece commodes. With one-piece toilets, the bowl and basin are one seamless unit.
These can be a pain but only pose installation problems for some bidets. For compatible bidets, check out the article on the best bidets for one-piece toilets.
- Unconventional bolt hole widths. The distance between bolt holes is standardized to 5.5” in North America but some toilets break from this custom. I’ve seen some as far apart as 10”. Extra-wide widths are more common fancy modern-looking toilets which tend to be one-piece.
- French curves. When present, French curves can get in the way of the mounting bracket (bidet seats) and control arm (attachments and some seats).
- Low-profile tanks. Low-profile tanks are shorter and fatter, so they can make the toilet wider in the back resulting in the toilet being too broad for some bidets, especially those with side panels (bidet attachments).
- Unconventional dimensions. A lot of fancy toilets are one-piece and fancy toilets can come in odd dimensions that sometimes make attaching the bidet difficult.
Skirted and Concealed Trapway Toilets Are Usually Fine
Skirted and concealed trapway toilets hide the inner workings of the commode. Skirted bowls hide everything and bowls with concealed trapways only hide the trap.
These can be a pain but they don’t they pose any problems that can’t be worked with.
Most of the potential problems all relate to the fill valve being hard to access. The problem is that the T-connectors that come with bidets are meant to be attached to fill valves which are 7/8” by default.
- The fill valve is inside the toilet. On regular two-piece toilets, the fill valve extends from the bottom of the tank and is easy to get to. With skirted toilets, sometimes it’s inside the back of the commode.
- The toilet is too close to the wall. Skirted toilets are often one-piece and flat so they’re usually installed closer to the wall making the area around the fill valve hard to reach.
- Bulky 7/8” T-connector. Even if you can access the fill valve, the 7/8” T-connector may be too large to attach to the fill valve because the area around the valve is too cramped for the reasons just mentioned.
- Incompatible mounting hardware. Bidet seats come with mounting hardware to replace the nuts/bolts holding down the current seat. The new nuts and bolts can be incompatible with skirted toilets because most skirted bowls don’t allow access to the underside of the back of the rim where the bidet attaches.
To get around these problems, most folks use an extension hose or a 3/8” T-connector that attaches to the toilet shutoff valve.
Tankless and Wall-Hung Toilets Are the Least Bidet-Friendly
The least bidet-friendly toilets are tankless (flushometers) and those with concealed cisterns (tanks behind the wall). Either can be wall-hung but most wall-hung toilets are concealed cistern.
With these, there is no external access to the water supply connection. I.e., they lack both a fill valve and a shutoff valve next to the toilet. Hence, you can’t use a 3/8” T-connector to work around the problem as you can with skirted toilets.
The only way to get water is by running an extra-long hose to the shutoff valve beneath the bathroom sink.
Step 3: Consider Your Bathroom
Preferably No Vanity (Warm Water Non-Electric Bidets)
Non-electric bidets that provide warm water are most compatible with bathrooms that have a pedestal or wall-hung sink with no surrounding cabinetry.
If you have a vanity around your sink, you’ll need to drill a hole through it to feed the warm water line through the cabinet. Permanent modifications are off-limits to renters. More on that below in the section on renters.
Warm water non-electric bidets come with an extra T-valve and extension hose. The T- valve is smaller (3/8” instead of 7/8”) and the hose is extra-long (9-10 feet). The extra parts are meant to be attached to the warm water shutoff valve beneath the bathroom sink.
A Nearby Electrical Outlet (Electric Seats)
Unsurprisingly, if you want an electric bidet, you’ll need an electrical outlet. It’ll need to be on the same wall preferably next to the toilet. Or at least close enough to use an extension cord.
This requirement seems hardly worth mentioning because most bathrooms have outlets. But proximity is important because if the outlet is on the opposite wall, an extension cord would form a tripping hazard.
Plumbing Requirements for Standalone Bidets
The TLDR version is that your bathroom will need two 3/8” shutoff valves and a 1-1/4” drain line.
The shutoff valves are always located low on the wall where the bidet is to be installed and the drain line stub-out is usually situated between the two valves (slightly lower) but a floor drain can be used.
Step 4: Know the Features You Want (Warm Water, Air Dryer, Etc.)
By far, electric bidets provide the most features.
Here’s a rundown of the most common features and a few included on luxury models.
- Warm water with digital temperature control. You can get warm water without having to modify the property or drill any holes.
- Some provide endless warm water. Entry-level electric bidets typically have tank-type heaters that spray warm water for about a minute. A minute is plenty long enough for most bowel movements—it takes practice but most are usually done spraying in about 30 seconds. But having warm water that doesn’t run out would be ideal. It’s especially useful for women who want to clean the entire perennial area for feminine hygiene and for folks who share the bidet and may be using it back-to-back without allowing enough time in between for a new reservoir of water to heat up.
- A warm air dryer. Not all electric bidets have dryers and this feature starts popping up on models priced at $250 or more. Like with most extra features, you can get by without one of these but they will cut down on your toilet paper usage which can save you hundreds and even thousands over a lifetime. Some people eliminate TP entirely by exclusively using a warm air dryer. Those who eliminate TP completely usually do so for environmental reasons or for personal savings. I’m personally not patient enough to dry with air so I still use a square or two of paper to finish drying. But having used a non-electric bidet, I can say that having the dryer cuts down on overall TP usage significantly. Most electric bidet users report the same thing.
- Self-cleaning and self-sanitizing features. Having a self-cleaning nozzle is the most important self-cleaning feature because cleaning wands can get soiled over time. Nowadays, bidet attachments have effective self-rinsing wands too, but some electric models clean their nozzles with an antimicrobial solution. Also, some bidets like those put out by TOTO clean the toilet bowl with each use by misting the toilet with a cleaning solution that keeps poop from sticking to the bowl.
- Digital pressure control. Most bidets come with several pressure settings.
- Precision nozzle aiming. The precision of aiming/accuracy on electric bidets is second only to handheld sprayers. Standalone units and most modern non-electric bidets rely on strategic body positioning to get water where it needs to be. In my experience, all bidets are easy to get the hang of with practice. But models with higher accuracy are more convenient. Also, folks with limited mobility (e.g., senior adults) benefit the most from accurate bidets that don’t rely on strength and coordination.
- Special spray patterns. This was mentioned above. Most electric bidets have wide, oscillating, and pulsating pray patterns. Wide and oscillating spray patterns clean a wider area, further reducing the need for fancy body positioning (oscillating water streams move back and forth or side-to-side). Many offer spray modes for feminine and frontal hygiene, vortex water streams (DIY enemas for constipation), and some models even have sitz bath modes.
- Antimicrobial wands. Contrary to a common myth, bidet nozzles don’t get pooped on directly but they can get contaminated over time with use. For whatever reason, nozzles treated with antimicrobial additives tend to come on electric bidets more so than non-electric units.
- Clean filtered water. This needn’t be limited to electric bidets but electric models tend to come with all the right hookups to use water filters–a lot of them even include a filter. With attachments and sprayers, you usually have to get the extra gear separately.
- Water efficiency. Electric bidets use fancier technology like aerated water streams and special spray patterns that allow the bidet to provide the highest quality clean with the least amount of water. Non-electric bidets use higher spray volumes and greater water pressure which use exponentially more water over the long term.
- Aesthetic. Bidet attachments are often bulky and tacky-looking. Many are plastered with chrome paint and colorful stickers. Electric bidets tend to have a sleek minimalist look.
- Heated seats. Heated seats come with most if not all electric bidets, even the least expensive models. I’d imagine it’s because electric appliances give off heat so it’s a no-brainer that you’d market the seat as being heated. But it is nice to have buttons or a dial to control the seat temperature and it feels great during colder months. Some users claim that it helps with constipation by relaxing the sphincters and other muscles responsible for bowel function.
- Deodorizers. Unlike air fresheners, deodorizers don’t mask foul odors. Rather, they use a small fan to draw air through a carbon filter that breaks down odorous compounds keeping the bathroom smelling clean.
- Automatic and gentle slow-closing seats and lids. Luxury bidets often allow the user to open and close the seat and lid with the remote control. These models are much more expensive. Most electric bidets have slow-closing lids. They don’t automatically close but, with a slight nudge, the lid closes in a slow controlled manner. This is meant to reduce wear and tear over time to lengthen the life of the bidet. As a guy, I find that it helps me keep the lid closed which is great for keeping the bathroom clean.
They are awesome, but none of the above features are absolutely necessary. You don’t need any of them to get a clean that’s 10 x better than what toilet paper has to offer—even if you go with the most primitive bidet.
Step 5: Consider Your Living Situation
I’ve written at length on which types of bidets can and can’t be installed in apartments and other rental properties. The upshot is that you can install any bidet that you want so long as the installation is 100% reversible. Just make sure to put everything back where you found it.
So, this rules out toilet-bidet combos, standalone bidets, and in some cases certain warm-water bidet attachments and sprayers.
I’ve heard of some getting away with drilling a small hole (when installation called for it) and then filling it in with caulk when you go to leave. Personally, I’d just avoid getting a bidet that requires making a permanent change to the property.
The best bidets for apartments can be found here.
Which Bidet is Best?
Most agree that the best bidet is the TOTO s550e. The best bidets are electric and the s550e is the most advanced electric seat. Electric bidets transfer all the technology of a $5K smart toilet onto almost any toilet. A close second is the Brondell Swash 1400 Luxury Bidet (you can also check price on Amazon).
As you would imagine, the best bidet is also the most expensive. I know I would never pay that much.
The TOTO s550e often costs over $1200 making it about as expensive as high-quality toilet-bidet combos. That’s saying a lot because toilet-bidet combos come with fancy ultra-aesthetic 1.27 GPF toilets with pressure-assisted flushing technology.
I suppose it’s because most toilet-bidet combos come with electric bidet seats that are middle-of-the-road in terms of quality. They’re high-quality but usually not luxury status.
Which Bidet Should I Buy? Conclusion
Hopefully, that sums it up.
For most, the best bidet to buy is an entry-level electric seat like those made by TOTO and Brondell. The next best option is a high-quality bidet attachment or sprayer–one that’s warm water-capable if the bathroom allows for it. For larger budgets, a luxury bidet is best.
That should sum it up. Hopefully, the above will help you choose a bidet that’s right for you.
Toilets and budgets vary so the specific model that’s right for a given person depends on the situation. Luckily, bidets are available for every toilet and price range.
Depending on your situation you may want to check out the following articles:
- The best luxury bidets.
- The best bidets for apartments.
- The best bidet for women.
- The best bidet for seniors.
- The best bidet for elongated toilets.
- The best bidet for one-piece toilets.
- The best bidet for skirted toilets.
- The best bidest for tankless toilets.
- The best self-cleaning bidets
Thanks for reading.