Washlets and bidets are one of the most popular appliances of the modern-day homeowner. While they offer roughly the same type of convenience and cleanliness, there are more similarities and differences to them than you might think.
The main difference between the two appliances is that a washlet is a seat that fits onto your existing toilet, and you sit on it like you would a regular toilet seat. Contrastingly, a bidet is a stand-alone fixture that’s completely separate from the toilet.
While that’s the main difference between washlets and bidets, the following article outlines a few more important similarities and differences to help you determine which appliance is right for you.
What Is A Washlet?
The term “washlet” was created and trademarked by a Japanese company called Toto, which remains the number one seller of washlet toilet seats today.
Essentially, a washlet is a type of toilet seat that sprays a small amount of water upwards in order to clean yourself after using the toilet.
As convenient as it sounds, it still comes with its fair share of pros and cons that can either make your life much more comfortable or that much more difficult.
Pros Of A Washlet
The main pros of a washlet include:
- It’s easy to install
- It’s a space saver
- Less expensive than a bidet
- Lots of additional features
- Save money on toilet paper
- Save the planet
How To Install A Washlet
Washlets are designed to be a do it yourself project and can be installed by anyone. They don’t require any professional installation, and the instructions are relatively simple to follow.
To install a washlet, adhere to the following instructions:
- First, remove your original toilet seat from the rest of the toilet. Next, place the washlet seat onto the toilet. It should already fit on top of your existing toilet, so no additional measurements are required.
- Then connect the house water supply with a single hose. They usually come with a T-connector that you just have to hook up to the water supply. The only thing you have to make sure of is that the toilet is within reach of an electrical outlet since washlets must be plugged in so they can work properly.
- Once it’s installed, the washlet doesn’t take up any additional space. Just make sure that you double check that your washlet is compatible with your toilet. Some are universally compatible, but others might only work with toilets from the same brand. Washlets are also recommended for powder rooms or smaller bathrooms because of their space saving factor.
How Much Do Washlets Cost?
Since they are easy to install and do not require extra space, they are also much less expensive than bidets in the long run.
Depending on how many additional features you get with your washlet, they can cost an average of four hundred dollars to seven hundred dollars.
The least expensive one you can get is about one hundred dollars and is very simple. But there are washlets that come with all of the latest features that can cost up to 1,000 dollars.
The additional updates and features that can come on washlets include:
- A warm air dryer
- Heated seat
- Customizable front/backwash settings
- Automatic opening and closing technology
- Self-cleaning system
- Auto flush
The price is even higher if you need a new outlet installed near the toilet, which costs about two hundred dollars.
Saving Money While Saving The Planet
To make up for the cost of the washlet, you end up saving almost two hundred dollars on toilet paper a year. This can vary depending on how many people are in your family and how much toilet paper all of you use.
And if saving money isn’t enough, you also save the environment a little each time you use your washlet. The toilet paper that would’ve been otherwise used won’t end up stuck in drainage pipes, and then in the ocean or landfills.
But even though a washlet comes with many benefits, there are also some downsides to it.
Cons Of A Washlet
Opposingly, the main cons of a washlet include:
- Water pressure isn’t reliable
- They don’t clean the toilet bowl
- They can leak
Unreliable Water Pressure
Even though a washlet uses water to do its job, that resource isn’t always reliable.
Since the washlet connects to your homes’ water supply, the water pressure in the washlet is about the same as the water pressure in your house at any given moment.
So, if the water pressure in your shower or your outdoor house isn’t great, it’s very likely that the water pressure in the washlet won’t be great either. If the water pressure elsewhere in your home is very high, then the water pressure in the washlet might be high as well. But that isn’t always a good thing, and it can end up being very uncomfortable.
So if you find the idea of playing a game of water pressure roulette each time you use the bathroom awkwardly, then a washlet might not be for you.
Not Cleaning The Toilet Bowl
A washlet replaces a toilet seat, but it doesn’t replace a toilet cleaner.
Washlets aren’t designed to clean the toilet bowl after use, and the flushing of a toilet doesn’t always get every stain left behind.
You might find yourself using the toilet brush more often to clean up the toilet after it’s used. But thankfully, washlets also prevent your toilet from being clogged as much because of less toilet paper being used.
Risk Of Leaks
Like any appliance that uses water or plumbing, washlets run the risk of leaking if not maintained properly.
You can tell if your washlet is leaking by seeing if there’s more water in the toilet than there should be, or if there’s any amount of water outside of the toilet or surrounding it. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can avoid this.
The main thing to do is make sure the washlet is completely off when it’s not being used. Doing things like making sure you turn it off when you’re done or shutting it off when you leave the house for long periods of time can help you avoid this costly mistake.
What Is A Standalone Bidet?
While they’re more common in Europe than in the United States, bidets are still a highly sought after home appliance among homeowners.
In simple terms, a standalone bidet is an appliance that’s separate from the toilet with a fixed faucet meant for cleaning yourself after using the toilet.
As with all appliances, there are both good and bad things about having this in your home.
Pros Of A Standalone Bidet
Some of the pros of a bidet include:
- They’re usually more comfortable
- Adjust water pressure manually
- Hot water line for precise and consistent water temperature
- Health benefits
More Comfortable Than A Washlet
Even though the position of a bidet away from a toilet makes things a little more awkward, they are usually considered more comfortable than washlets.
This is mainly due to the fact that you have more control over things like water pressure and temperature.
They are also usually a little wider and lower than toilet seats with washlet attachments, making it easier to reach every area and get completely clean.
The only thing to worry about with bidets when it comes to comfort is that people with mobility issues or pregnant women might have trouble using it since it’s so low.
More Personalized Experience
A prime difference between a washlet and a bidet is that you can adjust the temperature and water pressure on a bidet.
Bidets come with something called a hot water line that makes the temperature hotter or colder depending on what you prefer. Since a bidet is a separate appliance, it’s capable of having its temperature and water pressure regulated.
While washlets rely on the temperature and water pressure of the home, bidets are installed with mechanisms to adjust each to your needs.
As far as adjusting goes, bidets often come with a separate mechanism that adjusts either the water temperature or the water pressure. To adjust the pressure, you usually have to rotate a knob that uses numbers to indicate how high or low the pressure is.
You can test out the pressure by holding your palm against the water stream. Once you get to the desired pressure, you’ll be good to go. The same goes for temperature. You simply turn a knob printed with different temperatures indicating if the water will get colder or hotter.
Health Benefits Of A Bidet
Finally, bidets can offer a lot of health benefits in addition to just getting a cleaner feeling.
Bidets have the potential to get rid of and alleviate yeast infections and hemorrhoids. These diseases come to be because wiping with toilet paper spreads the bacteria surrounding your nether region rather than cleaning it up. (Link)
Bidets use water to get rid of the bacteria rather than spread it. Fewer bacteria mean you’re less likely to get these genital diseases. Toilet paper don’t always get everything clean down under, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
A stream of water is much more soothing and won’t spread bacteria nearly as much. If you suffer from the conditions mentioned above, a bidet or washlet is highly recommended.
Cons Of A Standalone Bidet
The main cons of a bidet include:
- The high cost
- House resale value not being high
- Less convenient and takes up more space
- High Cost of Installation
The main disadvantage when it comes to getting a bidet is the high cost of installation and maintenance.
By themselves, bidets have a starting cost of about $300 to $500, but on average, they have a much higher installation cost. Paying for the installation means spending an additional $500. This brings the total to about 1,000 dollars, and that’s for the least expensive option.
The cost of installing a bidet can go higher for multiple reasons. If you choose to get a bidet in a designer color or style, this will increase your cost significantly.
The cost of a bidet will also go up if you buy additional features, similar to the price of a washlet going up with additional features.
Finally, if the plumbing must be altered in some way, the cost can be up to $2,000 just for installation.
Some of the problems with installation include:
- The bathroom might not have the right type of pipes for a bidet to be hooked up
- Pipes might be too old and need to be replaced
- Need to clear out extra space in the bathroom
- Not enough room for the bidet and the toilet to be next to each other
If you wish to make the investment and the idea of a bidet sounds helpful, then being aware of the potential cost can be beneficial. (Link)
Consulting a professional before giving the all clear for the installation is highly recommended.
When talking about resale value, you might be surprised that adding a bidet to your home doesn’t add to the resale value, but it seems like things are changing in New York (Link)
Bidets aren’t common in the United States, as previously mentioned, meaning that people aren’t often looking for homes with bidets. This unfortunately means that bidets don’t add much value to your home. And depending on how old or new the bidet model is, it can decrease the resale value of your home.
Washlets are more popular, but they aren’t permanently attached to your home. Since they can easily be picked up and transported elsewhere, they do not impact your home’s resale value.
The most significant downsides with getting a bidet is that it takes up much more space and can actually be less convenient.
As far as the bidet itself goes, a minimum of sixty inches of space is usually required for a toilet and a bidet to meet building codes. This is about the size of an average master bathroom cabinet.
Most middle-class United States homes don’t have the space for a bidet in addition to things like:
- The toilet
- Bathroom storage
Less Convenient And Takes Up More Space
Another issue with the standalone bidet is that you have to sit on it in a very specific way in order to get all of the benefits.
With most bidet designs, it’s recommended you adhere to the following instructions:
- Firstly, you have to climb onto the bidet in the opposite direction that you would sit on a toilet. You also have to remove everything from the waist down, which can be awkward since you have to walk from the toilet to the bidet.
- Next, you must properly position yourself sitting directly on top of the bidet so that the stream of water hits the right spot. If you don’t sit on the bidet in the correct way, or you decide to stand, you can easily risk getting water all over yourself and the bathroom.
- After you use it, you usually have to disinfect it by wiping it down or giving it a good scrub. If this isn’t done, contamination from one user to the next can happen, leading to more health issues.
Cleaning Your Standalone Bidet
Some bidets come with self-cleaning features, but most require you to clean it yourself. Fortunately, cleaning your bidet is fairly simple.
All you have to do is get your favorite bathroom cleaner and a clean rag and give your bidet a good and thorough wipe down. But cleaning your bidet isn’t the only thing you have to do to maintain it.
If you notice that your bidet isn’t working properly, there are many ways to solve the issue on your own before calling a professional. Problems arise from the valve connecting the water to the bidet itself. Most bidets get their water from a valve that’s installed inside it called the T-valve.
Check both the T-valve and the surrounding piping for any leaks or built-up pressure. If there’s still an issue and you need extra help, your bidet should include a detailed manual and customer service number to call.
Washlets and bidets both come with their own unique advantages and disadvantages that can benefit multiple people.
Washlets present more convenience at a lower cost but don’t offer as high a level and quality of cleanliness.
Bidets are a little less convenient and cost much more but offer a much better experience for cleaning up after going to the bathroom. It really all comes down to what you and your family needs the most.
If you need an inexpensive and easy way to save some money and save the planet, then purchasing a washlet attachment is the recommended route.
If you have the space and the budget, or perhaps need to take care of a health issue, then a bidet is the best way to go.