Every Type of Bidet Explained with Pictures

Question marks

Today’s article answers the question: what do bidets look like? A lot of folks are intrigued by the excellent hygiene benefits offered by modern bidets. Others like the idea of saving on a lifetime of toilet paper.

In either case, those thinking of making the switch to a bidet often have a few reservations. One common question folks have is what the new unit will do to their bathroom’s appearance.

Even for those who normally prioritize function over form, the idea of having a giant eyesore of a toilet may just be a bridge too far.

And, believe me, I’ve seen a few monstrosities in my day. I saw one early model electric toilet that looked like something out of Back to the Future.


First up, is the humble attachment.

Here’s an image from my LUXE warm water non-electric bidet attachment.

I love this attachment and tend to prefer it over the fancier bidet listed below (see bidet seats). Non-electric bidets have higher water pressure (generally) which I prefer.

Here’s an image of a popular Brondell attachment:

Like the seats, bidet attachments are fixed to your existing toilet. But, unlike the seats, they don’t replace any parts.

I’m listing this kind lastly, not because they can’t be stylish, but because they’re less visually appealing than bidet seats and toilets but don’t offer the classy touch of the European bidets.

Also, there seems to be a wider variety of cheap models on the market. Usually, the best-looking bidets come with remote controls or a small discrete control arm.

Attachments come as control arms that are fixed to the bolt holes at the back of the commode under the seat/lid.

These can be quite stylish, but this kind usually comes with a control arm by default. And, depending on the model, the control arm can be quite bulky.

This is not always the case, here’s an example of a model with a sleek-looking control arm.

This kind is also non-electric and comes with fewer features compared to bidet seats.

One benefit is that, if you don’t like the look of toilet seats with built-in bidets, this kind allows you to keep your seat.

A high-quality stylish attachment, like the Tushy Classic, minimally affects the look of your toilet and bathroom.

You get to keep the look of your current toilet seat and still enjoy the benefits of water cleansing.

While these come with fewer features than seats and toilet combos, some models offer warm water, and self-cleaning wands are a common feature.

Temperature control is optional. While it’s comfortable, you don’t need warm water to get a good clean. But, again, some attachments allow for temperature control.

So, if want an attachment and warm water is important to you, make sure the model you choose has that feature.

Again, as for attachments, I recommend the Tushy Classic, which doesn’t come with temperature control, but there are plenty of models that do.

Bidet Seats

Getting fancier, we have the modern bidet seat.

Here’s the Brondell CL1500 electric seat in my apartment.

The CL1500 is an entry-level electric seat made by Brondell. It’s not the best money can buy but I love this bidet.

Frontview of an electric bidet seat mounted on what looks like a one-piece toilet.

This one also has a side panel to control different settings.

Here’s what an electric bidet seat looks like on its own:

This one has a remote control instead of a side panel. Source: Nite102000 / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / BB-1000_Supreme / image resized

Most seats are raised in the rear to allow for the technology.

These come as a seat/lid combo to replace the seat on your current toilet, so there’s no need to replace an entire commode.

When it comes to modern bidets that shoot water from the toilet bowl, an electric seat is all you need because they function off of a home’s electricity to provide the functionality of a $5K toilet at a small fraction of the cost. I.e. it’s the seat that has all of the technology for cleaning and drying.

Not only are they more convenient to install, but they cost much less than what you’d pay for an entirely new toilet/bidet combo.

So, you get all the technology for a fraction of the price. As for how they look, most are sleek and modern, but they’re only as stylish as the commode they’re attached to.

Non-electric bidet seats exist too, but they’re not as common/popular because they don’t offer anything you can’t get from an attachment and attachments are easier to install and less intrusive.

Even though bidet seats aren’t built specifically to go with the toilet you currently have, they are manufactured to go well with most toilets, so they tend to look great.

The bidet seat is without a doubt the most popular type of bidet on the market in North America.

The benefits depend on the model but tend to include:

  • An inconspicuous design—usually a remote control or a small control arm. They don’t stand out like a sore thumb. Some do come with bulky control arms, but they’re usually the cheapo models.
  • Warm water and pressure control. The warm water flow offered by modern bidet seats has a massage-like effect. Most describe the cleanse as really enjoyable. The warm water also helps achieve a thorough clean.
  • Retractable self-cleaning wand. That’s right you don’t have to worry about getting poop on your bidet. For one, it’s out of the way when you’re doing your business. For another, most models have a wand that cleans itself with each use.
  • A dryer for your bum. Bidet sprayers and standalone models still require you to wipe a time or two to dry off–either with toilet paper or a dedicated bidet towel. You will save on tons of toilet paper even with bidets not having a drying function, but more TP will be saved if you get a model with a dryer.
  • Self-cleaning bowl. These days a lot of models come with a self-cleaning function that cleans your bidet so that you don’t have to. The bowl is pre-misted (with a non-corrosive cleaning solvent) when the toilet senses it’s about to be used. It then mists the bowl again when you get up to leave. Also, some models self-clean at regular intervals when not in use.
  • Deodorization. Deodorizers keep your bidet and bathroom smelling clean.
  • Self-closing lid. This is a feature you can get on modern toilets that don’t have a bidet function. But, a lot of bidets, being high-tech, come with this feature. So you know, every time you flush with the lid up (bidet or not), it results in “toilet plume” which is a cloud of poo-containing droplets dispersed into the air that either get inhaled or land on surrounding surfaces. A self-closing lid keeps that from happening.
  • A cheaper price tag. Because, when you get a toilet-bidet combo, you’re paying for an entire commode plus the high-tech seat, you’ll be spending a decent amount. Some are pretty affordable, but you’re looking at paying at least $1200 for a good model. I’ve seen some models go for as much as $4,500. Seats, on the other hand, have all of the technology, but come at a fraction of the cost with some decent models being as cheap as $150 or less depending on the brand and what features are included.

Here’s a much less conspicuous old-school bidet that some might consider an eyesore.

And a lot of people prioritize function over form, so some folks would be thrilled with a model like that.

I’d imagine most consumers would find a toilet that comes with all of the above features (minus the discrete part) much more appealing than a standard commode that looks normal but does little more than flush.

If searching for an electric seat, make sure to get a bidet that’s compatible with elongated toilets or one that fits round toilet bowls depending on which bowl design you have.

Bidet-Toilet Combos

Then there are the bidet-toilet combos.

These are modern toilets with built-in bidets.

Fancier bidets often have odd shapes and dimensions. Looks like a bread machine, right?

Here’s one with a more conventional look:

Source: 浪速丹治 / CC-BY-SA-4.0 / Calmic-3 / image cropped

As you can see, the seat is raised in the back. This allows room for all of the components like the dryer, the retractable nozzle, etc.

A toilet-bidet combo is a toilet that’s built to have a bidet from the beginning. These tend to be the most fashionable because the bidet portion (the seat) comes with a brand new commode structure (basin, bowl, tank, etc.).

Because they’re new, the design is current. Also, the bidet and seat are built to go together.

Now, some are ultra-modern looking, perhaps too much for consumers who want a more traditional-looking toilet with a bidet function.

And, sure enough, there are plenty of bidet-toilet combos on the market that resemble a more traditional toilet.

Bidet seats and attachments, regardless of how they look, are only as fashionable as the commodes they’re attached to.

Bidet-toilet combos haven’t been around for that long. So, by virtue of being newly constructed, most have a sleek new appearance.

So, not only is the commode structure new, but it’s also made to go with the seat that comes with it. They look good together by default.

But, while they look new, not everyone likes the super modern look. As mentioned, you can find bidet-toilet combos that look more like a standard toilet, but most have a rather unique look which may or may not be your thing.

Handheld Sprayers

Here’s a stylish handheld sprayer.

Handheld bidets resemble the sprayers found in most kitchen sinks. They’re located to the side of the toilet to be used for manual cleansing.

Since they’re not part of the toilet, this type of bidet doesn’t influence the look of your commode.

While they resemble sink sprayers in form, handheld bidets tend to look elegant and come in a variety of materials—whether you prefer the glossy chrome look or the vintage appearance of brass with a brushed finish.

Handheld bidets have fewer features compared to modern varieties on the market, but they have their own perks.

They can be quite stylish and in some ways offer the most control when it comes to getting a thorough cleanse. For example, you have the most control when aiming and you can easily adjust the water pressure by how firmly you press the nozzle.

This kind does not offer warm water unless you get a nozzle that comes with an attachment allowing you to hook the supply hose up to the sink or neck of the showerhead.

Standalone Bidets

Wall-Mounted Standalone Bidets

Here’s a European-style traditional standalone bidet side-by-side with a wall-mounted toilet.

It’s basically a little sink, having essentially the same plumbing and a similar appearance.

Floor-Mounted Standalone Bidets

Some are floor-mounted like this one.

A “classic” aka “over-the-rim” or “horizontal spray” standalone bidet.

I couldn’t say for sure, but I think the floor-mounted kind is more common.

You could make an argument that these are the most stylish of all. They’re found all over Europe, so consumers here in the US tend to view them as being exotic and sophisticated.

They are less popular in North America in part because they have several plumbing requirements. There are plumbing requirements for other types of bidets too but not as many.

In case you’re new to the subject, a standalone bidet is a small washbasin that’s located separately from the toilet. You use the commode, wipe a time or two with a square of TP, and then transfer to the basin where you give yourself a manual wash.

While some consider them to be stylish, I list them third because they tend to be the most polarizing. They’re the least conspicuous of all the bidets, and are guaranteed to alter the look of your bathroom.

Horizontal vs Vertical Spray Designs

These come in two types. The first kind is what some call a “horizontal spray”, “classic”, or “over-the-rim” bidet. It’s basically a mini sink positioned low on the wall next to the toilet that has a standard faucet setup.

It’s like a sink in that it is a small basin with a faucet and drain plug. Even though it’s the oldest form of bidet, it still offers warm water—something that is often lacking in modern bidet attachments.

The second kind is the vertical spray bidet. It goes by other names like “ascending spray bidet” or “French bidet”. Being standalone, they come as washbasins separate from the toilet. But, unlike the classic horizontal sprayers, vertical spray bidets spray water up from the bottom of the basin like a fountain.

The water is sent up in a straight line where users hover over the water stream to cleanse the soiled area. I say hover, but some users sit on or straddle the basin.

Vertical spray bidets look very similar to the above picture, but the basin has both a waterjet and drain plug. The rear of the basin has faucet handles for temperature and pressure (per usual), but a vacuum breaker instead of a spout.

What Bidets Used to Look Like

So, that’s a rundown of the different types of bidets currently on the market and how fashionable they tend to be perceived.

But what about the old models?

The standalone variety is the OG of bidets.

As a noun, “bidet” is a French word for pony and in Old French it was a verb that meant “to trot”.

The name came from the fact that you are supposed to straddle the washbasin like a little horse.

Source: TURPIN Catherine / CC-BY-SA-4.0 / Fauteuil à l’anglaise et bidet au XVIII e siècle.jpg / image resized and cropped

Anyway, this will hopefully give you an idea of how far we’ve come. Newer bidets deliver water directly to the desired area and modern plumbing allows those with standalone bidets to use warm running water.

Are Bidets Fashionable?

Before we get into the appearance of the most common models on the market these days, I first want to clarify that the bidet has come a long way since its inception, both in terms of the technology and what they look like.

Bidets are considered fashionable. Culturally, they’ve become fashionable as we’ve increased our collective awareness of the need for sustainable practices. Aesthetically, most modern bidet seats are considered very stylish with many being indistinguishable from any other high-end toilet.

There are several types of models on the market, some being more aesthetic than others. Obviously, the question of which look most fashionable is a subjective one.

Generally, bidets considered the most to least fashionable are as follows.


That should do it for now.

Hopefully, in reading this article you’ve been pleasantly surprised by the look of most bidets on the market these days.

As with most products, there’s a range of quality out there. You don’t need to break the bank, but paying a bit more—avoiding the ultra-cheap stuff—will help ensure the model you end up with looks better (is less bulky) and is produced with higher-quality materials.

Thanks for reading.

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