Today we’re looking at whether you can expect to save money after switching to a bidet. There are a lot of things to consider like the type of bidet (electric vs. non-electric), any continued use of toilet paper, the presence of a power saver mode, the use and avoidance of certain features, and the initial cost of the unit.
Bidets save money in the long term. Net savings come to about $75/year per person. Annually, a four-person household would save $320 in toilet paper while only seeing an extra $20 in energy costs for the same year, thus saving $300. Hence, TP savings will more than compensate for added energy costs.
The above numbers are estimates based on typical bidet usage, so net savings do vary case by case. The use of certain features will also vary. For example, if you have an electric bidet, making too much use of the heated seat function (a fairly standard feature) could cancel out a chunk of the potential savings.
In this article, we’ll go over different factors that affect how much money will be saved long term after switching to a bidet. Along the way, we’ll cover common questions like how much bidets affect your water and power bills, how much electricity they use, etc.
In case you’re new to the subject, here’s a quick rundown of the terminology.
Factors That Determine How Much Money a Bidet Will End Up Saving
Initial Cost of the Bidet
In researching a recent article, I poured through a lot of price data to come up with the average cost of different types of bidets.
It ultimately depends on the unit and can range from ten dollars to over $5K. This crazy wide price range has to do with how the word “bidet” is used to describe anything from a squeeze bottle to a high-end luxury toilet that looks like it came out of the Tesla experimental station.
Most North American readers of this article are probably referring to attachments, electric seats, or handheld sprayers. European readers might be referring to traditional standalone bidets.
In either case, you can expect to get a good model from $30 to about $500. Handheld sprayers and attachments usually cost between $30 to $80. Electric seats and European standalone bidets cost from $200 to $500.
If you go with one of these models (sprayers, attachments, seats, or standalone bidets), your unit will probably pay for itself several times over before it’ll be time for a new one. This is especially true if you get a model with a good warranty.
However, it may be an entirely different story if you go with a bidet-toilet combo, as these can run into the thousands. By a “bidet-toilet combo” I’m referring to the high-tech toilets that are constructed from the beginning to have built-in bidets.
They’re usually one-piece toilets that look ultra-modern and are often tankless. These are less common as they require installing an entirely new toilet—something that’s only practical for renovations and newly constructed properties.
These bidets come with a new toilet but offer little extra in the way of bidet functionality compared to electric seats. You’d likely still save money in the long-term with one of the reasonably priced models ($1500) but not if you put down for a $4-5K commode as that price could cancel out the benefit of saving on a lifetime of toilet paper.
The Bottom Line
By going with a moderately priced electric or non-electric toilet seat bidet, avoiding the models that cost the same as a used sedan, the price you pay for a bidet shouldn’t factor heavily in your overall savings. Making sure the model you purchase has a good warranty won’t hurt either.
Whether You Continue to Use Toilet Paper
You might be wondering what the point of switching to a bidet is if you continue to use toilet paper. The short answer is that bidets still offer a superior clean (whether you save money on TP or not) and drying uses less TP than wiping.
While some choose to continue using TP for drying and pre-wiping, others ditch the paper for good. If someone were to leave toilet paper behind for good, how much could they save?
For a single user, exclusive bidet use can save 2 rolls of toilet paper per week (1). So, a 4-person household could save 8 rolls weekly. Since the average roll costs $0.84, said household could save $6.72 per week (2). Extrapolate that out to a decade and that’s $3500 in savings.
Again, this is based on using bidets exclusively. Contrary to a common myth, using a bidet doesn’t leave you wet all day long. Users manage to dry after using a bidet either by getting an electric seat (these have dryers) or getting a non-electric unit and drying off manually via toilet paper or a dedicated bidet towel.
In my experience, those with standalone bidets tend to use towels while those with handheld sprayers and bidet attachments often continue using toilet paper. Don’t get me wrong, drying off requires much less TP than traditional wiping.
I’ll also mention that a lot of folks like to wipe a time or two before using a bidet. It’s not necessary, but some feel the need to wipe away any large debris before hitting the area with a stream of water. However, foregoing the initial wipe is not widely known to make a mess.
Anyway, the extra square or two needed to pre-wipe combined with the paper needed to dry still adds up to much less paper than what’s needed to clean solely with toilet paper. In the end, those who switch to non-electric bidets and use TP to dab dry still save tons of paper over a lifetime.
But, if you continue to use toilet paper over the long term, it will cut into your lifetime savings. By getting a unit with a dryer, you can kiss TP farewell for good.
The Bottom Line
By continuing to use toilet paper for drying and pre-wiping, you’ll still save a ton on TP over a lifetime. But, it will reduce the overall savings conferred by the bidet in the long term. To avoid having to purchase TP, you’ll want to use a dedicated bidet towel or go with an electric seat as those have warm air dryers.
The Amount of Toilet Paper Used Before Switching to a Bidet
On a related note, I had one eco-conscious friend who boasted of getting by with only one square of TP per bowel movement.
If you tend to get by wiping only a time or two (1-2 squares) then you may not benefit too much from switching to a bidet when it comes to saving on toilet paper. After all, some use that amount just to dry off after using a bidet.
But, you’ll still benefit massively from the superior clean you’ll get after making the switch.
If Electric, Does Your Electric Seat Have a Power Saver Mode?
Also, does it have features that tend to use more energy?
Some bidets have modes that are explicitly meant to save power. However, regardless of whether a model has such a mode, some features are more or less energy efficient than others.
For example, electric bidets heat up water inside the seat instead of tapping into the home’s hot water service lines.
In doing so, they need electricity to heat the water and keep it warm. Some models save energy on the latter (keeping water warm) by having instantaneous-type water heaters.
The main benefit of this type of heating system is that it heats water up on the spot meaning this kind allows for a continuous flow of warm water—no going cold mid-wash. It has the added benefit of using less energy and saving on the power bill.
The less expensive seats have reservoir-type water heaters that warm up water in a small tank. This kind keeps warm water on tap so it uses more energy to maintain the desired temperature.
Some bidets are more energy-efficient than others. Factors that seem as if they wouldn’t make a difference—like what kind of water heater a model has—can determine how much energy costs will eat into your overall savings.
Does a Bidet Increase the Water Bill? How Much Water Do They Use?
One benefit often brought up by enthusiasts of the subject is how much water bidets save. A claim that leaves most people puzzled. It’s not obvious a toilet that cleans with water would actually save on water usage.
However, the widely touted benefit mainly only applies to the environment. It refers to the water needed to produce toilet paper on a massive scale, not so much at the level of the user–although an individual can end up using less water after switching to a bidet (more on that below).
But, does a bidet increase the water bill?
Using a bidet will not meaningfully increase your water bill. Models vary but modern bidets have spray volumes in the range of 0.08-0.11 gal/min which results in just over 0.1 gallons of water use per session. Handheld and standalone bidets spray more water but certain practices can limit waste.
So, water usage should not end up cancelling out the money-saving benefits of the bidet.
There is one way in which using a bidet could save someone money. Compare the tiny 0.1 gal that’s sprayed with each bidet use to the 3.5 gallons it takes to flush a lot of toilets that are still in use today. Even newer toilets still use over a gallon per flush. If the bidet cuts down on flushing at all, you can be sure you’ll save money on water in the long term.
Most of the packaging that comes with toilet paper and moist wipes recommend that you flush for every few squares of paper used.
I’ve seen one package recommending that the toilet be flushed after each square (though the squares were two-ply and on the larger side). While I doubt many are in the habit of flushing with each square of paper, it’s not uncommon for enough paper to be used in a single bowel movement to require flushing more than once.
Before switching to a bidet, I routinely flushed more than one time. No one likes unclogging a toilet. By using a bidet, you don’t have to worry about clogging the toilet anymore. This means less flushing of the toilet long-term which will your water bill.
How Much Electricity Does a Bidet Use?
On average, bidets use 210 KW per hour. The rated power consumption for a modern electric seat is around 1280-1290 W while maximum power consumption is about 1440 W. The specific features of a model and the presence of a power saver mode are among the factors affecting energy usage.
Keep in mind that kilowatts per hour (KWH) is a measure of energy consumption per hour of use. While some functions of the bidet may draw power around the clock (certain water heaters), most energy is consumed when the toilet is in use.
A family of four may end up using the seat for 20 minutes for the entire day while a single person may use it 5-10 minutes tops.
Can a Bidet Raise the Electricity Bill?
Using a bidet will raise your electricity bill but usually not by much. A family of four can expect to see a $15 increase in the electricity bill for the entire year. Most units come with a power-saver mode and limiting the use of some features (e.g. heated seats) can drive the cost down further.
In theory, an entry-level bidet seat with a tank-type heater could cost up to $20/month with 20min of use each day, but that assumes operating the bidet at full blast all the time and that no energy-saving modes are selected.
Do Bidets Save Money? Conclusion
So, there you have it.
Bidets do save money. Depending on continued toilet paper use, net savings range from $50 to $75/year per user. Those who limit TP use when drying and pre-wiping can expect to see the most savings. Features like a power-saver mode reduce energy costs which further increasing net savings.
So, making the switch to a bidet usually ends up saving the user money in the long term. Certain features and practices will influence how much money is saved—e.g. getting a model with an instantaneous-type water heater and limiting use of the heated seat.
Most four-member families will see a small increase in electrical costs over the course of a year, about $15-20 USD. Such a small increase would easily be wiped out by the roughly $320 in toilet paper savings over the course of the same year.
Thanks for reading.