Today’s article examines what bidets are made of. There are several types of bidets on the market, and the quality of each kind can range quite a bit depending on the make and model. So, when I get asked what bidets are made of, the answer usually starts with “it depends”.
Also, most models are made up of several components each composed of a different material. So, in this chapter, we’ll take a look at the different types of bidets and the materials each tends to be made of.
Standalone bidets are made of vitreous china and brass. Bidet seats and attachments are usually made of plastic and stainless steel. Bidet toilets are made of vitreous china and have components made of plastic and stainless steel. Handheld sprayers are made of plastic, steel, or zinc alloy.
A standalone (or classic) bidet is the kind often found in Europe that resembles a sink or miniature toilet. So, they’re made of the same stuff.
Even the most basic bidets contain several components made of a variety of materials, so the above is just a generalization. Next, we’ll get into the different materials in more detail.
Bidet seats replace the seat/lid combo on your current toilet. This is probably the most popular type of bidet here in the US. Being the seat and lid, the electric kind contains all the functional components that make a high-tech toilet so high-tech.
So, they have all the benefits of a bidet toilet, but come at a fraction of the cost and don’t require installing an entirely new commode.
Bidet seats can be non-electric, but this kind is not as popular because attachments are just as effective and easier to install.
The seat and lid components tend to be made of plastic. For example, most quality bidet seats are made with polypropylene plastic.
Polypropylene (PP), aka polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide range of products.
It’s considered a high-quality plastic, which is why toilets made with the material are durable despite being sat on all day.
PP Plastic has several benefits:
- Insulation. This one is important because bidet seats come with electrical components. PP plastic is highly resistant to electricity.
- Tough and elastic. this kind of plastic is tough and bendable which is why it’s used to make “living hinges”. In material science, “toughness” is defined as the ability to bend and deform (plastically) without breaking.
- Chemical resistance. Your toilet seat will be able to come into contact with diluted acids and bases like cleaning materials without the chemicals reacting with the plastic. There’s a limit, obviously, and it’s recommended to avoid exposing your bidet to super harsh chemicals.
- Fatigue Resistance. Toilet seats made of PP plastic can keep their shape over time despite lots of bending and flexing.
If you want a high-quality bidet seat, keep in mind that not all bidets are made with this high-quality plastic. So make sure to check the product specs before making any purchases.
My bidet of choice, and the one I recommend to friends and family, is the TOTO C100, a high-quality bidet made of PP plastic that contains all the bells and whistles of the higher-end models (self-cleaning wand and bowl, temperature control, deodorization, etc.), but at an affordable price.
The nozzle on bidet seats—the part that shoots water—is usually made of stainless steel.
In fact, product pages for bidet seats often state the material to be stainless steel which can be confusing because the seat and lid are made of plastic.
For some reason, manufacturers often choose to put stainless steel as the main material, but it’s usually only the nozzle and other small components that are made of this material.
Other metal components include the t-valve and water line used to route water to the seat.
This is the most expensive type of bidet. You can usually find a good model for around $1000, but I’ve seen some listed up in the 4-5K range. I’m not sure what justifies the price of a used car.
They don’t typically come with any more features than the seats discussed above. But, you are getting an entire toilet, and standard toilets—no cleansing function—can run into the thousands (it’s not common, but I’ve seen non-bidet toilets in the 2K plus range).
So, if you buy one, you’ll be getting a super nice and modern toilet with bidet cleansing functionality.
Because they come as a toilet unit (bowl and tank) and a bidet seat, they’re composed of several materials.
For the main structure (the tank and bowl), bidet toilets are typically made of ceramic (porcelain usually) with a vitreous china coating. The seat/lid portion is usually made of high-quality plastic or a combination of ceramic and plastic. The nozzle is steel.
Vitreous china is a coating process that is applied to ceramic. Despite being a coating, it’s often listed as the main material on bidet toilets and standalone bidets (mini washbasins).
As we’ll touch on in the section on standalone bidets, this is because the term vitreous china is often used to refer to the finished product as a whole.
In case you’re new to the subject, bidet attachments are components, typically non-electric, that are attached to your current toilet. Unlike bidet seats, they don’t replace the seat/lid combo on your current commode.
They are probably the least intrusive bidet—at least of the variety that shoot water at your butt from the toilet bowl—but they come with fewer functions compared to bidet seats and toilets.
For example, warm water, while a feature on some models, doesn’t come standard with attachments.
My favorite bidet attachment is the Tushy Classic. It may offer fewer features compared to the bidet seat mentioned above but it comes at a third of the price.
Most bidet attachments are primarily made of plastic. Steel components include the water line, t-valve, and nozzle (the part that extends and retracts to shoot water). Some list ceramic as a material, but I have yet to run across an attachment with ceramic components.
Though less common, some attachments are solid metal, usually chrome-plated, but this variety remains less common. They’re not as good, because the nozzle isn’t retractable. Rather, it operates on a swivel and can only be pushed out of the way when not in use. I.e., it remains exposed to the toilet’s contents.
It seems that modern attachments are more likely to be made with cheap materials–at least when compared to bidet seats and toilets. By cheap, I mean they’re often made with lower-quality materials.
However, you don’t sit directly on attachments so they’re not subject to as much wear and tear.
Handheld bidets function by routing the water that would normally go to the tank, to a little handheld sprayer that resembles the kind you in kitchen sinks.
Some of the best hand held bidets allow for using warm water by having you hook the supply hose directly to the sink. But, those are less common.
Being one of the more primitive types of bidets, this variety has very few features. But, as you’d imagine, they’re very affordable. You can find cheap ones for as little as $15—although the really cheap kind is often made with flimsy low-quality parts.
Most bidet sprayers are made of plastic (e.g. ABS engineering plastic), stainless steel, brass, or zinc alloy. The quality and price depend on the material used. For example, zinc is cheaper than chromium, so those made with zinc alloys are often less expensive (and lower quality) than those made with stainless steel.
While primitive, handheld sprayers are a favorite among bidet users. They’re cheap, easy to install, and probably the most accurate when it comes to aiming (since you’re aiming manually).
Standalone Bidets (Horizontal and Vertical Spray)
Standalone bidets resemble sinks and toilets so they tend to be made from the same materials. Horizontal spray, aka over-the-rim bidets use a traditional lavatory faucet to pour water into the basin. Vertical spray, aka ascending spray, bidets spray water up from the bottom of the basin (like a fountain).
Materials typically listed as making up the basin for standalone bidets include:
- Ceramic (general). Ceramic is a broad term for clay materials hardened by heat.
- Porcelain. A specialized form of ceramic that’s white in color and has a higher density. It’s often referred to generically as “china”.
- Vitreous china. A super durable type of enamel (liquid glass) that’s used to coat materials from metal (e.g. pots and pans) to ceramics like porcelain. It gives toilets, bidets, and sinks a durable high-gloss finish.
Like with bidet toilets, vitreous china seems to be the most commonly listed material. As mentioned, while technically a coating, the term can be applied to finished products.
In the case of standalone bidets, it means the basin is made of porcelain glazed with a coating of vitreous china.
I’ve seen a few models with just “porcelain” listed in the product specs, but they’re much less common in my experience.
While vitreous china and regular porcelain are about the same in price, the former is much better suited to bathrooms because it’s more resistant to scrapes, spills, and other restroom accidents.
It’s also stain resistant which is why toilets with the coating are easiest to clean.
Other Components (Valves, Plumbing, Etc.)
There are several plumbing requirements for bidets, especially the standalone kind.
Other materials will be those that make up the faucets, valves, plumbing, and their associated parts like gaskets, o-rings, etc.
The faucet, including the nozzle and handles, is often made of brass with a glossy or brushed finish. But, the materials can vary depending on the particular component.
Common materials include the following.
Entire faucet (nozzle and handles)
- Solid brass, glossy, or with a brushed finish
- Brass with ceramic
- Brass with plastic
- Solid brass
- Zinc alloy
The p-traps and other plumbing-related items that come with standalone bidets are typically metal. So you know, a p-trap is the u-shaped portion of a pipe designed to help block bad odors from creeping up through the drain pipe.
For more on zinc alloy, see the section on handheld bidet sprayers.
Hopefully that answers your question.
Bidets are made from a variety of materials.
Seats are typically made of high-quality plastic. They also come with metal components like the nozzle/wand, water line, and t-valve. The same goes for attachments.
And the same also goes for bidet toilets which contain the additional components that make up the commode portion (i.e. ceramic for the tank and bowl).
Bidet sprayers are usually metal, but plastic is also common. Depending on the quality, they can be made of anything from stainless steel to brass or zinc alloy.
Finally, the basin portion of standalone bidets is made of ceramic with a high-quality coating, usually vitreous china. They also come with their own plumbing (usually) which is typically some sort of metal.
They contain faucets (handles and nozzles) which are usually made of brass or stainless steel. Brass seems to be the most common.
That should do it for now. Thanks for reading.