What Is a Bidet and Should You Invest in One?

Paul Pogue
Written by Paul Pogue
Updated December 17, 2021
A clean and modern bathroom with a bidet
Photo: 骏 许 / Adobe Stock

It’s time to say “OK” to the bidet

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The thought of using a bidet may feel outside of your comfort zone if you’ve never tried one. But, there’s a reason bidets are so common in bathrooms abroad, often found in public and residential restrooms. 

While they haven’t fully caught on in the states yet, bidet usage has certainly increased in popularity among Americans since companies like Tushy make affordable bidet attachments for standard toilets. 

So—what exactly is a bidet, what are the benefits, and should you invest in one for your bathroom? 

What is a Bidet?

A bidet is either a separate porcelain fixture or a toilet attachment designed to use water to clean off instead of toilet paper. 

Types of Bidets

There are several types of bidets to choose from depending on your current bathroom setup (and how much you’re willing to spend). 

Stand-Alone Bidets

One of the first modern bidet designs was a stand-alone bidet—a porcelain structure separate from the toilet. Though they look similar to toilets, they are not. Stand-alone bidets are much smaller and only have a faucet and a pop-up drain (similar to a sink), instead of flushable pipes. 

Adding this type of bidet to your bathroom is likely the most costly option since you will need to make the space in your bathroom and also add the necessary water and power hook-ups. 

Built-In Bidet Toilets

Built-in bidets are toilets that already come equipped with the cleansing spray mechanism. The most advanced (and expensive) bidet toilets can include additional luxury features such as LED night lights, water temperature control, hands-free flushing, deodorizing filtration systems, dryers, and seat warmers. 

Bidet Toilet Seat

Keep your existing toilet and convert it with a bidet toilet seat. This affordable bidet option is easy to install and simple to use. All you have to do is remove your current lid and seat from your toilet and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to replace it with the new one. Many bidet toilet seats come with the same luxury features as built-in bidets. 

Bidet Attachment 

Bidet attachments allow you to add a bidet to your current toilet. Unlike bidet toilet seats, bidet attachments allow you to keep your current lid and seat. Keep in mind, however, that you will still need to remove and reattach both to install a bidet attachment. 

Most attachments do not have all the bells and whistles other options do, but they are still an affordable way to try a bidet. You can always upgrade later if you want to. 

Handheld Spray Bidets

Handheld spray bidets also attach to your toilet, but they work quite differently than other bidet types. Instead of an automatic spray mechanism fixed in the center of the toilet seat, there is a separate handheld spray nozzle that you use to manually clean up. 

Benefits of Bidets 

On the fence about kicking toilet paper to the curb? Consider these bidet benefits you won’t want to miss out on. 

Bidets Can be More Hygienic

In most cases, it is believed that a bidet can leave you much cleaner than regular old “TP,” making it the more hygienic option. 

Be aware that bacteria can still build up on the nozzle if not cleaned regularly. Use the manufacturer's guide to learn how to disinfect your specific bidet.  

People Claim to Feel Cleaner Using a Bidet

Most people who finally try using a bidet tend to never go back because of how much cleaner they claim to feel after using the bathroom. 

Bidets are a Sustainable Option

With a bidet, you will be able to significantly reduce the amount of toilet paper or toilet-safe wet wipes you use. Fewer paper products equals fewer trees used and less waste. 

You Can Save Money on Toilet Paper

Cutting back on toilet paper isn’t just good for the environment—it’s good for your wallet, too. Invest in the initial cost of a new bidet and save on your weekly grocery trip. 

Bidets are Easier on Your Plumbing System 

Too much toilet paper is often the culprit of clogged toilets—a problem solved by using a bidet. 

Should I Invest in a Bidet?

The bottom line? Bidets are a great investment for most people. Before making the switch, it’s best to at least try one first. If you’re hesitant to invest big money on a permanent fixture or a luxury attachment, start smaller. A bidet attachment costs $80 to $120, and you can upgrade later if you like it enough to do so.

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