Buying Guide

Buying Guide for Bidets

Bidet is a French word meaning ‘pony’, coined in the year 1700’s. The name relates to the way a user sits on the bidet, as if astride a pony with legs astride. In those days, most people bathed once a week and the bidet was then placed in the bedroom to keep the private areas clean in the intervening days. Later in the 19th century, the bidet was gradually moved into the bathroom and is fast becoming a standard installation, usually beside the toilet.

Interestingly, bidets were mostly used by the Europeans, Middle Eastern and Latin American bathrooms initially. It then proliferated in North American homes where bidets are standard fixtures in high-end bathrooms and are gaining popularity in countries, such as Korea and Japan.

Types

There are various types of bidets to suit your needs. A bidet can be integrated as separate fixture in the bathroom or a special attachment to your existing toilet. There are faucets and or sprays which can be temperature controlled and can direct the water spray to be directed towards the area to be cleaned. A bidet although looks like a toilet, it actually is like a mini-bathtub and can be used for washing feet too.

The bidet bowl is normally made of china with a drain plug, resembling a toilet, which can also be filled to enable a foot wash. There are primarily 2 types of forms of bidet

  • 1 pc Bidet: In this both the tank and bowl of the bidet are designed as a single unit. In such bidets, selection gets restricted to other attachments and installing electronic bidets.
  • Standard 2 pc Bidet: These type of bidets are the commonest and most bidet toilet seats would fit

Both the types of bidet mentioned above, can have an elongated or oval seat. It is important to determine the shape prior to hunting for the most-suited bidet for you.

There is also the vertical bidet model which has a water jet in the centre of the bowl, whereas, the horizontal bidet model has a spout on the rim that provides a horizontal water jet. The spray type of bidet is the most popular styles, which has a spray that is designed to provide a gentle cleaning action.

Bidet Users

Bidets are used by all members of the family and are increasingly being seen in hotels, airports and other public places too. It is a comfortable and recommended fixture in your bathroom and a hands-free washing system of the private parts. It has now become a necessary item for your personal hygiene and user-friendly for the infirm or physically challenged persons.

For those who have had recent surgeries or bowel disease, the bidets are an ideal solution where the hips and buttocks can be soaked in a bidet bowl of saline water, also called sitz bath. It is also reported that some homes use bidet’s to even bathe babies. For designer bathrooms, there are high-end and matched bidets to the entire bathroom decor.

Bidet Selection

While selecting for a suitable bidet for yourself, it is important to consider the following

  • Space available in the bathroom and its placement. Your bathroom should have sufficient moving space inside. In case there are space constraints, then just buy a spray nozzle and can be assembled on a standard existing toilet.
  • In case you are looking for an electronic toilet, there is a need to ensure 4-5 inches of space on the right side of the bidet to fix the control panel. In case the space is not available, you may consider a wireless remote control model, though there is significant cost attached to it.
  • What about the colour? Mostly, they come in white or beige. However, you may order for designer bidets with colour choice to match the decor and design of the bathroom. These are best left to specialist designers who would do the needful.
  • For luxury requirements, eg, heated seats or warm air dryers and temperature sensors for water sprays, these can be well integrated to electronic bidet toilet seats.

Installation

It is not too difficult to set up a bidet in an existing toilet. However, be sure that the bidet can be integrated to the faucet or spray preferred by you. In case the bidet is a standalone to an existing toilet, then separate plumbing needs to be done and is time consuming. Also, if the bidet is elongated and of larger size, then suitable safety rails or grab bars, should be installed for bathing babies or the infirm.

Budgets

Most porcelain bidets range from $300 to $ 700 and available in DIY store chains or separate retail shops too. For installations, in 2012, the average cost to install bidets was approx $ 350, with a 10% variation. These vary and depend on local material and labour costs, job complexity and quality of finish desired. It is always recommended to have the installations done by a reputable, licensed and insured installer. Verify prior work quality to ensure quality job. Obviously, such job work costs more, usually 12% to 20 % more, but is worth it.

The major costs in bidet installation are:

  • Layout/design and securing of the bidet to the floor
  • Transportation costs for material delivery and debris removal on completion of work.
  • Modifying existing plumbing, electrical work or modifications of the AC ducting or loads

Bidets are extremely beneficial for reducing body odour and promote genital health by reducing bacterial colonies in the genitalia and anus region. Bidets also allow cleanliness without the abrasion effects of paper.

It is recommended that for the space conscious, a combination of toilet and bidet would save space but may be slightly expensive. Whichever bidet you fancy in your bathroom, would always be a hygiene promoting fixture.