What Is A Bidet Toilet Seat And Do You Need One In Your Home?

A few years ago, for most Americans, being the family member who brought up the idea of exploring alternatives to toilet paper would have singled you out as pretty hardcore. Loo roll, as the Brits across the pond call it, has been a fact of life for generations. But, as reported by NPR, the panic buying of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a marked increase in consumers exploring bidet technology for creative bathroom sanitation solutions.

According to Consumer Reports, a bidet toilet seat is by far the easiest and most affordable way to bring a bidet into your home. They are usually installed in place of your regular toilet seat and siphon water from your toilet's supply. When seated upon the bidet toilet seat, at the press of a button or remote, a nozzle will extend underneath you and expel water at a temperature, pressure, and angle of your choosing — the level of customization depends on the model — to clean your posterior after using the toilet.

Not only do fans of the bidet seat claim it's more comfortable and hygienic, there are also surprising environmental benefits to leaving the roll behind. It takes 31.1 million trees annually to supply the United States with toilet paper, according to QS Supplies, and being able to stop contributing to that figure is another reason enticing converts to the bidet life.

Read on to find out if a bidet toilet seat is right for your bathroom and your bottom!

Reasons to choose a bidet toilet seat

For bidet enthusiasts, the argument always begins with cleanliness. As Bidets Plus puts it, you don't expect to have a clean face after rubbing it with dry paper, so why would you do so with your nether regions? This makes logical hygienic sense, but as the Washington Post points out, there aren't any studies demonstrating it's necessarily healthier overall.

However, there are further benefits to having a bidet toilet seat at home. Per Kohler, older family members can lose mobility as they age, turning trips to the bathroom into a challenge and an obstacle. A heated bidet toilet seat can take that potential source of discomfort, pain, and embarrassment and transform it into a place of independent ease and support.

The final two nails in toilet paper's coffin are the pandemic and the environment. Although the TP supply chain proved more robust than some others, the sight of empty shelves and a general sense of panic greatly increased awareness of bidets as an option. A bidet toilet seat is an easy way to make your home more water-efficient. It's really these water savings that make bidets eco-friendly, says Treehugger. As well as requiring millions of trees, paper making uses a huge amount of water, so somewhat counterintuitively, by using a little extra water to clean yourself in the bathroom, you'll reduce your overall personal water consumption.

Things to consider when selecting a bidet toilet seat

Ultimately, a bidet toilet seat is significantly cheaper than installing a full bidet, but there's still a wide variety of bells and whistles to choose from which will affect the bottom line (pun intended). According to New York Magazine, two of the most important questions you'll want to answer are whether you want a manual or electric toilet seat, and if it needs to have warm water.

Manual bidet toilet seats don't need power to run, but will have fewer features and are less likely to include heated water, although it's possible. Electric toilet seats come with intricate levels of customizability and high end features such as heated seats, air fresheners, and warm air-dryers. Accordingly, they cost more and might not fit your budget or bathroom. Per the The New York Times, good manual bidet seats range from $30 to $100, a budget electric bidet toilet seat would cost a minimum of $200, and for an all-singing, all-dancing luxury model, expect to pay $400 to $500.

If you want to reduce your reliance on the supermarket supply chain as well as your ecological footprint, all while improving your bathroom's levels of hygiene and comfort, perhaps a bidet toilet seat is right for your home.