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Picture this: You have food poisoning. After spending most of the night on the toilet, the idea of rubbing your bum with one more piece of dry toilet paper makes you want to cry.
Then there's this scenario: the infamous toilet paper shortage of March 2020, where people scrambled to find toilet paper when the store shelves were cleared.
Both of these situations could benefit from a gentler and more sustainable toilet paper alternative that some parts of the world have been using for ages — the bidet.
What exactly is a bidet?
Bidets are stand-alone plumbing fixtures designed to wash the genital and anal area with a gentle stream of water (basically, a shower for your butt). They are found in bathrooms in many countries.
Bidets are uncommon in the US, however, and unlikely to become popular soon. (Who has the money or space for two toilet-sized fixtures in every bathroom?) However, some companies are leading a poop revolution with attachments, bidet converter kits, and toilet seats that mimic the experience you get with a stand-alone fixture.
Bidets attachments offer a more gentle way of cleaning that may be particularly helpful for people with certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome; Crohn’s disease, which is an autoimmune condition that causes digestive tract inflammation; certain thyroid conditions; or even celiac disease, a gluten-triggered autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine.
This gentler option may also be useful for “hyper wipers,” or those who tend to overdo it when wiping in an effort to feel clean, said Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Hospital. Some people scrub too hard with toilet paper, which can irritate hemorrhoids or lead to small tears known as anal fissures, both of which may lead to bleeding.
Bidets can be used to wash the vulva or after childbirth to allow the sensitive or compromised tissue to heal. (Bidets are for external use only; vaginal douching can cause infections.)
A bidet attachment is not going to introduce bacteria into the vagina when used correctly, said board-certified OB-GYN Dr. Anna Cabeca, chief medical officer at Golden Isles Medical Spa and author of the book MenuPause. (Similar to wiping front to back, some attachments have a feminine wash setting that directs the water from front to back.)
Bidets can help you save toilet paper
There are other perks of bidets. You can save money on toilet paper, and cutting back on toilet paper is also good for the environment. (After you rinse, you generally need just a bit of toilet tissue to pat dry, unless there’s a dry function that lets you avoid the need for toilet paper altogether.)
Americans make up only 4% of the world’s population yet are responsible for 20% of global toilet paper consumption. The average American uses over 140 rolls. or about 28 pounds, of toilet paper per year, making the country the world’s leader in toilet paper consumption. Less than 2% of this market is made up of recycled products.
This toilet paper usage and production leads to the “degradation of forests across the southeastern US,” according to the advocacy group Environment America.
Bidets may also be less likely to spread bacteria. In one 2022 study published in the Journal of Water and Health, 32 participants used toilet paper or an electric toilet seat with water spray after a bowel movement. The researchers found that the study subjects had fewer bacteria on their hands with the use of the bidet than with toilet paper.
How bidet attachments work
Installing a bidet attachment may be easier than you think. All you have to do is remove the toilet seat, turn the valve to shut off your toilet’s water source, and detach the hose that funnels it into the toilet tank, said James Lin, founder of e-commerce retailer BidetKing, a site that sells bidet products.
The bidet should come with an adapter that you then attach to the water source. This will route water through the bidet nozzle before it ever reaches the toilet tank. It’s the same water you shower and brush your teeth with, so you will not be cleaning yourself with dirty toilet water. Then you simply pop the toilet seat back on, which will completely cover the base of the attachment, so the only visible part will be the nozzle that slightly protrudes just below the back of the seat.
“Electronic seats are a little more complicated,” Lin told BuzzFeed News. “But in terms of installation, they get the water exactly the same way.”
Electric bidet toilet seats require an outlet unlike nonelectric attachments, which only connect through your water source. Not everyone has an outlet next to their toilet, but you can use an extension cord or have an electrician install a new outlet.
Electric bidet seats have the added luxury of warmth, both in the water and the actual seat, unlike other attachments, which supply cold water only. Some bidet attachments can connect to your hot water supply, though similar to water in your sink or shower, it may take a few seconds to heat up, meaning the initial contact will be cold water.
Both options have similar bidet spouts that shoot water at an angle from the back of the toilet up to your bum (or wherever you desire). Many are also adjustable to make sure you get the angle just right. Or, if you want the most direct and controlled wash, you can get a handheld bidet sprayer that docks on or beside the toilet.
While Rajapaksa and Cabeca agreed that bidets are not essential and won’t treat or cure anything, they might be a more comfortable and less irritating option if that’s what you prefer. Here are the best bidet attachments and bidet toilet seats to consider for a more enjoyable pooping experience.
Tushy is probably the most recognizable bidet attachment brand in the US. Unlike previous Tushy models, the Spa 3.0 attaches to your hot water supply so you have the option of warm or cool water. It offers adjustable water pressure control, which Cabeca recommends if you’re dealing with fissures, hemorrhoids, or any sensitivity in the anal region. The nozzle is now also adjustable so that you can direct the stream exactly where you want. The Spa 3.0 should fit on almost any toilet, and the sleek design blends in without looking like some scary device. “I wanted to make it the shape of an iPhone so that it kind of resembles a familiar thing,” said Miki Agrawal, Tushy’s founder.
Promising review: “Simple & amazing. This device is something you never knew you needed. A household essential that will do more good for your body and the environment. WIN WIN.” —Michael L. via Tushy
What else to consider: Agrawal told BuzzFeed News that all of Tushy’s packaging is plastic-free, so if you like the sustainability angle of a bidet, that may help sweeten the deal. She also said that they use a portion of their profits to build toilets for people in need, and have done so for over 60,000 families in India to date.
Best for: anyone seeking a bidet attachment with some extra features for maximum control and comfort.
You can buy the Tushy Spa 3.0 from Tushy for around $119.
Whisper is a newer bidet attachment with only one model on the market at this time, but that one model has everything you need. It has a sleek design that should fit onto any toilet and also promises a simple 10-minute setup. It’s intuitive and relatively easy to use with just one large knob that you twist on when you want a rinse. That one knob does allow you to control the pressure of the stream, so it can be as gentle or intense as you wish. It’s also made from antimicrobial plastic and has a self-cleaning mode to keep things extra sanitary.
Promising review: “I bought one a year ago for the Master bathroom. And it’s the only bathroom I ever want to use. My kids got jelly and wanted one as well after using mine over and over. Now everybody keeps it clean. Oh, and none of the kids’ bathrooms have had a clog since. Less paper, cleaner asses, and I don’t have to break out the plunger anymore. Next up. Guest bathroom!” —Carlos Figueiredo via Whisper
What else to consider: This bidet does not connect to a hot water source, so keep in mind that the water will always be cold. Otherwise, people seem to love it. It’s also on the more affordable side of these newer, high-quality, aesthetically pleasing bidet attachments.
Best for: those no-frills types who just want a basic rinse with a subtle bidet attachment.
You can buy the Whisper Bidet from Whisper for around $99.
This bidet attachment is made from high-quality parts; the high-pressure valves have metal and ceramic cores and there are steel hoses instead of plastic. There’s even a nozzle guard gate that the nozzle automatically retracts into between uses to stay protected. Luxe promises that it will easily attach to any standard two-piece toilet with a slim and durable design that won’t get in the way. The control panel comes in three different colors (white, blue, or rose gold) and has knobs for cleaning the nozzle and the pressure of your wash.
Promising review: “This might be the greatest thing I’ve bought in years. It was easy to install and works perfectly. Once you own one of these you will never go back to just toilet paper. I want to buy one for every toilet in the house.” —Matt
What else to consider: This is the best of the basic Luxe bidets, but they do have other options with feminine wash and hot water connectivity if you’re interested in those features. The control panel design is not as chic as Tushy or Whisper, but it’s great value for the price.
Best for: skeptical bidet buyers who want a plethora of reviews to support their purchase. The amount of 5-star ratings and the reasonable price should help ease any concerns.
You can buy the Luxe Bidet Neo 120 from Amazon for around $37.
Bidet toilet seats are a whole different ball game. As the name implies, they’re a full replacement seat for your toilet with built-in bidet functionality. The BB-2200 from Bio Bidet’s luxury Bliss Series is a bestseller on BidetKing for a reason. It promises advanced functionality with a sturdy seat and superior spray pressure thanks to the internal pump. The 3-in-1 nozzle offers front, rear, and feminine spray modes, and it’s self-cleaning for extra hygiene. Bio Bidet uses electricity to heat the actual seat and the water that’s sprayed. There’s a touch screen control panel illuminated by blue LED light as well as remote controls, so you can set your spray whichever way you’d prefer.
Promising review: “This is one of the best purchases we have made. The seat is comfortable, warm in the middle of the night and visible without turning on lights. It was not difficult to install. I’ve always wanted a bidet and this fits the bill.” —Patricia Henry via BidetKing
What else to consider: Bidet toilet seats in general start at a much higher price point than the attachments, and this is a luxury model, so it’s definitely not cheap. However, it also offers many more features that may make it worth the splurge. Keep in mind that you need a power source for these seats, so if you don’t have one near your toilet, you’ll need to have one installed or use an extension cord.
Best for: anyone ready to go all in for a luxurious and warm bidet experience.
You can buy the Bio Bidet BB-2000 Bliss from BidetKing for around $699.
If you’re looking for bidet functionality with the least possible disturbance to your toilet, The SimpleSpa from Brondell may be the way to go. This minimalist bidet attachment is thin and simple so there’s no toilet seat gap. Despite the subtly, it still has water pressure control and a self-cleaning retractable nozzle. The two buttons on the control panel allow you to select the cleaning function or the spray function, and a quick turn of the control knob adjusts the pressure. It’s a secure, slim, and solid bidet attachment that won’t be an eyesore in your bathroom, and it’s easy to install with no extra tools or plumber needed.
Promising review: “Easy to install, easy to use, and works like a charm. I like the dual stream feature. We use less toilet paper and feel cleaner. I wish we had gotten this years ago.” —Jef18 via Target
What else to consider: This is another attachment that only offers a cold water rinse. Since it’s so minimalist, there aren’t tons of bells and whistles when it comes to the controls, so it may not be quite as intuitive to use. As long as you read the instructions and pay attention when using it, you should be fine.
Best for: those looking for a minimally visible bidet that’ll still get the job done.
You can buy the Brondell SimpleSpa Thinline Bidet Attachment from Target for around $35.
Another electric bidet seat that costs a lot less than the Bio Bidet, this option from Alpha Bidet gets a ton of praise. It’s an energy-efficient water heating system that provides endless warm water with little to no startup lag and promises to be whisper quiet while in use without any loud motor or pumping noises. The control panel features a sensor that lights up when the room is dark so that you can always see what you’re pressing, and it will similarly adjust to save energy when it’s not in use. The air pump incorporates bubbles into the wash stream, which apparently makes it more soothing as it hits your skin, and there’s a dry cycle to avoid toilet paper use altogether, even for dabbing. The remote control has an Easy Wash button and Wash & Dry button to simplify things based on your preferences, and it claims to fit on virtually any residential toilet.
Promising review: “I have never even used a bidet prior to my purchase but I will never go back to a regular toilet seat. I love it. It was easy to install except I had to have an outlet installed. I love the led light at night, the heated toilet seat and the warm water. It is wonderful!” —Denise Boyle via BidetKing
What else to consider: Again, this seat will be pricier than most bidet attachments, but there are also tons more cool features. It’s a premium quality bidet toilet seat, and it’s more affordable than many other similar products in the space.
Best for: anyone in the market for a highly functional and not outrageously expensive bidet toilet seat.
You can buy the Alpha JX Bidet Toilet Seat from BidetKing for around $399.
With dual nozzle spray options, this Veken bidet attachment offers targeted posterior and feminine cleaning. The nozzle also has a self-cleaning function, designed to protect your skin through repeated use. The attachment uses a brass inlet and t-valve rather than the typical plastic to improve durability. There are two knobs on the control panel, one that allows you to set the mode, and another to adjust the water pressure. It’s the most affordable product of this kind on the list and still gets rave reviews from satisfied customers.
Promising review: “I purchased this product because I was having back surgery and couldn’t figure out how I would clean myself. All I can say is WOW! This is a wonderful, well made & easy to install product.” —Angelique Duncan
What else to consider: This is another bidet attachment in which the connection only provides cold water. It also doesn’t look as nice as some of the pricier options, but it does what it’s intended to do.
Best for: bidet shoppers looking for good quality and value over fancy features or aesthetics.
You can buy the Veken Non-Electric Bidet from Amazon for around $28.
This is a different type of bidet product than any other on the list, but it does offer the most control and targeted cleaning. It’s similar to a separate hosed spray head in your shower or sink — you use it when you need a more direct, close-up cleaning option. It has a similar water source setup, but instead of installing it into your toilet seat, you can simply attach it to the side of the tank. It has a long, flexible hose and water pressure controls so you can get the exact clean you’re looking for, exactly where you want it.
Promising review: “Well... this bidet is a lifesaver! Since we got it in our homes, we just can’t live without it. At first though I thought it was expensive but seeing how it doesn't fade and is still working, I think it's worth every penny.” —LynnJam
What else to consider: If you have any sort of physical disability or difficulty using toilet paper, this is not the bidet option for you since it requires a similar physical motion to wiping. However, if you want a deeper, more thorough clean where you’re in full control of the angle, distance, and pressure, this one may come in handy.
Best for: those wanting a versatile, handheld, water spray cleaner with bidet functionality.
You can buy the Miuha Bidet Toilet Sprayer from Amazon for around $33.