Home Tech Bidets rule even when there’s not a TP shortage. These are the best ones.

Bidets rule even when there’s not a TP shortage. These are the best ones.


Pre-toilet paper shortage, bidets had never really caught on in America. When people hear bidet, they either think Europe or extra as hell: Really nice foreign hotels, rich people’s houses in movies, or Marie Antoinette’s chambers featuring, like, a sponge on a stick, or whatever the practice was before TP and running water.

But when early fears of coronavirus (and of leaving the house in general) had us all preparing for the worst, toilet paper sections in stores and online were barren for weeks. Stock has obviously replenished since the Great Toilet Paper Famine and, despite recurring supply chain issues throughout 2022, we’ve mostly learned to quell the urge to panic buy.

But buying a bidet is still the move regardless of whether you ever have to worry about finding toilet paper in stock again. The clean they provide is significantly more exhaustive (and more comfortable) than what toilet paper can do, subsequently reducing the amount of toilet paper you need to buy and reducing the load put on the environment. Plus, no one’s going to miss the anxiety that comes with realizing mid-pee that the roll beside you is empty.

The case for switching to a bidet

Though everyone’s butt (hopefully) gets a real bath in the shower, a bidet ensures that you’re squeaky clean after every toilet trip. The spread of coronavirus germs brought proper hand washing technique to center stage, but the recent obsession with bidets points out another factor of hand cleanliness: Improper hand washing after wiping runs the risk of spreading bacteria. Using a stream of water keeps your hands from getting that close or being too rough down there.

The most expensive bidet on our list would pay for itself in less than three years — the cheapest one costs less than a six month TP supply.

Before you worry about spending hundreds of dollars on a machine that wipes for you (though most aren’t that expensive), let’s consider how much you’re already spending to do it yourself.

At peak TP shortage, Georgia-Pacific LLC (the manufacturers of Quilted Northern and Angel Soft) calculated just how much toilet paper people really use. It was estimated that a two-person household uses nine double rolls (five mega rolls) over a two-week period, while a four-person household uses 17 double rolls (nine mega rolls). This means that the latter household spends roughly $260 on toilet paper each year (assuming that the average nine-pack of mega rolls goes for $9.99, like this one from Charmin(opens in a new tab).) The most expensive bidet on our list would pay for itself in less than three years — the cheapest one costs less than a six-month supply.

On top of not being a sustainable choice for your wallet, toilet paper is not a sustainable industry for the earth. Though TP breaks down pretty quickly post-use, the real cost shows when you consider how many gallons of water (37) go into making a single roll or how many trees (around 15 million) are cut and pulped each year to fund America’s toilet paper habit. A bidet does use extra water in the moment, but the waste is nowhere near the cost of toilet paper production.

Almost all toilet paper is packaged in plastic film, which is hard to recycle because it clogs sorting machines. Most of it will end up in a landfill or the ocean, both of which are overflowing with plastic waste that takes hundreds of years to decompose.

Are bidets hard to install?

Nope. The bidets suggested below can be added to an existing toilet and don’t require a plumber. All you should need is 10 minutes, a wrench, knowledge of your toilet’s water supply pipes, or a YouTube video explaining those pipes. Advanced electric ones will require access to an outlet.

Choosing your bidet mostly revolves around how luxurious you want the experience to be. Attachment bidets go under the toilet seat with a small panel sticking out for basic water stream options. This will probably be fine for beginners, but others may prefer the more customizable comfort of a full-bidet toilet seat. These replace your existing toilet seat and use a remote to control the water temperature (warm water is more comfortable than cold water), a wider range of pressure options for a closer clean, fans, and deodorizers. Some seats are also heated.

The full toilet seat design will need to match the shape of your toilet bowl. Most bidet models come in both elongated or round, but it’s still smart to measure beforehand. If you don’t want to unscrew your toilet seat at all, handheld bidets don’t require you to do so.

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