Britons have a strange and rather dysfunctional relationship with the humble bidet. We shun them in fancy hotel bathrooms, use them as an object of amusement in our sitcoms and rarely say ‘yes please’ when our bathroom fitter asks if we would like one. In that respect, we stand with our American cousins, rather than our French ones. So is it time we decided to reappraise the way that we view this continental piece of plumbing work? So what are the bidet pros and cons?
Bidet pros and cons
Environmentally-speaking there are a good number of arguments to make us come around to using bidets, such as their doing away with the need for so much toilet paper. This means less paper down our drains and also fewer chances for our plumbing to become blocked. That said, you will use more water and warm water at that. The amounts used are tiny, but will undoubtedly add a few pennies to both your energy bills and any metered water bill.
Practicality-wise, the bidet is something that you have to use to appreciate and eventually become a fan of (or not). So, why not be brave and try one out next time you stay in a hotel that has one in the bathroom or visit a friend’s house where one is installed? Countries such as France and Italy favour the bidet, so you could try one out if you travel there or to southern Europe on holiday.
When it comes to having a bidet fitted, the choices are somewhat similar to the array of toilets that you can choose, with the fittings and plumbing being much the same as a bath or sink. The only real difference is that the water is sent up in a jet when you switch the tap on. You can, of course, spend as much or as little as you want on the bidet itself, but a simple installation should cost in the region of £250, or less if you are having your bidet installed as part of a new bathroom suite.
If the idea of a stand-alone bidet still does not appeal to you then you can consider the alternatives, such as the high-tech ‘Japanese toilets’ that have an inbuilt bidet function. These often come with all kinds of bells and whistles, from seat warmers to MP3 players and prices can get high quickly. They do provide quite the talking point when you have visitors! Similar, but less feature-heavy toilets called washlets are also available. These have a water jet feature that is akin to the bidet, although this is not usually as controllable.
The fitting cost for either type of toilet would be very similar to that of a bidet or what you would pay for a toilet, although the cost of the item itself can vary greatly.
Thinking about getting a bidet installed? Get quotes from our bathroom specialists when you post a job on Rated People to make an informed decision about which tradesman you choose.