Bidets have been around for hundreds of years. Over that time, they’ve diversified in style to suit a range of different needs and cultures.
All the variations serve the same purpose and use water to clean your bum instead of toilet paper. This method is seen as more sanitary in large parts of the world.
The bidet types differ mostly in how you use them, and some have evolved to include more advanced features.
Here are the 12 types of bidet available:
- The standalone bidet
- The handheld bidet sprayer
- Diaper sprayer
- The shower/faucet bidet
- The bidet attachment
- The electric bidet seat
- The non-electric bidet seat
- The toilet bidet combo
- The portable non-electric bidet
- The electric travel bidet
- The bottle top camping bidet
- The Philippines tabo (a basic bidet)
Types Of Bidet
I go through each option in more detail, discussing how they work and the pros and cons of their design.
The Standalone Bidet
The standalone bidet is the most traditional bidet type. They’re popular in European countries such as France, where they originated in the early 1700s.
You might hear people refer to it as a ceramic bidet, separate bidet, or simply a bidet.
The units are completely separate from the toilet, and usually sit parallel to them in the bathroom.
Freestanding bidets can be a little tricky to use. You have to move across from the toilet and then squat over the bidet while adjusting the spray.
The spray nozzle works in much the same way as a faucet (hence it’s called a bidet faucet). And because ceramic bidets connect to your internal plumbing, you can fine-tune the water temperature to your liking, hot or cold.
If you’re thinking of installing one of these units, make sure to factor in the extra space needed in your bathroom. Plus possible changes to the existing plumbing.
You can pick between two different styles: the classic floor-mounted bidet, or more the modern wall-mounted bidet.
The Handheld Bidet Sprayer
Handheld bidets are another common bidet type, especially in Asia and Islamic countries. You might know them by a few different names, including ‘bum gun’, ‘shattaf’ and ‘bidet sprayers’.
Whatever your name of choice, the beloved handheld bidet is a simple device. It’s modelled on a kitchen sink sprayer.
The hose connects to your toilet’s water supply, and the spray head attaches to a hook on your wall or a clip on the toilet bowl. Using the bidet sprayer can take some getting used to. You aim the nozzle and push the lever to release the water. How hard you press determines the water pressure.
Handheld bidets are easy to install, and you can retrofit them to existing toilets. For a lot of people, they’re the most accessible bidet type. They’re also inexpensive, so a good option for beginners. And if you decide you don’t like it, you can just use it to clean the toilet.
Most hand held bidets will only spray cold water which can be a big turn off for some. Although there are more and more hot water options appearing on the market.
The diaper sprayer
A cloth diaper sprayer is pretty much the same as a handheld bidet.
Something to look out for that not all handheld bidets offer is a longer, more flexible hose.
This gives you more freedom to move around your bathroom and position the sprayer to ensure minimal splashback. An important consideration when you’re cleaning diapers!
Having an extended hose on your bidet sprayer means you can also use it to wash pets and other large items.
The Shower / Faucet Bidet
I mentioned earlier that you could get warm water handheld bidets. A shower bidet is one of those options.
It works in the same way as a hand held bidet, but instead of attaching to your toilets T-valve, it connects to your shower.
This might not sound that practical, but the bidets have extra long 8-foot hoses so they can reach your toilet with ease.
Another warm water option is a faucet bidet. You’ll need a faucet with a removable aerator to install the bidet, but other than that it’s pretty easy.
The Bidet Attachment
Most online images of bidet attachments look like regular toilet seats. But don’t get bidet attachments and bidet toilet seats confused.
A bidet attachment is a cheaper alternative to a full bidet seat. They sit in between your current toilet seat and the toilet bowl, which means you can keep the original look of your toilet intact.
Another great benefit of bidet attachments is that they have a universal fit. You can install an attachment on any toilet, whereas bidet toilet seats will only fit on toilets of a specific size and shape.
The attachments have a spray nozzle that sits in the toilet bowl. You can adjust the position of the nozzle and the water pressure using the side panel. Like handheld bidets, these bidets connect to your t-valve so most only spray cold water.
The Electric Bidet Seat
Electric bidet seats replace your existing toilet seat. To work, they need an electrical output nearby.
They first became popular in Japan and are sometimes called Japanese toilet seats. You might also have heard the term washlet. A washlet is a type of electric bidet seat made by Toto, a bidet manufacturer.
Bidet toilet seats are the go-to option for anyone who wants a warm water bidet and they’re good bidets for women because they tend to have a built-in feminine wash mode.
They also offer other exciting features such as a remote control, heated seats, nightlights, and dryers so you don’t have to wipe!
Prices will vary depending on how many features are included. The high-end models have a seemingly endless list of functions, but there are also more affordable alternatives without so many bells and whistles.
Electric seats aren’t always the sleekest looking seats. However, recent technologies have advanced, allowing for more modern designs.
The Non-Electric Bidet Seat
Non-electric bidets are a great choice if you want a new seat, but don’t have an electrical outlet in your bathroom.
They connect to your toilet’s T-valve and use the pressure of the water in your plumbing to create a jet stream.
Non-electric seats lack the more luxurious features of their electric counterparts. Certain functions like a heated seat, air dryer, and deodorizer all need some form of power to work. On the flip side, the lack of extravagant features means these bidets are usually quite budget-friendly.
Again, these bidets tend not to offer warm water, so they’re not ideal if you live somewhere cold.
Both electric and non-electric seats come in elongated or round. Every bidet will offer elongated, while only some offer a round version. I share my top picks for round bidet seats here.
The Toilet Bidet Combo
Bidet toilet combos are toilets that come with a built-in bidet.
All in one bidet toilets remove the need for adding a separate, sometimes unsightly, attachment to your existing toilet. Also, you won’t have any issues with the seat and toilet fixture not fitting well. Or the colors and materials not matching.
If you’re doing a complete refit of your bathroom, a one-piece bidet toilet is a streamlined solution. The combos tend to feature modern toilet designs and top-of-the-range bidets that boast a wide variety of features.
The sorts of things you can look forward to include automatic flushing and self-cleaning toilet bowls. Of course, this does all come with a price tag to match. Bidet toilet combos are the most expensive type of bidet. But it’s worth it if you’re after ultimate luxury.
The Portable Bidet (Non-Electric)
So far all the bidets have been permanent fixtures. But you can also get bidets for on-the-go use.
The most widely used type of portable bidet is a squeezy bottle with a nozzle attached.
You fill the container up with water and then squeeze the bottle to create a cleansing stream of water.
You’ll often see portable bidets in hospitals. They make great temporary bidets for anyone who needs one due to childbirth or after surgery.
Portable bidets are very affordable and small enough to fit in a bag. However they aren’t watertight, so you’ll need to fill the bottle up each time you use it. But you can fill it up with warm water for a more comfortable experience.
The Electric Travel Bidet
Another type of portable bidet is the electric travel bidet. These are small, battery-operated devices that won’t look out of place in a day bag.
You still need to fill them up with water before each use, but arguably they’re easier to use than a squeeze bottle, especially if you find it difficult to squeeze the bottle hard enough to get a decent water pressure.
All you need to do to operate the bidet is press the on button. Most will have two spray modes to pick from, a gentler one and more powerful one.
Because they’re so compact, they can generally only hold 150-200ml of water. This could mean that sometimes the water runs before you’re finished.
The Bottle Top Camping Bidet
Bottle top bidets screw onto most standard plastic water bottles, turning them into a portable bidet.
While not the most efficient bidet, they’re great for getting you out of a bind. They’re also handy for camping trips or hiking where access to toilets is limited.
Some portable electric bidets come with adaptors so they can fit onto plastic bottles as well as the container they came with. This increases their capacity and means you can use them even when there’s nowhere to fill them up.
The Philippines Tabo (a basic bidet)
If you have ever been on holiday to Asia, you may have used a bidet without even realising.
The most basic form of bidet is a bucket filled with water. In the water there’s another smaller bucket, which you use to scoop the water out and clean yourself.
The tabo, or ‘dipper’ in English, was invented in the Philippines during a water shortage.
The idea was that washing your hands at the same time as cleaning your bum would conserve water and save time. Nowadays the water is also used for cleaning the bathroom.
Usually, the bucket sits under a tap, so it’s easy to refill when the water gets low. If you’re not used to using one, then dipper can be hard to use. But once you’ve mastered the technique, it can be very efficient.
Who knew there were so many different types of bidets?
Whatever your situation there’s definitely a bidet that can help. My favorite type of bidet is the electric bidet. Once you’ve had the luxury of a warm air dryer, you’ll never want to go back.