My bottom has never been so clean. And unlike my fellow Americans, I have not had to rush to the store to buy six months of toilet paper, thanks to a smart toilet seat with a bidet.
During the past year, the folks representing South Korea’s Coway have been pitching their Coway Bidetmega brand of bidets to me. It always seemed like a funny joke or a luxury to think about a smart toilet. But with the recent coronavirus scare, I gave in and tried the company’s latest bidet, the Coway Bidetmega 400.
The bidet is attached to your toilet seat, and you operate it by a remote control that you can put on your wall. A sensors detects when you sit on it and preps the bidet for cleaning. When you are done with your No. 2 business, you press a button with an image of a bottom on it and it sprays water on your butt.
That’s what bidets have done for ages, and they’re far more popular in places like Japan, where they come with seat warmers and other luxurious, spa-like toilet features. Toto is the king of such bidets in Japan, and it is the world’s largest toilet maker with $5.2 billion in sales and a flagship Neorest NX2 toilet that costs $12,800. But in the U.S., bidets are relatively rare, beaten off by the smart marketing of Charmin and other toilet paper brands.
But the bidet has a lot of things going for it. The Coway Bidetmega 400 model that I have been trying out not only shoots water at your butt, it also blow dries it. So you can sit there and not have to wipe with toilet paper at all, saving some trees. And for women, you can press a No. 1 button and it will spray in an angled direction, washing your front, uh, bottom.
What you’ll like
It is pretty hygienic
As mentioned, you can use a bidet without using your hands, except for pressing a remote control. It cleans and dries. That’s one of the reasons why the cleanliness-obsessed Japanese have been using bidets all of this time. Coway has built a triple-stage bidet wash care system that keeps the water path, nozzle, and toilet free of contaminants.
Coway also has an upgraded version of its Bidetmega 200 that has integration with Amazon Alexa, which can also notify you when the filters need to be replaced. So you don’t have to touch buttons at all. You can also just push a button where the bidet cleans itself. It has a low-energy mode when not in use.
Warm water and smart control
It detects when you sit on it, and it heats up the water before it sprays it on you, which is better than the proverbial cold shower. You can also control the type of spray that comes out. It also has Braille letters than you can add if you like.
Night light and wireless remote
It comes with a blue LED light that turns your toilet bowl into one of the prettiest night lights ever. You’ll never miss landing yourself on the seat in the middle of the night. The wireless remote is convenient, and you can easily mount it on your wall. The remote gives you options like a child’s bidet (with less force for those with sensitive skin).
Easy to install
Coway has both elongated or round toilet seat versions available so you can retrofit your existing toilet. It took me maybe 20 minutes to install. I just turned off the water valve on the hose attached to the toilet. I took off the old toilet seat and attached the bidet toilet seat to the existing toilet. I added a T-intersection pipe to the valve, and then attached a hose to the bidet. I reattached the other hose to the toilet. And then I plugged the bidet into a wall socket and turned on the water valve again. I paired the bidet remote control with the seat via Bluetooth, and it worked the first time. And presto, I had a smart toilet.
What you won’t like
It’s a little noisy when it comes to prepping itself with water when you sit on it. So it’s not the greatest thing to use when your spouse is sleeping and you get up in the middle of the night. Then it makes noise when you actually use the bidet and the dryer. So if you’re in a place where silence is golden, then maybe the bidet is not so great. On the other hand, regular toilet flushes are noisy too.
Yes, $600 is a lot to part with there. And I would guess that bidet prices are going to climb, along with toilet paper prices as we all deal with this shortage crisis, which is hopefully temporary.
A $600 bidet might not seem like a good deal compared to toilet paper that sells at maybe $1.50 a roll. For the cost of one bidet, you could buy one 400 rolls of toilet paper. Of course, bidets range in price from $30 to more than $1,600. And, to repeat, Toto’s high-end toilet costs more than $12,000.
If hygiene is your priority, then a bidet like the Coway Bidetmega 400 is a good deal. I’ve tried it out, and I don’t really want to go back. It’s like having a throne in my self-quarantined kingdom.
My friend Mike Wilson swears by the Luxe Bidet Neo 120, which currently retails on Amazon for $76. His view is that you can save a lot of trees this way. Of course, a bidet uses electricity and water, and it is made of materials that aren’t renewable, unlike toilet paper. So it’s a toss-up as to whether it is more environmentally friendly.
If you’re really a clean freak, you’ll probably want to wipe with toilet paper as well as using the clean/dry functions of the bidet. And in case you ever lose power, you might want to keep a roll of toilet paper around.