The 10 Best Handheld Bidets
Next To Godliness
The problem with toilet paper is one of Goldilocks proportions. For most, it's not soft enough, leaving an already sensitive area vulnerable to scrapes and discomfort. For others it's too soft, tearing into tiny particles before ever doing its job. If you're among the lucky few, then after years of searching, you've found a happy medium. Still, the task of using the paper is itself an unsanitary one.
The handheld bidet, by contrast is a simple nozzle and hose combination that hooks up to your the faucet in either your sink or your shower, or it hooks directly into your water line, depending on which model you select. You can make adjustments to the water pressure either by adjusting the flow from your chosen water source or by manipulation of the nozzle itself.
The result is a highly controllable stream of water that does the vast majority of cleanup after you've relieved yourself. What remains is a passing visit with our old friend the toilet paper, more for drying purposes than anything else at this point.
Some folks think this is a waste of water, but by using a bidet, you'll drastically cut down on your consumption of toilet paper, which utilizes pulp from virgin wood and a tremendous amount of water in its production. What's more, less TP means fewer toilet clogs, reducing water consumption and saving you money on visits from the plumber.
Where The Hose Goes
I'm a patient man when I'm at the fair. I position myself a healthy distance from those games that rely on a line of players shooting streams of water at targets. Each target, when depressed by the water, pushes a button that causes a corresponding item–usually a stuffed animal–to climb up a pole. If your animal reaches the top of its pole first, you win. The more players playing at a time, the bigger the prize.
These games aren't rigged, per se, but some of the animals start ever so slightly higher up than the others. I watch a few games from a distance and clock the animals that seem to win the most. Then, I move in behind the winningest water gun and watch a few players work at it, examining the angle at which the water shoots out, which is never quite straight. After that, I sit at the gun and wait. I don't give the gamekeeper my money until there's a crowd big enough for the top prize. I take aim, and I win every time.
All of this is to say that no two handheld bidets shoot quite the same, but you can maximize your chances at winning by taking the time to investigate the differences from one to the next.
You want a bidet that's easy to install, and easy to use. Fortunately, all the bidets on our list meet these criteria, or they wouldn't be listed in the first place. How they install is a different story, however, and that will tell us the most about which belongs in your bathroom.
For example, if your bathroom is rather large, or if the toilet is detached in its own little water closet, then running a bidet line from your sink faucet is going to prove more problematic than anything else. Such a configuration would do best with a model that hooks right into the toilet's incoming water line.
If you're more concerned with getting clean in the shower and you don't have a removeable shower head–or you just don't want to use the same head down there that you use to wash your hair–you can install a bidet that hangs in the shower stall with you.
Finally, there's the consideration of appearance. It might not be the most important part of your decision, but if people are going to come into your house and see, or even use, your bidet, you'll want it to fit the decor of your bathroom as much as possible, so do keep that in mind.
Trickledown Bathroom Design
For some reason, no one seems to want to take credit for the bidet. Searching back through the annals, you'll find plenty of reference to the bidet itself starting at around 1710 in Italy. Many believe them to have been invented by French furniture makers much earlier than that, but the specifics elude us.
The bidets of those days weren't the hose-and-nozzle type we recognize in our own time. Those didn't come along until after 1900, when more significant improvements to indoor plumbing made them possible. These were more like a second chamber pot than anything else.
In the first chamber pot went, well, you know. The second pot was shallower and filled with fresh water for users to delightfully splash against their nether regions until they were satisfactorily clean, which, in those years, was a rather subjective term.
After those plumbing advances, the hosed bidet moved from the palaces of the aristocracy to the homes of everyday French and Italian citizens. Presumably because the Italians were late-comers to American shores when compared to the English, Germans, and Spanish, the bidet never quite caught on in the US. We can change that, though, one toilet at a time.