Edit 5/24/2020: Updated some of the recommended links now that the bidets are becoming more available again.
I’m going to start off with a clear disclaimer, this has nothing to do with wet shaving. Also there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. Ok, proceeding…
As some of you may be aware, there is a toilet paper shortage right now. Why is there a toilet paper shortage? That’s a really good question. Hand sanitizer shortage? Makes sense. Slim pickings on Chef Boyardee? Sure. TP? Wait, what? Alas, here we are. Luckily, there is an alternative and honestly, it’s something you should have already invested in.
Boys and girls, let me introduce you to our friend, The Bidet. For those living under a rock, a bidet is a toilet attachment that attaches to your water line and, ahem, cleans you after you do your business. No endless wiping, environmentally friendly, and isn’t at the mercy of hoarders*. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Spoiler alert: it is! Honestly though, everyone should have one of these. If you get some poo on your hand, you’re not just going to wipe it off with paper - you’re going to wash your friggin hands! With water [and soap]! Like a civilized person! You may be getting the impression that I’m passionate about bidets. I am. I had a $17.99 bidet listed on the Black Friday deal page last year for goodness sake. Some of you took advantage of it, but not enough. The forward thinkers are laughing from the top of their golden throne right now.
Alright, enough soap boxing - lets talk about the various options when it comes to bidet. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. For the most part, the more you spend, the more features you’re getting. We’ll talk about a couple of these tiers to get you going on your path to cleanliness.
Hand held. I’m not sure how you use these without making a big mess, but apparently it’s possible. Fill it with water, point it at your butt, and squirt. The big advantage here is portability, which trust me, you will be considering after you have been shown the light.
tl;dr go to Tier 1
This is your basic, entry level bidet. It’s 100% mechanical, so no need for an outlet near the toilet. That said, cleaning your butt is about all it’s going to do (or act as a drinking fountain if you’re feeling adventurous). All the bidets in this tier will T off your water line and are turned on by a knob. The typically go between your current toilet seat and toilet. In my experience, this knob goes from trickle to enema in about .2 seconds, so be careful. Because there is no electricity, expect the water to be cold unless you happen to T off a hot water line, which actually sounds like an awful idea due to not being able to regulate the heat… yeah, just plan on cold water. Assuming you are moderately handy, this shouldn’t be an issue to install. The biggest thing is making sure you use plumber’s tape and make sure there are no leaks.
tl;dr sprays water… that’s it
Now we’re talking. Tier 2 actually has a pretty big range. There are a ton of features available in this tier. Heated seat, warm water, feminine sprayer, air dryer, aerated water (that’s a thing apparently), night lights, auto on/off, water filters, etc. Two big changes in this tier is that typically the bidet will be replacing your toilet seat here. You also will need a power outlet for most (all?) of the bidets in this tier. The bidet itself is still pretty easy to install and will T off the water line. In my experience, the bidet is doing the water heating, so you do not need a hot water line.
tl;dr: electricity makes everything hot - water, air, and seat
I’m going to be honest, I’ve never used, or even considered a bidet in this range so I’m winging the sales pitch. Basically, you’re getting a smart toilet at this point. In addition to the previous features, you’re getting a seat that opens as you approach and a toilet that adjusts to you and flushes appropriately (lol wut). Oh an apparently it has an actual enema feature for those that need that.
tl;dr: big data gonna know how you poop
There’s also a Tier A for your stand alone bidets. This is your traditional European bidet that isn’t attached to the toilet. Basically, you’re not considering this unless you’re building or completely remodeling your bathroom due to excessive plumbing changes… I think.
In closing, if you already had a bidet, you wouldn’t be sweating the TP shortage of 2020. It’s not too late. Fair warning though, once you bidet, you don’t stray. Pooping at work/hotels/literally anywhere without a bidet is the WORST now. Know what you’re getting yourself into and plan accordingly.