Product: Brondell Swash 800
Rating: Strong Recommend
I have always been fascinated by these funny, new-fangled bidet seats and wanted to test drive one of them since Walt Mossberg reviewed one for the Wall Street Journal back in 2006. Just recently, I got my wish. I don't think they're so funny anymore...
The Brondell Swash is a high-tech toilet seat that has his and hers bidet functions, a seat warmer and an air dryer all controlled by a remote control! I loved showing the box off to my wife when I got home, but she was aghast. "Get that thing out of here." she said, "It's not going on our toilet." I was able to persevere only after I assured her I was only testing it for a few weeks. We've had it for a month now and to make a long story short, I think it's awesome, but my wife still wants the old toilet seat back.
Pros: An embarassing topic only in our puritanical USA, over in Japan they've been using these things everywhere for years. Why? Because they work. Having a little wash not only cuts down on toilet paper, but it is cleaner. And it's not unpleasant. The assorted jets with warm water and the air and heated seat are all pretty welcome diversions in an otherwise humdrum part of the day (Oh, and at night, there's a blue light that comes on which makes the seat glow!).
However, there was a divide between the men and the women over it's practicality. The men seemed to like it more than the women, who squealed in shock when it went on (at least at first). Nevertheless, I would argue that that most people would come to like these things over time as the wands and the water are all controllable for pressure and warmth. It's just really weird the first time.
Cons: The seat itself is well designed, but it does have two drawbacks. The first is that it requires an electrical outlet, which makes installation impractical without one. Brondell does, however, sell battery powered seats as well. The second issue has to do with the bulkier look of the seat and the fit. Our Brondell, in addition to not being svelte, actually has a smaller seating area in order to get all the functions in the housing in back. This makes for a slightly less comfortable sitting experience, though this can be solved by having an elongated seat toilet and the longer Swash that goes with it.
The big issue really is do you want to spend all this money on something that may make your toilet look funny? While I would agree that it's a bit of a hard sell, but these things are definitely an improvement and, over time, I expect that they will catch on. It may not be sexy, but once you've used one and liked it, it's hard to go back.