Okay, for those of you who are sensitive about topics involving bathroom hygiene, we politely ask you to skip this post as we intend to go into a bit of detail about our experience with a sensitive subject. But those of you who have always wanted one of those snazzy automatic toilet bidet systems but were priced out of even considering one, you might find this hands-on (or rather, "hands off") review of the Brondell Swash Ecoseat toilet hygienic system with high end features for an affordable price of great interest...
Maxwell over at ATNY has opined about wanting to test the pricier Brondell Swash 800, but it looks like we've beaten him to the proverbial flush. The more affordable Brondell Swash Ecoseat 250 is an aftermarket add-on toilet seat with built-in bidet option. Available in either oval and circular sizing, the Ecoseat fits almost any and every model toilet out there. Installation was a breeze, taking no more than 15 minutes to turn off the incoming valve, removing the connection, adding the Ecoseat's small amount of hardware, and then attaching a diversion valve from the plumbing to your bidet system and to your toilet's tank. The whole setup literally snaps into place and the only additional thing you'll need to do before getting started using your Swash is adding 4 AA batteries to power the whole seat (we're using rechargeable batteries that should last us through the month, depending upon visits). Yes, you read correctly. Unlike most bidet systems, the Ecoseat's system is completely battery operated, eliminating (heh) the need for an in-wall connection. This in itself is the greatest feature of this particular model outside its cleaning capabilities.
Prior to testing this model, we had never experienced the sensation of using a bidet. Although popular in Japan and parts of Europe, the bidet has always been a suspiciously viewed fancy here in the US despite the obvious benefits of using a water based system to aid in personal hygiene. The system only operates when someone is seated upon it, so accidental Judd Apatow-style hijinks are prevented from happening (a friend recalled their aversion to bidets thanks to a childhood incident involving a spray right into the eye). Users have the option of "front" and "back" sprays; the nozzle is safely and hygienically hidden away until called upon for booty duty. At the press of either button, the pink nozzle emerges with the speed of a curious turtle...a turtle that is about to spray refreshing (or cold) water upward. Watch a video of it in action here.
"So, how does it feel?" you ask. To be frank, we can't believe we went without one of these until now. Remember those old commercials about the sensation of biting into a York Peppermint Patty? Just turn that sensation physically 180 degrees...it really is a notably improvement from just using toilet paper (you still need to use TP to dry off, but a whole lot less, thus the "eco" label). The bidet sprays with a forceful, but gentle focused spread until the user presses again to stop flow, positioned afar so the system remains clean while in use. Additionally, the bidet nozzle is self-cleaning, washing off with water before tucking back into the mechanism housing. Additional features include a slow shutting toilet seat cover and anti-microbial finish.
Although we wished the Ecoseat was available in a heavier-sturdier porcelain or painted wood finish (the plastic seat is well designed, but flimsy compared to our previous standard toilet seat) and also had a warm spray option, the price ($360 online) and convenience offered by the Brondell Swash Ecoseat makes this a very attractive option for those of us who've always been curious about taking clean to another level.