Understanding Common Bidet Seat Terms
Electric bidet seats provide unbeatable comfort and convenience in the bathroom, but you may come across unfamiliar lingo as you start exploring the different options. If you’ve ever felt confused or uncertain about bidet terminology, this glossary is for you! Below, we offer concise summaries of what each major bidet feature does so that you can feel confident finding the right seat.
Aerated Wash Spray – Tiny bubbles infused into the wash water provide a wash that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin but effective enough to get you thoroughly clean, all while conserving water. Aeration is a popular feature and almost every electric bidet seat on the market comes with an aerated wash spray.
Adjustable Settings – Many electric bidet seats allow users to adjust settings like seat temperature, nozzle position, water temperature, water pressure and/or air dryer temperature (where applicable). Do keep in mind that the exact amount of adjustability for these functions varies from seat to seat. While the owner’s manual is the best place to find exact specifications for any given seat, here are a few average ranges:
Water Temperature: 3-5 levels
Water Pressure: 3-5 levels
Nozzle Position: 5 positions
Air Dryer Temperature: 5 levels
Seat Temperature: 3-4 levels
Air Dryer – Built-in dryers reduce or even eliminate the need for toilet paper by blowing warm air towards your bottom to dry you off after the wash cycle is complete. Warm air dryers typically feature adjustable temperature settings, and they’re a useful feature if wiping with toilet paper is difficult or painful. The biggest complaint we hear is that it can take several minutes to get fully dry, even for seats with powerful dryers.
Autoflush – Some bidet seats, including many in TOTO’s Washlet+ line, have a built-in sensor that detects when someone walks away from the toilet and automatically flushes for you.
Autowash – Also known as “one button washing and drying”, the autowash feature starts a complete wash and dry cycle with the seat’s most recently used settings (e.g. nozzle position, water temperature, water pressure and air dryer temperature). Autowashing offers a high degree of convenience and simplicity since there’s no need to select each wash and dry option by hand. It’s a great feature to have if navigating the seat’s controls is confusing or difficult for you, or if you simply don’t want to think about choosing specific settings every time you use the bathroom.
Auto Open/Close Lid – While rare, some electric bidet seats are equipped with a sensor that automatically raises or closes the lid when someone walks towards or away from it. Not only is this convenient and impressive, it also adds an extra layer of protection against germs since it eliminates the need to touch the seat. That said, people who opt for auto-open/close lids tend to either hate it or love it. If they dislike the feature, it’s usually because the lid is opening all the time, which is a common complaint in small bathrooms. If they love it, it’s typically due to the “cool” factor.
Catch Plate Installation – You’ll notice that many of our seats advertise “simple catch plate installation”. This simply refers to the three easy steps involved in securing the bidet seat on your toilet. First, you’ll remove your existing toilet seat and turn off the toilet’s water supply. Next, you’ll attach the bidet seat’s mounting plate, or “catch plate”, to the toilet by lining it up with the toilet’s bolt holes, inserting the brackets provided in your installation kit, and then inserting and tightening the mounting bolts. Lastly, slide your bidet onto the catch plate so that it’s secure, then hook up the water connections (also a very simple process). Most bidet seats can easily be released from the mounting plate by pressing a button and lifting off.
Child Mode – See “Wash Modes: Child”
Controls – See “Side Arm Control Panel” or “Wireless Remote Control”
Color Options – Most bidet seats come in a crisp white that’s designed to match the average white porcelain toilet. Since some bathrooms feature beige color schemes, a handful of bidet seats also come in off-white, also known as “biscuit”. While these are often a better fit for bathrooms with beige fixtures, they are typically a bit more expensive than their white counterparts.
Deodorizer – Built-in bidet deodorizers draw air from the toilet bowl through a charcoal filter to remove odors. It doesn’t add scent to the air like an air freshener does, rather it eliminates odors at the source. Because there are gaps between the seat, the toilet bowl and your body, the deodorizer doesn’t fully eliminate odors. It does, however, reduce them.
Elongated Seat Size – See “Seat Size: Elongated”
Enema Wash – See “Wash Modes: Enema”
Easily Replaceable Nozzles / Easy to Replace Nozzles – The nozzles on most bidet seats aren’t removable. Should you have a nozzle issue, you’ll likely need to mail or manually drop off your bidet seat at a certified repair facility for servicing. That said, some bidet seats feature nozzles that easily come off for simple, at-home replacement. These are generally referred to as “easily replaceable nozzles”.
Eco Mode (Energy Saving Mode) – Eco mode reduces the seat’s energy consumption, usually by lowering the seat and/or water temperature to roughly match the bathroom’s temperature (or slightly warmer). Some seats switch into energy saving mode a set number of minutes after its last use, while others sense patterns in your seat usage and switch into eco mode around those intervals. Still others allow you to choose specific timeframes during which you want the seat to go into eco-mode, similar to how many home thermostats can be programmed to automatically turn down the heat during periods of the day when you know you won’t be at home. Eco mode can be turned on or off with the touch of a button, so if you’re not a fan, you aren’t obligated to use it.
Elongated Seat Size – See “Seat Size: Elongated vs. Round”
Extended Warranty – See “Warranty: Extended”
Front & Rear Wash Modes – See “Wash Modes: Front and Rear”
French Curve – Most toilets have a true or near-90-degree angle between the tank and the rear surface of the bowl (the area just behind the bolts that fasten the seat to the toilet). “French curve” toilets have a curving slope connecting the front of the water tank to the back of the bowl. While this unique concave design has a sleek aesthetic, it doesn’t provide enough room to properly install most bidet seats. A handful of seats are compact enough on the back end to fit onto many toilets with a French curve design, but there are some French curve toilets that won’t accommodate any bidet seat, period. If your toilet has a French curve design, make sure to get in touch with us prior to purchasing so we can help you determine which bidet seats will work!
Full Warranty – See “Warranty: Full vs. Limited”
Gentle Closing Seat and Lid – see “Soft Closing Seat & Lid”
Heated Seat – Almost all electric bidet seats come with a heated seat option with various temperature controls. It’s especially pleasant on cold mornings or in the middle of the night, and it adds an element of relaxation to the overall experience. Even so, you can always keep it turned off if it’s not your thing or if you’d like to maximize electricity savings. On average, heated seats have anywhere from 3-4 temperature levels, which includes a room temp option.
Hybrid Water Heater – see “Water Heaters: Hybrid Heating Systems”
Instant Water Heater – see “Water Heaters: Instant Heating Systems”
Limited Warranty – See “Warranty: Full vs. Limited”
Massage Wash – See “Pulse Wash”
Night Light – Many mid-range to high-end bidet seats come with a built-in, LED nightlight that gently illuminates the toilet bowl. These nightlights are generally bright enough to enable you to safely navigate the bathroom in low light but won’t jar you awake like turning on an overhead light can. As with many other bidet amenities, the nightlight is an optional feature, so you can always turn it off if you’d rather not use it. If the seat you want doesn’t come with a nightlight, you can purchase and install an after-market model, though these aren’t quite as streamlined as the built-in kind.
Nozzle Material: Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum vs. Plastic – Stainless steel is the gold standard for bidet nozzles because it’s strong, non-porous and corrosion-resistant. This means it’s less likely to harbor bacteria or grime and is especially easy to keep clean. Aluminum and plastic are less expensive than stainless steel and reduce the overall cost of the seat, but they’re also less strong, more porous and more likely to scratch. Functionally, nozzle material does not impact the wash’s feel or effectiveness.
Nozzle Style – Bidet nozzles are located at the end of a wand. The wand/nozzle(s) are housed inside a compartment in the rear of the seat until you press the wash button, at which point it extends out and begins spraying water. There are a few different types of nozzle configurations.
Dual Nozzles – Bidets with dual nozzles actually have two wands, each with a single nozzle at the tip. One nozzle provides the rear (posterior) wash, and the other provides the front (feminine) wash. Only one wand/nozzle comes out at a time. In other words, if you select a front wash, only the front wash wand/nozzle will extend out of the seat.
2-in-1 Nozzles – Bidet seats with 2-in-1 nozzles have a single wand with 2 nozzles at the end of it, one for the front wash and the other for the rear wash.
3-in-1 Nozzles – As the name implies, 3-in-1 nozzles feature three nozzle spouts on the end of a single wand. The first is for the rear wash, the second is for the front wash, and the third is usually for a specialty wash like an enema wash or a wide wash.
While there’s no hard and fast rule about which is best, we personally prefer a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 configuration. Most dual nozzle setups place the wands side by side, which means that neither nozzle is truly centered. In our opinion, the “aim” of this setup isn’t as accurate as the centered nozzles of a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 system
Nozzle Oscillation – The nozzle oscillation feature quickly moves the wash wand forward and backward during the wash cycle to increase cleansing coverage and enhance relaxation.
Nozzle Pulsation – See “Pulse Wash”
Nozzle Position – In order to ensure that the wash stream hits the right spots and provides a thorough cleanse, the nozzles on most electric bidet seats can be moved forward or backward by pressing the nozzle position buttons located on the remote or side arm control panel. On average, electric seats with adjustable nozzles offer 5 front-to-back positions, though a few offer more. Generally speaking, the more adjustability, the less body repositioning is required to get completely clean.
Nozzle Sterilization – Many electric bidet seats feature self-cleaning nozzles, which means the nozzles flush themselves with fresh water before and/or after the seat is used to rinse away any impurities. Nozzle sterilization takes this hygiene precaution a step further and refers to a variety of measures or processes, from antimicrobial coatings to water sterilization systems, designed to keep the bidet’s components and wash water crystal clean.
One Button Wash & Dry – see “Autowash”
Oscillating Wash Spray – see “Nozzle Oscillation”
Premisting – Premisting automatically coats the toilet bowl with a thin film water whenever someone sits down on the seat to prevent waste residue from sticking to the bowl. This feature is unique to select TOTO bidets and makes it easier to keep the toilet bowl clean.
Postitionable Nozzles – see “Nozzle Position”
Pulse Wash/Spray – Also known as “massage” washing, pulse wash/spray quickly varies the water pressure between hard and soft, which relaxes tense muscles while helping to stimulate the bowels.
Quick Release Seat – Electric bidet seats click into a “catch plate”, which is secured to the toilet (see “Catch Plate Installation” for more details on this straightforward process). Removing the bidet seat is as easy as pressing a “quick release” button on the side of the seat, which disengages it from the catch plate and allows it to be lifted off with very little effort. This feature is especially helpful if you wish to give the seat or the toilet an extra-thorough cleaning.
Round Seat Size – See “Seat Size: Elongated vs. Round”
Seat Sensor – Many electric bidet seats have a built-in sensor that prevents the bidet features from operating unless someone is sitting on the seat. This safety measure requires skin to be in contact with the seat before it will operate and ensures that the seat won’t start spraying if the wash button is accidentally pressed.
Seat Size: Elongated vs. Round – Toilets come with either a round or elongated (oval) bowl. Elongated bidet seats are designed to fit elongated toilets, whereas round bidet seats are designed to fit round toilets. Because elongated toilets are most popular in the United States, most bidets come in an elongated seat size. Many come in both round and elongated seat sizes, and a handful come in round seat sizes only. You should not try to install an elongated bidet seat on a round toilet or vice versa, as doing so can risk injury to yourself, your toilet, or the bidet.
Self-Rinsing / Self-Cleaning Nozzles – The nozzles on many bidet seats automatically flush themselves with clean water before and/or after the seat is used to rinse away any impurities. This is different from “nozzle sterilization”, which refers to a variety of processes designed to eradicate microbes from the bidet’s surfaces or the wash water.
Silver Nano Technology – Nozzle sterilization systems often use some form of silver-nano technology to keep the bidet’s interior surfaces and/or wash water free from microbes. Some bidets have a silver-nano particle coating on their interior components, whereas others actually release silver particles into the wash water. Silver-nano technology is based on research indicating that silver ions can bind to, and subsequently kill, bacteria and other pathogens. This research suggests that silver can remove microbes from water and also make it difficult for them to adhere to or grow on surfaces.
Sittable Lid – Most bidet seat lids are designed to serve only as a lid for the toilet bowl and can’t support any body weight. If you sit on one of these lids, you risk breaking it or damaging the bidet’s electronics, which are housed in the back of the unit. Some bidet seats, however, come with sturdier lids that are specifically designed to bear the weight of an adult. These are known as “sittable” lids, and can support anywhere from 170-330 lbs, depending on the seat.
Side Arm Control Panel – Electric bidet seats are controlled either by a remote control or by a control panel attached to the side of the unit. Seats with side arm controls tend to be less expensive than those with remote controls, you never have to replace batteries like you do with a remote, nor do you need to worry about misplacing the controls since they’re physically connected to the seat. It’s worth mentioning that we generally recommend against buying a seat with a side arm control if you have vision or mobility limitations that make looking down and to the side difficult, or if you need to operate the seat’s controls with your feet. Additionally, side arm control panels are located on the right side of the seat, which can make them less convenient for left-handed individuals.
Soft Closing Seat & Lid – The lids on most electric bidet seats are equipped with soft-close hinges that result in slow, gentle lowering. This eliminates annoying slamming and keeps the seat and lid from being damaged.
Tank Water Heater – see “Water Heaters: Tank Heating Systems”
Tankless Water Heater – See “Water Heaters: Instant Heating Systems”
Unlimited Warm Water – See “Water Heaters: Instant Heating Systems”
User Presets – Some bidet seats come with user presets, which allow up to two users to program their preferred water temperature, water pressure, and nozzle position into the remote’s memory for a customized cleanse at the touch of a button. It’s an especially great option to have if you share your bidet seat with a partner or other family member, or if you find it difficult or cumbersome to select your favorite settings every time you use the bathroom. Do note that user presets are different from autowashing. In contrast to user presets, autowashing usually initiates both a wash and dry cycle, and it typically utilizes the seat’s last used settings versus pre-programmed favorites.
Warranty: Extended – Some bidet companies give customers the option of extending their seat’s warranty coverage in scope, duration, or both. Bio Bidet and Brondell are two high-profile bidet companies known for offering extended warranties on many of their bidet seats, usually for around $99.
Warranty: Full vs. Limited – The electric bidet seats sold at Many Bidets all come with a standard manufacturer’s warranty, ranging from 1-year limited warranties to 4-year full warranties. Provided the customer does not violate any of the manufacturer’s warranty provisions, the warranty will cover some or all of the costs of repairing units with defective parts or workmanship. Limited warranties cover a portion of the parts and labor costs while full warranties typically cover the entire cost, which may include replacing the seat altogether if it cannot be repaired. Exclusions and limitations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so before purchasing, it’s always good to review the warranty fine print found either on the manufacturer’s website or in the seat’s owner’s manual. Generally speaking, manufacturer warranties typically won’t cover units bought from an unauthorized dealer, normal wear and tear, or damage caused by things like improperly installing, using or maintaining the bidet, natural calamities, electrical surges, or foreign matter/sediment in the water supply (keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list).
Warm Air Dryer – see “Air Dryer”
Washlet – TOTO refers to their electric bidet seats as “washlets”. So, the “TOTO S500e Washlet” could also be stated as, the “TOTO S550e Electric Bidet Seat”.
Washlet+ – TOTO manufactures a unique line of “Washlet+” electric bidet seats that are specially designed to pair with select TOTO toilets. These Washlet+ toilet and bidet systems fit seamlessly together, concealing the bidet seat’s power cord and water line from view for an ultra-streamlined look that you just can’t get with a typical bidet seat and toilet.
How is a Washlet+ system different from TOTO’s integrated toilet and bidet units? In a Washlet+ system, the bidet seat can be removed from the toilet and a traditional seat be put on, whereas an integrated unit’s bidet functions are inextricably built into the toilet itself. Do keep in mind that most Washlet+ bidet seats cannot be installed on a toilet that is not Washlet+ compatible (and not all TOTO toilets are Washlet+ compatible). Similarly, you can usually install a non-Washlet+ bidet seat onto a Washlet+ compatible toilet, but the toilet won’t be able to conceal the cords or hoses of any bidet besides a Washlet+.
Wash Modes: Enema – Enema wash modes use a high-pressure spray to introduce a small amount of water into the rectum. This softens stubborn stool, provides the sensation of needing to empty the bowels, and makes it easier to complete a bowel movement. Investing in a seat with an enema function can be especially worthwhile if you often experience constipation.
Bidet Seats with the Best Enema Wash
Wash Modes: Child – Child mode initiates a wash cycle that employs the seat’s gentlest spray settings, often reduces select temperature settings (e.g. seat temperature), and/or moves the wand forward to better accommodate smaller individuals. Additionally, some child modes automatically initiate a dry cycle after the wash is complete. Do keep in mind that some bidet manufacturers provide a minimum age requirement for using the child mode feature, so it’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual of any child mode-equipped seat before purchasing to make sure it will be compatible with your family’s needs. For reasons of comfort and safety, we, along with many manufacturers, recommend against letting children use adult bidet settings.
Wash Modes: Front & Rear – Rear wash mode, also known as “posterior washing”, rinses the anal area with a firm stream of water in order to get you completely clean after a bowel movement. Front wash mode, also referred to as “feminine washing”, directs a gentler stream of water towards the vulvar area, including the vagina, as a way to get clean after urinating or during menstruation. Front and rear wash modes come standard on every electric bidet seat we sell.
Wash Modes: Soft – In addition to standard front and rear cleansing, some bidet seats offer a “soft” wash mode that is especially useful if your skin or intimate area is extra-sensitive. How this is accomplished depends on the seat. Some “soft” modes simply lower the water pressure, whereas others achieve a softer touch by reducing the wash stream’s aeration or flow rate.
Wash Modes: Wide – Wide washing is a special setting found on select bidet seats that broadens the size of the spray for greater side-to-side cleansing coverage. It’s worth noting that widening the wash stream can decrease the wash stream’s pressure, reducing the wash’s effectiveness or requiring you to run an additional wash cycle to get fully clean.
Water Flow – Electric bidet seats come with a water flow rate typically ranging from 0.11 gallons per minute to 0.32 gallons per minute. While a lower water flow rate means you’ll conserve water, a higher water flow rate can result in a stronger, quicker wash. However, it’s important to note that nozzle design plays a large a role in determining a wash stream’s power and efficiency, so even seats with lower water flow rates can provide quality washing.
Water Heaters: Hybrid Heating Systems – Hybrid water heaters have a small warm water tank as well as an instant heater. As the water in the tank runs out, the instant heater kicks on to continue warming the water. Two bidet seats, the Bio Bidet BB-2000 and the Bio Bidet BB-1700, have hybrid heaters that generate unlimited warm water. Most other hybrid heaters provide more warm water than a tank heating system but aren’t able to generate truly unlimited warm water because their instant heaters aren’t powerful enough to keep up with the seat’s water flow rate. In general, these hybrid heaters are able to produce around 60-90 seconds of warm water. After that, the wash flow will be room temperature until the seat’s warm water tank can refill.
Water Heaters: Instant Heating Systems – Instant water heaters, also known as tankless heating systems, heat water on demand. Because of this, you’re guaranteed to never run out of warm wash water, even if you run an extra-long wash cycle or the seat is used several times in a row. While nearly perfect, one tradeoff to this type of heating system is that users often report a short burst of cold water at the beginning of the wash cycle, though this is quickly followed by warm water.
Water Heaters: Tank Heating Systems – As the name suggests, tank heating systems keep a tank of warm water on hand at all times, which translates to around 30-60 seconds of warm wash water. While that’s enough for an average wash, you’re likely to run out if you prefer a longer wash time, run an enema wash in addition to a cleansing wash, or if several people use the seat in quick succession. You can use the seat even if the warm water tank is empty, but the wash water will be room temperature until the tank can refill and reheat, a process that takes 3-5 minutes.
Wide Spray – See “Wash Modes: Wide”
Wireless Remote Control – Electric bidet seats are controlled either by a side arm control panel or a wireless remote control. Generally speaking, wireless remote controls are a bit easier to use than side arm control panels as they don’t require the user to look down at an angle, and many can be operated with either hands or feet. Wireless remotes also come in a wide variety of designs, sizes, and configurations, so chances are good you’ll be able to find a seat with a remote control that fits your needs. Most remotes can be mounted on the wall for easy access, and the fact that they can be placed to the left or right of the toilet means you can place them wherever is easiest for you to reach.