When we were first working with an architect to design our home, we (I, really) requested a bidet. Not exactly sure why I wanted a butt squirter--I had never used one--but it just seemed civilized and an excellent thing to have after reading a few articles about them.
The architect talked us out of it, which was fine: It wasn't a fall-on-my-throne request. But I've often wondered: What if? Cue articles on Japanese washlets. Washlets are bidets built into toilet seats where miniature robotic arms extend to give your tush a tingle. Given that washlets come from Japan, they are crap-full of technology including seat warmers, water warmers, air filters, blow dryers, and (ahem) automatic seat raiserers and lowerers. Again, I had never used one, but everyone who has been squirted in the chili chute raves about 'em. So The Bride got me one for Christmas!
Based on reviews at Wirecutter, we went with a Toto-branded washlet but one at a higher price point (the K300) to get a lower profile since the Wirecutter-recommended seat (the C200) looked like a ski slope. The higher price also got us air filtration and a remote (rather than a fixed side-seat) control. Sadly, at our price point, we have to raise and lower the damn seat on our own. Oh well: You can't have everything. Our builder had fortunately installed an electric plug in our "toilet stall" (the mini room the master toilet is in), so plugging in was easy-peasy (but definitely something to think about if you are designing a home).
The C200 on the left and the K300 on the right.
Installation was pure Kardashian drama. Because our toilets are 'skirted' (the plumbing and connections for the Kohler Persuade Curv are hidden behind a skirt for, you know, the clean, modern aesthetic), installation required a fill valve extension hose, which required four visits to Lowe's (and a frantic Googling session) to figure out. No-one in town had one (or knew what I was talking about), so I had to special order an extender from bidetking.com and overnight it ('cause I had to go!).
Skirted on the left; unskirted on the right.
Installing the washlet was a challenge since it used smaller bolts than the existing seat. This required drilling out the molyboltish female sides of the connectors from the old seat because there was no other way to get them out. After reinstalling everything, I had the panicked thought "Did I tighten the freakin' fittings on the dang toilet extender?" Off everything came to check (I had). After reinstalling everything (again), it was finally time to get my squirt on!
All I can say is: "Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh......" It took a little adjustment and assessment of what exactly the robotic squirt gun was hitting before mastering the cleanstream, but once the Toto Deathstar was lasering into my brownstar, all was good. You still need a little dibby-dabby with some paper at the end for a final dry (and quality control), but OMG: freshfreshfresh. For women, there's a special setting for the ladybits.
The seat activates when you sit on it, providing a pre-mist of the bowl (to decrease the retention of Taco-Bell-induced shrapnel) as well as air filtration (which works amazingly well). After you warsh your log chopper and stand, the washlet continues to filtrate the air for a minute or so. The engineered slow-close lids keep things quiet and civilized.
At first blush, the washlet doesn't look good for water conservation. But, according to bidet.org, a bidet uses about an eighth of a gallon of water per use, a roll of toilet paper requires 12 to 37 gallons per roll to make, an average American uses one to two rolls of toilet paper a week, and an average American uses the pot five times day. That works out to 0.34 to 1.83 gallons of water per potty visit (gwppv) using toilet paper versus 0.13 gwppv for a bidet. Nevertheless, a bidet will slightly increase overall household use of water. I have to imagine a washlet uses less water than a traditional bidet since the water is heated on-demand and the spray is optimized for the task. We will also use more electricity since the seat doesn't know when the need will strike: it is heated all the time. Again, I don't think it will use much (and we won't need the hot-butt treatment during the summer). Perhaps someday we'll all be pre-installed with a butt-chip that will alert your toilet seat via Bluetooth that the time is nigh to pre-heat the seat to minimize energy consumption.
All in all, I highly recommend getting a washlet: Your John Duane will thank you!