What is a Toto Washlet?
A Washlet is a toilet seat that adds the functionality of a bidet to a toilet. It allows you to clean yourself with the assistance of water without moving to a different fixture.
How do I use one?
I found this short video created for Westerners that are planning to visit Japan that explains how to use a Washlet (they describe it as a modern, Western-style toilet). Bonus: You also get a little lesson in etiquette to find out how to know if the restroom is occupied, and what to do if a traditional Japanese toilet is your only option.
How can I try one out?
Toto has a list of restaurants that have Washlets, so you could make a special trip to try one out in person. Unfortunately, though, they are not in every state.
Plumbing showrooms will often have one on the floor, but not one that you can use. The best I had seen in person was one that was hooked up to water. You could turn the nozzle on and watch the water through a clear plastic lid, but for obvious reasons, that doesn't answer all the questions that one might have.
I was thrilled when I found one in my hotel room at the Aria Resort & Casino on a recent trip to Las Vegas. Finally, I could discover for myself what all the fuss is about and share it with all of you! (If you book a room at this hotel, be sure to ask if your room will have one. We stayed in a "Corner Suite.")
And, here's my personal review (unfiltered, you're welcome):
Heated Seat. What a luxury! This is worth it, worth it, WORTH it in my opinion. So nice to be spared the "Oh my God, that's COLD!" reaction.
Heated Water. Important for the same reason above
Adjustable pressure/pattern of water spray. After all, no two bodies are alike.
Programmable personal preferences. Once you find what works for you, it is a simple push of a button to get to your programmed preferences. Different users, different programs.
GOOD TO KNOW-
I say "good to know" because I don't have any "bad things" to say -- just some things that are good to know that you won't know unless you experience them or hear them from someone who has (and who probably does more research on toilets than your average friend, no?).
The adjustable nozzle position is important. The one I tested did not have this feature. I found myself having to sit differently on the seat. This was not that big of a deal for me, as I am small and able-bodied. However, if the user does not have the same ability to move around (or doesn't want to have to think about changing a habit that has been formed over a lifetime of toilet-use), then the ability to adjust the position of the nozzle is important.
You will still need toilet paper. The washing and blowdrying does a very good job, but you will probably still need to use a small amount of toilet paper. Water alone will not get the job done. This is something to be especially aware of if you are shopping for someone who has difficulty with the dexterity required to self-clean. It should reduce, but not completely eliminate the need for periodic nursing assistance. Again, without a little toilet paper, you will not be squeaky clean.
Why would I want one?
I have had several homeowners choose to install a Washlet, and they fall into three categories:
- They are from a country where using a bidet is the norm.
- They are shopping for a family member who has some dexterity challenges that make personal hygiene difficult.
- They are planning to age-in-place and are choosing features that will support independent living for as long as possible.
Which model should I get?
I would go with the Toto Washlet S300e or S350e. They range in price from $700-$1,020 retail (your plumber will buy them for much less). These models have the nozzle position adjustment as well as the instantaneous water heating. Toto has a comparison chart that compares other features.
What if I don't want to buy it now. Can I add one later?
I have lots of clients who go ahead and have the electrician put the required outlet in place during construction so that the homeowners can add a Washlet later. Just be sure that you choose a bowl that is compatible with the Washlet you want.