Travel Bidet Enlightenment – The Inside Scoop on Portables

Bidets are wonderful, but now that you’re out the front door, how do you stay clean?


There’s nothing quite like a sparkling-clean bum to improve your day.  A blast of H2O can give you an instant confidence boost, enhance your comfort and  put the “my butt is clean” strut back into your step.

A common problem bidet users encounter is not having enough room in their bag to carry their bidet seat with them to the park, mall, grandma’s house or wherever else they may find themselves.


A backpacker scans the horizon to find a suitable place to connect and use his BioBidet bidet seat.


Thankfully, travel bidets (also called portable bidets) exist.  These magnificent little squirt bottles are a cheap, quick and easy way to freshen the least fresh of places while on the go.

A portable bidet will typically consist of a squeeze bottle that can hold anywhere from 300ml to 650ml of water, a detachable nozzle and a (usually dorky) “travel bag”.


A scientific dissection of a popular travel bidet.


How do portable bidets work?

As seen above in the picture taken from Restroom Geographic’s April 2004 issue, a travel bidet has two components: a squeeze bottle and a nozzle that can be taken off for easy filling and also makes the unit more compact.

After a user struggles to free the bidet from its chintzy tote bag, it will be filled up at a sink and the nozzle will be reattached.  After you finish up your business, you’ll need to invert the travel bidet in order to get it where it needs to go.

Travel bidets have a one way valve on the bottom that acts as a “airlock”.  Covering this valve with your finger will stop any water from trickling out of the nozzle while it’s upside-down.  The valve also serves to keep water in as it’s rightside-up before use.


The International Bidet Station keeps its airlock closed as it orbits Earth.


After the bidet is inverted and in position, it can be squeezed to release its payload (H2O).  The airlock is released and will let air into the bidet to ensure a steady, smooth cleaning stream.  If you need more pressure, you can either squeeze harder or cover the airlock.

When you’re finished, you can inspect the bidet for any splatter artifacts, clean it up (I recommend using a bit of toilet paper to wipe any unsightly remnants off first, then hitting it with water and soap from the sink), pop it in its travel bag and then seal it away in your backpack, purse, etc.

How do you choose the right travel bidet?

In a world where choice is champion, many products (bidet seats included) offer so many options that it can become overwhelming when trying to settle on the best model.

Thankfully, the world of travel bidets is quite simple, with only a few differentiating features between various models:

  • Squeeze bottle size

The most important aspect of a portable bidet to consider. This is exactly what it sounds like: how  much water will you have to get the job done.  You are most likely familiar enough with your bathroom exploits to gauge whether you’ll need more or less water, so choose accordingly – the trade-off for a big jug is going to be portability.

  • Nozzle length

Nozzle length will determine the level of flexibility required to achieve that pristine clean that bidet enthusiasts are always going on about.  A longer nozzle means less reaching and less moving in general as they are easier to adjust.  Once again, as nozzles get lengthier, portability decreases.

  • Color

A pretty insignificant detail, as nobody is gonna see you using your travel bidet and it seems like every single model comes in a shade of either blue or green.

Some of the leading portable bidets compared:

 
Brondell GoSpaBlue Bidet BB-20BioBidet Palm TP-70SmarterFresh Travel Bidet
Bottle Size400ml350ml450ml650ml
Nozzle Length5 in4 in7.5 in7.5 in
ColorPurpleBlueBlue Blue

Take a look at our review of the BioBidet Palm TP-70, one of the best potable bidets available.

Note: There are also electronic travel bidets and I may cover them at a future time, but for now, I’m just sticking to hand pressure operated portables.

The Palm TP70 Travel Bidet Review

The Palm TP70 Travel Bidet

The TP70 does the job it’s designed for despite a couple design missteps.

Current price and more photos.

ProsCons
Extendable nozzleLeaks a bit when being used
Recently enlarged (450ml) squeeze bottleDorky tote bag
Don't need high mobility to use effectivelySome might want higher pressure

First, the basics:

  • Many of these measurements may be different than what you see listed on some websites, that’s because this bidet has recently undergone some changes (most for the better).
  • This is a portable bidet.
  • About 7.5 inches (about 19cm) long when nozzle is retracted (how you will most likely be carrying it around).
  • Non-electric (uses only your hand pressure to operate).
  • Comes with a retractable nozzle, 15oz (450ml) squeeze bottle and a small carrying bag.
  • It comes only in blue/white as shown in the the attached picture.
  • Nozzle is split into two halves, one with five small holes on each side.
    • This allows for a fairly wide area of cleaning (maybe about the size of a dime at normal cleaning distance).
  • Utilizes an “airlock” to determine pressure.
    • This is a small hole on the bottom of  the squeeze bottle that you can cover with your finger to prevent water from leaking out of the nozzle when you are about to use the unit.
    • When you uncover the hole, you can squeeze the bidet while the hole acts as an air intake.  This should allow for a nice, steady stream with easily controllable pressure and also allows the bidet to re-inflate itself so that it can be more easily squeezed again.
    • Some water may (probably WILL) leak out of this if the bidet is right-side up (as it appears in the right-hand image).
  • Can be used with both warm and cold water (essentially whatever is available in the restroom!).
  • One-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The Pros:

  • The cost.
    • It’s hard to put a price on feeling clean, but I’d say $12.99 is a bargain for it.
  • Generous squeeze bottle.
    • With the recent bump to 15 ounces (450ml), there is going to be enough water to get the job done.  You won’t find yourself doing a walk-of-shame back to the faucet to refill the bottle.
  • Nozzle angle is just right.
    • Very easy to insert this bidet in the front with a small (somewhere around 10-15 degree) angle and get good coverage.  Doesn’t take much adjustment or mobility to make it work.
  • Longer nozzle than most.
    • There is something to be said for keeping your hands as far from the area about to be cleaned as possible.  The Palm does a very nice job of this with its longer-than-average nozzle.
  • Retractable nozzle.
    • This is a very nice feature, given the length of the nozzle.
    • Easy to retract and extend.  Not much strength required.
    • After it is retracted, expect what little water remains in the squeeze bottle to potentially find its way out.
      • In short, empty the bottle completely before retracting/storing!

The Cons:

  • Leaky.
    • The airlock seems to always leak a bit when the Palm is upright.
      • This is on the magnitude of only a few drops.  Small, but worth mentioning.
    • Very annoying to nearly always come away with wet fingers.
  • Slightly low pressure.
    • With the recent ‘upgraded’ nozzle, there just seems to be too much water and too little pressure.
      • Be warned, this is coming from someone who likes higher pressure bidets, so it might be just right for you.
  • Dorky carrying case.
    • Large advertisement for BioBidet on the carrying baggie.
    • Yes, this case is almost always going to be inside my bag, but sometimes I go rooting through my bag and things fall out.  I don’t need the world to know I’m packing a BioBidet.  Would be nice if it were unbranded!  You can turn it inside out, but that affects the usability somewhat.
    • And yes, this carrying case it needed.  From potential splash contamination to the wet nature of the product after use, a bag is needed.  I suppose we could just use sandwich bags, but…. come on!

Final Thoughts:

It’s hard to fault a product that does its job well and for such a small investment.  It really works wonders on the go and can totally change your public restroom (or hiking) game forever.  The leaks, pressure and carrying case may bother some more than others (and the leaks seem to vary from unit to unit), but overall, this is a very hearty recommend.  Once you get used to using a bidet at home, the thought of a toilet paper only experience will send shivers down your spine.  The BioBidet Palm TP70 brings a decent fraction of the home-bidet experience with you, wherever you may find yourself.

Check out more photos and the current price HERE.