Electric vs Non-Electric Bidets

You’ve probably seen bidets labeled as either electric or non-electric.  You’ve also probably come to assume that one uses electricity and one doesn’t.

But what else sets these apart?  Is one better suited for you than the other? Are electric bidets dangerous? (let me dispel this one right now: NO!)

Non-Electric Bidets: An Overview

Non-electric bidets operate in the same way your sink, shower and toilet do.  They use the water pressure of your home to facilitate the movement of water.  Just as you can use your sink and shower if you lose power (provided you don’t live in the country) you’ll also be able to use your non-electric bidet without electricity.

Advantages of Non-Electric Bidets

A non-electric bidet

A typical control dial on a non-electric bidet.

  • No electricity costs.  
    • Electric bidets, obviously, consume for electricity; especially models with always-on seat and water heaters.  A non-electric model will be noticeably more friendly on your wallet.
    • Also, reduces your home’s electric draw and consequently, your carbon footprint.
  • Cheaper initial cost.
    • Non-electric bidets usually cost from $20 to $200 for the top-of-the-line models and average around $30-$60.
    • Electric bidets START at $200+ and average around $300-$400.
  • They clean just as well as electrics if you’re willing to cooperate with the bidet.
    • You might have to adjust your rear and shimmy a bit to get the full range of cleaning an electric bidet’s oscillate feature might offer, but it can be done and it isn’t tough.
    • Some have rear as well as frontal (female) wash.
    • The water pressure is comparable to what is generated by an electric bidet’s motor.
  • Easier to install.
    • This could be up for debate, but installing a non-electric bidet is easier for most people.  There is simply less you need to do and worry about during the installation process
  • No need to be near an electrical outlet
    • This can sometimes lead to unsightly cords if you aren’t tactful when installing an electric bidet.

Disadvantages of Non-Electric Bidets:

  • Lack of features.
    • With non-electric bidets, the most you can expect is warm and cold water options (some are only capable of cold), female wash and a retractable nozzle with a cleaning function.  Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
    • The means no heated seat, no deodorizer, no oscillating nozzle, no slow-closing lid, no air-dryer etc.
  • Can be tricky to use.
    • Some models require you to keep a dial turned as your using the bidet, which can be tough for some.
    • The lack of adjustable nozzles can make getting the right positioning hard, as well.
  • Can alter your toilet seat.
    • Most non-electric bidets are installed under the rear part of your existing toilet seat, raising it by a small amount.
    • This creates a slight slope as well as a gap between the seat and toilet near the rear of the seat.
      • HOWEVER, seat risers can be purchased to restore your seat to a level position.

Electric Bidets: An Overview

Electric bidets use a small motor powered by your home’s electricity to deliver water to your posterior.  They also use this electricity for many, many more functions which can turn an ordinary BM into a magical moment (too far? Maybe not, try one for yourself and decide!).

Advantages of Electric Bidets

  • Features, features, features.
    •  Remote controls (much easier to operate), heated seats, oscillating and massage functions (can help with constipation), saved user profiles, easily adjustable nozzles, deodorizers, ambient sound generators to disguise any uncouth noises, bowl pre-mist (to discourage cling-ons), and more.
    • These make the whole experience more comfortable, convenient and satisfying.
  • Easier to use and more precise.
    • Easier to control with easy to push buttons instead of an analogue dial or lever.
    • Can offer much more precise levels of pressure and heat with the internal motor and heating elements.
  • Generally look better.
    • This comes down to personal preference, but I think electric bidets nearly always look better than non-electrics.
    • They give the toilet and bidet a unified look.

Disadvantages of Electric Bidets:

  • More expensive.
    • You will have a higher initial cost as well as reoccurring costs due to power usage.
  • More difficult to install.
    • There are more steps as well as more requirements to install (such as being near an electrical outlet.
    • Feeding a cord to the outlet might disrupt the otherwise clean look of your bathroom/newly installed bidet.

Choosing which is right for you:

In order to make the right choice, you have to consider your bathroom, your finances, your preferences and who else is using the toilet.  Think hard about what features you can afford to live without and what is non-negotiable.  Also, check out some reviews of exemplary units of both varieties like the Astor Fresh Spray (a very basic, yet functional non-electric bidet attachment) and the BioBidet Aura A7 (an entry level electric bidet that has features to rival more expensive electrics).

Also, take a look at our guide on how to choose the right bidet HERE.