If you’ve spent time in Japan, you know about their magic robot toilets.
They’re depicted in and mentioned on TV all the time, from the classic The Simpsons to popular comedy Two and a Half Men.
These fancy toilets are nothing more than uber-high-tech toilet seat bidets.
But that doesn’t mean these Japanese bidets, or toilet seat washlets, aren’t incredible, desirable, and fun (yes, toilets and bidets can actually be fun!)
Fun fact – I’ve lived in Japan for 3 years and it was here that I was first introduced to the magic of Japanese bidets. I can’t imagine using a restroom without one now!
Best Japanese Bidets Sneak Peak
What to Look for in Japanese Bidets/Washlets
Every high-quality washlet will have the basic, functional feature that makes a bidet a bidet: the stream of clean water.
But what else do you need? Some way to dry off would be nice, and most washlets have a fan for it. The rest is up to preference.
Here are a few things that make Japanese bidets worth the money:
Nobody said the water jet had to be warm. Robots don’t have feelings yet, so your robot-like toilet doesn’t care if it makes you scream in horror.
Not all bidets have the ability to heat up—but my top five do. It’s not instant with all of them, though.
If you’re fine with waiting a few seconds for the water to heat up, that’s fine. If you’d rather instant warmth, there are options for that too.
You’ll need to clean your toilet and the bidet nozzle, obviously. But if you could eliminate the need for a toilet brush and a wipe down after every use, would you?
Many of these washlets have a self-cleaning feature. Some spray misty water, coating the toilet bowl and bidet nozzle. It slowly trickles down, taking dirt with it.
But others clean deeply, flushing everything vigorously with water. Which would you prefer?
Toilets don’t exactly smell like roses. In fact, they don’t often smell of nothing, either.
Some of these immaculate Japanese toilet seats come equipped with filters that help eliminate odor in not just the toilet, but the whole room.
If you prefer your scented air freshener, that’s fine. But if you’d rather keep it off your shopping list, the odor neutralizer is a feature to look out for.
There are easily two arguments in the nightlight debate.
One: “Who needs a nightlight? The kids make us keep the bathroom light on all night, anyway.” Or on the contrary, “The kids don’t let us close their bedroom door! A glowing toilet will wake them up!”
Two: “Finally, no more burning my eyes out, turning on the bathroom light. The toilet will gently light the way instead.”
Pick your side, then pick your washlet.
Some people don’t like the idea of a toilet lid sitting open all day. Not in the same room as the toothbrushes, which are so nearby … but they don’t exactly enjoy closing the toilet lid, either.
Then there’s the issue of the noise it makes when it bangs shut at three in the morning, and it’s like a stampede.
If you’re in either situation, getting a Japanese bidet with an automatic lid may be great for you. It’ll open and close by itself, softly and almost silently.
Using the bathroom in winter, without the heat on, is like sitting on an iceberg. Consider a washlet that heats up to save you from the pain.
Or if you have shuddering memories of sitting on warm seats in public restrooms, consider staying away from the dreaded warm toilet seat.
If you decided to go for the hot water and/or the hot seat, you could be in for an ouch. It may be too hot for you, too cold, or the water spray could be too intense.
Consider a washlet with adjustable temperatures and water pressure. Bonus points if there are presets and customization settings you can save.
Top 5 Best Japanese Bidets
Toto S550E – Best High-End Luxury Japanese Bidet
The Toto S550E is an elegant, ingenious washlet – there’s a reason there have been over 50 million sold worldwide.
It comes boasting a number of impressive features, some for hygiene and some just for luxury:
- Automatic lid opening/closing.
- Heated seat.
- Warm water with no warm-up time.
- Pre-mist cleaning—a gentle mist cleans the toilet bowl.
- Ewater+ cleaning—flushes of water clean the toilet bowl.
Boiled down, that means you get a warm and clean experience, and you don’t need to switch on the bathroom light at night. That saves your eyes from a sudden shock.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all magical, though. Some users found the water pressure in the wand to be substandard, while others had issues with the remote.
Keep these faults in mind, but be aware that they’re fixable. Also, be aware that Toto went out of its way to ensure the other parts won’t malfunction.
For example, the wand sprays at an angle to prevent backsplash and potential damage. And it’s made of a material where bacteria slides right off.
- Self-cleaning wand.
- No backsplash when spraying.
- Instant heat, all the time.
- The remote may malfunction.
- You may need to hire someone to alter the wand’s water pressure.
Heat isn’t for everyone, and preferences vary. That’s why the INAX’s best feature is the multitude of heat, for seat and water settings.
If you like things easy, the toilet seat has three preset heats. The water controls feature the same number. But for those who enjoy control, you also get to customize and save two settings for each.
Not only that, but you get three preset and two of your own water pressure settings too. The massage function of the water isn’t included in these, but will probably be included in your daily routine when you try it.
Then when you finish your business, the seat will close slowly. This is great for nighttime – no accidental loud bangs.
As you leave, you can set the wash nozzle to clean itself to save you the hassle.
But there’s a catch … you need an outlet very close to the toilet.
And you may need to towel off after using this. There’s no fan to dry you.
- Many customizable settings.
- Self-cleaning nozzle.
- Easy access to clean the charcoal filter.
- Needs an outlet right by the toilet.
- No drying function.
Toto A100 – Affordable Toto Option
Did you like the top Toto pick, but were hoping for something a bit more affordable?
This Japanese bidet may be for you.
It has the features you’d expect from a Japanese bidet including an adjustable seat, soft-closing lid, self-cleaning wand, and dual-action spray.
It’s lacking some of the high-end features of the Toto S550E, including the automatic air deodorizer and remote control, but if you’re looking for an affordable Japanese bidet that still has bells and whistles, this is a great choice.
Toshiba SCS-T160 – Simple to Use, No Bells and Whistles
If you want a simpler seat, this Toshiba washlet should do you just fine.
The Toshiba will clean and dry you, using jets of warm water and warm air. It also features some antibacterial properties, making it easy to clean.
Your remote will also be easy to clean and find. It’s attached to the seat itself, so you can never misplace it.
Overall, a fantastic and simple seat – but you’ll need a Japanese outlet adapter, and possibly a Japanese–English dictionary.
- Simple to use.
- The remote is attached, so you’ll never lose it.
- Easy to clean.
- Requires a US/Japan outlet adapter.
- Needs an outlet close to the toilet.
Toto S500E – Excellent Option, Lacks Night Light
There’s time for one more Toto. Were you looking for a middle ground between the previous two models? This is it.
The S500E and S550E only have one difference: this model lacks a night light.
If the idea of a nightlight sounded inconvenient to you, then this may be your better match. You still have the deep cleaning, the instant warm water, the wonderful automatic seat.
Although, you do lack the adjustable seat temperatures of the C200, which is unfortunate. If it’s too hot you could … hover?
- No nightlight to wake up nearby slumberers.
- Deep cleans the bowl and wand with every use.
- Oscillating and pulsating function
- Heated, soft-close seat
- Angled spray of water, to avoid backsplash on the wand.
- No temperature adjustments.
- Some users found it difficult to install.
In my opinion, the best Japanese bidet is the Toto S550E.
It has the most and best features, especially if you’re looking for a bidet with a nightlight and self-cleaning bowl. It’s the only one with a nightlight and only one of two that cleans itself.