You'll recall an earlier post about the Silicon Valley 100 and getting stuff for free. I promised I had something to say about toilets anyway, so I will describe my experience with the Swash I was given as well as the Daelim Cleanlet which I bought a few years ago.
If you've gone to Japan, you have probably seen these fancy high-tech toilet seats, which try for a bit of bidet function in a seat. Their prime function is to have a heated water reservoir and a little wand that comes out to squirt water at what the Daelim manual calls the "personal area" and the "feminine area." They also tend to heat the seat, and make it descend slowly so it doesn't make a noise when you put it down. Both of these also have the optional feature of fan to blow heated air to dry your personal or feminine area.
I've got these two units, and I have tried various others in Japan. None of them can really compete with the water flow and cleaning ability of a real bidet, but most people don't have the space in their bathrooms for one of those. I was going to suggest the slogan "Every asshole needs one" but I don't think they are likely to use it.
These bidet-seats are about the only high-tech toilet invention to get a decent market, which is surprising because if you ask the patent office, toilet inventions are among the most common patent applications. I guess people spend a lot of time on toilets with nothing else to think about.In Japan, many people still use squat toilets, which are little more than a basin in the floor. This is also true in Turkey and surrounding areas and a lot of the rest of the world. Since that's the natural position, it actually works better but it's less comfortable and puts strain on the knees. The Japanese are switching to western toilets, and often add the bidet seats.
I've often wondered why they don't make a seated toilet where the seat is
effectively reclined, to put you in an artificial squat without making your knees do the work. It's possible the bidet seats could offer that as an option, but most toilets are not designed to allow the user (there's a nice euphamism) to lean back very far. There are, however, many attempts to sell this. As I noted, most toilet innovations have had little success.
The Swash is a more expensive unit than the Cleanlet, but is similarly priced to other units like the Toto which is the most popular in Japan. It looks a lot nicer. It has glowing blue and red LEDs at the base of the seat showing status -- of course you could never actually see these status indicators while seated on the toilet, so I am not so sure of the point.
The Swash uses an IR remote control (though John Cage of Ally McBeal would not be satisfied as it doesn't let you flush remotely.) This actually is nice because it makes the unit narrower and it can fit in a smaller space, and you don't have to contort to push the buttons. It seems to be more durably made, and you can lean back with it, something you can't do with the Cleanlet.
I was surprised, however, to find the cheaper Cleanlet performed better. It provided more water pressure, and allowed you to adjust the position of the nozzle at the controls. This is important. The Swash just isn't aimed right for me, and some female guests at my recent party reported the same for their "feminine area." You need to adjust. The pulse mode on the Swash is close to useless, it just has the water turn on and off slowly. The Cleanlet wiggles the wand around for more coverage.
The industry likes to claim that you don't need TP with these devices, but I doubt that's true most of the time. You might save a bit of paper but not much.
One thing neither does, that I suggested to Brondell, is to put the seat back down if it has been left up for a while (or if it detects a flush, via sound or pressure or flow in the water pipe.) Then all the women of the world would rush out to buy them.
Some time ago I tried to see if one could easily make a device that attached to the flush lever of typical toilets which would cause a stick to poke outwards and push the seat down on flush. Again for the ladies who get so annoyed at our highly efficient algorithm of just leaving the seat where it was last used. :-)
All the units also have an issue that standing men with imperfect aim can get urine in places not so easily cleaned. The Cleanlet is worse at this.
In spite of these problems, these are handy devices to have, particularly during menstruation (I'm told) or "digestive problems" (This blog post wins the title for most euphamisms.)
So, do foks still think I would give a positive review just because I was given the product?