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While adding a bidet in new construction is becoming more commonplace here in the U.S., an easier and less expensive way to get that freshly cleaned experience is with a bidet seat or washlet. Less expensive units (under $100) have a simple spray function for cleansing, while the high-end units (topping $1,000) offer options like night lights, built-in mp3 players, and auto-closing lids. The Coway Bidetmega 200 ($449.00, check price on Amazon) sits in between and hits the perfect balance between functionality and price.
Based on my experience, the Coway Bidetmega 200 has the features I want most: a heated seat, customizable water temperature and pressure, as well as a drying feature. I’ve used standalone bidets at hotels throughout Europe and found them refreshing, but pretty standard; mainly a classic porcelain basin next to the toilet that sprays clean water. You can straddle it facing front, if you want to access the water temperature controls, or facing backward for a full backside rinse.
I’ve also tried out bidet seats here in the U.S. and love the functionality they add to an existing toilet. The higher-end units I’ve used had built-in music and night lights in addition to the heated seats and customized controls, as well as auto-closing lids and deodorizers. The less expensive battery-operated seats got the job done with just a stream of water.
After months of living with the Coway Bidetmega 200, I’m sold on the fresh feeling and convenience of the Coway Bidetmega 200 smart bidet seat. It’s a luxury I enjoy every day.
Using the Coway Bidetmega 200
Since everybody is different, and that includes everybody’s bottom, I really appreciate the customization options available on the Bidetmega 200.
Hands down, my favorite feature is the heated seat, which can be set to 3 different temperatures. There’s a small sensor on the toilet seat so when your tush hits the seat, you get that warm feeling, kind of like driving with a seat heater in the car. If you don’t want that welcoming warmth, you can turn it off completely, something I did in the summertime.
The Coway Bidetmega 200 has stainless steel dual nozzles that provide adjustable water streams for both front and back washing options. Not all bidet seats have front and back functions, and I liked that these nozzles can be adjusted for your body shape and size.
The four-stage cleaning process starts with the push of a button on the remote. First, there’s a gentle stream of water which then increases in pressure for a pre-wash. Then comes the main wash, followed by a gentler rinse. This is all automated, while pressure in standalone bidets is controlled by the user during each wash. You’ll find on some less expensive bidet seats the water streams don’t go through a wash cycle, just different pressures of the stream.
Using the side control panel on the Bidetmega 200, you can customize the water temperature coming out of the nozzles, the water pressure, and the direction and flow of the water. The full cycle runs for about a minute, but you can hit the stop button anytime. It takes a little moving around to get properly positioned the first couple of times, but once you find the right fit, you’ll never want to use just toilet paper again.
When your wash cycle is done, you can turn on the dryer mode. But be warned; this can take some time. You can adjust the air temp and pressure, but you might find yourself sitting around longer than you anticipated. It’s kind of like trying to dry your hands under an air dryer in a public bathroom. It works but doesn’t get the job completely done. For that, there’s still toilet paper.
For me, I love using it after the gym for a quick refresh if I can’t jump in the shower immediately. I also found that it’s a much gentler way to clean if you have diarrhea from a stomach bug or hemorrhoids. No matter how soft the toilet paper is, it starts to feel like sandpaper.
This is also a great product for older people or people with mobility issues who have a hard time getting in and out of a shower. For them, taking a shower sometimes takes up all the energy they have. If they could get their bottom clean just by sitting on a toilet and getting a tush spa, they might not need to shower as often or have someone bathe them in bed.
For kids, there’s a child mode button that adjusts the position and water pressure for young children. And, there’s a female-specific cleaning mode (a front cleaning feature) that is a gift for women with their period. It’s less irritating to your skin and better for the environment than using feminine wipes. And pregnant women with decreased mobility will see the benefits as well.
Using the control panel for the Coway Bidetmega 200
My biggest complaint about the Bidetmega 200 is about the controls that are attached to the right side of the toilet seat. It’s difficult to read the controls when seated and could be a real issue for larger body types. There are a number of controls that you can preset, like water temp, water pressure and how hot you want the toilet seat, but the stop, start, front and rear, buttons are in a 4-button circle that makes no sense. The rear button is on the right, and the stop button is in the front. If I were navigating this using only my hand and my linear thinking, I’d like the front button to be in the front, rear in the rear, etc. The control panel is marked with Braille for the visually impaired and Coway includes a guide so you can locate the buttons by touch.
If the control panel sounds like a deal-breaker, Coway just launched the Bidetmega 400 ($599.00, a $150 premium), which has the same features of the Bidetmega 200 but comes with a wireless remote control and built-in night light.
Cleaning the Coway Bidetmega 200
The bidet is as easy to clean as your regular toilet; after all, it’s still your regular toilet bowl. The seat and the control panel can be wiped down, and you don’t have to spend much time cleaning the nozzles. I make use of the self-cleaning mode every day and deep clean the nozzles about once a week, the same as I clean my toilet.
The bidet has a two-stage self-cleansing process that keeps the stainless-steel nozzles and the water flow channel hygienic. When you start the cycle, the nozzle cleans itself even before coming out of the duct. Then, there’s a “Clean Bidet” self-clean button on the control panel that cleans the nozzles as well as the water path. I use this once or twice a day.
It takes just a few extra minutes for the deeper cleaning of the nozzles and ducts. The nozzles come out with a press of the “extract nozzle” button on the remote, and I use a toothbrush to rinse them off. You can also remove the ducts and rinse them in the sink with a cloth. I’ve found the self-cleaning mode works really well and is literally as easy as the press of a button.
Installing the Coway Bidetmega 200
Installation is relatively simple and a DIY’er can install it themselves in about 30 minutes. You’ll need an electrical outlet near your toilet which, depending on the size of your bathroom, could be an issue. The included power cord is 47.2 inches. In my bathroom, I needed to add an outlet, so I hired an electrician who charged about $100.
The bidet seat itself gets connected to the toilet’s water supply, so if you lack simple plumbing skills as I do, you’ll need to hire a plumber to install the seat and make the connection. That cost me about $125.
Costs to operate the Coway Bidetmega 200
I’m often away for much of the day and was worried about the energy consumption of the always-on bidet. Fortunately, there’s an eco-mode you can enable, so it only heats the seat and water when the toilet is in use. That way it’s not wasting energy keeping the water warm and the seat hot and it doesn’t take long at all for the water to heat up when it comes out of eco mode, which happens automatically when the sensor feels your bottom on the seat. With eco mode enabled, I didn’t see any noticeable difference in my monthly electric bill.
Speaking of eco-friendly, some manufacturers claim their bidet seats result in less toilet paper and water use. Coway claims 15 million trees per year would be saved if the U.S. switched to bidets. I’m definitely using less toilet paper and no wipes, but not sure I’m saving any forests.
The Bottom Line
The Bidetmega 200 provides all the features I want, with customizable settings so it can work well for anyone in the family, especially those with limited mobility. I feel cleaner when using it, not to mention saving my skin from irritating wipes and toilet paper that feels like cardboard when I’m sick. My guests who have tried it are always pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy the feeling of freshness it provides. The Bidetmega 200 bidet will leave you sitting in the lap of luxury.
Price: $449.00 on Cowaymega, check price on Amazon
[Image credit Andrea Smith/Techlicious]