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Modern electronic bidet seats are equipped with built-in water heaters.  The ability for the bidet seat to heat the water is a major benefit since most people prefer warm water to wash themselves.   Although a shock of cold water may be effective in waking you up in the morning, it’s not exactly the best way to start your day.

Having a water heater inside your bidet seat is also great because it makes installation a lot easier.  All you need is the existing cold water supply behind your toilet, making a separate hot water line unnecessary.  Water temperature is adjustable too, as you’ll be able to set the temperature over three to five different settings (depending on model), ranging in temperature between 92 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  

The “reservoir water heater” and “tankless water heater” are the two types of heating systems you’ll find in bidet toilet seats today.  And in doing your bidet seat research, you may have come across these terms to describe how the seat’s heater works.  But what are these heating systems really, and is there a benefit of having one over the other?

Let’s start with the reservoir water heaters first.  These types of water heaters are typically found in lower-end (cheaper) bidet seats.  It’s similar in concept to the water heater you have at home.  Most home water heaters are basically big water tanks, heated by a natural gas flame underneath.  You can set the water heater’s thermostat to control how hot the water gets, and the water remains at that constant heated temperature 24 hours a day.

Now – picture a mini water tank inside your bidet seat.  It’s basically a small reservoir tank heater, which is where the name “reservoir water heater” comes from.  There is a small water tank inside the bidet seat which keeps warm water available, and it’s always ready to go.

Tankless water heaters on the other hand, as the name implies – do not have a reservoir tank.  Instead, they work with a heating coil which instantly warms the water as the water passes through.  There are three main advantages of the new tankless water heating systems:

  • Tankless systems are much more energy efficient because they’re on-demand – it’s only on, when you turn it on.  Reservoir tanks try to keep the water warm 24 hours a day in case someone comes to sit on it.
  • You have never-ending warm water.  Reservoir tanks only have as much warm water, as the tank can hold (about 30 seconds worth).  
  • Because you don’t have the water tank in the seat, the tankless seats have a slimmer profile and are more contemporary looking.  The seats with reservoir heaters are bigger and more bulky.

So when given a choice, you should opt for bidet seats which have the tankless heating systems, since they offer several advantages.  Budget issues do come into play of course, but if you can afford it - tankless is the way to go.  The other thing to consider is that the average bidet seat lasts seven to ten years.  A bidet seat is a long-term purchase, so it’s important to think ahead.  When buying electronics, you should err on the side of getting something with the latest technology so it’ll be somewhat current a few years down the road.


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