The Brondell Swash 1400 is a Luxury Bidet with One Big Flaw
Bidet seats have become increasingly more popular in the US, especially during the great "toilet paper shortage" of 2020. If you're not already familiar, a bidet seat is an alternative to a standalone bidet, which are commonplace in countries like Europe and Japan. It replaces your existing toilet seat and provides all the bottom-cleaning benefits of the bidet wash without installing a separate appliance.
Bidet seats range in price and functionality. You can get a basic style that simply sprays water for under $100 all the way up to ultra-luxury models costing more than $1,000 with features like a built-in music player, a touchpad remote control, and automatic opening and closing of the toilet lid.
But you don't need to spend over $1,000 to get many of the most enticing high-end features. Brondell's Swash 1400 Luxury Bidet ($649, check price on Amazon) has four water temperature settings, adjustable water pressure and stream, a heated seat, a remote with programmable settings, and a blue night light to guide you in middle-of-the-night visits.
If you've never sat on a heated bidet seat in the middle of the night in winter, you need to try it to discover how wonderful it can be. Take my word for it as someone who's tried many brands and types, including the Coway Bidetmega 200 that I reviewed ($449, on sale for $382) and countless bidets and bidet seats across Europe and Asia. Not only have I appreciated the heated seats, but also the variety of washing modes, lighting, and even music.
To test the Brondell Swash 1400, I've been using it for more than a month now and am enjoying many of the stepped-up luxury features like the built-in night light and the dual user-programmable remote. It has an impressive array of customizable features not always found in this mid-tier price point. However, the seat delivers a cold-water spray for a few seconds before the water comes up to temperature, which for me is a deal-breaker, especially at this price point.
Installing the Brondell Swash 1400
The Brondell Swash 1400 can be installed without needing a plumber if you know how to use an adjustable wrench and can turn off your water supply to the toilet. I'm proud to tell you, I installed mine myself in about 40 minutes, and it only took that long because I kept watching the installation video over and over to be sure I had it right before turning the water back on.
The Swash 1400 will also require an electrical outlet within three and a half feet of the toilet. If you don't already have one, that will be a job for an electrician. I went through this back in 2019 when I installed the Coway Bidetmega 200.
Before buying any bidet seat, you need to figure out if your toilet seat is round or elongated to ensure a proper fit. There are measurement guides on Brondell's website and the Swash 1400 comes in both sizes.
Design of the Brondell Swash 1400
I really like the fact that it comes in a biscuit color as opposed to just white, something not many other brands offer. The white Coway bidet seat in my otherwise beige bathroom always looked out of place. The Swash 1400 biscuit toilet seat looks like it belongs.
The Swash 1400's contoured design looks sleek and modern and has a hidden pocket that hides the power cord and the water connections. The water line isn't protruding over the left side of the seat as it did with the Coway Bidetmega 200 (see the large knob in the image above), and the power cord can be run behind the seat, so it's out of the way. It gives it a much cleaner look.
The Swash 1400 is a tankless bidet seat, so it doesn't store any water, giving it a much more streamlined profile than the ones with a mini water tank. Tankless seats have a ceramic instant heater that heats the water as it flows in and then sprays out through the nozzles. Heating the water on demand means having a limitless spray of warm water. Unlike less expensive tank models, which will run out of water in under a minute, the Swash cycle will run for two full minutes unless you press 'stop' first.
Setting up your Brondell Swash 1400
Customization of the wash cycle is very easy. Two stainless steel nozzles come out when you press either the front or rear button on the remote. You can adjust the nozzle to one of seven positions for what's best for you, more than the average five positions found on most bidet seats. However, I still found the front nozzle doesn't come far enough forward, and I wind up moving myself to adjust for it.
Once you've figured out what water temperature, stream, and position work for you, you can program it into a preset button. There are two user preset buttons so someone else can program the wash cycle to their preferences. And if you have a guest, there's an auto button that runs a complete cycle, taking the guesswork out of it.
You can set the bidet seat to enter eco mode after a few minutes of non-use to reduce the seat's temperature. There are three LED lights on the back of the toilet that show whether the seat is on or in eco mode. Red lights mean the power is on and the seat is heated; green means it's in eco mode and has adjusted to the lowest seat temperature, so you always sit on a warm seat. Once the seat senses your body, it comes out of eco mode and increases the heat.
Using the Brondell Swash 1400
One of my favorite features of bidet seats is the heated seat. There is nothing like sitting your cold tush on a warm toilet seat – talk about the lap of luxury! The Swash 1400 offers three temperature settings for the heated seat that you can set with the remote control. And when it's hotter out in the summer, you can turn off the heat.
There's a button for spray width on the remote control, which lets you adjust the width of the spray from a narrow, concentrated spray to a wide, gentle spray. You can adjust this each time you use it or set it to your preference and save it in your user profile.
You can also use the Move button to oscillate the nozzles back and forth while cleaning or set it as a user preference in your profile.
While tankless models with instant water heaters are preferable and considered a luxury feature, there is a potential downside. With the Swash 1400, residual water sits in the line between the heater and the nozzle and isn't heated. So the first spray of water coming out of the nozzle is usually very cold. It only lasts for a second, and Brondell customer support tells me it will happen less in warmer months. However, I found it stressful to wait for that first blast of cold water, especially for the front wash.
I didn't have this issue on the Coway Bidetmega 200, also a tankless model, and it's possible their four-stage wash system, which starts with more of a gentle stream before the pressure increases, kept me from feeling the cold water; if there was any in the line.
It would make a huge difference if Brondell could figure out a way to expel the first drops of cold water from the nozzle before it hits the user's very sensitive areas. I may feel it less when the weather gets warmer, but it's a huge drawback for me now.
The bidet seat is activated when the sensor on the seat detects a person. The full spray cycle is two minutes, but it will automatically stop if you get up while the spray is running.
The Swash 1400 has a warm air-dry mode at the end of the cycle. This feature is usually found only in expensive models, and honestly, it's a feature I could live without. Think of it as a hand air dryer you would find in a public restroom; only you can adjust the temperature and strength. It takes forever to dry you off, and I find you never get fully dry. As my son said when he tried it, "It just kind of blows the stink all around." If you use the air dryer, I'd recommend flushing the toilet first.
Some more expensive models have seat lids that automatically raise and close. The Swash 1400 isn't automatic, but it does provide a function I find helpful – it doesn't let the lid slam down. Instead, when you push down on the lid, it lowers in slow motion, so you never hear it slam shut.
LED night light
I love the LED blue light, which acts as a night light. This feature is beneficial to people who don't want to turn on a light at night. It guides you right to the toilet.
I wish the seat had a light sensor so the LED light would automatically turn off during the day and turn on at night. I'd also like to be able to adjust the brightness of the LED light and a button on the remote to turn the light on and off. Without a dedicated button for the light on the remote, you have to go through a few extra steps to turn the light on and off. Even so, the light is a feature I'm glad to have.
The Swash 1400's wireless remote control buttons are large and easy to read, and almost everything you need can be controlled using the remote. The remote docks magnetically into its holder, which you can mount on the wall or conveniently leave on a vanity or shelf.
The remote in the Coway model I previously tested was attached to the side of the seat, and I found it cumbersome to use and difficult to read, so this is a big step up.
Maintaining the Brondell Swash 1400
Bidet seats don't take much more cleaning effort than cleaning a regular toilet seat. When you clean your toilet bowl, use a damp cloth to wipe the seat and the remote.
Most bidet seats have a self-cleaning nozzle, which runs water over the nozzle before and after each wash. If you want to do a deeper clean, which I do every week or so, you can press the button on the side of the seat labeled "Nozzle Clean," and the front wash nozzle will extend. You can use a cloth or a toothbrush with a cleanser to gently clean the nozzle. Press the button again, and the front nozzle goes in and the rear nozzle comes out. Rinse and repeat. Press the button once more, and the rear nozzle will retract.
In addition, there are buttons on the remote to both sterilize and deodorize the toilet. The nozzles are treated with silver nanoparticles that help keep them free of bacteria, so they're sterilized each time they're washed. Manually sterilizing the nozzles should become a part of your standard toilet cleaning.
There are well-located seat release buttons on either side of the seat, making removing the seat for cleaning super easy.
The replaceable carbon deodorizer ($19.99 on the Brondell site) helps neutralize odors, and Brondell recommends replacing it every six months or so, depending on usage. Unfortunately, there is no filter change indicator for the deodorizer, so make sure to put a reminder on your calendar.
The bottom line
The Brondell Swash 1400 is a luxury bidet seat with high-end customizable features at a mid-tier price of $649. With two user-programmable settings and an auto mode for guests, it will work well for anyone in the family. Bonus points for the built-in night light that makes it easy to find in the dark. However, the initial cold-water spray is a deal-breaker for me.
For a mid-tier model, I'd recommend the Coway Bidetmega 400. At $599, it retails for $50 cheaper than the Swash 1400 (and is often significantly less on Amazon) and offers all of the same features, but without the initial cold-water spray. If you don't care about having a night light and wireless remote, I've been using the Coway Bidetmega 200 (which is otherwise identical to the 400) for a couple of years in my bathroom at home and love it, and at a retail price of only $449, you'd save even more.
[Image credit: Andrea Smith/Techlicious]