Freelance Contributor, TechHiveFeb 9, 2023 3:00 am PST
Image: Jonathan Takiff/Foundry
At a glance
Slim, understated styling
Foreshortened seat back makes for less certain landing and reduced comfort
Side control lacks a “dry” option
The slim design of Brondell’s Swash Thinline CL2200 belies this bidet seat’s power and performance.
Like the idea of a bidet toilet seat but put off by the clunky look of most models? Among the slimmest bidet seats to hit the market, the Brondell Swash Thinline CL2200 might be your ticket to bathroom paradise.
A potent performer from Brondell, a Mark Cuban-backed manufacturer of household appliances, the CL2200 boasts high-end features at a middle-of-the-pack price point.
Generally speaking, most bidets have a thicker-than-normal seat, usually due to the necessary heating elements and weight sensors (to prevent water from spritzing when no one’s sitting on them) not to mention the stepped-up box structure at the rear (which typically hides one or more extending/retracting spray nozzle). Then there are the water heater and warm air-drying mechanisms, plus the side-mount control panel and/or a wireless remote.
How slim is the Brondell Thinline CL2200?
In contrast, the CL2200 ($699.99 on Brondell’s website, or $499.99 for Costco members) is just 3.9 inches tall at its highest (rear) spot, while at the front lip (with the lid down) it’s a mere one-inch tall. Both represent a half-inch reduction from what used to be the thinnest heating/washing/drying bidet seats around: the now discontinued and far-pricier Toto Washlet s300e/s350e series seats.
This Brondell also offers a thinner profile than a new “ultra slim” rival–the Alpha UX Pearl–which measures 4.5-inches at the rear and 1.5-inches at the front with the lid down. I haven’t given that model a look, but I am familiar with the bulkier Alpha JX (now listing at $399) that lives in my basement powder room.
Close comparison of the Swash Thinline CL2200 with my Toto and Alpha seats shows how Brondell pulled off the downsizing.
The curved back section of the CL2200 seat is much shorter and shallower than the front of the seat. This foreshortening opens up more horizontal space within the same overall (round or elongated) seat length to then flatten and extend the washing/drying/control components inside a back compartment, which appearsalmost flush with the rear lip of the seat.
This re-allocation of space makes for a sleeker, more integrated appearance, while allowing users to more readily shift their hindquarters backwards to straddle both platform zones.
On the downside, the Brondell’s less-defined seat shape isn’t as helpful when it comes to guiding users to an optimized sweet spot for the wash and dry mechanisms to target. With the more curvaceous and slightly more comfortable bucket-seats found in my Toto and Alpha bidets, a user more readily lands and locks into proper position. But with practice, proper sitting on the Brondell seat becomes (almost) second nature.
How is the Swash Thinline CL2200’s remote?
A wider than normal range of dedicated function buttons on the front face of the remote control is another difference I’ve enjoyed with this Brondell compared to my Toto.
Water pressure, nozzle position and drying temperature can be shifted up/down in five settings with either “Rear” or “Front” washing modes engaged. Water and seat temperature buttons offer three heat level options, plus “off.” A separate “Gentle” control, which triggers an automatic two-minute wash and two-minute dry cycle, offers an easy (but maybe a tad too long) introduction for wary first-time users.
There’s also a separate “Strong” water spewing button option–with spray or pulse modes–that narrows and intensifies the stream.
Don’t want to deal with the remote? A touch-sensitive panel on the side of the seat lets you start and stop water flow with a swipe and tap. But there’s no triggering air drying here.
How do you install the Brondell Thinline CL2200?
While some home repair jobs confound me, installing the Brondell bidet is a relative snap, so long as you have a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupting) power outlet installed within range of the unit’s three-foot power line.
First, you turn off the water at the valve behind the toilet and unbolt/remove the old seat. You then unscrew the water flex line that’s connected to your toilet tank intake and replace it with the supplied two-way “T” valve. Doing so will allow you to reinstall the incoming water line plus a second bypass line that diverts water to the Brondell seat for heating and squirting.
Almost as easy, a base assembly plate gets affixed to the seat holes in the toilet bowl rim and adjusted forward/backward as needed. Slide on the bidet seat until it clicks into locked position, screw on the bidet’s flexible water pipe to the T-connection, and re-open the water valve. Finally, plug in the AC power line and you’re good to go.
One last word of caution: Make sure to have batteries already installed in the remote when you power up the seat for the first time, as the Brondell Swash Thinline CL2200 is pre-programmed to look for and link with the remote control when first energized.
Is the Brondell Thinline CL2200 worth the cash?
While most bidet seats are big, bulky, and intimidating for first-time users, the slim, trim, and easy-to-use Brondell Thinline CL2200 is a different animal.
So discreet in styling and cool in functionality you won’t want to keep it to yourself, the CL2200 is a bidet seat that has converted several of my visitors to the cause. It easily earns our recommendation, and it’s a solid value, particularly for lucky Costco members.
Jonathan Takiff is a veteran tech and entertainment writer based in Philadelphia. A long time staffer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, his work has also appeared in numerous publications including Sound & Vision, Playboy, and Popular Science.