Eco shower heads buying guide
You might assume that taking a shower is more water-efficient than taking a bath, but that's not necessarily the case.
A quick shower is usually more water efficient than bathing, but some high-volume power showers use more water in under five minutes than a bath would.
The amount of water you use depends on the type of shower and shower head you have, plus of course how long you spend in the shower. Here are some of the main shower types:
Bath and shower mixers
This is the type of shower where the hose and spray are attached to your bath. The temperature and amount of water are adjusted through the taps, giving you more control of the amount of water you use.
An electric shower is essentially a water heater, which rapidly heats cold water as it flows towards the shower head. Electric showers are economical, as they only heat the water you need.
Manual mixer showers
This is a popular and cost-effective shower, where the hose and spray come out of a wall unit and there's a temperature control that mixes the hot and cold water supply.
Power showers use an electric pump that allows you to adjust the pressure and water temperature. This type of shower is the worst for water saving and can quickly use more water than a bath.
Eco shower heads
The shower head controls the flow and spray pattern of the water. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and the design can directly affect water consumption.
Here are some other things to consider:
- To check whether you could cut your water usage, put a 2-litre container on the shower floor. If it takes less than 12 seconds to fill when the shower's running on full, a low-flow or water-saving shower head could benefit you.
- A larger shower head with bigger holes uses more water, but isn't necessarily more powerful than a smaller one – that depends on water pressure and the type of shower you have.
- Aerating shower heads mix water with air, reducing the overall amount of water that's needed.
- Other water-saving shower heads reduce the flow rate, 'pulsate' the water or include a flow regulator to the shower hose to save water.
Eco shower heads are usually not recommended to use with electric showers because these are already water efficient. We recommend contacting the manufacturer if you're unsure.
Eco shower heads fitted with an integrated flow regulator – such as the Mira Eco Beat - help you save water by restricting the water flow. However, restricting water flow can lead to excess water in the heater tank, causing the shower to overheat.
For this reason, Mira advises that you don’t use its eco shower heads on an electric shower, as this could damage the shower unit.
Water-saving shower gadgets
How long you spend in the shower is of course a big factor in how much water you use – and waste. But how long is too long? There are plenty of water-saving gadgets that time how long you're taking and water you're using and alert you when you've been in too long.
Your water company may also supply free water-saving gadgets for your shower. These include:
- a shower-flow regulator that screws into the bottom of your shower hose
- simple shower timers in the shape of an egg timer that attach to your shower wall with a suction cup.
Check with your water company to see what freebies it offers.
Top water-saving tips for showers
Time your shower
Keep your showers to no longer than five minutes, or use a water-saving timer that lets you know when you've exceeded 35 litres of water.
Don't leave your shower running
Try not to run your shower before you get in – if you can, keep your shower set at your preferred temperature so you don't have to spend time adjusting it before use.
Adjust your shower power
Use a less powerful setting to reduce your water use, or select the eco shower setting if your shower has one.
Over time, the water that escapes from a dripping shower adds up – get it fixed to avoid needless water waste.