The 6 Best Low-Flow Shower Heads With Unexpectedly Great Water Pressure
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Getting a low-flow shower head can cut your water usage down by as much as 2,700 gallons per year. The best low-flow shower heads all have a WaterSense label certifying them as truly low flow, and will feature the right spray type for your showering preferences. Spray type refers to the design of the nozzle inside the shower head. Aerated nozzles pull in air to create a softer, cooler shower spray that’s ideal for sensitive skin or anyone who doesn’t like a really hot shower. Non-aerated nozzles push water through smaller holes or utilize proprietary designs to create stronger pressure and minimize heat loss. Non-aerated nozzles are ideal for those who prefer hotter or higher-pressure showers.
Whichever spray type you choose, it will still be a low-flow shower head so long as it has the WaterSense label, which is given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to shower heads that meet the standard of two gallons per minute (GPM) or less. Without this label, there’s no guarantee that a “low-flow” shower head is truly a water-saving shower head.
Beyond the WaterSense label and spray type, consider other design features you need. Handheld designs that allow you to take the shower head down from its mount are convenient not just for showering, but also for bathing pets or cleaning the bathtub. Adjustable spray modes allow each family member to tailor the pressure to their preference. Dual shower heads, which often combine a standard and handheld design, give you more functionality and transform your shower into a spa-like experience.
Some shoppers might also need to buy a thermostatic valve to go with their new low-flow shower head. Newer homes already have this newer valve design, which prevents sudden temperature changes in your water. But homes built before 1995 may not have it. If you don’t, temperature fluctuations might become more noticeable (and uncomfortable) after switching to low flow. Some shower heads come with valve kits but, in most cases, you need to buy it separately. Consider hiring a pro if you don’t have the tools or experience to install it yourself.
Whatever spray type or design you prefer, these WaterSense-certified low-flow shower heads help you save water while still enjoying a relaxing shower.
1. A Budget-Friendly Low-Flow Shower Head
For water conservation on a budget, the WaterSense-certified Niagara’s spa shower head is a great pick. With a 1.5-gallon per minute flow rate, three spray settings, and a non-aerated nozzle, you can use less water without sacrificing too much pressure or heat.
This affordable low-flow shower head also has a built-in flow compensator that helps regulate water flow, even if you have fluctuating water pressure. For this reason, the shower head is a great option for those who have homes with low or inconsistent water pressure.
According to one reviewer: “The shower head has a little swivel base so you can point the water where you want it. It has a few different settings, like your typical shower with spread out water, and a more focused stream labeled as the "power shower" setting on the product. The pressure [difference] between the two is significant. The pressure [difference] between our old shower head and this one, is almost non-existent. It's like we have a standard flow head, but we use way less water.”
2. A Low-Flow Shower Head That’s Great For Hard Water
This WaterSense-certified Speakman Anystream shower head puts out 2 gallons of water per minute but uses patented technology to provide a spray that doesn’t feel low flow even though the brand doesn’t specify whether it’s aerated. Each of the six jets in the shower head has eight spray channels, for a total of 48 streams of water that can fully envelop you in warm, comfortable water.
The self-cleaning functionality of this design is what makes it truly stand out, though. The unique plunger design that allows it to offer such strong pressure also helps it resist sediment or mineral buildup, even from hard water. This saves you time having to periodically dismantle the shower head to scrub out calcium or other mineral buildup.
The adjustable shower head can also be angled up, down, or to either side to adjust to your height and space, and the jets can be adjusted to three different pressure settings from soft rain to full flood. Customers can also choose from eight different corrosion-resistant finishes, four flow ratings, and different shower head designs (including a handheld option).
According to one reviewer: “Minerals in the water eventually clog almost every shower head, so we have had a few in our time. I purchased my first Speakman maybe 15 years ago. I have replaced our other shower heads twice in that time. With the Speakman, you can "clean" the minerals off easily, and often, just turning it through [its] stream adjustments once or twice restores the full flow. Love it.”
3. A Low-Flow Shower Head For People Who Prefer High Pressure
The High Sierra low-flow shower head puts out just 1.5 gallons per minute and is WaterSense-certified. Despite using so much less water than standard shower heads, High Sierra’s patented non-aerated nozzle design offers so much pressure, many reviewers report that it’s hard to tell you’re even using a low-flow shower head.
The head creates a full-body, strong pressure spray without heat loss, making it ideal for those who want an invigorating shower with full heat and pressure but want to conserve water at the same time. While it doesn’t offer adjustable spray settings, the solid metal head can be adjusted to different heights. It also comes in three different finishes (chrome, nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze) and three different flow ratings (1.5, 1.8, and 2 gallons per minute).
According to one reviewer: “We received this little beauty and turned it on and while the water does come out different it came out with plenty of force to wash our hair fine. I can't believe actually that it comes out one entire gallon less then my old one because it sure doesn't seem like it.”
4. A Low-Flow Dual Shower Head
Transform your shower into a spa with this WaterSense-certified dual shower head by Duttao. The three-way diverter allows you to switch from one shower head to the other, or run water through both to have a full-body spray from the side and from above. You can also adjust between five different spray settings to get the perfect pressure.
While the spray type is not listed, reviewers note that while the shower head’s 1.8 gallons per minute comes out in a softer spray, there’s still enough pressure to use both shower heads at once, though diverting to one or the other can produce a stronger pressure. This might be a good choice for those with sensitive skin or anyone who don’t like intense, high-pressure showers. Choose from a handful of different finishes, including chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, and oil-rubbed bronze.
According to one reviewer: “I love this new shower head. It installed easily and hasn’t moved. I LOVE that the knob to adjust the water flow is at the bottom. My 7 yr old can reach it to turn on the handheld part to better wash out her hair. I personally love when both are on as I find it soothing and relaxing. Slight water flow reduction but nothing crazy, still good pressure to both heads.”
5. A Low-Flow Shower Head & Handheld In One
For those who need a little more versatility, this WaterSense-certified Delta 5-spray shower head boasts a 1.75-gallon per minute flow rate in a handheld design with tons of unique features. The two-in-one design features a handheld showerhead that fits inside a larger mounted head with a wide 5-inch diameter.
Water jets are built into both the handheld piece and the mounted head that it fits inside of, and users can have water flowing from one or both at the same time. The aerated design features Delta’s proprietary H20kinetic plunger design that creates strong pressure without heat loss. Users can adjust that pressure to their preference with five different spray settings.
The handheld piece attaches via convenient magnetic docking, so you just snap it in and out as needed. It also has a convenient pause button on the side so you can stop and start water as you’d like without having to reach for the faucet. This is great for bathing pets or kids, or even just cleaning the tub. You can also use it to conserve even more water; pause the water while you shampoo or soap up and start it right back up again when you’re ready to rinse. The shower head comes in nine different finishes ranging from stainless to champagne bronze, and is also available in a non-low-flow version with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.
According to one reviewer: “The best part is a push button on the hand held that enables turning it on and off without touching the shower valve. […] I can set the temp with the valve, turn off the overhead with a simple flip switch, use the hand held on the dog/kid, then turn off the hand held with a push button while shampooing or playing, then back on with the same button, all while kneeling and never touching the valve. At the same time, it's solid for a regular shower. Easy to change modes with a flip switch to a big, wide shower head. There's no sacrifice in the adult shower.”
6. A Low-Flow Shower Head for Older Homes
For those with an older home that’s missing the thermostatic valve needed to avoid sudden temperature changes, this Delta shower head with a valve kit is a great deal. The WaterSense-certified head puts out 2 gallons of water per minute, using Delta’s proprietary H20kinetic tech to mimic the pressure of a standard flow shower.
The elegant, polished design will complement both modern and vintage bathroom designs. Plus, the included valve kit saves you the hassle of shopping for a compatible valve to go with your new low-flow shower head. If you don’t need the valve, you can also opt to buy the shower head without the kit. You can also get a complete fixture set with a shower head, valve kit, and a matching faucet for the bath. The elegant design also comes in five classic metal finishes.
According to one reviewer: “I love it! It has the perfect amount of pressure and you really feel like you are being covered by a lot of water. We are using this in a small shower stall and it’s working great. I love how the black matte color goes with subway tile and dark grout. Very happy with this purchase!”