As one of the most-used installations in your household, choosing the right shower for your bathroom is an important decision. There are several options to choose from, and you need to consider certain practicalities such as your boiler type, the water pressure in your house, and whether several people use the water supply at the same time.
You’ll also have to consider how powerful you want the water to flow and feel, whilst bearing in mind the design.
Electric showers can be used within any domestic water system, and are a popular choice as they only need a cold water supply to function (without having to heat the water first) and can reduce energy bills as no unnecessary water heating occurs. They are still able to work if your boiler breaks down, too.
Electric showers generally have a weaker flow than power or mixer showers, although some showers come with an integral pump to improve the flow. The power of electric showers is generally between 8.5kW and 10.8kW: The higher the value, the more powerful the shower. A basic 8.5kW model can cost £50, whereas a 10.5kW model can cost up to £400.
Electric showers are not the best choice if you have a busy household with multiple people using the cold water supply, as the water in the shower can become extremely hot. However, thermostatic electric showers can control the temperature to within 1-2°C of the temperature you want.
Mixer showers combine hot and cold water supplies, meaning you will need either a combi boiler or immersion heater to provide ready-heated water. They generally produce a more powerful flow than electric showers, and can cost anywhere between £50-£1,500, depending on the model.
While some mixer showers will work with any system, some are designed for either a high-pressure water system or a low-pressure system: make sure you check when buying. If you do have a low water pressure, you could consider purchasing a separate pump to increase the flow.
Thermostatic mixer showers are able to regulate water temperature more efficiently than standard mixers showers––if someone uses cold water elsewhere in your home, the water will cut out instead of scalding you.
Power showers work in a similar way to mixer showers in that they combine water from both the hot and cold supplies. The difference is that power showers include a built-in pump, which strengthens the flow, making for a more revitalizing shower experience––perfect if your home has a low water pressure, as power showers are specifically designed to work with gravity-fed or low-pressure water systems. They also provide stricter control over the pressure and temperature than a normal mixer shower.
Installing a power shower is arguably less fiddly than buying a separate pump to improve a standard mixer stander, but power showers do use a lot more water than electric showers. Bear this in mind, especially if you have a water meter.
The latest innovation in shower technology and design, digital showers are available in pumped, un-pumped, electric, or mixer models. The water comes from a small processor box, which mixes hot and cold water to the desired temperature thermostatically. This box can be concealed, rather than being stored in the shower enclosure itself––which also means there’s no need to drill through tiles.
Some digital showers have wireless or Bluetooth technology, allowing you to use the functions up to ten metres away, enabling you to switch the shower on and heat the water before stepping in. Digital shower controls also allow you to pre-program the water temperature.
Many digital showers have a number of modern additions such as LCD displays; touchscreens and colour coded lighting systems, eco settings and separate remote controls. Digital showers are the steepest option, with prices ranging from £250 up to £2,000.