[Water Pressure Question] How much can a shower head improve water pressure?


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Low Pressure Shower Heads vs. High Pressure Shower Heads: The Pros and Cons

This topic is likely your primary concern when you’re shopping for the best shower head for your home. Ultimately, your decision comes down to what you want to prioritize — the overall shower experience or your water bill.

Pros and Cons of Low Pressure Shower Heads

A 2016 study found that showers are the second largest source of indoor water use, accounting for about 19 percent of total use per capita per day. It’s no wonder that people turn to low flow shower heads to cut back on their water bills. 

The major advantage of using lower pressure shower heads is obvious: Since the head allows smaller amounts of water to flow through it as compared to other heads, the restricted flow ultimately reduces your water use. 

The pros are pretty clear. Low pressure shower heads help with the following:

  • Managing water waste and cutting back on your total water bill. 
  • Reducing your electric bill by using less electricity to warm less water being used. 
  • Decreasing the amount of emissions by saving on energy use. 

There are some downsides as well. These include the following:

  • You will experience a time lag, meaning when you adjust the temperature, it takes longer for that change to come through the head. 
  • Your water will be cooler because low flow heads combine water droplets flowing out with the air, making the water cool quickly, as compared to traditional shower heads. 

Simply put, a low pressure shower head can cut costs and provide an environmental benefit, but the experience can be frustrating, especially if you prefer consistent, strong water flows after dealing with poor water pressure in the past. 

Pros and Cons of High Pressure Shower Heads

These types of shower heads are useful for increasing water pressure if you find your current head ineffective. Many people prefer a shower experience that delivers high levels of water pressure, especially if they opt for high end heads that include a massage setting. 

The advantages of using high pressure shower heads are as follows:

  • You get a better experience if you prefer a strong water flow. 
  • You’re able to improve temperature control, reducing the lag between turning the knob and actually feeling the water get hotter or colder.
  • You typically get more options for spray patterns, like a gentle mist, powerful stream, or a pulsating massage. 

However, the cons of using these heads mostly boil down to cost.

  • You might see an increase in your water bill as you use more water. 
  • In turn, your electric bill can increase too as you use more energy to heat your water. 

Now that you know the pros and cons of using different levels of water pressure with your shower heads, you’re ready to explore your options. 


Shower Head Flow Restrictor

Shower head manufacturers are required to install a flow restrictor to limit the flow to a maximum of 2.5 GPM. Low-flow shower heads bring this down even further to 1.5 GPM. These shower heads also regulate pressure, but their job is to give you higher pressure at a lower flow rate. When the flow restrictor breaks, the pressure naturally increases due to an increase in flow.   

A flow restrictor is a plastic disc beneath a washer in the shower head. These things are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Fortunately, replacing these washers is easy to do.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • Remove the shower head from the shower arm
  • Look for a washer and remove it without breaking
  • Look for a plastic disc and see if it’s broken or damaged
  • Remove the disc to replace it with a new one

 In case the disc is just misaligned, you can simply adjust it back. You can use either a narrow plier or a paper clip to pry the washer and the disc out.

The process might differ slightly for different brands and models, but this works for most known brands out there.

If the shower head doesn’t have any disc or washer, that means it is an old head not in compliance with the current codes. The sudden increase in pressure could be due to a rise in pressure in the mainline, or due to a faulty pressure regulator valve.

What causes low water pressure in the shower?

Low water pressure at the shower head can occur for a wide variety of reasons.

The most common reasons are:

Your mains water system may be using old piping.

If you live in or close to a city or town centre, then it’s likely that your low water pressure is caused by the mains water system.

This is due to mains water systems in city and town centres using much older pipes.

It is also harder for local government to replace the piping due to the disruption it would cause in a city centre.

Your home water system may have undersized supply piping.

One of the most common reasons for low water pressure is undersized supply piping.

This is common in older houses where the original plumbing system is still in place. This will restrict the amount of water coming into your home and to the shower.

Again, it is quite disruptive to replace so it’s likely previous homeowners have not fixed the issue.

Your home water system may be clogged

Again, if you live in an older house, then you may be using old, iron piping in your home water system.

Iron is vulnerable to rusting which can break off and cause an obstruction within the pipe.

This issue will often be made worse if dirt, gravel or sand enters your system through older entry piping.

You have a “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower head

One common reason that is often overlooked is the shower head. Modern showers often use “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower heads.

Flow restricting shower heads were first introduced under The National Energy Act in the United States.

Many manufacturers in the UK have followed the example set by the US and are now installing water restrictors in an attempt to help homeowners reduce water bills and stop people wasting water.

You have an obstructed shut off valve

Another common reason that you may be experiencing low water pressure is an obstructed shut off valve.

If you’ve just bought a new home, or you’ve recently had building work done, then you should check that your shut off valve is fully open.

The shut-off valve is usually located under the kitchen sink. If you believe the water valve to be broken, contact a plumber immediately.

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Best shower pumps for increasing water pressure in the shower

If you’re on the hunt for a shower pump then you will no doubt find the number of options on offer a little daunting.

No doubt you’re thinking:

“Which is the best pump for my shower? Why is there so much difference in price? What’s the difference between a positive and negative head pump?”

Well, in our opinion, there are only three pump brands that you should choose from.

These are Grundfos, Stuart Turner and Salamander.

Amazon ‘Ultra Quiet’ Brass Range

If you’re looking for a pump that can boost the water flow in the shower and is super quiet, then the Amazon range by Grundfos would make an ideal choice.

Built with heavy-duty brass impellers and anti-vibration technology, these pumps are super quiet and are perfect for domestic showers.

Search prices on the Grundfos Amazon ‘Ultra Quiet’ Brass range here.

Stuart Turner Monsoon Shower Pump Range

Designed for installation into vented systems to pump both hot and cold water supplies, the Stuart Turner Monsoon range is one of the most popular shower pump solutions on the market.

Designed to the highest standard of both performance and durability, the Stuart Turner Monsoon pumps are brass bodied pumps with anti-vibration feet.

They also feature an automatic pressure and float switch, making it a tech-packed piece of kit for your bathroom.

Search Prices on the Stuart Turner Monsoon range here.

Salamander CT Xtra Pumps Range

When considering which shower pump to buy, along with the price there are two main factors which people tend to look for — ease of installation and versatility.

The Salamander CT Xtra Range meets both of these criteria. Not only is it relatively straightforward to install, but it is suitable for use in a number of different shower types, including conventional models, multi-function showers and those with Victorian can-style shower heads.

Search Prices on the Salamander CT75 Xtra 2.0 Bar here.

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How Can I Improve the Water Pressure in My Bathroom?

If you are certain the problem is in the showerhead. What you can do to fix the problem is to remove the showerhead and clean it.

  • The holes might be clogged. Use a needle to remove the lime buildup or anything that is clogging them.
  • If you have a handheld showerhead, shake the hose pointing it downwards so any blockages can fall out.
  • Check the pipes, the hose, and the head of the shower for leaks. Do it in case that’s the problem.
  • Also, check the flow restrictor – you may need to replace or simply remove it.
  • Replace the showerhead with a high-pressure one.
  • If all else fails, install a shower pump to boost the pressure. This is a more expensive option, so you should think carefully before making your decision.

Other means to fight the low water pressure in your bathroom are to take a shower during off-peak hours. Adjust your schedule, so it doesn’t overlap with every neighbor’s shower time. If you live in a house, try not to use two showers simultaneously.

Another way to increase the water pressure while taking a shower is to make sure your washing machine isn’t working at the same time.

Multiple Functions Offeredby Shower Heads

It will not be difficult for you find a three-function handheld shower in the market. Well, the three-function refers to the three different modes that may be available with a shower head. For example, most of the shower heads have the rain, shower granule and the mix mode.

The best part is that you can easily control the functions of a handheld shower and change the settings as per your ease. Well, this is why you can look forward to perfect water spray coverage.

Tipsfor Dealingwith Water Pressure Issues

If you are discontented because your shower head has low water pressure, then it means that it is time to clean the aerator. The sediments may get collected at the end of the screen. You will need to unscrew the shower head, and you will need to remove the screen.

Make sure that you rinse the screen with water. Do you know that clogged water filters may also affect the flow of water? You should make sure that you replace the filters if they have low water pressure. Once you install the new filters, you will notice that the pressure of the water will experience significant improvement.

There are times when there is a leak along the main water line. You should try to check out the leaks in your washroom and get those leaks repaired in time. Well, this practice can play a crucial role to improve the water pressure.

Ideally, you should have a pressure gauge at your place so that it becomes easy for you to monitor the pressure of water. Another thing that you should keep in mind is that high water pressure is also harmful because it can damage your pipes in the long run.

If you have high water pressure, then you should think along the lines to install a pressure regulator in your home. It will help to slow down the high pressure.

Wrap Up

This selection of best high-pressure shower heads for low water pressure reviews and our helpful buying guide highlight just how great these showerheads are for homes that have low-pressure water systems. Thanks to products like these, you can throw out your existing standard showerhead and replace it with one that will be able to deliver you a great showering experience without having to worry about your water pressure.

Remember that looking for the ideal high-pressure showerhead involves more than simply the design or your budget requirements and you should remember to look out for other features and design options to ensure that you choose the best one for your needs.

The best thing is that these showerheads do not have to be expensive and you can find some that are as low as $10, but if you do want something that is a little more luxurious, those are available too. The price range goes up to over $100 for some of the designer showerheads.

Please visit our homepage for top-notch bathroom accessories such as the best outdoor solar showers, best steam shower generators, and many more!


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