Tired of your weedy mixer shower? Swap it out for a pump-fed shower with the power to leave you feeling clean and ready for the day
Finding the best power shower for you isn’t always straightforward. Unless you’re doing up your bathroom, you’ll often stick with what you’ve already got, whether that’s a weedy, gravity-fed mixer shower or an electric shower running from mains water.
However, there could be a better option out there: the best power showers do exactly what the name suggests. Instead of a woeful dribble of water, you could be washing under a luxurious spray – and, instead of struggling to rid your hair of shampoo suds, you could have a shower that blasts them away.
Best power shower: At a glance
How to choose the best power shower for you
What is a power shower?
It’s not always possible to fit one. If you have a combi boiler, a power shower is out – you won’t have the water tanks required. On the other hand, you should get enough flow from a good combi boiler to run an ordinary thermostatic mixer shower. Similarly, you can’t run a power shower if you’re running off mains cold water and a hot water tank. For both practical and safety reasons, the pump can only be connected to a gravity-fed system.
Finally, things get tricky if you’re using an electric shower. Electric showers handle the heating themselves, so only need a single cold-water feed. With a power shower, you’ll need both hot and cold feeds in place, so you’ll need to get a hot water supply to your new shower. This doesn’t make the job impossible, but you’ll definitely need professional help to add the necessary pipework and get the system up and running. In fact, we’d say that fitting a power shower is definitely a professional’s job, as there’s a lot more to it than installing an electric shower.
What should you look out for in a power shower?
The key things are the flow rate, the type of the pump and the temperature control.
Flow rate just refers to how much water the shower can put through in a given period, usually in litres per second. The higher the flow rate, the more powerful the shower. However, if your boiler can’t maintain the pace you may go through your hot water – meaning the next person in the bathroom could be out of luck – and your shower will also use more water and cost slightly more to run.
The built-in pumps also differ in their design and the materials used, and this has an impact on how much of a racket they produce. Some power showers are relatively quiet, but you could be looking at anything from a faint background hum to a loud buzzing noise while in use. If you’re getting a lot of buzzing and clicking, however, this might be a sign that there’s a blockage in the shower or a problem with your water supply.
Finally, there are three types of temperature control. Manual power showers have a straight manual mixer, so the shower may vary in temperature if the water pressure fluctuates or someone in the house flushes a toilet or runs a tap. It also means that users could turn the temperature up or down to potentially scalding or freezing levels, although most modern showers have a cut-out to stop the flow should the water get too hot.
Thermostatic power showers are better because they use a thermostat to sense, adjust and maintain a stable temperature, which you can set yourself. Meanwhile, digital power showers use a digital display and digital controls to do the same job with more precision. You set the temperature and let the shower do the rest.
Is there anything else worth looking out for?
Design is clearly important – you want a shower that’s going to fit in with the rest of your bathroom – while simple, logical controls are a must; we all hate standing in a cold shower trying to work out how to turn it on, turn it off or turn the temperature up.
Reliability is also crucial, if very difficult to gauge. It’s not so easy to fix or replace a busted power shower, so it makes sense to spend more on one that will last. For this reason, we’ve avoided recommending showers that have a bad or spotty reputation.
How much does it cost to run a power shower?
While electric showers are one of the most expensive items in your home to run, power showers don’t actually heat your water, so – depending on your boiler – they’re usually cheaper to run in terms of energy. However, the downside of the power shower’s higher water flow is that you’re using more litres of water in the average five to eight minute shower, and the hot component of that water still needs heating. If you’re into long showers you could find the costs mounting up.
With a maximum flow rate of 12 to 18 litres per minute, you’re looking at 96 to 144 litres over the course of an eight minute shower, as opposed to the 64 litres max you’re going to use in a typical 5 to 8 litre per minute electric shower. Of course, you could argue that a power shower will get you cleaner faster, particularly when it comes to rinsing out shampoo, but you need to be realistic. Unless you’re in and out of a shower in a jiffy, your power shower will probably cost you more to run.
Read next: Best electric shower
The best power showers to buy
1. Aqualisa Aquastream: The best all-round power shower
Price: From £562 | Buy now from Amazon
It’s the most expensive shower on this list, but the Aqualisa Aquastream is the king of the thermostatic power showers, capable of putting out 18 litres per minute at its maximum water pressure and 12 litres per minute even at its minimum 0.1 bar pressure. If you don’t want your shower quite that fierce, don’t worry. In its normal flow position, it’ll run at ten litres per minute.
Elsewhere, this is very much the premium shower, with a compact design in a choice of white and satin chrome finishes, and a simple, two-stage rotary control for temperature and flow. It also has one of the quieter pumps and an excellent rail and showerhead assembly, with a choice of four different spray patterns. Users love it for its consistent heat and pressure and its excellent reliability. It’s an easy replacement for existing Aqualisa power showers, but a great addition to any bathroom.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 18l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: 12l/min; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.1 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 1 bar; Controls: Rotary power, rotary temperature; Dimensions: 160 x 329 x 180mm
2. Mira Event XS: The best mid-range power shower
Price: £335 | Buy now from Amazon
The Mira Event XS hits the sweet spot as far as power shower price and performance goes, coming in a good £100 or more cheaper than the Aqualisa, but it’s still capable of putting out up to 16 litres per minute at maximum pressure, or a very solid 14 litres per minute at a relatively lowly 0.5 bar. It’s easy to use, with a stop/start button and separate flow and temperature controls, and while the maximum temperature is set at 41°C, you can override this by squeezing the red button on the dial and notching it up to around 45-46°C.
Plumbers like the Event XS because it’s flexible and easy to install, particularly when replacing an existing Mira shower. Users tend to like it because it’s a solid and reliable option with a consistently strong, warm flow. Throw in the good-looking white and chrome rail, pipe and four-pattern shower head, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 16l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: 8l/min; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.008 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 0.5 bar; Controls: Rotary power, rotary temperature, stop/start button; Dimensions: 210 x 310 x 115mm
3. Triton AS2000SR: The best low-noise power shower
Price: £220 | Buy now from Plumbworld
The Triton AS2000SR is the replacement for the much-loved, much-used AS2000XT and while it’s not quite as powerful as the old model, it makes up for it by being a whole lot quieter. Not only is it Quiet Mark approved, but users regularly comment on how amazingly quiet it is. Despite this, it can still provide a flow of up to 14 litres per minute at maximum pressure, and – with just a start/stop button and rotary temperature and flow controls – it’s also very easy to use. Triton also provides a decent rail with a soap dish and a five-pattern head and hose.
Fitting it shouldn’t be a tricky job for an experienced plumber, and Triton even has an installation video for any DIY heroes out there doing like-for-like replacements. We’d still recommend bringing in a plumber to avoid any headaches, but at least this shower won’t cause you any once it’s up and running.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 14l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: Not stated; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.0075 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 1 bar; Controls: Rotary temperature control, rotary flow control, start/stop button; Dimensions: 215 x 302 x 114mm
4. Mira Vigour Manual: The best budget power shower
Price: £196 | Buy now from Amazon
Buying on a limited budget? The manual version of the Mira Vigour can be found for around £150 to £180, and while it doesn’t have the locked-in, controlled heat of a thermostatic shower, you still get a great, reliable shower with a consistently good flow. The thermostatic version pushes the price up approximately £50 but is well worth it if you’d like to avoid any nasty cold shocks.
Even with the manual version you won’t have any worries about safety; it’s factory-set for a safe maximum temperature to avoid any accidental scalding. Meanwhile, you can still get a 12 litres per minute flow rate at the maximum 0.5 bar maintained pressure. The rotary control has an outer wheel to adjust flow with an inner temperature selector, keeping the compact design nice and clean without affecting ease of use. All in all, a great shower for your second bathroom or starter home.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 12l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: Not stated; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.008 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 0.5 bar; Controls: Rotary temperature and power; Dimensions: 280 x 310 x 130mm
5. Bristan Hydro Power 1500: A rock-solid, low-cost power shower
Price: £240 | Buy now from Amazon
The Bristan Hydro Power 1500 is another great budget option, giving you a thermostatic power shower with a maximum ten-litre-per-minute flow rate for under £200. It’s nice and flexible about working pressures, coping with anything from 0.1 up to one bar, and easy to fit, with a choice of side or below intakes and a sensible, hassle-free design.
There are some minor caveats with this one. Any pipework going in from the side will be visible, although Bristan does bundle a cover, and users complain that it’s a noisy shower. If you’re looking for maximum water flow, you should look at the more powerful showers on this list. However, you get a very consistent temperature and flow, even without much water pressure and there’s an eco mode that lowers the water flow without hitting you with a wimpy drizzle of a shower. Meanwhile, reliability doesn’t seem to be an issue. A solid shower at a very reasonable price.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 10l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: 7.9l/min at 0.3 bar; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.1 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 1.0 bar; Controls: Push button start/stop, rotary temperature dial; Dimensions: 250 x 260 x 130mm
6. Mira Go Thermostatic Power Shower: The best low-cost shower for low pressure
Price: £235 | Buy now from Screwfix
If you’ve got a low pressure water and heating system then power showers or external pumps are the only way to go. However, the Mira Go Thermostatic Power Shower can deal with low pressure levels that some power showers might find daunting. Even at a risible 0.1 bar you can get 8 litres per minute. If you hit the maximum 0.5 bar, you’re looking at 14 litres per minute. Of course, this means the Go Thermostatic isn’t designed to work with higher pressures, so if you’re nearer the 0.7 to 1 bar mark, then you want to look elsewhere.
Users and plumbers find it easy to install, especially if you’re replacing an existing Mira shower, and with a single rotary control for flow and temperature, it’s just as easy to use, with a safety cap on the heat that you can override by pressing in the red button. And while it’s not the last word in shower style or luxury, it’s great value at under £250. Just make sure you don’t confuse it with Mira’s Go line of electric showers, as these are not the same thing at all.
Key specs – Maximum flow rate: 14l/min; Flow rate at minimum pressure: 8l/min; Minimum sustained water pressure: 0.01 bar; Maximum sustained water pressure: 0.5 bar; Controls: Rotary power and temperature, stop/start button; Dimensions: 210 x 310 x 130mm