Frustrated by limited hot water or low pressure in your shower? An electric shower or power shower may be the solution you’re looking for. These devices can heat water independently of your hot water tank or use an internal pump to boost water flow.
While electric and power showers tend to have similar looking control boxes, their functions are different:
A Power Shower is principally a pump to increase the volume of water through the shower head, increasing its pressure and providing a better experience to the user. A power shower draws water from both the household’s hot water cylinder and the cold water header tank and it is rated by its water-flow/minute.
An Electric Shower is a water heater that is used to supply hot water in an economical (but unlimited) way. It takes a cold-water feed, only, and heats the water passing through the box to the shower. With an electric shower, a household does not need to heat a full hot water tank for a single shower. Or, in the case of a large family, the household will not run out of hot water before everybody has showered. Electric showers are rated by their power consumption in kW, usually between 8 and 12kW, which is a proxy for their heating capacity.
Of course, there are homes that are seeking to both boost low water pressure and hot water supply. In these cases, a hybrid unit is available, usually described as a Pumped Electric Shower. A pumped electric unit draws from the cold water supply, only, but heats and mixes water that is then pumped through the shower head.
Electric and power shower features
Electric and Power Showers have some features in common, not least that they generally require professional installation. Water and electricity don’t mix and it makes sense to avoid the risk of electrocution. We have already noted that the control boxes look similar but both are usually supplied with a flexible hose and handheld shower head, along with a slide bar and clamp that holds the shower head and allows its height to be adjusted. The design of the shower head can impact the shower’s functionality: most heads now have self-cleaning or wipe-clean, rubberised nozzles; some heads have adjustable sprays that offer rain, massage, jet or other settings. Most showers are offered with white plastic control boxes and chromed hoses and fittings but other finishes and colours are available on some models.
See also: Best shower heads
Other features available on some showers include ‘thermostatic balancing’; phased shutdown; separate power buttons and auto shut-off:
Thermostatic Balancing means that an electric shower delivers water at a constant temperature even if there is a change in the pressure of the water entering the unit (such as might be caused by somebody flushing a toilet or filling a sink elsewhere in the house). This feature can prevent scalding or a lukewarm shower.
Phased Shutdown is an attempt to reduce limescale build-up in the unit and involves flushing cold water through an electric shower after the heating function is turned off.
Separate power buttons allow a user to leave the temperature or pressure dials in a preferred setting while using a simple on/off switch to activate or turn off the shower.
Auto Shut-off devices can protect both the user and the shower-unit from harm. Pressure-sensitive triggers can close down a shower if there is a disruption in the water supply and temperature sensors can prevent scalding and overheating within a unit.
If you’re looking for a new or replacement shower for your bathroom, we’ve already done some research on your behalf to find the most suitable packages for your consideration. We’ve taken into account user reviews; price; design, and the availability of some of the special features we’ve described above. Since these showers are designed to resolve particularly British plumbing problems, it is no surprise that two UK-based manufacturers dominate: Triton, located in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, is the leading manufacturer with a huge range of great-value, electric and power showers. Mira, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is a division of the US-international Kohler brand and offers units that are generally more expensive. Both brands, though, gain good reviews and have very loyal users who will always replace a Triton or Mira with the same make.
Best Electric Shower
Triton Seville 9.5kW Electric Shower
The Seville is one of Triton’s entry-level models and is offered at different price points with four power levels (7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5kW). Since the price differentials are small we recommend one of the more powerful models. There are two rotary dial controls: the upper dial is four-position: on/off and power control (Cold; Economy and High), while the lower dial is a continuous shower temperature control. The shower head has five spray settings and features wipe-clean nozzles. There are four options for both water and electrical supply-input connections which may facilitate installation. There are no ‘special features’ and, without phased shutdown, this unit may not be ideal in areas where scaling is an issue. However, this a good, basic shower with solid reviews at an excellent price and Triton offers a two-year guarantee.
Triton Martinique 10.5kW Electric Shower
Triton’s Martinique is a well-specced electric shower with both phased shutdown (for limescale resistance) and temperature stability control. There is a large On/Off button at the top of the control panel and three buttons below for power control (Cold; Economy and High). A round temperature dial is used to set the desired shower temperature. The easy clean shower nozzle has five settings: Jet; Blast; Spray, Rain and Drench. A soap dish that fits on the shower’s slide bar is included in the package and Triton provides a full 2-year parts and labour guarantee. This is an excellent electric shower, enjoying positive reviews, at a friendly price.
Grohe 26179000 Tempesta 100 Electric Shower
Grohe is a venerable German manufacturer that has a superior reputation for the quality and durability of its plumbing fittings. This Tempesta Electric Shower features a large-faced (100mm) wipe-clean, shower head with three spray settings (Rain; Smart Rain, and Jet) and a protective silicone ring to prevent accidental damage. The control panel has a separate push button ‘start/stop’ and two rotary controls: the upper with three power settings and the lower for temperature adjustment. Two neon indicators denote ‘Power On’ and ‘Auto Reset’ (in the event of a water-supply fail). The Tempesta model is available with two power ratings (8.5 and 9.5kW) and with three different control panel colours: Night-time Grey; Frosted Granite and Sandstone. This electric shower is not overloaded with features but Grohe offers a two-year guarantee. This is a quality piece at a reasonable price, and well worth consideration.
Best Power Shower
Triton Thermostatic Power Shower
This Triton Power Shower’s pump can deliver up to (a very useful) 14 litres of water flow per minute and features a thermostatic temperature control that can maintain the water temperature to within +/- 2°C under varying supply pressures. Two rotary dials are used to adjust the flow-volume and temperature of the water passing through the unit. In addition the temperature dial has an inset ‘button-stop’ to set a maximum temperature desired by the bather. The separate push button stop/start allows the user to save the dial settings for the next shower. The shower head has five spray settings and easy-clean nozzles and the unit has an automatic stop in the event of an interruption in the water supply. A soap dish that fits on the riser bar is included in the package and Triton offers a one-year parts and labour guarantee. This is a very good, value-for-money power shower.
Mira Vigour Thermostatic Power Shower
Mira offers better-quality showers at reasonable prices. Mira’s Vigour-model has two concentric controls: the outer ring is turned anti-clockwise to adjust the flow volume and a calibrated inner dial rotates clockwise to adjust the shower’s temperature. The temperature control can be preset with a maximum temperature, which can be overridden by pressing a button on the side of the dial and moving the temperature ring anti-clockwise. The 4-spray shower head is equipped with rub-clean nozzles that limit limescale build-up and a soap dish is supplied with the kit. The Vigour is a simple but effective power shower that comes with a one-year guarantee but should provide good service over many years.
Best Pumped Electric Shower
Triton T150Z 9.5 kW Thermostatic Pumped Electric Shower
This pumped electric shower has multiple safety features including timer shutdown, maximum temperature shutdown and phased shutdown (which can prevent scalding by a subsequent user, in addition to flushing the unit to inhibit the growth of limescale). Thermostatic water control ensures the stability of the shower’s water temperature and a low pressure indicator operates when the external supply pressure is insufficient. We like the single, round, temperature control and – especially – the very large, triangular, push-on/off button located across the control unit’s lower right-hand corner that allows the user to leave the temperature setting unchanged. The round shower head has five available spray patterns and its face is manufactured from a rub-clean rubberised plastic. This is a well-featured unit at a competitive price and Triton offers a two-year guarantee.
Mira Elite QT 10.8 kW Pumped Electric Shower
Mira claims that this unit is 75% quieter than other pumped electric showers. It has a powerful 10.8kW heater-rating and a pressure stabilised temperature control to maintain the selected shower temperature. The unit has two large dial controls and push-button, on/off control arranged vertically on its face. The upper dial controls the water flow with low, eco and high settings and the lower dial is used to adjust the shower’s water temperature. The separate power button allows the flow and temperature settings to be saved between showers. The handheld shower has adjustable four-spray nozzles and can be wiped clean. Mira claims a significant reduction in limescale build-up due to their ‘ClearScale’ technology and we especially like the ‘Clean Flo’ filter that can be easily accessed at the bottom-left of the unit. This shower is a solid, top-of-the-line machine that is offered with a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee.