Sometimes the simple solution is a good one. Whole-house efficiency renovations aren’t always practical in the short term, so remember that simple retrofits can be another effective solution. Water-conserving fixtures are great for drastically reducing water use and energy consumption, and these low-flow shower heads actually add a “splash” of luxury to your home.
Low Flow vs. Ultra Low Flow Shower Heads
Several years back, you might have seen shower heads for sale that pumped out water at over 5 gallons per minute (GPM). That’s an insane amount of water – an entire office water cooler each minute! Nowadays, most shower heads in stores will meet the US Department of Energy‘s “low-flow” criteria (a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute, when used at 80psi water pressure). “Ultra low-flow shower head” isn’t a formally defined term, but is generally considered to mean a fixture using less than 1.5 GPM.
Design and technology have improved dramatically, so new low-flow showerheads can be just as luxurious (and clean just as well) as old models, while using just a fraction of the water. And remember that less water means less energy too – a double money savings since your hot water heater is also getting a break. Read on to see our picks for the best low flow showerheads on the market.
Oxygenics Rain Series Vortex Showerhead
You want a full-on, luxurious, spa quality shower? The Oxygenics Vortex delivers – and still meets the 2.5GPM low-flow guidelines. The massive 10-inch wide face offers 8 different spray settings, and the clog-free design requires zero maintenance. The unique Oxygenics air-induction design provides increased water pressure, and the Vortex is available with either a chrome or nickel finish to match any decor.
Oxygenics Rain Series Vortex Low Flow Showerhead (With Extension Arm), $79.95 at Amazon.
American Standard FloWise 3-Function Water Saving Showerhead
The WaterSense-certified FloWise 3 showerhead is a great addition to a LEED building project, incorporating an ingenious design to conserve water. The Full-Spray and Combination-Spray settings use just 2.0 gallons per minute, and the Turbine mode delivers just 1.5 GPM. The FloWise 3 reverts to the Turbine mode after each shower, providing maximum efficiency unless you change the mode. Available in a variety of finishes.
American Standard FloWise 3 Function Water Saving Showerhead, $31.64 at Amazon.
High Sierra 1.5 GPM High-Efficiency Ultra Low-Flow Shower Head
Consuming just 1.5 gallons per minute, the High Sierra qualifies as an ultra low-flow model. The patented FCS nozzle design delivers a powerful stream of large water drops for a satisfying shower. According to the manufacturer, the High Sierra can save $50 and 1,700 gallons of water per user each year compared to a 2.5GPM model.. Plus, its solid metal construction with a polished chrome finish looks sharp.
High Sierra 1.5 GPM High-Efficiency Ultra Low-Flow Shower Head, $34.95 at Amazon.
Niagara Earth Massage 1.25 GPM Ultra Low Flow Shower Head
Another ultra low-flow model, the Niagara Earth Massage delivers a consistent flow rate no matter what the water pressure. The 9-jet massage head adjusts from a gentle needle spray to full-force jet, and the self-cleaning design delivers maintenance-free performance. One of the least expensive options out there, the Niagara is also a great value.
Niagara Earth Massage 1.25 GPM Low Flow Shower Head, $8.40 at Amazon.
Kingston Brass WaterSense 5 Function Low-Flow Shower Head
The Kingston meets WaterSense regulations, and offers a choice of five different spray patterns. The 5″ diameter shower head gives a luxurious soaking with a flow rate that nearly qualifies as ultra low-flow.
Kingston Brass Watersense 5 Function 1.75 GPM Shower Head, $33.96 at Amazon.
Speakman Anystream Hotel 2.0 GPM Shower Head
This classic design from Speakman would be at home in any five-star resort shower. The side handle easily adjusts the spray pattern from the 8 pulsating center jets and 50 body sprayers – and only consumes 2 gallons of water per minute.
Speakman Anystream Hotel 2.0 GPM Shower Head, $28.99 at Amazon.