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How to choose the perfect shower

Whether you shower every day or once a week, you deserve to enjoy your personal hygiene routine, and a good shower is the key to that. Showering is better when you have the right type of shower for your hot water system, running at a good level of water pressure.

Choosing the perfect shower is a combination of science and art. There are showers for over the bath, showers that need their own cubicle, and digital mixer showers you can control from your smartphone.

In this guide, we will look at some of the best types of showers, how suitable they will be for your property, and how the design of showers can have a big impact on the final aesthetic of your bathroom or en suite.

What kind of water system do I have?

Before you can choose a type of shower, you need to know what kind of water system you have. This will affect how your property generates and supplies hot water, as well as the maximum water pressure in your pipes, which could rule out certain types of shower.

Is it a gravity fed system?

A gravity fed hot water system uses a storage tank, usually in the loft space of your property, to raise the hot water higher than the point of use. This is what creates the pressure in your pipes.

The overall water pressure is usually significantly lower than with a high pressure vented system or a high pressure unvented system, which we'll compare below. Because of this, you'll normally need an electric shower or power shower to pump the water at higher pressure.

Is it a high pressure vented system?

A high pressure vented system is likely to be what you have if your hot water is produced by a combi boiler. Hot water is generated on demand, every time you turn on a tap. If you have a combi boiler, it's important not to install a shower that uses a pump, as you want a type of shower that relies solely on the pressure in the hot water pipe instead.

Is it a high pressure unvented system?

A high pressure unvented system is similar to a gravity fed system. The main difference is that a gravity fed system will often also have a cold water tank in the loft, and uses this height to create the pressure in both the hot and cold water supplies.

In a high pressure unvented system, it is only the hot water that is supplied from a high-up storage tank. This means your overall water pressure is a combination of the mains pressure (for your cold water) and the gravity fed pressure (for your hot water).


Power showers

Finally, power showers are one of the most commonly used names for shower systems - but what is a power shower exactly?

Essentially, a power shower is a mixer shower with a built-in pump. It takes water from both the cold and hot pipes and does not contain a heating element.

The integral shower pump means the flow rate can be boosted, which is great in homes with low mains water pressure or gravity fed systems, although it costs a little.

Electric showers

Electric showers don't need a hot water supply. Instead, they take cold water from the mains and heat it internally, using a similar process to an electric kettle. This makes them widely compatible with different water systems and different levels of water pressure.

A high pressure electric shower is cost-effective, as once you turn the shower off, it stops producing hot water, saving energy. They also mean if you have a busy household, there's no risk of running out of hot water halfway through a shower.

Digital mixer showers

Digital mixer showers add digital thermostat controls to make it even easier to get your shower to the temperature you want.

These are some of the most modern shower types, and may include a wireless thermostat or smartphone app compatibility. This allows you to turn the shower on and off, and adjust the temperature, without having to stand under the water.

Mixer showers

A mixer shower works by combining the hot and cold water supplies, using an internal thermostat to make sure the shower water is mixed at the right temperature.

You can get a low pressure shower mixer with a pump if your mains pressure is quite low. This can boost the flow rate and may ultimately perform better than an electric shower using the same supply.