Best Water Efficient Low Flow Shower Heads - 2020 Reviews
Whether you’re looking for a shower head that doesn’t feel so rough on your skin or merely want to save a little on your water bill, low flow shower heads are your best bet.
This is especially true if you have people in your household who tend to take showers for 30 minutes or longer. Think of how much water your household could save by dropping a gallon per minute on water flow.
Moving from a standard high-pressure shower head spitting out the maximum 2.5 gallons per minute to a low flow shower head with a maximum output of between 1.5 to 2.0 GPM can save you hundreds on your water bill over the course of the year.
Thus, I’ve reviewed dozens of low flow shower heads and collected only the best options for those who want to reduce their water consumption.
(If you’re looking for a high-pressure solution, check out my reviews of high pressure shower heads instead.)
The best overall low flow shower head goes to High Sierra.
While it’s not the prettiest shower head to look at, the High Sierra 1.5 GPM Low Flow Shower Head is one of the best out there in terms of flow and spread of water at a low water flow.
Despite the fact that you’ll be using at least one gallon less per minute while showering, you don’t actually lose all that much water pressure overall. This is great for those who want to lower their monthly water bill, but don’t want to lose the feeling that their current high pressure shower head puts out.
In addition, this High Sierra low flow shower head also has a unique feature to further reduce water consumption rates. When the flow of water is not actively needed such as when you’re lathering your hair or body up, you may push a button on the shower head to activate the trickle valve’s function.
While active, the trickle valve will reduce the water flow down to a mere tenth of a gallon per minute. This means you’ll be using 25 times less water per minute than your standard 2.5 GPM shower head out there on the market while the trickle valve is in use.
Due to these features, I feel that the High Sierra is the best overall shower head for reducing your water consumption rates, but if you don’t like the feeling of high pressure water in general, then the spray still might not be right for you.
- Fairly high water pressure despite using one less gallon per minute than other competitors
- Water saving features are the best of nearly all available if you actively use the trickle valve
- Trickle valve can be used to lower your water consumption to 25 times less than a standard 2.5 GPM shower head
- Not for those who are looking for a low pressure water flow or have especially sensitive skin.
The second option to grace this list is none other than the Speakman S-2252. Funnily enough, the Speakman S-2252 also took this spot on the high pressure shower head review, but the difference is 100% in the variations. Whereas the high pressure shower head was the 2.5 GPM model, the low flow one puts out a mere maximum of 1.75 GPM.
In any case, the Speakman S-2252 is fantastic for many different reasons. To start, the low flow 1.75 GPM model features three separate different spray settings that can all be conveniently changed even with one hand. You can switch between “Intense”, “Rain”, and “Flood”, all of which alter the path of water and feeling on your skin. Due to the lever on the side of the shower head, you can easily change these settings at your convenience.
Secondly, the Speakman is made out of solid brass, and is notably more durable and well-made than others of its class. It’s become increasingly common for shower head manufacturers to use plastic or low grade metals that bend and break after a few months. You won’t have this problem at all with the Speakman.
However, a solid build and convenience do come at a higher cost point, which makes this shower head not the most budget friendly. Though it will pay for itself eventually in reduced water costs, the high initial cost may put off a lot of people.
- Multiple metallic finishes perfect for matching any aesthetic
- Lever makes it easy to switch between water spray settings for your comfort and relaxation
- Built to last with no plastic or weak parts
- High initial cost compared to others out there
The first and only handheld shower head to appear on this list, the Moen 26100EPSRN is another great option for any people who wish to reduce their water consumption. The handheld component conveniently is held up through magnets, too!
The Moen outputs a maximum of 1.75 GPM by using its WaterSense technology to improve efficiency. Through a small movable switch on the front plate of the shower head, you may change the spray of water to six separate unique styles. These vary in feel and intensity, so you should be able to find the one (or few!) that best suit you.
One of the major advantages of using a handheld shower head is the accessibility. Handheld shower heads can be used by the elderly, disabled, or otherwise. You may also just use less water overall compared to conventional shower heads due to the fact that the handheld shower heads allow you to hit every nook and cranny quickly.
The Moen is also a great shower head if you have any pets that require regular baths. Handheld shower heads are invaluable for cats and dogs especially.
However, one major drawback in my opinion is the fact that the connecting back of the shower fixture is made of hard plastic. I prefer the durability that hard metal provides, and knowing that it’s far less likely the degrade over time.
- Six different spray options
- 1.75 GPM output means lots of water saved over time
- Handheld design is great for convenience and full accessibility
- Plastic backing can degrade over time and may not be as durable as higher quality metallic builds
If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, then this low flow shower head might be the best for you. The second option by Speakman to appear on the list is the S-4000 Reaction model.
Whereas the first Speakman model is made entirely of metal and features a plethora of spray settings and other features, the S-4000 Reaction model is incredibly simple.
The low flow shower head operates entirely at a single 1.5 GPM spray. The water feels nice, refreshing, and is comparable to some 2.5 GPM shower heads out there in pressure. All in all, it’s not a bad water pressure for a cheap shower head with only a single setting.
However, there are a few downsides compared to the pricier options out there. To start, this model is made mostly out of plastic. The cheaper a shower head gets, the more plastic will generally be included in the build.
Additionally, the shower head can’t swivel on it’s own at all. This essentially means you’ll have to purchase a separate shower arm with the function, or just accept that you’ll be moving in the shower instead of moving the shower head. A trivial gripe to some people, but a major annoyance to others.
On the up side, for the price point being as low as it is, it’s fully possible for this Speakman to pay for itself in saved water costs after a short while.
- One spray setting is fairly comfortable and pressurized despite the shower head only using 1.5 GPM
- Great for boosting low water pressure households without wasting a ton of water in the process
- Simple to setup and use immediately
- Cheap and efficient
- Plastic build could degrade over time quicker than metal counterparts
- No swivel option
For those who aren’t impressed with the design or features of the previous budget-friendly low flow shower head above, the KOHLER might be a better option for you.
Although it’s more expensive than the cheaper Speakman model above, the KOHLER is a noteworthy option for those looking for a low flow shower head that isn’t overly expensive.
The KOHLER is the midway point between the higher tier shower heads and the value ones. Its main feature is in its three distinct spray options varying from a wider flow to a more intense, direct spray. Best of all, the KOHLER shower head uses a total of 1.75 GPM while using any of these three spray options.
However, there are a few things I’m really not a fan of with this model at the same time.
Firstly, despite appearing fully metallic at a glance, a lot of the shower head is built with cheaper plastic parts. This makes sense due to the lower cost of the shower head, but still is always a drawback when it comes to purchasing shower heads that last.
Secondly, you’ll need two hands to adjust the spray settings. Since the thumb tab is located on the front of the shower head, the entire shower head moves when you attempt to change the spray setting. Thus, you’ll need to hold onto the shower head with one hand while adjusting the spray with the other. These situations are exactly why I prefer shower heads with simple levers on the side to alter spray settings.
Despite these two minor gripes, it’s still a perfectly good and viable option to any and all looking for a good low flow shower head.
- On the cheaper side, so it won’t break your bank, and will eventually pay for itself in water bill savings
- Three spray settings are pretty nice for the price point
- Plastic parts may not be as durable as pricier options
- Front of shower head requires two hands to change spray settings due to spinning
What You Should Consider Before Choosing Your Low Flow Shower Head
Before You Purchase a Low Flow Shower Head
Before you purchase any low flow shower head, check if you can reduce your water consumption with your current model. Some things you can do are:
- Ensure that the water flow regulator is intact. Regulators are required by law to reduce water to a maximum of 2.5 GPM, but it’s always possible that they’ve been damaged or removed by previous owners. It’s possible that merely replacing your regulator can solve the problem without any further purchases.
- Check if your shower head model has any additional spray options. Some spray options can naturally reduce the flow of water to less than 2.5 GPM. Be sure to read your installation manual or contact your shower head’s manufacturer to ensure there aren’t any other ways to save water prior to purchasing a new model.
- Consider reducing your total time in the shower. If you live with others or have a family using the same shower, this may prove to be difficult, but the easiest way to save on shower costs is to reduce the total amount of time you and others spend in them. That being said, if you or others in your household love showers enough that you absolutely must spend 30+ minutes in them (I get it!), then consider getting a low flow shower head.
Qualities and Features to Consider Before Purchase
Here are some qualities and features that you may want to think about before you choose what low flow shower head is right for you.
- Gallons per Minute (GPM): This is the biggest point for anyone who wishes to either reduce water costs or be more environmentally conscious. By reducing your GPM from 2.5 to 1.5, you can save thousands of gallons consumed over the years.
- Type of Shower Head: Most of the low flow shower heads on the market will be fixed, mounted types. Though there are some outliers such as handheld Moen above, most high flow shower heads will not operate very well at a low flow rate. Thus, you’ll rarely see shower heads such as dual or rainfall units included in any low flow shower head market.
- Budget: Budget is mostly important just for initial costs when it comes to low flow shower heads. Every single shower head on this list will eventually hit the point where it is saving you more money than you spent on it, but the break even point may come much later on pricier shower heads. Still, you get what you pay for in the end.
- Durability: This is arguably much more important when it comes with low flow shower heads than any other type. You’ll want a shower head that is built to last long enough to save you money over longer periods of time. For this reason, I strongly recommend fully metal builds if you don’t want to worry about potential replacements due to plastic failing.
- Color of the Shower Head: Colors are important purely for aesthetic reasons, but some people will want to consider this regardless. If you don’t want a brass-colored shower head in your pure chrome bathroom, I understand!
- Water Pressure Sensitivity: Different low flow shower heads will still have different levels of water pressure based on design. If you have a particular sensitivity to high pressure water, then I’d suggest going with a shower head that has many spray settings. At least one or two settings should be perfect for most people in the majority of cases.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Flow Shower Heads
What are Low Flow Shower Heads?
A low flow shower head is typically any shower head that is designed to operate at a water flow rate of 1.25 to 2.00 GPM. In comparison, the average normal flow shower head is designed to push water out at a rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, the legal maximum per the Energy Act of 1992.
Are Low Flow Shower Heads Worth It?
Low flow shower heads will always pay for themselves over time. If your household has two to four people take showers anywhere between fifteen to forty minutes, you will immediately start to save thousands of gallons per month every single month.
Dropping from using a 2.5 GPM shower head to using a 1.5 GPM shower head will see your household using 40% less water showering, even if you stay in them for the same amount of time.
Think about your water utility bills and how much 40% less water consumed by showering could mean for you and your home.
Are Low Flow Shower Heads as Good as High Flow Shower Heads?
Depending on the build and design of the low flow shower head, many models can output just as much water pressure and provide a very comparable experience. All while using considerably less water.
However, there are few cases where using a high flow shower head might be preferable to you.
Namely, if you love rainfall or dual type shower heads, then it’s likely that you won’t be able to find a comparable experience via any low flow shower heads. Both rainfall and dual shower heads require a lot of water to operate due to their wider, more water demanding designs.
In the end, it really depends on what you consider to be your own ideal shower experience.
How Can I Make My Low Flow Shower Head More Powerful?
One of the best ways to make your low flow shower head more powerful is to simply change the spray settings of the shower head. Different shower heads will have different settings, but many will offer at least one setting with much higher water pressure than others.
If your low flow shower head only has a single setting and you’re not a fan of it, it’s time to consider looking into getting a different model.
Who Needs a Low Flow Shower Head?
Anyone concerned with the environment or their water bill should consider a low flow shower head. The average household uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day per person. A single 30 minute shower with a standard 2.5 GPM shower head consumes 75 gallons of water alone.
Changing your shower head can save you upwards of 40% less water immediately.
If you’re looking to lower your water consumption costs, low flow shower heads are definitely an option you should be looking into.
Picking the Best Low Flow Shower Head for You
You’ve made it to the end of the post! If you’re still considering what your needs are and haven’t reached a conclusion on which low flow shower head is right for you or your household, here is a summary of the best low flow shower heads above that may help you reach a decision.
- If you want a great low flow shower head that’ll save you the most money over time:
- If you have the money to spare and want the most convenient low flow shower head with the most spray options available:
- If you want a low flow handheld shower head:
- If you want the most value out of your purchase and have a limited budget at the moment:
- If you want a midtier budget option with multiple spray settings:
Thanks for reading, water savers!