Shower buying guide
Choosing the right shower for your bathroom is an important decision as you probably use it every day. Our guide will explain the different types of showers available to buy in order to help you find the best one for your home.
Considerations before buying
What water system do you have?
The type of water system you have in your home will affect the type of shower you can install in your bathroom.
Low pressure gravity system
This type of water system is the most common throughout the UK. It consists of a cold water tank and a hot water cylinder below it (usually found in an airing cupboard). The water in the cylinder is heated by a boiler or immersion heater and fed to the taps via a pipe. Pressure is low because the water from the tank is fed by gravity. The greater the height of the tank above the showerhead, the greater the pressure. The addition of a pump with a mixer shower can help to increase water pressure.
Mains pressure combination boiler
A combination, or combi, boiler heats water directly from the cold mains supply. Water is heated on demand as soon as a hot water tap or shower is turned on. The boiler is usually wall-mounted and produces a powerful water pressure. If you have a combi boiler you won't have a tank in the loft or a cylinder.
Mains pressure unvented
Unvented water systems have a hot water cylinder which is directly fed from the mains supply, without the need of a cold water tank. The water is heated by a boiler or immersion heater and has a strong pressure as it is coming directly from the main supply.
Cold mains supply
If you don't have stored hot water or don't want to use up the hot water when you shower, you can fit an electric shower to the cold mains supply. With an electric shower, the water is heated automatically when it's switched on which means you don't use up any hot water stored in a cylinder.
This table shows which type of shower can be used with the different water systems
|Low pressure gravity system||Mains pressure combination boiler||Mains pressure unvented||Cold mains supply|
Different types available
Mixer showers take both hot and cold water and blend them together for the desired showering temperature. They have three different temperature controls. With manual control, your shower temperature may vary depending on changes to the incoming water supply.
Pressure balancing mixers compensate for an imbalance in pressure between the hot and cold water supplies, providing you with a stable showering temperature. This is particularly useful for combination boiler installations which often have imbalances between the hot and cold supplies.
Thermostatic mixer showers are great for families with young children or the elderly as they monitor the incoming water temperature and adjust it to provide a comfortable showering temperature.
Mixer showers are ideal if you have lots of stored water from a combi boiler or large hot water cylinder and generally provide a faster flow than electric showers. If your home has a low pressure system, you can install a pump to increase the flow for a more powerful shower.
Power showers require a supply of both hot and cold water, which is then blended to the optimum temperature. They're designed for low pressure gravity fed systems and are available in manual and thermostatic versions. Power showers have an inbuilt pump so are able to significantly increase the flow rate from a gravity fed system.
Power showers are a great option if you have low water pressure in your home but they can use a lot more water. This is important to consider if your home has a water meter or a small supply of stored hot water.
This type of shower needs a mains cold water supply only and heats water on demand. An element within the shower heats the cold water as it passes through the unit to the shower head, so it doesn't use up any stored hot water. There's no pump involved, so the amount of water will depend on your mains water pressure.
Ideal for families, electric showers are economical to run as you only heat the water you need, and they're the only type of shower that's independent of the hot water system, so if your boiler fails you can still have a hot shower.
The higher the kilowatt rating, the more powerful the water flow is - even at higher temperatures. This will usually range from between 7.5kW and 10.8kW. It is recommended to consult a qualified tradesperson when installing an electric shower as the size of the electricity cable feeding the shower will need to be assessed.
Digital showers allow you to set the right temperature and flow of your water from a control panel. If your shower has a wireless remote control, the control panel can be located within a 10 metre radius of the shower which means you can turn the shower on and wait for it to warm up to the desired temperature before getting in. You can also pre-programme the water temperature to suit your personal preferences, giving you complete control.
There are two different types of digital showers: a low pressure variant which has an inbuilt pump as part of the valve and a high pressure variant. Which type of digital shower you choose will be dependent on your water pressure and system.
A processor box is connected to the shower's controls though a wireless remote control and blends the hot and cold water supply to the required temperature using a digital thermostatic mixing valve. Water is delivered to the shower head through the riser rail, celling or wall, so there's no pipes on show. The processor box can also be hidden so it isn't on display within your bathroom.
Mixer showers can either be dual or single control. With single control, there's one control for both water and temperature, while dual has separate controls for each.
Shown in mm, this is the space between the hot and cold pipe intake.
The showerhead has rubber nozzles that help to prevent build-up of limescale, which can cause blockages.
Thermostatic temperature control
A thermostatic shower provide a constant water temperature, which isn't affected by the use of other household items. This prevents spikes in temperature which could lead to scalding. Manual temperature control showers do not have this.
The temperature and flow settings remain the same each time the shower is used.
The amount of water that a power shower can generate. The higher the water flow, the more powerful the shower.
A simple way to give your shower an upgrade. Some shower heads feature many different spray modes and are limescale resistant to avoid water blockages.
From clear and patterned to 3-fold and 4-fold, our range of shower screens offer great protection against water spray.
Boost the water strength and overall performance of your mixer shower with a pump. A pump is used to simultaneously boost hot and cold water supplies so you can enjoy a more powerful shower.