Few things in life are as relaxing and rejuvenating as a hot shower, just as few things in life are as disappointing as a shower that lacks water pressure and forces you to huddle under a trickle of drips to bathe. Thanks to innovations in shower head technology, though, low water pressure is no longer something bathers must suffer through.
With the EPA’s push for water conservation, manufacturers have come up with creative ways for boosting pressure at the shower head. These high-pressure models use aeration, spray patterns, and compact designs to make less water feel like more. These shower heads come in fixed, handheld, and rain-shower varieties, in numerous styles and finishes.
Make your showers more enjoyable—and effective—with the best shower head for low water pressure. It helps to know the features to look for in a shower head, how a product fits a bathroom’s decor, and how well it tackles low water pressure.
- BEST OVERALL: Speakman Chrome Anystream High Pressure Shower Head
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Aisoso High Pressure Rain Fixed Showerhead
- UPGRADE PICK: SR SUN RISE Ceiling Mount Rainfall Shower Head
- BEST BASIC: WASSA High Pressure Shower Head
- BEST FLOW SETTINGS: Delta Faucet 2-Spray H20kinetic Shower Head
- BEST MASSAGING: Waterpik Shower Head with Handheld Spray
- BEST WITH FILTER: Aqua Elegante Massaging Shower Head High Pressure
Types of Shower Heads for Low Water Pressure
There are two main shower head types: fixed and handheld. Fixed shower heads attach directly to the shower supply line. They can support a wide variety of shower head shapes but have limited mobility. Handheld shower heads detach from a water supply line, adding versatility for rinsing hair, massaging sore muscle groups, or even bathing the family dog. Ahead, learn more about the two kinds of shower heads.
A fixed shower head mounts directly to the shower faucet that extends from the wall. These types have a threaded opening that screws onto the arm either by hand or with a plumber’s crescent wrench. A ball joint between the head and arm allows the user to aim the water to meet different desired angles or water-flow needs.
Most fixed shower heads have a knob or dial that makes it easy to switch between different spray patterns. Fixed models also come in various shapes, sizes, and finishes to meet a broad range of tastes.
A handheld shower head uses a long hose, with one end attaching to a fixed head with a long handle and the other end connecting to the shower arm that extends from the wall. The end that attaches to the shower arm typically has a clip that holds the head. When resting in the clip, the handheld type functions much like a fixed shower head. Unlike a fixed one, however, the handheld type easily lifts from its spot on the wall for bathing by hand.
Like fixed shower heads, handheld models have multiple spray settings and come in various designs and finishes. They are good options for parents needing to bathe young children or even pets, for those with mobility issues, and for the enjoyment of a water spray close to the head or body to thoroughly rinse hair or wash up.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Shower Head For Low Water Pressure
Read on to learn about what factors to look for when picking the best shower head for a home with water-pressure problems. Considerations relate to material, spray settings, and efficiency, as well as style or taste.
Most shower heads are made of a combination of metal, brass, and plastic. The internal parts typically consist of brass, which is highly resistant to corrosion and won’t rust. In most cases, the outer housing consists of either plastic or metal.
While metal might seem like the more durable of the two, keep in mind that metal is more susceptible to water damage in the form of corrosion or rust than is plastic. That said, plastic is more likely to break if handled roughly. Metal finishes such as rubbed bronze and nickel are popular material options and hold up well in a wet environment.
Most shower heads feature neoprene nozzles, which are easier to clean and do a better job of resisting hard-water buildup than metal or plastic nozzles.
Shower heads come in various shapes and sizes. A standard style has a shape similar to a doorknob, with a broad face full of nozzles that produce a stream of water. The head mounts to the wall and sprays water at a downward angle. This type of head usually has a knob or dial to adjust the spray type.
Rain shower heads have a much broader round or square head that can be as much as 18 inches in diameter. They typically have long arms that allow the user to position them directly above the head. This large profile and overhead positioning mimics the feel of rainfall. A rain shower head provides more coverage than a standard one but at lower water pressure.
Handheld shower heads attach to a clip for removal and handheld use. They have a hose that is 5 to 6 feet long and provides enough slack for rinsing hair, applying high-intensity spray settings to sore muscles, or bathing a young child. The versatile setup of combined fixed and handheld heads give users a choice when cleaning up.
To get around issues of low water pressure, manufacturers have come up with multiple ways to create pressure in the shower head. One of the most innovative designs involves aeration, which draws in air from the surrounding environment to add pressure inside the head. The result is greater water pressure, albeit a flow pattern that is more mist than water stream.
Other manufacturers use a series of plungers and channels inside the head that compress water flow to increase pressure. Shower head designs get creative with the nozzles, using different spray patterns that feel intense even while using less water.
Like standard types, low-pressure shower heads come with a wide range of settings that let the user adjust the water output for relaxation, massage, or hair rinsing. Common settings include rainfall, high-pressure jet, and blast, as well as a gentle spray setting and a fire-hose-like drench option.
Basic models offer only one or two settings, though higher-end products can include up to six different flow patterns. Manufacturers may equip their shower heads with spray patterns that increase the intensity of the water for low water pressure.
The maximum flow rate for shower heads in the United States is 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) at a water pressure of 80 psi. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes use products with a lower flow of 1.8 GPM. Some states, such as California, limit the maximum flow of shower heads to 1.8 GPM.
These lower-flow shower heads are the best option for those living in homes with low water pressure. Although this type of shower head uses less water, manufacturers use innovative designs that increase water pressure, making the user feel like more water is flowing. Shower heads that use less than 2 GPM have a WaterSense label from the EPA.
Often, older homes or homes on well water have water pressure problems. These homes can have older pipes or hard water that is more likely to leave mineral and sediment deposits inside a shower head, inhibiting the water flow and reducing already low water pressure to little more than a trickle.
A good low-water-pressure shower head will have a replaceable or cleanable filter that removes these sediments before they can enter the head’s inner workings, ensuring a steady flow of water.
A separate filter canister between the shower head and arm goes a step further. These filters remove additional impurities, like chlorine and heavy metals, that can damage skin and hair.
The best shower heads for low water pressure come in different finish options to match decor, such as brushed nickel, chrome plated, silver, and stylized rubbed bronze and black finishes. Shapes also vary. Rainfall types, for example, have a wide diameter and can come in round form or a more modern square shape.
Rainfall heads can reach as much as 18 inches wide, making them a more conspicuous feature in the bathroom. Compact shower heads can be as small as 3 inches in diameter. These minimalist choices offer a more streamlined look with simple lines and understated designs.
Installing a shower head is one of the easiest bathroom upgrades one can undertake. DIYers typically can remove the old fixture and install a new one in about 15 minutes with just one or two simple tools. Installation typically involves unscrewing the old shower head from the supply line by hand or with a wrench and screwing on a new one. The required tools usually include a crescent wrench and plumber’s tape.
Rain shower heads that extend from the ceiling of the shower typically require custom plumbing that only a professional is qualified to handle.
Our Top Picks
The picks below take into account the above considerations to trim the field and help you select the best shower head for low water pressure.
With strong construction, multiple finish options, and an innovative pressure-maximizing design, the Speakman Anystream shower head is an excellent solution for low water pressure. At the core of this shower head’s design is a series of plungers inside the head that force pressure in to build, intensifying the spray that its 50 nozzles create. This model is rated at 2.5 GPM, though it does come in lower GPM ratings.
These plungers also are self-cleaning, preventing clogging from hard-water deposits. This shower head also includes Speakman’s Anystream technology, which allows for clean transitions between the shower head’s three different spray patterns via an easy-to-operate handle.
The head is made of plastic and brass-nut construction, and comes in four finish options, including brushed nickel, polished chrome, brushed chrome, and polished brass. The Speakman also is easy to install.
The Aisoso High Pressure Rain Fixed shower head makes the most out of available water pressure for those on a budget. Features that help with flow issues include 47 self-cleaning nozzles that resist sediment buildup and corrosion to ensure an efficient water flow.
Jet nozzles force the water out of the head at high pressure, allowing settings such as power mist, power rain, and pulsating massage to produce strong streams of water even with low water pressure. Other flow settings include rain massage and rain mist. This model is also stylish, with a chrome finish and attractive round shape. The head measures 4 inches in diameter and features a rounded face that creates a broad coverage spray.
The luxury SR SUN RISE Ceiling Mount Rainfall Shower Head offers a modern look and versatility, with a fixed head, a handheld unit, and even a valve body and trim. The large fixed shower head is 12 inches by 12 inches, creating a full rainfall experience. While this large fixture might seem like a luxury reserved for those with good water pressure, it’s not. This model features a high-pressure design that draws air into the valve to increase pressure.
The handheld unit attaches to the wall, providing a good option for rinsing conditioners out of hair. The valve body, shower arms, and handheld and fixed shower heads all sport a modern square look. All-metal construction and brass internal parts add durability, while the stainless steel housing with a brushed-nickel finish creates an elegant look. With its valve body and ceiling-mount shower head, installation for this set requires a professional.
With this high-pressure fixed shower head, Wassa applies the theory that compacting a liquid into a small shape creates pressure. At just 3 inches in diameter, this is a compact yet powerful unit. Although it lacks the multiple spray settings of other shower heads, this model’s one spray pattern is efficient at taking available water pressure and forcing it through the head’s 45 silicon jets to create a powerful spray stream.
Those silicon jets also help keep the water flowing by preventing hard-water deposits from building up and blocking the jets. An adjustable swivel ball allows for an ample range of direction. With its low-profile design and chrome finish, this is an attractive addition to a variety of bathroom styles.
Delta Faucet’s 2-Spray H20kinetic Shower Head uses a creative flow pattern to make less water feel like more. Often, high-pressure units sacrifice coverage to improve intensity. That’s not the case with the PowerDrench Spray, which uses a wave spray pattern that provides three times the coverage of a standard shower head. It uses 36 percent less water while maintaining excellent pressure and coverage.
Instead of numerous small jets, this product has four large holes, making it easier to clean and less likely that hard-water residue will clog it up. A small knob on the head toggles between the two spray patterns: a high-intensity stream and a low-volume comfort spray. With its simple, modern look and chrome finish, this design will fit various bathroom aesthetics. It installs quickly to a standard ½-inch shower supply line using a simple crescent wrench.
With its numerous flow patterns, ergonomic handheld design, and low water-pressure demands, this Waterpik handheld set is a worthy option for soothing sore muscles. It features six spray patterns, three of which focus on providing relaxing massage, including a full-body massage setting, pulsating massage, and slow massage.
An ergonomic handle with grooves that help wet hands maintain a firm grip allows for targeted massaging. Waterpik’s Optiflow technology maximizes water, generating outstanding pressure even for homes with pressure issues. A long 5-foot shower hose provides plenty of length for a full-body massage, bathing children, or washing the dog. The bracket that attaches the head to the water supply line includes adjustments for a broad range of spray angles.
The Aqua Elegante Massaging Shower Head uses several design features to maximize flow. This keeps the stream intensity up, even in homes with low water pressure. The filter removes a bevy of contaminants, including chlorine and heavy metals that can damage skin and hair and erode its inner workings. The head contains silicone nozzles that resist the buildup of minerals that could slow water flow.
This product also features six different spray patterns plus a series of blast settings designed to maximize water pressure, including blast and mist, saturating blast, and blast and massage. Installation requires no tools, with a filter that hand twists onto the shower supply line and a head that screws onto the filter. Thermoplastic resin construction adds to the durability of this shower head.
FAQs About Shower Heads for Low Water Pressure
For those still wondering about how low-pressure shower heads work, read on for answers to some of the most common questions.
Q. Why is my shower pressure so low?
There are a few reasons why the water coming from a shower head is closer to a trickle than a stream. In older homes, there could be a buildup of sediment in the pipes, hampering the flow of water. The head could also be clogged with residue from hard water, negatively impacting flow. Showering during peak-use periods in a city can also reduce pressure.
Q. Are there shower heads that increase water pressure?
Yes. A high-pressure shower head increases water pressure by aerating the water or compressing it in the head before forcing it out of the jets.
Q. What is the difference between a rain shower head and a regular shower head?
A rain shower head has a significantly larger diameter—up to a foot or more—than a standard head. While standard shower heads mount so they spray at an angle, rain shower heads mount above so they spray straight down, imitating rainfall.
Q. Do rain shower heads use more water?
No. As all shower heads must comply with the 2.5 GPM restriction, rain types do not use more water than a standard shower head. Since they are wider, they distribute water across more nozzles, which means they produce less water pressure.