Electric Shower vs Gas Shower: Compare Today

sam shead

Sam Shead

Last Updated: 11 Jun 2024

Do you need help choosing between an electric or gas shower for your home? 

With energy costs and environmental considerations on the line, making the right decision can significantly impact your daily comfort and bills.

This article bridges the gap between confusion and clarity by dissecting the pros and cons of electric and gas showers. 

We promise to provide you with all the necessary details to make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and budget. 

Stay tuned as we delve into each option's functionalities, cost implications, and environmental impacts, ensuring you know how to choose the best shower solution for your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Choice Between Electric and Gas Showers: If you're deciding between an electric and a gas shower, consider that electric showers heat water on demand and are generally easier to install, whereas gas showers, often part of a more comprehensive system involving a boiler, tend to offer lower operational costs due to cheaper gas prices.

  • Cost and Installation: Electric showers typically require less complex installation and can be cheaper upfront. However, gas showers may lead to lower long-term costs through more efficient heating and usage of cheaper gas energy.

  • Efficiency and Environmental Impact: Electric showers provide immediate hot water and can be more efficient in homes without constant hot water needs; however, gas showers may have a better environmental profile depending on your local electricity grid's reliance on fossil fuels.

  • Performance Factors: Gas showers generally provide a more consistent and powerful shower experience, especially in homes with existing gas heating systems, but require proper ventilation to ensure safety.

  • Find out the top rated electric showers in 2024 from Best Electric Showers.

Free PDF: Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Electric Showers

What are Electric Showers?

Electric showers are popular for many households due to their convenience and efficiency. 

They draw cold water directly from the mains supply and heat it instantly via an internal heating element, ensuring hot water is always available on demand. 

This feature means you're never waiting for a hot water tank to refill, making electric showers especially suitable for busy families or homes with high hot water usage.

One of the core advantages of electric showers is their independence from the home heating system. 

This independence means you can still enjoy a hot shower even if your boiler fails. 

Typically, electric showers require a connection to the electrical network and adequate water pressure from the main supply. 

Installation is generally straightforward, often only requiring a cold water supply and an electrical connection, making it less disruptive than installing a gas shower system.

Electric showers are available in various kilowatt ratings, typically ranging from 7.5 kW to 10.5 kW. 

The higher the kilowatt rating, the better the shower's ability to heat water quickly and maintain a stable temperature, even during colder months. 

However, it's important to note that higher power ratings can also mean higher electricity usage, which could impact your energy bills.

These showers are particularly appealing for their ease of temperature control. They often feature simple dial controls or push buttons that allow users to immediately adjust the heating to their preference. 

This immediate control can enhance user convenience and comfort, providing a reliable and consistent shower experience.

What are Gas Showers?

Gas showers heat water using the power of your home's gas boiler, providing a continuous and robust hot water supply. 

Unlike electric showers, gas showers do not heat water internally but use the hot water generated by your home’s boiler. 

This setup generally ties into a central heating system, meaning the water is pre-heated and stored in a hot water cylinder, ready for use whenever you turn on the shower.

The advantage of using a gas shower system lies in its efficiency and cost-effectiveness, particularly in homes where the heating system is already gas-powered. 

Gas is typically less expensive than electricity per unit of energy, leading to lower running costs than electric showers, especially in households with high hot water demands.

Installation of gas showers can be more complex and costly than their electric counterparts. 

They require water plumbing, integration with the gas boiler, and flue installation to vent exhaust gases safely. 

Due to these requirements, a qualified professional must carry out installation to ensure safety and compliance with local building regulations.

Gas showers are appreciated for their ability to provide a steady, high-pressure water flow, making them ideal for homes with existing suitable infrastructure. 

They are particularly effective in larger households where hot water demand is high, ensuring that hot water does not run out — a common issue with tank-based systems.

Installation Requirements

When considering the installation of an electric or gas shower, understanding the specific requirements for each type is crucial for ensuring efficiency, safety, and compliance with local building codes.

Electric Showers

  • Infrastructure Needs: Electric showers require a direct connection to the cold water supply and an electrical connection to your home’s power system. For safety, the electrical supply must be on a separate fused circuit.

  • Professional Installation: It is highly recommended that a qualified electrician installs the electric shower to handle the electrical components properly. The installation includes fitting the unit to the wall, connecting it to the water supply, and wiring it to the electrical circuit.

  • Timeframe: The installation process for an electric shower is relatively quick, usually completed within a few hours, provided there are no complications with the existing wiring or plumbing.

Gas Showers

  • Infrastructure Needs: Gas showers require a connection to your home’s water system and the gas boiler. Integrating the shower with the existing hot water system often involves more extensive plumbing work.

  • Professional Requirements: Due to the complexities involved and the need to handle gas safely, only a Gas Safe registered engineer should install gas showers. This ensures all connections are secure and leak-free, and the flue is properly installed to vent exhaust gases.

  • Timeframe: Installing a gas shower can take longer than an electric shower, often requiring a full day or more, especially if it involves significant alterations to your home’s plumbing and heating systems.

Both types of showers may need additional adjustments, such as tiling and waterproofing the shower area, which can extend the overall project time and cost. 

Additionally, checking local regulations and obtaining necessary permits before installation is important to ensure compliance and safety.

Cost Comparison

Understanding the financial implications of choosing between an electric and a gas shower involves examining both the initial installation costs and the long-term operating expenses. 

Here’s a detailed comparison to guide your decision:

Initial Installation Costs

Electric Showers

Typically, electric showers are less expensive to purchase and install. 

The cost mainly involves the shower unit and minor plumbing and electrical work. 

Installation costs can range from £50 to £200, depending on the job's complexity and local labour rates.

Gas Showers

Installation costs for gas showers are generally higher due to the complexity of integrating them with a central heating system and ensuring safe gas connections. 

Costs can start from £400 upwards, with additional expenses for plumbing or heating infrastructure upgrades.

Long-term Operating Costs

Electric Showers

The operating cost of electric showers depends significantly on the shower's kilowatt rating and the electricity price. 

Depending on your electricity tariff, a typical 8.5 kW electric shower used daily for 10 minutes can cost around £0.30 to £0.40 per shower.

Gas Showers

Gas showers often have lower operating costs than electric ones because gas is generally cheaper per kWh. 

The cost per shower could be less than half that of using an electric shower, making gas showers more economical over time, especially in households with frequent use.

Energy Prices Impact

The fluctuation in energy prices affects the running costs of both showers. 

The cost difference in regions with high electricity prices becomes more pronounced, favouring gas showers for long-term savings. 

Conversely, electric showers might be more economical if gas prices are high or environmental policies favour electricity.

By comparing initial and ongoing costs, you can better understand which shower type best suits your budget and usage patterns. This will ensure a cost-effective choice that meets your household’s needs.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

When choosing between electric and gas showers, energy efficiency and environmental impact are significant considerations. 

Both showers have distinct characteristics that can affect your home's energy consumption and ecological footprint.

Energy Efficiency

Electric Showers

Electric showers are generally considered energy efficient because they heat only the amount of water needed when used. 

There's no energy wasted in heating a large tank of water that may not be used immediately. 

However, the efficiency of an electric shower can vary based on the unit's design and the efficiency of the household electrical system.

Gas Showers

Gas showers can also be energy efficient, especially if they are part of a modern and well-maintained combi boiler system that efficiently provides heating and hot water. 

Because gas is typically cheaper than electricity and can be a more efficient means of heating water, gas showers might contribute to lower home energy costs.

Environmental Impact

Electric Showers 

The environmental impact of electric showers largely depends on how the electricity is generated. 

Electric showers have a lower environmental impact in regions where electricity is produced from renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydroelectric power. 

However, if the electricity comes from fossil fuels, the environmental impact is higher due to carbon emissions.

Gas Showers

Gas showers burn natural gas, which releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. 

Although natural gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels like coal, it still contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. 

However, technological advancements and efficient boiler systems have helped reduce these emissions significantly in recent years.

Both electric and gas showers have pros and cons regarding energy efficiency and environmental impact. 

Your choice might depend on local energy costs, the availability of sustainable energy sources, and your commitment to reducing environmental impact. 

It's also essential to consider future changes in energy production and regulations, as these could affect the long-term sustainability of your chosen shower type.

Performance and User Experience

Understanding how each performs under everyday use is crucial when choosing between electric and gas showers. 

Both offer distinct experiences regarding heating speed, temperature control, water pressure, and overall reliability.

Heating Speed and Temperature Control

Electric Showers

Electric showers heat water instantly at the point of use, ensuring no waiting time for hot water. 

This feature makes them ideal for households with high hot water usage, as it prevents the annoyance of hot water running out. 

However, the flow rate can decrease in colder conditions as the unit works harder to heat incoming cold water. 

Temperature control is typically precise, allowing users to adjust settings for a consistent temperature throughout the shower.

Gas Showers

Gas showers draw hot water from a boiler system, which can mean a slight delay in heating if the system needs to fire up or if the water has cooled in the pipes. 

However, once running, gas showers generally maintain a steady and robust flow of hot water, providing a more consistent temperature and a stronger flow than electric showers, especially in homes with higher water pressure systems.

Water Pressure and Reliability

Electric Showers

The water pressure in electric showers depends largely on the mains pressure to which they are connected. 

They are only effective in homes with low water pressure if paired with a pump. 

While electric showers are reliable due to their simplicity, the internal heating element can wear out. They may need replacement over time, especially in hard water areas with common limescale build-up.

Gas Showers

Gas showers benefit from the water pressure provided by the boiler and generally offer higher pressure than electric showers. 

This makes them suitable for power showers, which require significant pressure to operate effectively. 

Gas showers can be very reliable, but this depends on the overall health of the boiler and plumbing system. 

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure long-term reliability and to prevent issues such as boiler breakdowns or leaks.

Overall, the choice between electric and gas showers significantly affects user experience. 

Electric showers offer immediacy and convenience at lower pressures, and gas showers provide a more luxurious and powerful shower experience.

However, it requires a well-maintained central heating system to perform at its best.

Safety and Maintenance

Safety Features and Potential Risks

Electric Showers

Electric showers ' safety is a paramount concern due to their direct electricity use in wet environments. 

Modern electric showers have multiple safety features, including thermostatic controls that prevent the water temperature from getting too hot and cut-out systems that shut off the shower if the water gets too hot or the flow is obstructed. 

However, incorrect installation or failure in the internal electrical components can pose risks such as electric shocks or fires. Regular checks by a qualified electrician can mitigate these risks.

Gas Showers

The primary safety concerns with gas showers relate to gas leaks and carbon monoxide emissions. 

It's vital that certified professionals install gas showers and regularly inspect to ensure that the boiler and any associated piping are free from leaks. 

Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in homes using gas showers as a precautionary measure. 

Additionally, ensuring proper ventilation is crucial to operating gas showers safely.

Maintenance Requirements and Frequency

Electric Showers

Electric shower maintenance typically involves regular descaling, especially in hard water areas, to prevent limescale buildup, which can reduce efficiency and lifespan. 

Checking the electrical connections and replacing worn-out parts like the heating or showerhead is also part of regular maintenance. 

An annual check is sufficient to keep an electric shower in good working condition.

Gas Showers

Gas showers require more comprehensive maintenance due to their complexity and the risks associated with gas appliances. 

It is recommended that the boiler and plumbing be serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure that they are functioning correctly and safely. 

This maintenance includes checking the boiler's pressure, testing the flue for obstructions and emissions, and inspecting the shower unit for leaks or wear.

Properly maintained, both electric and gas showers can provide many years of safe and reliable service. 

However, the level of maintenance and attention to safety can differ significantly, influencing the shower system's overall cost and convenience over its lifetime.

Pros and Cons Summary

When considering whether to install an electric or gas shower, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each can help you make a more informed decision that suits your lifestyle and home infrastructure.

Electric Showers

Pros

  • Instantaneous Hot Water: Electric showers heat water on demand, providing hot water instantly without the wait, which is perfect for busy families or frequent shower use.

  • Independent System: They do not rely on a boiler to heat water, so they still function even if your boiler breaks down.

  • Simpler Installation: They are generally easier and quicker to install than gas showers, often resulting in lower initial setup costs.

Cons

  • Pressure and Flow Issues: Low mains water pressure can affect water flow without adding a pump.

  • Higher Running Costs: Electric showers are typically more expensive than gas showers, especially in regions with high electricity prices.

  • Maintenance Needs: Regular maintenance to manage limescale build-up, particularly in hard water areas.

Gas Showers

Pros

  • Cost-Effective Operation: Generally cheaper to run over time, taking advantage of lower gas prices than electricity.

  • Consistent Water Pressure: Often provides better water pressure and flow, making them ideal for power showers.

  • Efficient for Larger Families: Ideal for homes with high hot water demand, ensuring that hot water doesn’t run out.

Cons

  • Complex Installation: Requires more extensive installation that involves gas plumbing and can be more expensive upfront.

  • Dependence on Boiler: The functionality depends on the home’s boiler system, which can be a disadvantage if the boiler encounters problems.

  • Safety Concerns: Careful installation and regular maintenance are needed to prevent gas leaks or exposure to carbon monoxide.

Conclusion and Recommendations

As we conclude our exploration of electric versus gas showers, it's clear that the best choice depends heavily on your circumstances, including your household's water usage habits, existing home infrastructure, and budgetary constraints. 

Here are some final recommendations to guide you in making the most suitable decision for your home:

Recommendations

  • An electric shower may best fit Smaller Households or Those With Lower Hot Water Demand. It offers the convenience of instant hot water and simplicity in installation, which can be particularly advantageous in homes without existing gas heating systems.

  • A gas shower is more appropriate for larger households with high hot water needs. Its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and superior water flow and pressure capabilities make it ideal for families needing hot water daily.

  • Considering Energy Costs and Environmental Impact: If you are in a region with high electricity costs or where electricity is not predominantly generated from renewable sources, the long-term savings and lower carbon footprint associated with gas showers might be more appealing.

  • Installation and Maintenance: Always ensure qualified professionals install whichever shower type you choose. This means certified electricians and Gas Safe registered engineers, which are essential for gas showers to ensure safety and efficiency.

© Copyright 2024 Best Electric Shower LTD. All rights reserved. | Company Number: 15606794 | Registered in England and Wales with registered office in Linden Fields, Tunbridge Wells, England, TN2 5QX

Email Support: support@bestelectricshower.co.uk | Customer Support: 02081752283  

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Terms of UseAffiliate Policy

© Copyright 2024 Best Electric Shower LTD All rights reserved | Company Number: 15606794 | Registered in England and Wales with registered office in Linden Fields, Tunbridge Wells, England, TN2 5QX

Email Support: support@bestelectricshower.co.uk | Customer Support: 02081752283  

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Terms of UseAffiliate Policy

© Copyright 2024 Best Electric Shower LTD All rights reserved | Company Number: 15606794 | Registered in England and Wales with registered office in Linden Fields, Tunbridge Wells, England, TN2 5QX

Email Support: support@bestelectricshower.co.uk | Customer Support: 02081752283  

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Terms of UseAffiliate Policy

logo

Free Guide: Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Electric Showers