Power vs Electric Shower: The Differences Explained

gary flood

Gary Flood

Last Updated: 20/04/2024

Are you tired of mediocre showers that barely trickle or leave you shivering when someone else in the house turns on a faucet? 

You're not alone in your quest for the perfect shower experience. 

In the battle of power and electric showers, each type presents its advantages and challenges, poised to elevate or deflate your daily rinse.

Whether you desire a luxurious spa-like spray or a more economical and eco-friendly option, this article will bridge the gap between your lacklustre showers and the ideal solution.

 We'll compare power and electric showers in detail, examining their functionalities, benefits, and drawbacks, helping you decide which system best suits your household's needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Power Showers vs. Electric Showers: Power showers enhance water pressure using an integrated pump and mix hot and cold water, offering a more vigorous shower experience; electric showers heat cold water on demand, providing a consistent temperature but possibly with less water pressure.

  • Efficiency and Cost: Electric showers are generally more energy-efficient as they only heat your water, potentially lowering energy bills. Power showers, though providing a superior flow, might increase water and energy consumption due to the need for a hot water supply and a pump.

  • Installation Considerations: Electric showers are easier to install, often only requiring a connection to the cold water supply and electrical system, making them a practical choice for most homes. Power showers require a hot water tank and can be more complex, needing additional plumbing and electrical work.

  • Compatibility with Home Systems: Power showers are incompatible with combi boilers as they need a stored hot water system, whereas electric showers can work with any system, making them versatile for various home setups.

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

Free PDF: Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Electric Showers

How Do Showers Make Magic Happen?

Understanding how showers work is fundamental in appreciating the differences and benefits of power and electric showers. 

At its core, shower operation involves managing water flow and temperature to suit the user's preference.

Showers function by delivering water through a network of pipes, controlled by valves, to the showerhead. 

The water can either be pre-mixed in mixer showers or heated instantly, such as in electric showers. 

Water pressure and the heating mechanism are pivotal in this process, affecting everything from the water flow to the temperature stability.

The importance of water pressure cannot be overstated. 

It dictates the water flow rate through the showerhead, impacting the overall showering experience. 

Low water pressure systems affect the efficacy of rinsing and can also influence the choice between different types of showers.

Heating the water is another crucial function. 

In households with tank-based systems, water is typically heated before being sent to the shower. 

However, in systems equipped with an electric shower, water is heated on demand as it passes through the shower unit, allowing for a continuous supply of hot water without the need for a large tank.

By understanding these basic principles, homeowners can make more informed decisions about which shower type might best meet their needs, considering their existing home plumbing systems, water pressure levels, and hot water availability. 

This knowledge sets the stage for a deeper exploration into the specific types of showers available.

What's Your Shower Type?

Several domestic showers cater to different needs, setups, and preferences. 

Each type offers unique features that influence their suitability for different home water systems and user requirements. 

Understanding these differences is crucial when making an informed decision about which shower to install in your home.

Electric Showers

These are the most versatile types. They heat water on demand directly from the cold water supply, making them independent of the home's hot water system. 

This feature is particularly beneficial in homes with limited hot water availability or frequent demands on the hot water supply. 

Electric showers require electrical connections and suitable wiring but are generally easier and less costly to install than other types.

Mixer Showers 

These showers draw from hot and cold water supplies, mixing them within the unit to reach the desired temperature. 

Mixer showers are ideal for homes with readily available preheated water from a combi boiler or hot water cylinder. 

They can provide a more powerful flow than electric showers and offer options for thermostatic control, enhancing safety by maintaining stable water temperatures.

Power Showers

Like mixer showers, power showers blend hot and cold water. They incorporate a built-in pump to boost the water pressure, significantly enhancing the shower experience in homes with low water pressure. 

However, they require both a hot water supply and an electrical connection for the pump, which can increase installation complexity and costs.

Digital and Smart Showers

The newest types on the market, digital showers offer precise control over temperature and flow rates, often remotely through digital interfaces. 

Brilliant showers take this further by allowing control through mobile apps or voice commands, integrating seamlessly with smart home systems.

By selecting the appropriate type of shower, users can optimise their showering experience to match their household's specific needs, considering factors like water pressure, boiler type, and energy efficiency. 

This knowledge simplifies the selection process and ensures that the shower delivers the desired performance and convenience.

The Power Shower: More Than Just Hype?

What is a Power Shower?

A power shower addresses low water pressure in some household plumbing systems. 

It integrates a pump within the unit to boost the water pressure, providing a more stimulating and satisfying shower experience. 

This capability makes it particularly suitable for homes with gravity-fed systems, where water pressure might be insufficient for a powerful shower.

How do Power Showers Work?

Power showers work by drawing water from both the hot and cold water supplies. 

The water passes through a pump that significantly increases pressure before reaching the showerhead. 

By boosting the water flow, power showers ensure that the shower does not just trickle but delivers a solid and steady stream of water. 

Additionally, most power showers have thermostatic controls, which help maintain a consistent water temperature and safeguard against sudden temperature fluctuations.

Benefits of Power Showers

  • Enhanced Water Pressure: The most significant advantage of a power shower is its ability to increase water pressure, which can transform a weak shower into a robust and revitalising experience.

  • Thermostatic Control: This feature ensures safety and comfort by maintaining steady water temperatures, even when other water-using appliances are operated simultaneously.

  • Customisable Settings: Many power showers come with adjustable settings, allowing users to tailor water flow and temperature to their preferences.

Drawbacks of Power Showers

  • Higher Water Consumption: The increased water flow rate can lead to higher consumption of water, which might not be ideal for households trying to conserve water or reduce utility bills.

  • Energy Usage: Power showers amplify the volume of heated water used and can also increase energy consumption.

  • Installation Requirements: Power showers require a more complex installation process involving both plumbing and electrical work, which can be more costly and invasive than installing simpler shower types.

Understanding these characteristics helps decide whether a power shower is the right choice for your home, balancing the desire for a more luxurious shower experience against the practical considerations of installation and ongoing costs.

Electric Showers: A Spark of Genius?

What is an Electric Shower?

An electric shower instantaneously heats water using an electric element, requiring only a cold supply. 

This makes electric showers highly efficient and popular in homes where hot water from a boiler isn't readily available or hot water demand is high.

How do Electric Showers Work?

Electric showers draw cold water directly from the mains water supply and heat it as it passes through the unit over an electrically heated element. 

The heater element controls the shower temperature by adjusting the water flow rate. 

Slower water flow results in hotter water, as it spends more time being heated, whereas faster flow reduces heating time, resulting in cooler water.

Benefits of Electric Showers

  • Instant Hot Water: One of the most significant advantages is providing hot water on demand. There is no need to wait for water to heat up, making electric showers extremely convenient.

  • Energy Efficiency: Electric showers are energy efficient as they only heat the amount of water used, reducing wasted energy associated with heating large volumes of water in cylinders.

  • Independent System: Since they do not rely on hot water from a boiler, electric showers can still provide hot water even if it is turned off or malfunctioning.

  • Space Saving: Electric showers require less space than power showers because they don't need additional pumps or hot water cylinders.

Drawbacks of Electric Showers

  • Water Pressure Dependency: The performance of electric showers heavily relies on the incoming water pressure. The shower's performance might be less satisfactory if the main pressure.

  • Temperature Sensitivity: The water temperature can fluctuate based on the flow rate and the incoming cold water temperature, making temperature control more challenging during colder months.

  • Installation Requirements: While generally easier than installing a power shower, electric showers require electrical connections and must be installed by a qualified professional to ensure safety compliance.

Electric showers offer a practical showering solution, especially in homes where other hot water solutions are impractical or too costly. 

Their ability to deliver hot water instantly and their energy-efficient operation make them a favourable option for many households.

Shower Showdown: Power vs. Electric

When choosing between a power shower and an electric shower, several key aspects affect their performance, suitability, and cost-effectiveness for your home. 

Here’s a detailed comparison to help guide your decision:

Efficiency and Water Usage

Power Showers

They tend to use more water due to the higher flow rate achieved by the pump. 

This can be a significant factor in homes where water usage needs to be controlled or minimised. 

Although they provide a more satisfying shower experience, the increased water and energy usage can lead to higher utility bills.

Electric Showers

These are typically more water-efficient because they heat water on demand, eliminating the need to store hot water and reducing water wastage. 

Their efficiency is beneficial for both water conservation and energy savings.

Installation Requirements

Power Showers

Installation can be complex, requiring a connection between water lines and an electrical source to power the pump. 

This often necessitates professional installation, which adds to the initial setup cost.

Electric Showers

These showers are generally easier and cheaper to install since they only need to be connected to the mains water supply and the electrical system. 

They are a good choice for new homes or upgrading from an existing electric unit without extensive plumbing modifications.

Cost Implications: Initial and Long-Term

Power Showers

The initial cost for a power shower is typically higher due to the complexity of the unit and the installation requirements. 

Long-term costs can also be higher due to increased water and energy consumption.

Electric Showers

These are more cost-effective initially, with simpler installation and lower energy usage, leading to cost savings over time. 

They are particularly economical for households looking to minimise their energy consumption.

Suitability for Different Household Sizes and Water Systems

Power Showers

It is best suited for homes with a traditional boiler and an ample hot water supply. 

They are ideal for larger families or homes where multiple showers may be used simultaneously, providing a consistent water flow regardless of other water usage in the house.

Electric Showers

They are perfect for smaller households or concerns about hot water availability. 

They work well with any plumbing system and are excellent in areas with stable mains water pressure.

Understanding these differences can help homeowners make an informed choice based on their needs, considering factors like household size, existing water systems, and budget constraints. 

Power and electric showers offer distinct advantages, but their suitability varies depending on individual circumstances and preferences.

Can Your Combi Boiler Keep Up?

Combi boilers, short for combination boilers, are highly efficient multi-purpose systems designed to provide hot water and central heating directly from the mains without needing separate tanks or cylinders. 

Their operation and compatibility with different types of showers, especially in the context of power and electric showers, are crucial for making an informed decision.

Explanation of Combi Boilers in the Context of Shower Usage

Combi boilers heat water instantaneously as it passes through the device on its way to the taps or shower, eliminating the need for a hot water storage tank. 

This means the hot water is always fresh and available on demand as long as the main supply maintains adequate pressure and flow rate.

Compatibility Issues with Different Shower Types

Power Showers

Unfortunately, power showers are generally not compatible with combi boilers. 

This incompatibility arises because power showers require a flow of both hot and cold water that they can pump to increase pressure. 

Since combi boilers supply water directly at mains pressure and only heat it as it is being used, adding a pump to this setup can cause operational issues and violate local plumbing codes.

Electric Showers

In contrast, electric showers are perfectly compatible with combi boilers. 

Because electric showers heat their water independently from the boiler, using only a cold water supply from the mains, they remain unaffected by the type of boiler installed. 

Electric showers are an excellent option for homes with combi boilers, particularly when the boiler can only keep up with high demand or additional showering facilities are needed with overloading the existing system.

Understanding how combi boilers mesh with different shower types helps plan bathroom renovations or new installations. 

This ensures that the chosen shower system delivers optimal performance and aligns with the capabilities and limitations of the household's central heating and hot water system.

Power Shower with a Combi Boiler: Mission Impossible?

When considering integrating a power shower into a home with a combi boiler, homeowners often need help with the inherent incompatibilities between these systems. 

Understanding these challenges and the potential alternatives is crucial for making informed decisions about bathroom renovations or upgrades.

Challenges and Considerations

Power showers are designed to work with systems with a ready hot and cold water supply. 

They utilise a built-in pump to boost water pressure, ideal for homes with low water pressure but requiring a significant amount of pre-heated water from a hot water cylinder or tank. 

Combi boilers, on the other hand, heat water directly from the mains supply on demand and do not use stored hot water, which presents several issues:

  • Pressure and Flow Rate: Combi boilers are designed to provide high water pressure that is suitable for direct showers without needing an additional pump. Installing a power shower, which integrates a pump, can disrupt the delicate balance of pressure in the system, potentially leading to mechanical failures or decreased efficiency.

  • Regulatory Compliance: Modifying a combi boiler system to include a power shower may violate local plumbing codes or manufacturer warranties in many regions. Such modifications can affect the boiler's ability to efficiently and safely heat water.

Possible Alternatives

For those with combi boilers looking to enhance their shower experience without the complications of a power shower, consider the following alternatives:

  • Thermostatic Mixer Showers: These are equipped with a thermostatic valve that maintains a consistent water temperature even when there are fluctuations in water flow or temperature. They are suitable for combi boilers as they do not require an additional pump.

  • Electric Showers: As previously noted, electric showers heat water independently and only require a cold supply. This makes them highly compatible with combi boilers, providing a reliable shower experience without interfering with the boiler’s operation.

Choosing the right type of shower for a home with a combi boiler involves understanding the boiler system's limitations and the household's specific needs. 

While power showers are not suitable for combi boiler systems, alternatives like thermostatic mixer showers and electric showers offer viable solutions that enhance shower quality without compromising system integrity or safety.

How to Pick the Perfect Shower for Your Home

Selecting the ideal shower for your home involves carefully considering various factors that can significantly impact the overall functionality and satisfaction of your showering experience. 

Here’s a guide to help you consider all relevant factors to make an informed decision tailored to your household needs.

Factors to Consider

  • Water Pressure: Your home’s existing water pressure is a key factor in choosing the right type of shower. Homes with low water pressure might benefit from power showers incorporating pumps to boost flow. Alternatively, electric showers, less dependent on pressure, might be a better choice for homes with consistently low pressure.

  • Boiler Type: Your heating system can dictate your options. For instance, if you have a combi boiler, you're likely to steer clear of power showers due to compatibility issues, opting instead for electric or thermostatic mixer showers.

  • Household Needs: Consider your household size and the daily demands of your shower. Larger families or households with higher water usage may need more durable and capable systems that can handle multiple uses throughout the day without loss of heat or pressure.

Recommendations Based on Typical Scenarios

  • For Homes with High Water Demand: Electric showers can be an excellent choice as they provide hot water on demand and are independent of the home’s water system. This ensures everyone can enjoy a hot shower, even with multiple users, without depleting a stored water supply.

  • For Energy Efficiency: If minimising energy consumption is a priority, electric showers also tend to be more energy-efficient since they heat water only as needed, reducing energy waste compared to systems that store and continuously heat water.

  • For Enhanced Shower Experience: If the shower experience itself is paramount, and you have adequate system support (like sufficient pre-heated water storage), a power shower might be the best choice. It combines pressure and temperature control, delivering a more luxurious and powerful shower.

Consultation with Professionals

Before making a final decision, it is highly recommended to consult with plumbing professionals. 

They can provide insights into the latest technologies and products that best fit your plumbing system and needs. 

Moreover, professional advice can ensure that any new installation complies with local building codes and maximises the efficiency and longevity of your shower system. 

Considering these factors and seeking expert advice, you can choose a shower that meets your daily functional needs and contributes positively to home comfort 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  

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© 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