What is an Electric Shower? Explore Everything You Need To Know

neil hughes

Neil Huges

Last Updated: 20/04/2024

Are you tired of waiting for your shower to heat up? 

You're not alone. 

Many face the frustration of dealing with outdated shower systems that take forever to reach a comfortable temperature. 

If you're seeking a swift, reliable solution, an electric shower could be precisely what you need. 

Unlike traditional setups that depend on your home's heating system, electric showers offer a more immediate and energy-efficient alternative.

In this article, we'll explore the mechanics of electric showers, how they can transform your daily routine by providing instant hot water, and why they are an increasingly popular choice in homes across the UK. 

Whether you're renovating your bathroom or simply tired of lukewarm showers, understanding how an electric shower works could lead to a satisfying shower experience every time you turn the tap.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • What is an Electric Shower?: An electric shower heats water on demand using an electric element, ensuring you always have hot water available without waiting for a tank to heat up. This makes it an efficient choice for consistent, instant hot showers.

  • Efficiency and Control: Electric showers are known for their energy efficiency. They only heat the amount of water you use, helping to reduce water and energy consumption.

  • Installation Considerations: Suitable for any home, electric showers require a direct connection to your cold water supply and an electrical connection, making installation straightforward but requiring adherence to specific safety and electrical standards.

  • Variety and Options: Available in various kilowatt ratings, electric showers can be chosen based on your household size and specific water pressure requirements, allowing customisation for optimal performance.

  • Comparative Benefits: Unlike power showers that require hot and cold water supplies, electric showers are independent of the home heating system, ensuring that other household water usage does not impact shower temperature.

  • Maintenance Tips: Regular descaling and checks are recommended to maintain the efficiency and longevity of your electric shower, helping to avoid common issues such as limescale build-up or fluctuating temperatures.

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

Free PDF: Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Electric Showers

What Exactly is an Electric Shower?

An electric shower is a self-contained unit that heats water on demand, providing a steady stream of hot water independent of your household's water system. 

Unlike traditional showers that rely on pre-heated hot water from a boiler or tank, electric showers only require a cold water supply. 

They heat water instantly using an electric element, ensuring hot water is always available when you turn on the shower.

This setup is particularly beneficial in homes with high hot water demand or where you want to avoid the inconvenience of depleting hot water supplies. 

With an electric shower, you never have to wait for the water to heat up, making it a practical solution for busy families and those with hectic morning routines. 

Moreover, because it heats water as needed, it can be more energy-efficient, reducing the wastage of heating water that isn't used.

Electric showers are easy to install and an excellent option for bathrooms without access to a hot water system. 

They are also ideal for adding a shower in areas of your home where running large amounts of hot water piping would be impractical or too expensive.

How Electric Showers Work

Electric showers operate on a straightforward yet effective principle: they heat water instantly using an internal heating element, similar to how an electric kettle works, but at a much faster pace. 

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

1. Cold Water Intake

When you turn on the electric shower, cold water is drawn directly from the main supply. 

This bypasses the need for stored hot water, making electric showers particularly useful in homes without a hot water tank or with limited boiler capacity.

2. Heating the Water

The cold water enters the unit and passes over a heating element. 

This element is powered by electricity and can be adjusted to different power settings, depending on the model. 

The power rating of the element, typically ranging from 7.5 kW to 10.5 kW, dictates how quickly and effectively the water is heated.

3. Temperature Control

The user can set the desired temperature through controls on the unit. 

Adjusting the flow rate of the water can also modify the temperature: slower for hotter water faster for cooler. 

This gives you precise control over your showering experience, allowing adjustments to suit personal preference or external temperature changes.

4. Safety Features

Modern electric showers have thermostatic controls and pressure-stabilised valves to ensure the water temperature remains consistent, even when water pressure fluctuates. 

This prevents the water from suddenly getting too hot or cold, providing a safe and comfortable shower every time.

5. Delivery to the Shower Head

Once heated to the desired temperature, the water is directed to the shower head, which emerges as a steady, soothing stream ready for use.

This system ensures that electric showers are quick, convenient, and efficient. 

They only heat the amount of water you use, reducing water and energy consumption. This makes electric showers an eco-friendly choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.

Exploring the Different Types of Electric Showers

Electric showers come in various types, each designed to meet different needs and preferences. Understanding the other models can help you choose the best option for your home. 

Here are the main types of electric showers:

Standard Electric Showers

These are the most common models, which heat cold water instantly using an electric element when the shower is turned on. 

They are straightforward to install and operate and come in various power ratings, typically from 7.5 kW to 10.5 kW. 

Standard electric showers are suitable for households with high hot water demand or where continuous hot water supply is not guaranteed.

Thermostatic Electric Showers

These showers include a built-in thermostat that keeps the water temperature constant, regardless of changes in the water supply or pressure. 

This feature particularly benefits families with young children or elderly members, as it prevents scalding and ensures a safe showering environment.

Eco Electric Showers

Designed with efficiency in mind, eco-electric showers regulate water flow and heating to minimise energy consumption. 

These showers are ideal for environmentally conscious users who want to reduce their energy usage and water waste without sacrificing the comfort of a hot shower.

Digital Electric Showers

These are the most advanced type, offering complete control over temperature and flow with digital displays and remote controls. 

Some models can even remember your preferences for a personalised shower experience. Digital showers require more complex installation but provide luxury and convenience.

Each type of electric shower offers distinct advantages, from basic models providing essential functions to high-end options with advanced features for comfort and convenience. 

When choosing an electric shower, consider your household’s specific needs, your water system’s characteristics, and your budget to find the best fit.

Must-Know Requirements Before Installing an Electric Shower

Before installing an electric shower in your home, it's crucial to understand and meet specific requirements to ensure optimal performance and safety. 

Here are the essential requirements for electric showers:

Water Pressure Systems Explained

  • Minimum Running Pressure: Electric showers require a minimum running water pressure of 1 bar to operate effectively. This ensures that the water flows adequately through the heating element to maintain consistent temperature output.

  • Flow Rate: The water supply must also have a flow rate of at least 8 litres per minute. A sufficient flow rate is essential for the shower to function correctly and provide an adequate showering experience.

  • Maximum Static Pressure: It's important to ensure that your plumbing can handle a maximum static pressure of up to 10 bar to avoid damage to the shower unit and connected plumbing fixtures.

Electrical Requirements

  • Power Supply: Electric showers typically require a dedicated electrical circuit directly from the consumer unit. For safety, this circuit must be protected by a residual current device (RCD).

  • Cable Size: The electric cable size must be adequate to handle the shower's power rating, ranging between 7.5 and 10.5 kW. Using undersized cables can lead to overheating and potential electrical hazards.

  • Circuit Breaker: A suitable circuit breaker should be installed to protect the electrical circuit. The breaker's amperage will depend on the shower's power rating and the overall load on the circuit.

Safety Considerations

  • Professional Installation: Due to the electrical complexities involved, it is strongly recommended that electric showers be installed by a qualified electrician or a competent person who can ensure that all safety protocols are followed.

  • Compliance with Regulations: All installations must comply with local building and electrical regulations to ensure safety and functionality. This includes adherence to Part P of the Building Regulations, which covers the safety of electrical installations within domestic buildings in the UK.

Understanding these requirements is essential for anyone considering an electric shower.

Proper installation ensures efficient operation and safeguards against potential risks associated with water and electricity.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Your Electric Shower

Installing an electric shower involves several key steps and considerations to ensure safe operation and optimal performance. 

Below is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the installation process:

1. Choosing the Right Location

Select a location in your bathroom that allows easy access to water and electrical supply lines. 

Ensure the chosen spot provides sufficient space for the unit and safe operation.

2. Preparation and Safety Measures

Before beginning the installation, ensure all electrical sources are turned off at the mains to avoid any risk of electric shock. 

Use a voltage tester to confirm that all circuits are safe.

3. Water Supply Connection

Connect the cold water supply to the shower unit. 

This is typically done via a compression fitting that must be securely tightened to prevent leaks.

Ensure the pipe runs are as short and direct as possible to maintain water pressure.

4. Electrical Installation

  • Route the required power cable from the consumer unit to the shower, ensuring it is capable of handling the load of the shower unit. As mentioned, the installation should include an RCD for safety.

  • Connect the electrical supply to the shower unit, adhering to the wiring diagram provided in the installation manual. It is critical to ensure that all connections are tight and secure.

5. Mounting the Shower Unit

Secure the shower unit to the wall, typically at a height recommended by the manufacturer or suited to the users’ needs. Ensure the unit is mounted level to prevent operational issues.

6. Connection Testing and Sealing

  • Once connected, turn on the water and electrical supplies to test the unit for any leaks or electrical issues. Check all joints and connections while the shower runs to ensure no leaks.

  • Apply silicone sealant around the edges of the unit to prevent water ingress, which could damage the wall or the unit itself.

7. Final Setup and Adjustments

  • Adjust the settings according to the user’s preferences, and run the shower for a few minutes to verify that the water temperature and flow rate are appropriate.

  • Review the entire installation to ensure everything is in place and functioning correctly.

8. Common Challenges

  • Electrical Requirements: Ensuring your home's electrical system can accommodate the shower without overloading circuits.

  • Plumbing Integration: Integrating the shower with existing plumbing, especially in older homes, can be challenging and may require professional help.

Following these detailed steps, you can install an electric shower. 

However, given the electrical complexities involved, it is highly recommended that you hire or consult with a professional plumber or electrician. 

This ensures the installation complies with all safety standards and local regulations.

How to Choose the Perfect Electric Shower for Your Home

Selecting the right electric shower for your home involves considering several factors affecting performance and satisfaction. 

Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Kilowatt Power Rating

An electric shower's power rating affects its efficiency and showering experience. 

Higher kilowatt ratings (typically from 7.5 kW to 10.5 kW) heat water faster and provide a more powerful shower. 

Consider a higher kW unit if frequent and vigorous showers are common in your household. However, remember that higher power ratings may require more robust electrical installations.

Water Pressure Compatibility

Check your home’s water pressure before choosing a shower. 

Electric showers generally need a minimum pressure of 1 bar to operate effectively. 

If your water pressure is low, consider models explicitly designed for such conditions or installing a pump to boost pressure.

Size of Household

The size of your household and usage patterns should influence your choice. 

For larger families, a shower with a higher kilowatt rating and a durable design is preferable because it can withstand heavy use.

Energy Efficiency

Look for electric showers with energy-saving features such as eco modes. These modes adjust the water flow and heating element to reduce energy consumption without compromising performance.

Installation Requirements

Ensure that your electrical system is compatible with the specifications of the electric shower you are considering. 

This may involve upgrading your wiring or ensuring your circuit breaker can handle the load.

User Features

Modern electric showers have various features, such as digital temperature controls, LCDs, and memory functions that recall your preferred settings. 

Choose a model that offers the features that will enhance your daily routine.

Safety Features

Opt for showers with built-in safety features like thermostatic controls, which prevent sudden changes in water temperature. 

This is particularly important in households with young children or elderly members.

Design and Aesthetics

Since the shower is a significant component of your bathroom, consider the design and aesthetics. 

Modern electric showers in various styles complement your bathroom’s décor.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an electric shower that meets your practical needs and contributes to your home's overall comfort and style. 

Consulting with a professional can provide additional insights, especially regarding compatibility and installation specifics.

Electric Showers vs. Power Showers: Which Wins?

Understanding the differences between electric and power showers can help you decide which is best for your home’s infrastructure and personal preferences. 

Here’s a comprehensive comparison:

Definition and Basic Operation

Electric Showers

These showers heat water instantaneously using an electric element as it passes through the unit, requiring only a cold water supply. 

They are independent of the home's hot water system and are known for their ability to provide a consistent shower temperature.

Power Showers

Unlike electric showers, power showers draw water from hot and cold water supplies and use an integrated pump to increase water pressure. 

They are ideal for homes with low water pressure but require access to stored hot water and can consume more energy due to the pumping mechanism.

Installation Requirements

Electric Showers

They are typically easier and less expensive to install because they do not require a connection to both water systems or an additional pump. 

They are suitable for any home, regardless of the existing water system.

Power Showers

Installation can be more complex and costly. 

They are unsuitable for homes with a combination boiler as these systems do not have a cold water tank.

Energy Efficiency and Water Usage

Electric Showers

They are more energy-efficient because they heat only the water used during the shower, reducing water wastage and energy costs.

Power Showers

They are less energy-efficient as they involve heating water and using an electric pump to boost pressure, leading to higher energy and water usage.

Performance and User Experience

Electric Showers

Offer a consistent water flow at a pre-set temperature, regardless of other water usage in the house. 

They are generally less powerful than power showers but provide a steady output that is reliable and adjustable.

Power Showers

Provide a more vigorous showering experience due to the higher pressure and flow rate. 

They are ideal for those who prefer a more forceful shower but can be affected by the simultaneous use of other water appliances in the house.

Cost Implications

Electric Showers

Lower running costs and generally have a lower initial purchase price. 

Their maintenance is typically straightforward, involving regular descaling depending on water hardness.

Power Showers

It is more expensive to run due to higher water and energy consumption. 

The initial cost can also be higher, especially when factoring in the installation and potential plumbing adjustments.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Electric Showers

Advantageous for ensuring a continuous hot water supply without affecting other household hot water needs. 

The main disadvantage is the flow rate, which might be lower than power showers.

Power Showers

The main advantage is the enhanced shower experience with higher pressure and flow, making them preferred in homes with low water pressure. 

The disadvantage lies in their dependency on your home’s hot water capacity and higher operational costs.

By understanding these differences, you can make a well-informed decision based on your household needs, shower experience preferences, and energy and cost efficiency considerations.

Top Benefits of Choosing an Electric Shower

Electric showers offer a range of benefits that make them a popular choice for many households. 

Understanding these advantages can help you determine if an electric shower is the right fit for your bathroom. Here are the key benefits:

Instant Hot Water

One of the primary benefits of electric showers is the ability to provide hot water on demand. 

Unlike traditional systems that require heating a tank of water, electric showers heat water instantly as it passes through the unit, ensuring you never have to wait for a hot shower.

Energy Efficiency

Electric showers are highly energy-efficient because they only heat the amount of water you use. 

Heating a full tank of water that might not be used does not waste energy, which can lead to significant savings on your energy bills.

Reduced Water Usage

With features like flow control and adjustable settings, electric showers can help reduce overall water consumption. 

Heating water on demand also eliminates the need to store hot water, which can decrease water wastage due to heat loss from the tank.

Easy Installation

Electric showers require less complex installation than power or systems that need hot and cold water feeds. 

This simplicity makes them suitable for all types of homes, including those without access to a loft for a cold water tank.

Space Saving

Since electric showers do not require a hot water tank, they are an excellent option for smaller homes and apartments where space is at a premium. 

The compact design of the shower unit itself also helps conserve space in the bathroom.

Independent System

Electric showers do not rely on the home's boiler or hot water system, making them particularly useful during boiler breakdowns. 

They ensure you can access hot water even if your central heating system fails.


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

Their straightforward maintenance involves regular descaling to maintain efficiency and performance, especially in hard water areas.

Consistent Water Temperature

Advanced electric showers have thermostatic controls that maintain consistent water temperatures even when water pressure fluctuates. 

This feature enhances safety and comfort, making electric showers suitable for families with young children or elderly members.

These benefits make electric showers versatile and practical for enhancing your bathroom's functionality and comfort while catering to environmental and budgetary considerations.

Maximising Energy Efficiency with Electric Showers

Electric showers are renowned for their energy efficiency, offering significant advantages over traditional hot water systems. 

Here’s an in-depth look at how electric showers save energy and contribute to a more environmentally friendly household:

Heating Water on Demand

Unlike systems that store hot water in a tank, electric showers heat only the water used during a shower. 

This on-demand heating method eliminates the energy wastage associated with keeping a water tank hot, which often loses heat over time and requires continual energy to maintain temperature.

Controlled Water Usage

The design of electric showers allows for precise control over the amount of water used. 

Many models come with eco settings that optimise water flow and temperature, further reducing the energy required for heating. 

This control helps minimise excess water and energy use, making each shower more efficient.

Lower Kilowatt Ratings

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

Choosing a shower with an appropriate kilowatt rating for your needs can help conserve energy. 

For instance, lower-kilowatt showers suit smaller households or those with lesser hot water requirements, conserving energy without compromising performance.

Impact on Utility Bills

The efficiency of electric showers can translate into lower utility bills. 

By heating only the water you use and only when you need it, these showers can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed, reflected in reduced electricity costs compared to heating large volumes of water in tanks.

Technological Advancements

Modern electric showers incorporate advanced technologies that improve energy efficiency. 

Features such as thermostatic controls ensure the water remains at a constant temperature, reducing the need for additional heating if the water cools down in the system, thereby saving energy.

Environmental Impact

Electric showers contribute to a smaller environmental footprint by reducing water and energy consumption. 

This mainly benefits homes seeking to reduce energy usage and support sustainability initiatives.

Electric showers represent a practical solution for environmentally conscious homeowners. 

Their ability to efficiently use energy helps manage household expenses and supports broader environmental goals by reducing overall energy consumption.

Keeping Your Electric Shower Running Smoothly

Proper maintenance and regular care are essential for ensuring the longevity and performance of your electric shower. 

Here are practical steps and tips for maintaining your electric shower:

Regular Descaling

Electric showers in areas with hard water are prone to limescale buildup, which can impair their efficiency and longevity. 

Regular descaling of the heating element and showerhead can prevent this buildup. 

You can clean the showerhead and hoses with commercially available descaling solutions or vinegar every few months.

Check for Leaks and Hose Wear

Regularly inspect the shower unit, hoses, and connections for any signs of wear or leaks. 

Worn-out hoses or connections can cause water damage and should be replaced promptly to maintain the shower's safety and efficiency.

Cleaning the Shower Unit

Keep the exterior of the shower unit clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or pads that could scratch the surface. 

A gentle cleanser can be used to remove soap scum and water stains, ensuring the unit remains visually appealing and functional.

Showerhead Maintenance

Clean the showerhead regularly to remove debris or buildup that might clog the nozzles, affecting water flow and spray patterns. 

This can be done by soaking the showerhead in a descaling solution or vinegar and using a small brush to clear the nozzles.

Electrical Connections and Settings Check

It's advisable to have a professional check your electric shower's electrical connections and settings periodically, especially if you notice any fluctuations in water temperature or shower performance. 

This ensures all components are functioning correctly and safely.

Replacement of Parts

Certain parts of the shower, such as the shower hose, the showerhead, or the seals, may need to be replaced over time. 

Regular checks will help you identify when a replacement is needed, preventing larger issues.

Consult the Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Always refer to the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions for specific care tips and schedules. 

Adhering to these guidelines ensures you avoid inadvertently voiding warranties or causing damage through improper care. 

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can extend the life of your electric shower and ensure it continues to perform efficiently. 

Regular attention keeps your shower in top working condition and enhances your daily showering experience.

Wrapping Up: Why Electric Showers Are a Smart Choice

In conclusion, electric showers offer a practical and efficient solution for modern bathrooms, combining convenience, cost-effectiveness, and energy efficiency. 

They provide instant hot water, require minimal installation effort, and are suitable for any home, making them an increasingly popular choice among homeowners.

Key Points to Remember

  • Instantaneous Hot Water: Electric showers heat water on demand, eliminating waiting times and reducing water wastage.

  • Energy and Cost Efficiency: Electric showers can significantly reduce energy bills and environmental impact by heating only the water used.

  • Ease of Installation and Use: These showers are straightforward to install and operate, making them ideal for new constructions and bathroom renovations.

  • Adaptable to Various Needs: With different types, such as standard, thermostatic, and digital electric showers, there is an option to suit every household's needs and preferences.

  • Maintenance Simplicity: Regular descaling and basic upkeep can keep an electric shower running efficiently for years.

Electric showers represent a smart investment for those considering a bathroom upgrade or facing issues with existing hot water systems. 

Not only do they enhance the daily showering experience, but they also align with eco-friendly practices by conserving water and electricity.

Whether renovating or replacing an old shower, an electric shower could be the key to a more streamlined, enjoyable, and cost-effective bathing experience. 


© 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