In the mornings, before you jump in the shower, do you hesitate because you know it’s going to be a chilly dribble and you have to brace yourself for the experience? Or do you bounce into the bathroom, stripping off as you do, eager to jump into the flow of hot water?
If it’s the former, then you know what time it is. That’s right: there’s no better moment to upgrade your electric shower.
Of course, it might be that you’re creating a new shower room from scratch and are considering an electric shower as your cleaning station of choice. Read on for all your need to know before you buy one.
Why an electric shower?
If you live in an older building or are replacing an existing electric shower, it’s infinitely easier and cheaper to install one than to rip out the plaster, re-route the pipes and put in what’s called a mixer shower (i.e. one that relies on your boiler providing hot water, which it mixes with cold to your desired temperature).
An electric shower works like your electric kettle, with an element inside that heats the water before it comes out. This means it’s ready whenever you are, without your having to heat a tank of hot water beforehand, thus saving you money.
What do I need to know before purchasing an electric shower?
Electric showers come in varying kilowatts of power, which will determine with how much water is heated up at a time and doesn’t necessarily equate to a more powerful flow. Generally the range of kilowatts is from 7kW to 10.5kW. While you may be tempted to go for the highest wattage, you need to be guided by what your system can handle.
For the full monty of 10.5kW, you need to have 1.5 bar of water pressure, a 45A fuse or circuit breaker, plus a 10mm electric cable to the shower. Not sure if you have all that? Best get a registered trader in to check and make a considered recommendation based on your system.
The other aspect of electric showers to be aware of is that some are thermostatic, which in theory means they keep the temperature at an even keel, even if someone turns on a tap elsewhere in your home. However, a Which? test found that this isn’t always the case, so you could be as well off with an ordinary one.
Any cons to be aware of?
Mostly aesthetic ones, as they aren’t the most elegant pieces of equipment you’ll install in your home, with their clunky boxes. They’re also prone to fuzzing up with limescale inside – again, just like your kettle – if you live in a hard-water area and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
How do I choose one?
Once you’ve tackled the kilowatt question, which will narrow down your choice, how else do you decide which electric shower is for you?
Something to look out for are the number of pipe and electrical points on the unit. The more there are, the more likely it is it will be able to fit into your existing set up.
To help you make your final decision, we’ve gathered together the best – in our opinion – of what’s out there. Here’s our selection…
Mira Azora 9.8kW Dual
Best for: Attractive design and lots of great features
Not the cheapest electric shower by any means, but certainly the best looking, in our humble opinion. Of course, you can’t judge by how handsome a thing is, so happily this one has other appealing features to pick up points.
For starts, there are two ways to shower: one is with the static overhead rain shower, and the other is for handholding and spraying where you like. It also features what the manufacturer calls Mira Clearscale technology. It doesn’t stop limescale completely, but slows it down by 50 per cent, so your shower unit will last longer.
It’s a thermostatic shower, which means it will keep the water temperature the same even if someone flushes a toilet elsewhere in your home. Finally, it comes with a reassuring two-year guarantee.
Buy now £372.98, PlumbWorld
Triton Danzi DuElec Electric Shower 9.5kW
Best for: A sensibly priced two-head option
Another two-header, this electric shower also features an overhead rain shower, and a hand-held nozzle that you can adjust in height, which offers a choice of five spray patterns.
You can choose from either a white or black finish as well, which goes some way to appeasing the aesthete in us. The soft-touch buttons are gently lit, and there’s an easy diverter to switch between overhead and handheld. It comes with a comforting two-year guarantee.
All of these things combine to provide a well-priced version of more expensive models and will appeal to those who can live without the higher spec touches.
Buy now £197.99, PlumbWorld
Briston Glee 3 Electric Shower, 10.5kW
Best for: If your system can handle a 10.5kW electric shower
An electric shower that was designed to make installation easy? Sounds like a good idea to us. It’s down to having several points where the electricity and water pipes can be connected, so it will fit into lots of different situations.
Plus this one has other benefits to recommend it, like a digital temperature display, a choice of three power levels, a useful two-year guarantee, a built-in soap dish (well, you have to put it somewhere!), a large shower head, a warm-up mode that lets you know when the water is at the right temperature and a pleasing chrome finish.
Buy now £133.77, Amazon
Triton Sevelle Universal Electric Shower, 7.5kW
Best for: Buying on a budget
You need a new electric shower, but the readies aren’t so ready. What to do? Here’s an easy answer: go for this exceedingly well-priced one from a well-known brand. It’s not the prettiest and it has only the one spray pattern, but it’s a 7.5kW, so your basic electrics should be able to handle it without doing any upgrading.
It has separate flow and temperature controls, offers several electric cable and water connection points – so chances are good it will fit your existing set up. The electric shower also comes with a reassuring two-year parts and labour guarantee so long as it’s fitted within the UK. Basically, it’s a reasonable, good, working shower without the bells and whistles.
Buy now £67.90, Amazon
Mira Advance Thermostatic, 8.7kW
Best for: A powerful flow
If your main criteria when choosing an electric shower is the force of the flow, then this one should be on your shortlist. Pricier than some, but for reliability and long-lasting service, the Mira brand is definitely up there –many Mira shower owners come back for another when it’s time to get a replacement.
This model features the Mira Clearscale technology that cuts limescale build-up by 50 per cent, so the unit lasts longer in hard water areas; an audible beep when the water has reached your requested temperature, thus avoiding getting blasted with cold water; an intuitive temperature dial and that thermostatic control so there’s no fluctuation in heat. It also comes with a two-year guarantee.
Buy now £269.00, Amazon
Bristan Bliss 3 Electric Shower, 10.5 kW
Best for: Digital controls without spending a fortune
Although this electric shower has better looks than some, with its shiny chrome head and bracket and ultra-modern looking unit, the aspect we like best is its anti-limescale feature. It works by flushing any leftover water out of the system when you turn it off, so water can’t lurk around to deposit its scale.
Of course, it’s not 100 per cent effective, but it does help, and if you live in a hard water area you’ll appreciate anything of this nature. On the cool-features scale, this one gets a 9.5 for its digital temperature display, touch controls and warm-up mode: the unit lets you know when the water has reached your desired temperature, so you don’t jump in and get the chillies before it’s ready.
Buy now £178.95, Amazon
Triton Collection II Contemporary Electric Shower, Black Gloss, 9.5 KW
Best for: Lots of features at a not top-of-the-range price
A handsome looker, this electric shower features illuminated soft-touch buttons, separate temperature and flow controls. There’s what the manufacturer calls ‘phased shut down’, which means any remaining water is expelled after you turn the shower off so it can’t hang around to fuzz up the innards with limescale, which is not 100 per cent effective, but does slow down the rate it builds up.
Other handy features include three spray patterns, an anti-twist hose to avoid kinks and a two-year guarantee. It also provides a generous flow of water. All that and from a trusted British-made brand, which saves on the travel miles, meaning it’s better for the planet.
Buy now £176.88, Amazon
Triton Aspirante Collection II, White Gloss, 8.5 KW
Best for: Contemporary good looks at a sensible price
You’ll impress the overnight guests when they find this electric shower in the bathroom. Its uncluttered design gives it Brownie points, along with the illuminated soft-touch buttons for raising or lowering the temperature, a post-shower flush feature to reduce limescale build-up, and a happy-making two-year parts and labour guarantee. There are also three spray patterns from the large shower head and, as with all showers that run off mains water, it only heats the water that’s being used, so it’s the most economical way to wash yourself. Finally, it’s British made, which means it’s a local product that didn’t have to travel halfway around the world to get to you, meaning it’s kinder to the environment. Win, win.
Buy now £149.99, Amazon
Aqualisa Quartz Electric, Chrome, 10.5kW
Best for: Good looks and cool features
A deceptively minimalist design makes this electric shower a showstopper in the bathroom, where most contenders are clunky in comparison. However, behind the plain facade lurk a number of features that have earned it its place in this list.
There are five spray patterns, anti-limescale protection (this one has a post-shower cold flush to get rid of any lingering water), a powerful flow, smooth temperature control with LED display and it’s available in three ratings: 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5kW. It even comes in three finishes: white, silver and graphite, so you can colour coordinate with your bathroom. We got you covered, you style mavens.
Buy now £322.50, Amazon
Gainsborough 97554041, 8.5kW
Best for: A budget buy with a bit of extra
This electric shower features what the manufacturer calls ‘spray control’. What this means is that the water nozzles adjust depending on the rate of water flow. If the water is coming in forcefully, the nozzles expand to allow as much as possible through; if the flow rate decreases the nozzles contract so the flow is kept up. Clever, eh?
There’s one simple dial to control both temperature and rate of flow and, while it’s a budget buy, it’s a reliable one. It may not have all the bells and whistles, or the good looks, of its pricier cousins, but if you’re looking for a basic shower at a good price this is a good call.
Buy now £79.99, Amazon
Triton T80 Easi-Fit+ White/chrome 8.5kw
Best for: The most options in the budget bracket
Considering the price, you get a lot for the money with this electric shower. It’s available in versions from 7.5kW right up to 10.5kW, has two simple dials – one for temperature and one for flow – and there’s a choice of five spray patterns. We found the force of the flow pretty impressive, even with the 7.5kW version.
Also in its favour are the number of electric cable and water-pipe connection possibilities, so it’s likely to fit into your existing configuration. It’s your basic shower, but with a bit of oomph and a great choice if you haven’t a big budget but want a reasonable shower experience.
Buy now £99.99, B&Q