5 ways to make your shower more powerful

Top tricks to turn your daily drizzle into a decent drench.

Stuck with a shower that’s leaving you feeling far from refreshed? We share with you why your shower might not be up to the task and how to give it a boost. With advice from the experts, read our handy tips on how to make a shower more powerful.  

Before looking at ways to increase your shower’s performance, it’s worth understanding what’s causing it to struggle. It could be as simple as giving your shower head a spritz to banish limescale. 

Close up of shower head in use with a white tiled backgroundCredit: Shutterstock/Soho A Studio

What causes a shower to lack power?

From limescale to your water feed, lots of elements can contribute

Before attempting to make your shower more powerful, it’s important to identify what’s causing the problem. Lydia Luxford, technical and customer service manager at Easy Bathrooms, says: “One of the most common reasons for low water pressure is the supply. This is common in older houses where the original plumbing system is still in place. This will restrict the amount of water coming into your home and to the shower.  

“Another reason is if your shower head is dirty, or if your shower system itself is broken. Finally, it may even be caused by a faulty or old valve, or a leak somewhere in the system.” 

Vlad Pihlaskas, tasker at TaskRabbit, says: “You might also want to check for any pipe blockages. Sometimes a build-up of debris, rust or mineral deposits within the plumbing pipes can restrict water flow and impact power. Ensure that all valves are fully open to allow for proper water flow.

Whether it’s limescale, low water pressure, your plumbing system or an existing pump that’s faulty, we look at five ways to turn your shower experience from a dribble to a deluge. 

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1. Test or measure your water pressure

Low water pressure may need a helping hand

The power your shower generates is often down to your water system and whether you have low or high pressure. If you have low water pressure, you might need to look at a way to improve it.  

“Low water pressure can result from various reasons, such as a property’s distance from the water source, elevation, or peak water usage times in the area,” says Ronke Ugbaja, product management leader at LIXIL EMENA and Grohe UK 

It can also depend on what other appliances are running at the same time. “If multiple showers or appliances are being used simultaneously, and properties share a water supply, the water pressure can drop, affecting the shower’s power,” says Ugbaja. 

How to measure your water pressure

Before buying a power shower or shower pump to solve the problem, it’s best to check your water pressure to discover if that’s what’s causing your shower to trickle. It’s quick to do and all you need is a measuring jug, timer and calculator.  

  1. Ensure all your wet appliances, such as your dishwasher and washing machine, aren’t running, including your taps. 
  2. Place a 1l measuring jug under a cold tap. 
  3. Turn on the tap on full and time how long it takes to fill the jug to 1l. 
  4. Note down the time. 

Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs, explains how to work out your water pressure by following this simple calculation: 

60/ (time) = (x) litres per minute 

So, if your time is 9 seconds, calculate 60 divided by 9 = 6.67 litres per minute.   

“If it takes longer than eight seconds to fill your 1l jug,” says Cutchie, “then you have a poor flow rate, which is probably due to low water pressure.” In this instance, a shower pump will help to boost the pressure. 

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Tip 

As a rough guide, Chris Billingham, head of marketing and innovation at Methven UK, suggests that 10-15 litres per minute is a good pressure level, whereas more than 15 litres per minute can be considered high pressure.  

Anything less than 10 litres per minute is considered a low flow rate. 

2. Clean your shower head

Descaling your shower head will improve water flow

“There can be several reasons why a shower lacks powers,” says Cutchie. “One of the simplest reasons is a blocked shower head, which is often caused through limescale and can make it difficult for the water to pass through the various holes.” 

A build-up of limescale will block up the nozzles on your shower head and, unless regularly cleaned and removed, the sediment will affect the performance of your shower. The problem will be more of an issue if you live in a hard water area.   

There are several ways to clean stubborn limescale from your shower head, including the use of white vinegar and citric acid, although wiping over your shower head and drying it after each use will help to prevent a build-up of limescale.  

Even once you’ve given your shower head a clean, you might still find that some of the muck won’t shift. If this is the case, it’s time to buy a new shower head. You could look at investing in a water saving shower head. 

Tip 

Although it might sound like common sense, check your shower hose for any kinks, which might be restricting the water flow.   

Credit: Shutterstock/Parkin Srihawong

3. Replace your shower head

When cleaning your shower head doesn’t shift the grime

Your shower experience is tied to how your shower head distributes water. Billingham explains: “The feeling of power is a combination of the coverage of the water with the force or weight of it when it hits your skin or hair. You could have a small jet of water from the middle of your showerhead, which will feel powerful, but when you change the mode of the shower head to a greater coverage, the power is spread over a larger area, which normally makes it feel much less powerful.” 

Changing your shower head is the “cheapest way to improve the power of your shower”, according to Billingham. “The valve and the system will only be able to do so much, but the shower head can have a significant impact on the power and moreover the user experience of the shower.”  

Apart from the water pressure, how shower heads work is dependent on the size and position of the nozzles. Billingham explains: “One indicator will be the size of your shower head – the larger diameter, the more likely you will have a bigger body of water to shower under.” However, he does advise looking for nozzles that finish close to the edges of the shower head. “Some shower heads are very big but only have a small array of nozzles, so don’t improve the experience,” he adds. 

But he does have a word of caution: “More water doesn’t always mean a better shower. High flowing showers will also cost a lot more to run in both water and energy used to heat the water.” 

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4. A shower pump will boost your pressure

Pumps help if you have low water pressure

If you’ve tested your water pressure and discovered it’s on the low side, investing in a shower pump could be an option. And, according to Luxford, “it’s the most effective way to improve the pressure”. But before you splash out on one, Mira Showers suggests that you should first identify your boiler system: “If you have a combi boiler or an unvented boiler system, you shouldn’t need a pump, as these boilers provide a high water supply with a generous flow.”  

You’re more likely to experience low water pressure if you have a gravity-fed system – in this case, a shower pump can help.  

According to Pihlakas: “Water pumps vary based on brands, performance, bar size and type. It’s important to choose one that provides the correct pressure for your shower. It’s essential you get this checked by a professional plumber before installing or replacing any equipment.”  

Understanding your water system

This is a water heater and central heating boiler in one system. Water is heated directly from the mains when you turn on a tap. You don’t need a hot water cylinder or a coldwater storage tank. 

This system does not have a coldwater feed tank. Instead, it has a sealed (unvented) hot water cylinder which is fed directly from the coldwater mains and uses mains pressure. 

A coldwater tank will be positioned high up in your property, such as in an attic or loft space. A hot water cylinder will be located in an airing cupboard, which in most circumstances will be near the bathroom. 

Can you add a pump to an electric shower to make it more powerful?

“Electric showers can have a pump but these are built into the product and are not bought separately,” says Billingham. “Non-pumped electric showers need good to high pressure to work, as they won’t work on low pressure (under 0.5bar),” he adds. 

How water pressure and water flow are measured 

“Water pressure is measured in ‘bars’, with one bar equivalent to the force needed to raise water by 10 metres,” explains Ugbaja. 

The higher the bar rating, the greater the pressure. As a general guide, 1.5 bar would be suitable for a normal shower. 

“Water flow, on the other hand, measures the volume of water passing through pipes or outlets per minute, denoted in litres,” adds Ugbaja. 

5. Invest in a power shower

They can help boost your water

Another option as to how to make a shower more powerful is installing a power shower, although it’s more costly than adding a shower pump.  

It works similarly to a shower pump. According to PlumbNation, it uses the basics of a mixer shower and combines hot and cold water into one stream and a pump is then used to increase the pressure of the water coming out of the shower head.  

Power showers are particularly useful in houses with older plumbing systems, which tend to have low-water pressure systems.  

Credit: Shutterstock/Tero Vesalinen

Does my shower type affect its power?

An electric shower has a lower flow rate

The type of shower you have is also key to the amount of power behind the water’s flow rate. “Electric showers have much lower flow rates than mixer showers, as they instantaneously heat the cold water that feeds into them,” says Billingham. “To make the water hotter, you have to slow the water down as it flows through the heater tank. This means showers in the winter are affected, as the cold water is at a much lower temperature than in the summer and a lot more energy is needed to heat them.” 

Electric showers have much less power at their disposal to heat the water versus a gas boiler. “The highest power domestic electric shower you can buy is 10.8kW, whereas a gas boiler will be at least twice this power,” says Billingham. “This means the flow rate of an electric shower will be roughly half that of a mixer shower.” 

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Camilla Sharman

Written by Camilla Sharman she/her

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With her 30 years of experience, Camilla Sharman has covered a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer industries both as a feature, content, and freelance writer.  As a business journalist, Camilla has researched articles for many different sectors from the jewellery industry to finance and tech, charities, and the arts. Whatever she’s covered, she enjoys delving deep and learning the ins and out of different topics, then conveying her research within engaging content that informs the reader.