Best Shower Head 2018: High-Pressure & Powerful Low-Flow Fixture Reviews

Home / Best Shower Head 2018: High-Pressure & Powerful Low-Flow Fixture Reviews

Whether you’re dealing with a lack of pressure at home, or just prefer a higher-pressure shower head than average, we’ve got you covered! This guide is the perfect place to find advice on shopping for high-pressure fixtures. It’s also full of our recommendations for shower heads that maximize pressure and power!
We’ve had a lot of experience dealing with low pressure, so we know what you’re up against. In our in-depth reviews, we’ll explain why the fixtures we’ve chosen are the perfect solutions for your shower!

Here’s a quick glance at our Top Three high-pressure shower head picks!

BEST ON A BUDGET
BEST SELLER
BEST QUALITY
top budget pick
Delta 75152SpeakmanHigh Sierra
Our Rating: 4.6
Popularity: Very High
Our Rating: 4.6
Popularity: Very High
Our Rating: 4.7
Popularity: High
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

Best High-Pressure Shower Head Reviews

  • Delta 75152 3-7/8″ Single-Function Shower Head with H2Okinetic Technologytop pick for low flow showerhead
  • Speakman S-4000-E175 Reaction Fixed 1.75 GPM Shower Head
  • High Sierra’s All Metal 1.5/1.8 GPM High Efficiency Low Flow Shower Head
  • High Sierra’s Solid Metal Low Flow Handheld Shower Head Kit (1.5/1.8 GPM)
  • Speakman S-2252 Signature Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable 2.5 GPM Solid Brass Shower Head
  • Hansgrohe 27447821 Raindance E 120 AIR 3-Jet Shower Head

1.Delta 75152 3-7/8″ Single-Function Shower Head with H2Okinetic Technology

top budget pick

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The Delta is our budget pick for buyers trying to get a high-pressure shower head. It’s incredibly inexpensive, and it gives you lots of bang for your buck! This might not be the fanciest fixture on the market, but it’s a good bargain and it’s far better than other plastic models.

Pros:

It’s remarkably good at boosting pressure, for something so cheap. The Delta can make up for even severe pressure issues. That’s the primary reason this one’s become a best-seller! It might not be as elegant or rugged as more expensive options, but it can take a sad trickle to a full-powered spray that hits the back wall of your shower!

This one is the cheapest we’ve ever found that makes a substantial difference in pressure, even in extreme cases! The Delta is ideal for anyone who needs a serious boost but doesn’t want to spend much money at all.

The Delta’s H2O Kinetic design tech creates a wave-like spray pattern, which creates the sensation of fuller volume. It’s doesn’t sting, unlike other cheap pressure-boosting fixtures. That’s because the droplets stay quite large, rather than being split into a small mist. There’s no aeration either, so this one maintains heat very well.

The spray pattern also produces a sort of pulse, which is super relaxing to be under. It’s like a simplified massage setting.

You can choose your flow rate! The Delta has a simple control knob which switches from full blast (2.5 GPM) to a water-saving mode (1.8 GPM). The 1.8 GPM setting is enough for most people to get through a shower, but having the higher flow setting is handy for rinsing hair quickly.

The four large spray channels are great for dealing with hard water. They don’t clog easily at all, and they’re large enough to clean inside using brushes! Compared to the tiny spray channels on other inexpensive high-pressure heads, they’re effortless to deal with.

It’s sturdier than other plastic models. The Delta has thick housing, and a metal ball joint for added longevity. It won’t last as long or feel as sturdy as a metal model, but it’s a good investment on a tight budget.

It’s covered by a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

It’s almost entirely plastic. Aside from the ball joint, the entirety of the Delta’s components are light plastic materials. So, one of these isn’t going to compare to a High Sierra or other all-metal fixture in the durability department. We think the Delta is a great inexpensive option for tight budgets, but if you can afford to go for something a bit heavier, we think you should.

It’s not a great looker. This isn’t quite as bad as a Whedon in the aesthetics department, but it’s certainly not very elegant. Again, if you can spend more money, you’ll get much better-looking options.

It’s not as amazing at boosting pressure as a High Sierra. The Delta will make a significant difference in most applications, but it’s not foolproof. The spray is also relatively narrow, compared to the High Sierra. So, if you want higher pressure along with additional coverage, it’s worth spending more.

Plus, you’ll use more water with the Delta than with the ultra-efficient High Sierra’s. The High Sierra’s are better at giving you boosts volume and pressure without actually needing more water to do it.

There are two different pressure settings, but there’s not really any way to adjust the spray pattern itself.

You can’t get it in any finish other than chrome.

2. Speakman S-4000-E175 Reaction Fixed 1.75 GPM Shower Head

trendy option for showerhead

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This Speakman model is a trendy new option for boosting pressure. It’s a bit “out there” aesthetically, but if you’re into funky modern decor, it’s a lot more functional than it looks! Consumer Reports gave this one top marks for value and effectiveness, and we’re inclined to agree! While the looks might not be for everyone, there’s no arguing with the Speakman’s functionality!

Pros:

It’s available in 4 different flow rates: 1.5 GPM, 1.75 GPM, 2.0 GPM and 2.5 GPM. We suggest either the 1.75 GPM or 2.0 GPM options. Both offer significant water savings, and we think that both perform as well as the 2.5 GPM model. Don’t bother with the 1.5 GPM model, though. It’s nowhere near as good as the rest, and the 1.5 GPM High Sierra’s below are far better for roughly the same price.

The big highlight of this model compared to the Delta is the fact that the 1.75 GPM and 2.0 GPM models feel as powerful as the Delta, even at its 2.5 GPM setting! So, you’ll be able to save a lot more water.

The Speakman’s defining feature, apart from the wide disc face, is an internal turbine engine which adds pressure as water travels through the fixture. It spreads individual droplets to each spray channel, and speeds up the velocity of each one.

As a result, the Speakman offers a much wider spray than the Delta, while providing about the same boost in pressure! It’s our top choice for folks who like the immersive quality of a rain shower head but need some extra power.

Thanks to the turbine inside the fixture, the Speakman’s spray pattern that results has a pulsating sensation, much like the Delta. It’s relaxing and has a unique rhythm.

It looks completely unique! With the Speakman’s colored, translucent disc face, you’re sure to grab attention! It comes in several different color options. The metal components on the back of the fixture are finished in chrome. We suggest this for modern decor styles.

It’s still quite reasonably-priced. The Speakman costs about twice as much as the Delta, but is still well in the budget range.

It cleans relatively easily for something with so many spray channels. The spray face wipes clean, and you can easily remove and soak the whole fixture in vinegar to clear hard water accumulation.

Cons:

It’s twice the price of the Delta.

It’s partially plastic, even though it costs close to the same as an all-metal High Sierra

There aren’t any adjustments. This is a single-setting fixture, so if you’re not a fan of the spray pattern, there’s not much you can do.

It’s as effective as the Delta at boosting pressure, but not as effective as a High Sierra.

The turbine mechanism isn’t as durable as the solid High Sierra orifice, either.

The smaller droplets with this model can feel a bit on the mistier, tinglier side of things. They’re not as relaxing as the High Sierra’s or more expensive Speakman options.

The small spray channels aren’t good for homes with hard water.

This one isn’t going to work in bathrooms with traditional or rustic looks. It’s very modern, so it’s best in contemporary settings.

3. High Sierra’s All Metal 1.5/1.8 GPM High Efficiency Low Flow Shower Head

top pick for low flow showerhead

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High Sierra’s ultra low-flow fixtures are our absolute favorite water-savers right now. They’re also some of our favorite choices for boosting pressure! High Sierra’s fixed models come in both 1.5 GPM and 1.8 GPM formats, so you can choose the best flow rate for your own shower.

Both produce large, relaxing drops with better coverage and pressure than anything else we’ve reviewed! As long as you don’t need lots of features and adjustments, we think these are the best fixed shower heads for high-pressure performance!

Click here for the 1.5 GPM model and here for the 1.8 GPM model.

Pros:

They’re built incredibly well. High Sierra’s shower heads are solid metal, from the fitting to the nozzle. They’re hefty in the hand and practically indestructible. There aren’t any moving parts aside from the ball joint, either. That’s a key advantage over our less expensive picks.

They’re made in the USA, too! In an age where so many shower heads are imported from abroad with poor quality control, it’s nice to be able to support domestic manufacturing and real build quality!

The unique spray orifice is miles better than traditional spray channels. It might seem odd-looking compared to shower heads with many smaller channels, but the single spray channel is possibly the best innovation we’ve seen in shower heads!

It produces large droplets, which spread wide but keep enough volume to be comforting and relaxing. Since it doesn’t use aeration, the droplets are actually useful for rinsing, and they never feel stingy. Plus, you’re not wasting any heat energy!

Having one single spray orifice means there aren’t individual spray channels, so there aren’t any gaps in coverage where drops don’t fall. The High Sierra’s immerse your whole body! Flow is consistent throughout the cone area, right to the periphery.

The nozzle produces a defined cone of coverage, while minimizing any misting or overspray. So, all the water it uses actually ends up on your body! Compare that to the Speakman above, which tends to fling quite a few smaller drops around.

These are the best fixtures on the market when it comes to boosting pressure effectively. They’re miles ahead of the Delta or the Speakman! The orifice design, combined with the super low flow rates, make a huge difference. They’re the closest shower heads we’ve found to being foolproof.

They’re incredibly efficient with water. The 1.5 GPM model will save you 40% of your usage, while the 1.8 GPM model will still save you 28% on water and energy bills! They’re both WaterSense and LEED-certified. We suggest the 1.8 GPM for higher shower installations (6.5’ to 7’) In most other setups, we find that the 1.5 GPM is more than suitable.

They’re also very efficient with the water they do use! They keep everything tightly contained in the spray cone, so there’s practically no waste.

You can get them with or without trickle valves. It’s super convenient to be able to switch the flow on and off without losing your temperature setting each time!

The single spray channel is impervious to hard water. It blasts out any mineral accumulation, and it’s easy to wipe down. Likewise, it doesn’t grow mold or mildew

They look great. The solid metal housing comes in chrome, nickel, brass and bronze finishes. They’re simple and elegant, and they work with a wide range of aesthetics.

They’re not expensive. They’ll pay for themselves in no time, and probably last indefinitely.

They’re covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, plus a 2-year warranty. The company is also super helpful with troubleshooting your pressure issues. They’ll even work with you to customize a fixture for your specific pressure problem, if the factory models don’t work perfectly!

Cons:

The only downside of these models is the lack of adjustments and options. There’s just one flow setting, so if you’re not a fan, you’ll simply have to try something else! If you’re looking for a more versatile pressure-boosting shower head, try the Speakman Anystream below.

4. High Sierra’s Solid Metal Low Flow Handheld Shower Head Kit

favorite handheld models

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We’ve just raved about High Sierra’s fixed shower heads, and now we’re going to do it all over again with their handheld fixtures! These complete handheld shower head kits have everything you need to get up and running, including the fittings, hose, and bracket. They’re available in the same flow rates as the fixed models, and they share all the smart design features to boot!

These are by far the most powerful handheld shower fixtures we’ve ever reviewed. They produce ample flow and coverage, but they don’t sting when you use them up close. We think they’re the perfect pressure-boosting solution for someone who wants a handheld fixture!

The 1.5 GPM model is recommended for most buyers while the 1.8 GPM model is recommended for people with higher shower settings or those who simply want more volume.

Pros:

These handheld fixtures use the same cone design as the fixed High Sierra’s. It produces a
tight cone of water with minimal misting around the edges. Whether you’re using these in handheld or overhead positions, they give you consistent coverage throughout the spray area, with big drops which are soothing and relaxing at any distance.

Just like the fixed versions, the handheld High Sierra’s offer fantastic pressure improvements. They’re the absolute best handheld shower heads we’ve ever seen in the pressure department. The competition isn’t even close! If you’ve always wanted handhelds but avoided them because of weak flow, you should give these a try!

You can certainly tell the difference between fixed High Sierra’s and other fixed models, but the boost in pressure and the feeling of volume is even more apparent in a handheld format. So many other handheld units are anemic, weak, or spotty to use. That’s especially true when you try to use them overhead! This one gives you fantastic pressure in whatever position you want it!

Having extra power without an aggressive spray makes these a pleasure to use when you’re trying to massage a sore spot or relax at the end of the day. Plus, you can rinse more effectively as well!

They’re offered at the same two flow rates as the overhead High Sierra’s: 1.8 GPM and 1.5 GPM. We recommend the 1.5 GPM to most people, unless you have a higher shower installation which requires the additional volume you get with the 1.8 GPM model.

You can adjust the angle of the spray head right on the fixture, rather than having to reposition the whole thing. To change the angle of most handheld units in the overhead position, you have to adjust the holder/bracket. That often ends with the fixture falling out onto you. The High Sierra’s ball joint on the fixture itself means that’s not a problem.

The hose is extra-long, and extremely rugged. It’s about 1 foot longer than other the hoses that are sold as standard with other handheld shower kits. The High Sierra hose is also made entirely of metal. It’s sturdy without feeling stiff–the sweet spot for any handheld hose.

As with the fixed versions, these handheld models are all solid metal, and made in the USA.

The rubberized grip gives you something secure to hold onto, and breaks up the metalwork on the piece. These are actually the only grips we’ve had no complaints about! They’re tactile without feeling sticky, and they’re bonded to the metal in such a way that we can’t think how they’d come loose!

Everything’s easy to clean. As we mentioned in our review of the fixed High Sierra’s, the single spray orifice is actually quite good at cleaning itself, and it doesn’t accumulate either mold or mineral buildup.

They’re available in the same finish options as the fixed overhead models: bronze, brass, chrome, and nickel. These go super easily with all sorts of decor, too.

Just like the fixed overhead models, these handheld High Sierra’s are covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year warranty.

Cons:

As with the fixed versions of the High Sierra’s, there aren’t any adjustments or options on the handheld models.

These are much pricier than the fixed overhead models we’ve recommended above. They’re actually some of the cheapest high-quality handheld fixtures on the market, though.

5. Speakman Anystream Icon

top rated shower head

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The Speakman Anystream is one of our overall favorite shower heads regardless of home water pressure. Like the High Sierra’s, though, it’s remarkably good in even low-pressure homes!

The Anystream is by far the most versatile of our pressure-boosting picks. We think it’s the best option for people who want a pressure boost as well as lots of spray options.

Pros:

This latest version of the Anystream is finally made of solid brass. Build quality was one of the few flaws on the older Anystream’s, so we absolutely love the upgraded Icon series. It’s sturdy and reliable.

It’s incredibly versatile. The Anystream really does live up to its name! There are 6 different plunger nozzle centers on the spray face, with a grand total of 48 independent sprays. They’re all adjustable via the single control knob.

Using the knob, you can get anything from a rainfall, wide coverage setting to a focused massage stream. It’s pretty much infinite in terms of possibilities!

The best part is that the knob turns freely through a 360 degree range, without any fixed settings along the way. So, you aren’t limited by factory presets at all. You can choose exactly the shape and feel that you want for each shower.

It does the best job boosting pressure of any multi-setting fixture we’ve reviewed. While the Anystream isn’t quite as much of a miracle worker as the High Sierra’s, it makes a substantial difference in homes with lower pressure. We think that most people will find that it’s more than enough to give them a full-intensity shower!

It works without a moving turbine system, unlike the Speakman Reaction. Having fewer moving parts means it’s much more reliable. The Anystream uses clever spray channel designs and plunger nozzles to increase pressure without any tricks like turbines or aeration.

This 2.0 GPM version that we’re recommending also does a better job throttling down the volume of water coming out, so as to maximize pressure. We’ve found that it’s more consistent than the 2.5 GPM model in terms of boosting pressure. Plus, it saves you 20% on your utility bills. It’s WaterSense and LEED certified!

It’s easy to clean, and relatively good at handling hard water The plunger heads pretty much clean themselves, except in the most extreme cases.

The Anystream comes in chrome, brass, nickel, and bronze finishes. They’re all coated onto solid brass, so you don’t have to worry about avoiding the chrome version of this model! We think the whole range looks fantastic, too!

It’s covered by a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

It’s not as foolproof a pressure booster as a High Sierra. If you have severe pressure issues, you may find that you need to go for a High Sierra instead of the Anystream. Still, we think that anyone who would rather have something more versatile should give the Speakman a try first.

You’ll end up using more water, too. The Speakman only saves you about half as much as the High Sierra’s do.

The Anystream is also twice as expensive as High Sierra models, for something with roughly comparable build quality. That’s even more of a disappointment when you see that the Speakman is made in China. You’re paying more for the versatility, not for any improvement in build quality or construction materials.

While there’s a rainfall setting, it doesn’t have as wide of coverage as something like the Hansgrohe below.

It’s decidedly contemporary. If you want something a bit different visually, you might try these Anystream variants, which are also solid brass and reliable pressure-boosters:

for a more traditional decor:

top pick for fixed shower head

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for modernist and rustic decor:

top pick for fixed shower head brushed nickel

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6. Hansgrohe RainDance

best for low pressure water

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Our final recommendation for a high-pressure shower head is Hansgrohe’s Raindance E 120 AIR. This fixture is a lot more versatile than other overhead raincan-style models. It uses both pressuring spray channels and aeration to boost power and volume, and offers three different spray modes. It’s well-made and easy to clean as well!

We think it’s the best option for folks with chronic low pressure who want a rainfall experience. It’s also a good choice for anyone who likes the coverage and immersion of a rainfall fixture, but wants a bit of extra power.

Pros:

It gives you the widest coverage of the bunch! The Hansgrohe’s 5-inch spray face is even wider than the Speakman Reaction. It’s equipped with 95 individual spray channels, for an immersive rain shower experience all over your body. It’s wide enough to cover most people’s entire backs!

While there are certainly wider rain shower heads out there, they won’t give you the pressure boost that this one will! It has self-pressurizing spray channels built into the head itself, which gives you a laminar pressure boost. Plus, the well-designed air-induction system boosts droplet size to make flow feel stronger without adding any sting!

There are three different spray modes built in. AIR gives you a boosted, consistent rainfall pattern. Whirl AIR is a pulsing, spiral-shaped flow which uses the center channels. It’s excellent for massage and rinsing. Balance AIR blends the two, so you get the powerful center channel plus some coverage around the periphery.

Overall, we think the Raindance strikes a fantastic balance between power and relaxation. It provides enough boost to your pressure to give you the feeling of a downpour rather than a watering can. At the same time, the large droplet size and innovative flow patterns keep things comfortable.

It’s super easy to clean. This is the only one of our high-pressure picks with flexible, silicone spray nozzles. They flex as you clean across them, loosening any hard water accumulation quickly.

The knob for adjusting the settings is rubberized, so it’s easy to manipulate during your shower.

It looks great. Like all Hansgrohe models, this Raindance is super fashionable. It works with a wide range of decor styles, and the finish stays fingerprint and buildup-free. We’re recommending the nickel finish, because it has grey spray nozzles. The chrome model has green nozzles which definitely throw off the look for us.

It’s built very well, despite the fact that it has an ABS spray face. The housing and fittings are all solid brass.

Cons:

It’s not as solidly built as the Anystream or the High Sierra’s. While we don’t consider the ABS spray face a deal-breaker, it’s hard not to be disappointed by plastic on such a pricy fixture.

The original version also had some issues with leaks around the adjustment lever. As far as we can tell, the company has fixed the issue. Even with the older ones, if you reported a leak, they’d send you a replacement right away. It’s not something we’ve actually run into, in any case.

It uses 2.5 GPM. This is the most water-intensive model we’ve recommended in this guide, even though it does meet national efficiency standards. If you live in an area with stricter regulations, you might need to go for something more conservative.

It’s not a surefire solution for low pressure issues. No rain shower head will be as good at compensating for water pressure as a traditional overhead model. That’s because they’re designed to be gentle by nature.

If you know you want a rainfall experience, we suggest giving this a shot. If it can’t make up the difference in your home, we think the next best thing would be a High Sierra. Those models are immersive as well, and have large droplets. For many people with severe pressure deficits, they’re the closest thing to a rain shower.

Like all Hansgrohe offerings, it’s pricey.

You’ll need an arm and flange set to get it up and running.

Conclusion

Which of our high-pressure shower head selections is the best choice for your home?

The Delta is the obvious choice for anyone on a tight budget. It does as good a job boosting pressure as the Speakman Reaction, for about half the cost. It’s easy to clean, and it offers two flow rates.

This isn’t a particularly good-looking fixture, though. The plastic construction also means it won’t last nearly as long as our metal picks. Most of all, it doesn’t give you the kind of coverage that you’d get from our other recommendations.

The Speakman Reaction is our budget pick for anyone who wants more coverage than the Delta provides. It has a much wider spray face, and the turbine system does a great drop distributing droplets. We also prefer this one because it saves water consistently (provided you get the 1.75 GPM or 2.0 GPM models), where the Delta has to be set to the lower flow rate to do so.

The Reaction is a bit pricklier than the High Sierra’s, though. The many spray nozzles are also less consistent through the coverage area. If you can afford one of the High Sierra’s, we recommend you pass on this one. And if you’re looking for the best rain shower experience with a pressure boost, the Hansgrohe is the better choice.

The High Sierra fixed models are our top high-pressure recommendations to anyone who doesn’t want a rainfall head like the Hansgrohe or a multi-setting fixture like the Speakman Anystream. These are as good as anything else on the market in terms of build quality. They also work unbelievably well, no matter what your pressure is like. The High Sierra’s will save you water, and give you a great shower with lots of power and coverage.

There’s no real downside except for the lack of versatility. If that’s important to you, go for the Anystream. Likewise, if you would prefer something you can detach, the handheld High Sierra’s are better.

The High Sierra handheld models are our only handheld picks in the high-pressure category. That’s simply because they blow the competition away in this department! They’re every bit as good at improving pressure as the fixed models, only they give you more maneuverability! They’re built like tanks, highly efficient, and user-friendly. Again, the only downside is the lack of options and adjustments. These handheld models are also rather expensive.

The Speakman Anystream is our top high-pressure pick for those who crave versatility. If you like to have lots of options when you take a shower, this is the best you can do! The Anystream offers something for everyone, and it works well in most homes regardless of pressure. This fixture is built nearly as sturdily as the High Sierra’s, and it’s super easy to use.

The Anystream is expensive, though. If you don’t need all those different options, you can get a High Sierra for half the price. It’s also not as sure a fix for your pressure issues. This one works well in a lot of cases, but if you have extreme pressure issues, a High Sierra would be a better choice.

Finally, the Hansgrohe Raindance E 120 AIR is our most expensive pick, and is our recommendation to anyone who wants a rainfall shower with a pressure boost! It’s ideal for folks who have always wanted a rain shower head but have struggled to get them to work properly at home.

The major downside is the cost: the Hansgrohe is as expensive as the High Sierra handhelds, even though it does have some plastic components. It’s definitely a premium fixture, so we don’t suggest it to anyone on a tight budget. The other thing to consider is that even a boosted rainfall head like this one isn’t going to make as much of a difference to your pressure as something like a High Sierra.

Buying Guide

Here are our top tips for shopping for a high-pressure shower head:

Know the severity of your pressure issues

Before you start shopping, you should have a clear idea of what exactly your pressure issues are. How far from normal is your water pressure? Can you do anything to improve the situation before you fit your new shower head?

Home water pressure can range anywhere from 30-80 psi (pounds per square inch). 30 psi is the minimum delivery pressure for nearly all public systems in the USA. If you have pressure readings below 30 psi, you can probably get the utility to do some upgrades without costing you any money.

The optimal pressure range is generally considered 50-60 psi. Low water pressure is considered anything below 40 psi. Usually, pressure regulators are set to a moderate 50 psi. In any case the average home plumbing system is not designed to handle anything above 80 psi.

Typical inlet pressure in an American household is around 40-45 psi. As you can see, that means quite a few homes have less than optimal water pressure.

Before you get serious about shopping, you should measure your home water pressure to know what kind of difference you’re trying to make. There are any number of useful tutorials online, if you’re not sure how to go about doing the test.

Make sure you know whether you are you simply looking for something more powerful than average, or are dealing with chronically low pressure.

Look for a low-flow option

There are lots of misconceptions about water pressure these days.

A lot of people try to boost pressure by removing flow restrictors. Flow restrictors are used to make fixtures comply with federal efficiency standards, and many homeowners don’t like to feel like they’re being controlled. Don’t fall into that trap!

Not only is it unethical to waste water, but it’s not particularly logical, if you understand anything about physics. If you restrict water flow more tightly, you build up more pressure behind the head. The result is a stronger flow. So, it’s actually better to use a water fixture that’s restricted to the 2.5 GPM national standard than to use something completely open.

We actually recommend going further. If you use a low-flow shower head, which is anything using 2.0 GPM or below, you can make significant gains in pressure while saving extra water. Low-flow models today are extremely good at maximizing the water they use, so we think most people with low pressure will find that they perform better than most standard fixtures.

Moving to more efficient plumbing fixtures is also a good idea all over your house. By conserving water at each fixture or appliance, you leave more overall supply pressure in the system.

Expect specific pressure-boosting features

A lot of shower heads are marketed as “high-pressure” without actually including any specific design elements to do so. Be sure to check that the model you’re considering is actually going to live up to expectations.

Some common methods used to increase water pressure in shower heads are laminar flow-boosting channels, and aeration:

Laminar shower heads use their inner piping to boost pressure as water passes through them. These design elements are often referred to as “self-pressurizing” spray channels. They add velocity to each droplet without adding any air to the mix.

We think laminar shower heads are the best way to go in most cases. They maintain heat better than aerated fixtures, and they make more of a tangible difference. You can think of the difference this way: laminar designs actually boost pressure, while aeration nearly always means the illusion of boosted pressure.

Aeration is the process of adding air to individual water droplets as they pass through the fixture. By adding air, you gain droplet size, which increases the feeling of volume. Many people find that the sensation gives the impression of a boost in pressure.

Aeration has its pros and cons, but we mainly think it’s a waste of time. The difference isn’t significant enough to make a noticeable improvement in pressure. It’ll give you a slight boost, but it’s not going to solve your pressure problems by itself. You’ll waste a lot of water in mist, too. Extra air also means you’ll waste heat energy.

Ideally, you’ll either get a laminar fixture, or something which mixes laminar flow channels and aeration.

Know your preferences

Whenever you shop for a shower head, it’s important to nail down all the specific aspects which make a shower “great” for you. These things are all super subjective, but if you can think about these key elements, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for. So, here are some quick questions to ask yourself:

  • What level of pressure are you looking for?
  • What kind of coverage area do you prefer? Narrow and focused, or wide and immersive?
  • What droplet size do you want? Big, soft drops, or small drops which feel more intense?
  • What kinds of settings and flow patterns do you want? Will you be happy with a single=setting fixture, or do you need something more versatile?

Do what you can to improve the rest of your plumbing system

In many cases, water pressure problems are down to solvable issues with your home plumbing. Leaks are the biggest culprit.

An easy way to tell if you have a leak is to measure your water pressure where it comes into your home (something that the utility should be able to help with), and then measure it at a shower head or sink.

If you notice a big drop between the inlet pressure and output pressure, chances are you have a leak!

Fixing leaks and tightening up your whole plumbing system will do wonders for improving water pressure. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than installing a pump!

What’s Next

By the end of this guide, you’ll hopefully have a clear idea of how to find the best solution for your low water pressure in the shower.

If one of our recommendations strikes you as ideal, great! Click on the links in our reviews to find out more about any of the models you’ve seen here.

If you’re still on the hunt for your ideal shower head, don’t worry! We have plenty more recommendations, many of which are good at boosting pressure.

Head to our homepage to find our top overall recommendations. That’s also the best place to find links to all our other guides!