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Shower Heads

Page history last edited by Soren 12 years, 3 months ago Saved with comment

Shower Heads


Summary: the Delta RP46384 ("Leland Transitional") and WaterPik ECO-533 have both been found to be acceptable sub-2.0 gpm shower heads.  Switching to either of these will significantly reduce your energy consumption via water heating.  Installing a $5 cut-off valve also gives you the option of reducing the flow when lathering, etc.


WaterPik ECO-533

(review by Jonah)

I got my new $40 WaterPik ECO-533, which was the top-rated low-flow showerhead in the consumer reports aug '09 reviews.  I replaced my 2.1 GPM (measured) WaterPik shower head, and the new ECO-533 measures at 1.6 GPM (advertised at 1.5).  My fairly picky wife thinks it's "ok", and while I must agree that the experience isn't as nice as the 2.1 GPM shower head, it does provide a pretty good shower.  I've never tried another sub-2.0 GPM shower head, so I can't really compare.  It has both an aerated and a non-aerated mode (along with 3 other modes, some "mixed").  Overall I think it's a nice product, especially when considering that we're saving 8 gallons of water per day.  That said, I do find that I have to raise the temperature of the water somewhat to compensate for the lower flow.


Delta RP46384 

Soren was given a Delta RP46384, but didn't know anything about it.  He has since hunted down a local Delta dealer that is open on Saturdays and ordered several more RP46384's (thank you again, Mr. Butkus!). Four aerated jets together produce a wonderful spray yet is only consumes 1.6 gpm (sometimes advertised as 1.5gpm). The only slight down side has been occasional water dripping off the bottom (due to not exiting cleanly from the jets) even shortly after being cleaned.  In my shower, this head released about 6 liters/minute (1.59 gpm).  Don't be frightened by the MSRP on Delta's web site: most of them are for special finishes and the heads usually cost ~$40-50.


Lesser Shower Heads

I also use a single-jet aerated Delta model (A112.18.1?) from Home Depot ($17) that was also rated for 1.6 gpm.  It drips less and keeps you warm even with the cutoff almost fully engaged.  Neither Delta head had a built-in cut-off valve either, but the basic Home Depot cutoff gives a lot of variability with the single-jet head.  The downside of the single jet is a noticeable noise (like a distant airplane engine) and it caused the air to move around a lot in our shower (in some cases blowing the curtain around).  Until we got careful about the curtain, it was also more prone to cause spray to escape the shower.  The noise has either dissipated (due to slight calcium build-up?) or become less noticeable. Slightly reducing flow with the cutoff valve doesn't reduce the spray at all but does reduce the noise.


Finally, we tried a $20 1.5 gpf WaterPik EcoFlow from Target.  It had multiple settings and included a cut-off valve (we successfully use the $5 Home Depot cut-off as a temperature-insensitive variable valve to minimize water use).  The EcoFlow gave a pretty bad shower.  The flow itself was anemic at not much about 1 gallon (4 liters) per minute. Without any aeration, it really felt like nothing at all.  It was also somewhat flimsy and just unsatisfying. After I gave my brother Skander a similar one and after he had similar feelings about it ... he ended up with the same 4-jet Delta ... again a gift from someone in the industry!


Home Depot had been selling a low-flow single-jet aerated Delta model for $13, but they replaced it with a four-outlet version without aeration.  We (Soren & Xinh in San Jose) lived with one for a few months and the results were bad.  In particular, the four jets provided uneven coverage that got worse with calcium build-up and the reduced flow we use during lathering, etc.  The flow isn't even as nice as the single-jet which I had to stop using after I accidentally cleaned off the mounting lube while attempting to decalcify the head.


Consumer Reports Findings differ?

Consumer Reports rated Shower Heads in August 2009 ... Delta RP4634 (i.e. RP46384?) is presumably the one I've found to be the best so far.  Interestingly, Consumer Reports thought WaterPik's EcoFlow (ECO-553 and ECO-563) felt better and used less water, measuring the former at 1.7 gpm to Delta's 1.9 gpm.  I'll have to find my EcoFlow packaging to confirm the model I got, but if Consumer Reports tested the same shower heads I did, I completely disagree with them.  Nonetheless, I might have to look for a Moen 6306 or Niagra Conservation N2915 or N2945.


There are more shower heads I hope to try, from Energy Federation's and Energy Circle's web sites.


House Presents for eco-nerds

Soren took Jonah an RP46384 in May 2010 which he's since installed and tried in their secondary shower. While visiting, Soren got to enjoy the ECO-533.  For now, Soren and Jonah are sticking to their preferred shower heads.  Soren also installed one in the secondary bathroom when visiting his parents.  At the time, he was testing a cheap, single-jet version at home, and was pleased to get back to the full 4-jet experience.



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