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Shower Heads

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Saved by Jonah
on April 14, 2010 at 4:41:44 pm

Shower Heads


I (Soren) have tried a few sub-2.0 gpm shower heads and really like the one that was given to me as a gift.  The trouble is, I can't figure out how to get more of them!  It's a Delta and has four aerated jets which produce a wonderful spray.  Yet is only consumes 1.6 gpm!  The only bad thing is that some water drips 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).


I also tried a single-jet aerated Delta model (A112.18.1?) from Home Depot ($17) that was also rated for 1.6 gpm.  It didn't drip and it keeps you warm with just a trickle (one jet means a trickle goes pretty far). It doesn't have a built-in cut-off valve either, but the basic Home Depot one gives a lot of variability with this head.  The downside was the it made 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).  It also causes some spray to escape the shower if you're not careful about closing the curtain well.  The noise is mostly offset by not running it at full power (it still gives a very satisfying shower).


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!


Consumer Reports rated Shower Heads in August 2009 ... could the Delta RP4634 (i.e. RP46384!) be one of the ones I tested?  Yes, indeed it was the one I was searching for, my favorite all-around that given to me as a gift. 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.


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.



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