Best picks for low-flow showerheads

Best picks for low-flow showerheads
Low-flow showerheads have several benefits. They use less water and less hot water. Less water saves you money, and less energy to heat the water saves you money.

The testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute wanted to find out which low-flow showerheads offer good savings and good performance.

A low-flow showerhead can save a family of four up to $45 a month in water and heating costs.

"Everybody loves a good shower, but an old shower head that uses 5 gallons per minute or more can use up to 50 gallons for one shower," said Todd Kent, engineer with the institute. "A home owner should really switch that out with a low flow shower that uses half of that. We tested 19 shower heads that use less than 2.5 gallons per minute."

Some testers didn't like the Alson Fluidics shower head.

"It felt like needles on my skin ;it was too hard. It was a showerhead I couldn't use every day," said Charmaine Gillespie.

The Waterpik EcoFlow ($25) that puts out just 2 gallons per minute was the favorite.

"Consumers liked that this shower head had three main settings. One that was more of a massage, an everyday use setting and one that was more of a direct stream," said Kent.

"The streams seemed to be concentrated, which was more comfortable and was sort of a more direct flow," said Amy Roberts.

Two products tied for second place: the Kohler MasterShower Ecofficient ($90) and the Bricor Elite ($75).

"The Kohler shower head was a little more expensive, but it did have the fastest rinse time in our shampoo test," said Kent.

With that test, the institute times how long it takes to rinse shampoo from a mannequin's hair.

"The Bricor's shower head scored well for quality of stream at a much lower gallon per minute -- 1.5," Kent said.

Remember, you pay for what goes down the drain. So less is better.

All shower heads made after 1992 must have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. Older shower heads often have flow rates of 5.5 gallons per minute or more, so if you have an old one you really should replace it.

By the way, from now until the end of June, the Seattle Water Partnership is giving away free low-flow shower heads to apartment building managers and condo association. The offer is not valid for individuals.

More Information:

Money-Saving offer for property managers or condominium associations