How to buy the best low flow shower head, and a look at how much it can save you in water costs. Includes information on shower head features and water-saving technologies.

If you’re like many people, you may have a shower head that offers a very satisfying shower but uses a tremendous amount of water. According to the EPA, showers make up almost 17 percent of U.S. indoor water usage. According to their data, 2,700 gallons of water could be saved annually by simply replacing one conventional shower head with a WaterSense labeled product (more on this below).

Or you may have the other extreme: an incredibly efficient shower head that makes you wonder if the water is turned on. The trick is to have a low flow shower head that offers a satisfying shower while using a minimum amount of water.

Our Top Recommended Shower Heads

Water-Saving Technology

Some shower heads combine water-saving technologies. For example, the ShowerStart Evolve shower head below offers low flow at 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) but also features an ingenious valve that allows you to save water and the energy used to heat it before you step into the shower. You can turn on the water to let it warm up and go brush your teeth—the valve automatically reduces the flow to a trickle once the temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, when you’re ready to shower, you simply flip the valve for full flow.

Evolve water saving showerhead
This Evolve shower head saves water while your shower is heating up. Shop on Amazon ShowerStart

Evolve estimates the head saves about 8 gallons of water and the energy to heat it for every five-minute shower. Over a year, this can save your household more than 2,000 gallons of water.

waterfall showerhead sprite
Waterfall shower head offers a satisfying cascade of water. Sprite Industries

Shower Head Prices

Prices for low-flow heads range from less than $10 for simple, no-frills plastic ones to more than $100 for designer heads. The cost of a particular shower head has little to do with how well it delivers a satisfying shower, but may speak to it’s durability. Cost is more a gauge of features and the construction of materials and finish. There is a low flow shower head for any budget. We recommend browsing Amazon, as there are plenty of customer reviews to help guide your purchase decision.

Shower Head Features

One of the main features of the best low flow shower heads is their ability to adjust spray settings—narrow to wide, spray only, pulse, and so forth. This is particularly handy if different family members like different types of spray.

A hand-held and stationary shower head combination with various spray setting ability.
Two heads in one! Combination hand-held and stationary shower head offers many options. Buy on Amazon. Hydroluxe

The easiest types to use are those that have an adjustment ring or lever on the outside of the head so that you don’t have to reach into the center of the water stream to adjust them. One other handy, water-saving feature is a shutoff at the head. This cuts water to a trickle while you soap up or wash pets or kids.

Other Low Flow Options

There are two other devices that aren’t really shower heads but help save water in the shower: flow-control inserts (basically a washer with a small hole to reduce water flow) and shower shut-off control valves that reduce flow and provide on/off control above the head. These fit between the shower pipe (arm) and shower head and cost about $14.

Find shower shut-off control valves online.

A chrome shower shutoff valve over a white background.
Simple shower shut-off valve allows flow control at the shower head. Danco

NEXT SEE: Thermostatic Shower Valve Buying Guide

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” served as MSN’s home expert for several years, and is featured as Yelp's home improvement expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort