5 Best Shower Pumps on the Market in 2023
If your shower continually disappoints you with a low-pressure drizzle, you can be fairly sure a lack of a shower pump is to blame. To help you enjoy showers as they were meant to be enjoyed, we tested over 20 pumps and came up with this list of the best shower pumps on the market in 2023.
Are you ready for a more fulfilling shower? Read on!
In a Rush? Here are the Best Shower Pumps in 2023
- Showermate Eco Twin 4650 — best overall value for your money.
- Bristan ST PUMP15TN — top budget pick for a gravity-fed system.
- Salamander CT85XTRA — balances power (2.5 bar), quiet operation, and costs.
- Salamander CTFORCE15TU — a truly quiet shower pump, but pressure is only 1.5 bar.
- Monsoon Standard 46416 — best pick for pressure (3.0 bar), but costs substantially more.
How We Tested Each Of Our Shower Pump Picks
To ensure that all our recommendations give your body the flow it deserves, we thoroughly tested each shower pump model and based our selection process on these tenets:
- Each shower pump gives you a pressure of at least 1.5 bar — that’s over 20 pounds of water per square inch of skin! And that’s no mist. But if you’re craving more power, we’ve even got some 3 bar shower pump models on our list.
- Only regenerative pumps can make our list — unlike centrifugal pumps, regenerative pumps eliminate air pockets from the system, giving you a more powerful, satisfying flow.
- Compactness is essential — space is scarce, so every shower pump we chose is sufficiently compact.
- Quiet operation — not every pick here is a 100% quiet shower pump, but all are built to generate as little noise as possible.
Best Shower Pumps in 2023
Don’t get discouraged if your shower leaves you wanting! We’ve got a few killer recommendations for the market’s best shower pumps to rejuvenate your morning routine.
Price: £ | Dimensions: 30 cm x 20 cm x 16 cm | Pressure: 1.5 Bar
The Showermate Eco Twin 1.5 Bar 46502 Positive Head Shower Pump might be a mouthful to say, but we found that this gutsy little unit packs a punch, offering excellent value for the investment. While it might not have the sheer horsepower to create a high-force shower, it will get the job done quietly and with a 3-year guarantee to back it up.
However, this is not a fire-and-forget solution; you’ll need to buy strainer washers to catch debris (no matter how careful your operational use is). It also ships with a flexi hose and is optimised to boost the flow rate of both cold and hot water.
This model has been around for a full decade, cementing itself in the hearts and minds of shower-lovers the world over since 2010. For the budget-conscious, it’s honestly really difficult to look past this shower pump, especially as its construction reveals no shortcuts. Sure, it’s not going to feel like a pressure washer on your back, but we prefer to keep the skin on our backs in one piece, thank you very much.
Price: £ | Dimensions: 16.6 cm x 13.2 cm x 23.1 cm | Bar: 1.5 Bar and 2 Bar
The ST PUMP15TN power shower pump from Bristan is another great deal for budget-savvy bargain hunters, and quite possibly the best shower pump for a gravity fed system. Bristan has had a stellar reputation since its founding in 1977, and this pump continues their legacy by offering a shower pump that screams quality. The pump comes in four different variants at differing price ranges, but for our testing, we focused on the 1.5 bar variant.
To be fair, at nearly 5 kg, the 1.5 bar ST PUMP15TN is about 20% heavier than the aforementioned Showermate model. It uses a twin impeller for both cold and hot water supplies, although it’s especially important to note that this model will only work with gravity-fed systems.
You’ll be happy to know that Bristan offers a solid 5-year warranty for this model, protecting your investment should you encounter any issues. Installation is fairly straightforward, too, as we were able to install our test model within 30 minutes. The instructions were well written and easy to follow. If you’ve never used an aftermarket pump before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Price: £ | Bar: 2.5 Bar
If there were ever a beauty pageant for shower pumps (and there really should be), the Salamander CT85XTRA would be a strong contender. The same thing can’t be said about the name, though, which is about as memorable as a mobile phone model from the late 1990s. Fortunately for Salamander, this is a review on form and functionality, not marketing.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to inform you that the Salamander CT85XTRA comes through where it counts. It packs more pressure than a Mike Tyson punch and delivers flow harder than Eminem in an underground cypher. You’d think with all this pressure the pump would sound like a jackhammer, but it’s an impressively quiet shower pump (at just 52dBA) and, dare we say it, cute in appearance.
Upon further inspection, the lime-coloured paint job and cylindrical body makes it look a bit like the steampunk equivalent of a train from Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends.
Spec-wise, the 2.5 bar pressure rating does its job. Salamander doesn’t skimp on goodies, either, supplying 15 mm compression flexi hoses and offering a quieter motor than the previous CT85 model.
Price: £££ | Dimensions: 30 cm x 22 cm x 36 cm | Bar: 1.5 Bar
The Salamander CTFORCE15TU is a quiet shower pump, with a modest pressure of 1.5 bar. However, the twin impeller and regenerative pump more than compensate for this spec. We should also mention at this point that 1.5 bar is by no means an “inferior” pressure rating for shower pumps, and such a pressure should be sufficient for the casual shower enthusiast — it sure was for us.
We should also clarify what the heck a twin impeller is, since it’s possible many people reading this couldn’t tell you the difference between a twin impeller and twin propellers.
Put simply, a twin impeller means the pump will boost both the cold and hot water to a shower or outlet. Not sure about you, but there’s nothing I hate more than having 2 different water temperatures going out of sync and ruining my day before I’ve even put my clothes on.
The Salamander CTFORCE15TU boasts a 5-year guarantee, and the brass-ended shower pump unique to this model gives it a level of robustness that far surpasses the workmanship of the other models on this list. In addition to the generous guarantee, this model has all the bells and whistles featured in the other Salamander models, and it even includes anti-vibration feet for noise reduction — ideal if you prefer quiet bathroom pumps.
Price: £££ | Bar: 3.0 Bar
When Sam Sparro sung “Black and Gold”, I’d like to think he was actually singing about the Monsoon Standard Twin 3.0 Bar 46416 Positive Head Shower Pump. This powerful shower pump has robust brass construction and a 5-year guarantee to back it up. While this is the costliest pump on this list as of writing, it could well be one of the best shower pumps on the market in 2023. Its whisper-quiet operation and system-friendly design makes the Monsoon Standard the de facto standard for pumping excellence. If you’ve got flow-rate problems and a fistful of cash weighing you down, it’s a hard ask to look past this wonderful pump.
Boasting 3.0 bar of pressurized power, the Monsoon Standard will kickstart your day the right way while keeping the plumber at bay. The pump is easy to install, and I’d like to quote one commenter who we think summarised this particular pump with indelible succinctness: “Better flow, no noise, solid build.”
Do I Need a Shower Pump?
Before you invest in a new shower pump, it’s a good idea to take stock of any changes you might have made to your shower that might have caused the weak flow. If you’ve recently increased your shower head or upgraded to a “power shower”, you may see some flow-rate issues.
There’s one simple test you can run yourself to see if your flow rate is not up to standard.
- Firstly, get a stopwatch or switch your smartphone to the stopwatch mode;
- secondly, get an empty one-litre jug of water and turn off all water-based devices (such as taps, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.); and,
- thirdly, fill the jug with your shower using only cold water.
If it takes more than 8 seconds to fill the jug at full power, you have confirmed that you have a pressure issue that needs fixing.
Buying Guide to Selecting the Best Shower Pumps
To the untrained eye, it might not seem like there is much of a difference between one brand of shower pump to the next, but obviously that couldn’t be further from the truth. Indeed, even this article shows that even the best shower pumps around have their own pros and cons.
One particular thing to note here is the price differential. Some pumps on this list are a couple of hundred pounds more expensive than the budget pumps, but the price bump isn’t without reason. As such, we’ll summarise the major differences to give you a clearer understanding when making a decision.
Shower pump pressure rates
Most (but not all) shower pump models have one of 3 pressure levels — 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0 bar. More bars = more pressure. It sounds obvious, but it’s true—the more pressure you put in, the bigger the flow rate of your shower pump.
If you’re not sure how much pressure you need from your shower pump, use the following as a rough guideline:
- 1.5 bar — sufficient for a single shower cubicle with a 100-120mm shower head.
- 2.5 bar — enough for a large bathroom, or several smaller bathroom with a 100-120mm shower head.
- 3.0 bar — ideal for multiple bathrooms and larger shower heads with various massage settings
However, pressure alone isn’t everything—you should also consider if the pump you’re looking at has a twin impeller, which will allow you to evenly increase the pressure of both hot and cold water temperatures. A shower pump that can do this ensures a more balanced and comfortable showering experience.
Regenerative pumps are the best, so they’re the only ones we mentioned in this article.
Explaining the precise mechanics of regenerative pumps could be an article in and of itself, so we’ll do our best to summarise what a regenerative pump is and what it does. In most shower pumps, there are two different types of impellers to help deal with different installation scenarios. One is centrifugal; the other is regenerative. The latter aid with the removal of air pockets from a system, which in turn ensures a steady, uninterrupted flow.
What’s a twin impeller?
Twin impellers simply increase the pressure in both hot and cold temperatures, ensuring an even distribution, so you don’t get a nasty jet of hot water streamed into your backside. If you want a shower pump to boost both your cold and hot water, make sure you choose one with a twin impeller.
Do I need a negative or positive shower pump?
Depending on the type of system you have, you may need either a negative or a positive shower pump. Let’s examine the difference below.
Positive shower pump
A positive shower pump only works in gravity-fed systems, when the bottom of the water storage tank is at least 1 metre above the pump. This type of pump starts automatically once gravity-drawn water flows through it to the shower head.
Negative shower pump
Instead of relying on a gravity-fed mechanism, a negative (universal) shower pump pressurises everything inside the pipe from the pump to the mixer valve, which essentially ensures the pump is able to start each time. This type of pump is ideal for when you have a shower head that is at the same height (or higher) than the cold water storage tank.
That said, a negative shower pump will still work with a gravity-fed system. So, if you’re not sure how your water distribution system works, opting for a negative shower pump is the safest bet.
One thing to bear in mind is the water economy of your pump. A regenerative system will inherently have more efficiencies, and a shower pump is no exception. If 1.5 bar is enough pressure for you, there’s no need to go for higher pressures.
Space and size
Shower pumps, especially regenerative ones, can be a bit bulky, so this might be an important consideration for you if real estate is of the utmost concern. If it is a concern for you, we recommend looking up the technical details. Some products on this list don’t list a specific set of dimensions or even the weight, so you may need to contact the product manufacturer if these specs aren’t transparent.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Shower Pump
Apart from the technical stuff, here are 3 more things you should take into account when choosing a shower pump.
This is perhaps the most important element to consider when purchasing a shower pump. While we list three price categories (as denoted by £, ££, or £££), this particular category ostensibly consists of two major price points: £150–£200 and £300–£400. Since everyone’s financial position is different, it is difficult to make a recommendation on price alone. If you’re struggling to pay the bills and looking for a quick fix to lackluster flow rates, one of the budget shower pumps we’ve mentioned above will probably serve your needs well.
However, if you’ve got some money set aside to really put an end to your showering blues once and for all, the high-end shower pumps on this list will make welcome additions to your shower experience.
All of the pumps on this list—even the budget ones—are built to last. Having said that, some models (especially the high-end ones) are exceptionally robust. Shower pumps with brass coverings are designed specifically to last a lifetime and beyond.
Finally, of course, there is the matter of performance. While performance obviously has a positive correlation with price, it isn’t always so cut and dry. It pays to look at warranties and performance reviews from users, especially comments (as they are more likely to be honest about shortcomings than marketing spin trying to promote said product). If the shower pump in question has tonnes of solid scores and comments from gleaming customers over a long period of time, it’s a good bet that the product is a great choice.
How to Use Your Shower Pump Efficiently
Read the details of your manual
Shower pumps can be a bit intimidating to install and operate, but you’re unlikely to encounter issues if you read the installation guide to the letter. However, if installation is tricky for you or out of your wheelhouse, call a professional in to ensure everything goes to plan.
Select a pump type
Choosing which pump to go with can be a tricky affair. Do you need a regenerative pump? What about pressure—will 1.5 bar be enough for your purposes? Are you operating multiple showers? Do you have a complex pipe layout? If so, you may find it in your best interest to pony up the extra cash and invest in a regenerative pump.
Tips for positioning your shower pump
The positioning of shower pumps is much more limited than, say, a space heater, but it is an important consideration. Some models come with feet for stable placement, so that is definitely something you should keep in mind when looking for your next shower pump.
Is there anything we missed? Have you used any of the shower pump models above, or any other? If you have a question, or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.