7 Best Shower Pumps on the Market in 2021
If you’ve ever used a shower with weak flow, you can be fairly sure a lack of a shower pump is to blame. However, to know for sure if your shower is in need of a good pump-up, there are some simple tests that you can take advantage of to ensure you get the flow rate your body craves. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best shower pumps on the market so that you can enjoy showers as they were meant to be enjoyed.
Before you invest in a new shower pump, though, it’s a good idea to take stock of any changes you might have made to your shower configuration that might have caused the weak flow to show itself in the first place. 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.
Table of Contents
Which Shower Pump Is Best?
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 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 no shortcuts have been taken on construction. 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: 166 cm x 132 cm x 231 cm | Bar: 1.5 Bar and 2 Bar
The ST PUMP15TN from Bristan is another great deal for budget-savvy bargain hunters. Bristan has had a stellar reputation since its founding in 1977, and this pump continues their legacy by offering a shower pump made that screams quality. The pump comes in four different variants at differing price ranges, but for our testing we will mostly be focusing on the 1.5 bar variant.
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 pleased to know that Bristan has offered a solid 5-year warranty for this model, ensuring your investment will be protected 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 going to be in for a very 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 impressively quiet (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 37 cm | Bar: 1.8 Bar
The Salamander CThttps://amzn.to/2ZkkPLn60BU is like the CT85XTRA but bigger and with regenerative properties. While middling pressure-wise at 1.8 bar, this second successive unit from Salamander is bigger and better in every other way—except for noise, which some reviewers have taken issue with. I’m afraid that, unlike the whisper-quiet CT85XTRA, the CT60BU can’t compete insofar as stealthy operation is concerned, although this seems to be a variable factor that didn’t affect our use in any tangible sense. Nevertheless, if a bit of noise during isn’t going to be an issue for you, this pump from Salamander has everything else going for it. Yes, it’s a bit more costly than your budget options, but the real draw here is its regenerative functionality.
This twin-ended model features a universal head with crossover technology, ensuring maximum compatibility and ease of use. A universal pump means it is compatible with both a negative or positive head. In gravity-fed hot water systems, it will boost your system’s pressure and will ensure that every shower is a pleasant experience.
The CT60BU has a 3-year manufacturer’s guarantee and supports a connection with up to two showers.
Price: £££ | Dimensions: 30 cm x 22 cm x 36 cm | Bar: 1.5 Bar
The Salamander CTFORCE15TU is virtually identical in terms of size to the previously listed CT60BU. At 1.5 bar, the pressure is modest, but 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 will be sufficient for the casual shower enthusiast. 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, because there’s nothing worse than having two different temperatures going out of sync and ruining your day before you’ve even put your 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 added stability and noise reduction.
Price: £££ | Bar: 3.0 Bar
Remember before how we talked about a particular pump winning awards for beauty? Well, the Grundfos Watermill 3.0 Bar Brass Amazon Twin Impeller Shower Pump would be a serious contender. Honestly, the pump looks like it belongs in a muscle car more than it does anywhere near a bathroom.
Coated in brass and facilitating regenerative use, this is the kind of pump you should be looking at if money is no object. It has the usual trimmings you’d expect to see in pumps of this price range—twin impeller, anti-vibration feet, etc.—but there’s just one question you should really be asking at this point: “How does she run?”
Fear not! Grundfos has hit the mark. The Grundfos Watermill is a classic case of “you get what you pay for”. It runs almost silently and exceptionally easy to install. If quietness and quality is your modus operandi, look no further. Is it a bit pricey? Perhaps. Is it worth the plunge to ensure quiet, luxurious showers that will make you remember that showers can actually be a pleasurable part of life, not a laborious chore that you dread waking up to each and every morning? Absolutely.
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 beastly little 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 the best on this list, too. 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.”
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 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.
More bars = more pressure. It sounds obvious, but it’s true—the more pressure you put in, the bigger the flow rate. 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. The ability to do this ensures a more balanced and comfortable showering experience.
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. Regenerative pumps are the best, and consequently we only mentioned regenerative pumps in this article. If the pipe configurations are particularly complicated, regenerative pumps are a godsend. Regenerative impellers are specifically designed to aid the removal of air that’s generated in a given system.
What’s a Twin Impeller?
Twin Impellers simply increase the pressure in both hot and cold temperatures, ensuring an even distribution that ensures you don’t get a nasty jet of hot water streamed into your backside.
Most shower pumps come with a compatible hose for easy connection and installation. There are also negative and positive pumps, and it’s important to know the difference.
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.
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.
How to Efficiently Use Your Shower Pump
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.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for this article could really be an essay. As such, we’ll break it down to three major areas of concern:
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, and of 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 received a lot of solid scores and comments from gleaming customers over a long period of time, it’s a good bet that that the product is going to be a great choice.