What to look for in shower head for strong water flow?

cinnamonsworldSeptember 12, 2010

I'd like to make sure that whatever shower head I get allows for a strong flow of water. (I think someone mentioned get one that has a certain removable doodad, the name of which I do not recall.)

So what is it I'm supposed to look for? So far my preferred shower/tub set is the one in the .pdf at the link below. (I know that doesn't have a variable valve to ensure consistent water temp, and I'm OK with that.)

Here is a link that might be useful: American Standard tub/shower faucet setup

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The piece is called a "flow restrictor." Some manufacturers, like Grohe, make it easy to remove this piece, while others, like Kohler and Moen, do not. Generally if the corporate headquarters are in the US, you will have not only a hard time removing it but also an even more difficult time getting help from their customer service on this issue (because of US water flow restrictions).

Whatever piece you are considering, you need to call that manufacturer and straight out ask them where the piece is and how to remove it. Most manuals won't even list the part let alone tell you how to remove it.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Save me from nuclear war....I can figure out how to take a shower!

In my experience, mfgs and vendors are prohibited from participating in any way with removal of the restrictor -- including advising you how to do it. You certainly will not find such info in any manual or info-sheet. Thankfully, many vendors, reps, and sales-people ignore the prohibition and are happy to tell you. Ask around. Maybe take it to local hardware store and smile at the plumbing guy.

Susanelewis is correct about Grohe and the other vendors. They're all different but they all are required to restrict in order to be allowed to sell under current regs. May be the single most universally ignored law (second only to speed limits) in the country.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 7:37PM
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If you are replacing the valve in the wall, chances are the new valve will have the flow restriction cast into the brass. So it won't matter what you do to the shower head.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 11:53AM
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Sorry, I couldn't disagree more with Asolo's perspective:

We are facing water shortages and importing large amounts of energy from other countries so that people can dump water down the drain.

Get over it. 2.5 gpm is plenty of water for a shower.
You can try a couple of showerheads to find one that feels better than others, but don't go wasting water.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 11:56AM
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Actually, Jake, we're on the same page. I take "navy" showers. Haven't had an actual bath in years. I flush the toilet once a day unless I have company. Laundry and DW are HE. I pay attention. I know how much water I need and don't need and don't waste it (unless you consider my softener-regeneration cycle unforgiveable). However, I certainly did remove the stupid restrictor from my shower head. I favor personal responsibility and common sense over restrictions....but I do acknowledge I live in a world of wasters.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Ok, nothing gets me going more than ridiculous laws that in theory sound good but in practice don't work. And, that is how I feel about some of the water restriction laws. I am a treehugger at heart but w/o the removal of the restrictors, I would have had to stay in the shower 2x as long to rinse the shampoo out of my thick hair. That makes no common sense at all. None of us in this house take long hot showers or waste water, but when I want to get clean, a wimpy shower head is a waste of my time and water.

And, btw, when we installed our Grohe many years ago, we didn't fuss with anything in the PB valve but we DID remove the restrictor from the handheld (we use also as shower head). It made a HUGE difference. Maybe that is true for some manufacturers but it is not for Grohe...at least about a decade ago.

Personally, I would prefer that Big Brother stay a bit more out of my life. Some restrictions are reasonable...others are simply ridiculous. And, I have a lawn sprinkler system too. I'm surprised those haven't been outlawed!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 9:28PM
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Well, it's getting a little off topic, but I guess that's okay...

2.5 gal a minute is a fair amount of water. It's not outrageous government intrusion. Even when people see the big picture, they rarely see themselves as part of the problem. (I get that we have an energy problem, but I NEED a vehicle that gets 8 mpg, for example).

What's more, when people turn on the tap and no water comes out they turn to who?!? That's right, they show up at the City or State government offices and demand water. It happens all over - particularly the West and South West. They don't care where it comes from, just get it! They don't care that they are draining aquifers, taking it from farmers, taking it from downstream cities, etc. The Colorado River no longer has water in it to the gulf of California - it's all diverted.

You are absolutely correct, I'm also surprised that lawn sprinklers haven't been outlawed in some areas. It's insane to move to Arizona, for example, and demand to have a "lawn".

Keep in mind that it takes time for water conserving fixtures to make it into use. If you wait until a water emergency to implement water saving fixture regulations, you have waited about 20-30 years too long. Same with energy conservation.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 10:36AM
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I live in the Southwest. My favorites down here are the "green" folks have low-flow shower-heads, economizer toilets, and HE everything.... balanced by their lawns, swimming pools, and jacuzzi-tubs. What a hoot!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:12PM
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The problem is national rules to address local issues.

Around Washington, DC some localities invested in dams that feed the Potomac River to ensure adequate water during drought conditions, while others did not.

We had no water restrictions in a number of Northern Virginia counties a few years ago while the Maryland counties across the river had restrictions.

The amount of water that each community can remove from the Potomac River is limited, and when the river has low flow the Virginia Counties open up the dams and get to pull that much more from the river.

Whatever water is NOT removed from the river simply flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

It is the main water source for Northern Virginia, the Maryland counties around Washington, DC and the city itself.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 1:28PM
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I live in Michigan near a river and the county borders Lake Erie. We have had one water emergency in the 32 years I've been married. I run my lawn sprinklers enough to have green grass only a few months of the year. If I lived in the SW, I would landscape like most people using what is drought-tolerant.

The issue is government restrictions that don't make sense and applied nationally, like brickeyee said. If I move to an area where access to water is restricted then I would expect that the local governing ordinances would be more restrictive...just like homes in hurricane-affected areas have different building codes.

Toilets have come a long way in design that meets the new water laws. I don't have much issue with that. But when it comes to shower heads, it makes my blood boil that we are told how much water we are allowed to use to get ourselves clean. Come on Kramer shower head!!! lol

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Manufacturers want none of that. They don't want a bunch of state (or local) water use restrictions that mean that they have to produce 5 SKU's of a faucet, for example, to meet the different requirements.

That's why so many of these kinds of regs are federal regs. Same with energy efficient appliances, emission on cars, etc.

It was a complete pain in the butt when California had different emission standards for cars.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:00PM
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I understand ALL of it.

For myself, I REMOVED the restriction.

Everybody else can do what they want.

Local, state, and federal authorities can come and arrest me if they want. I would WELCOME a jury trial!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:34PM
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With a good shower head, 2.5 gpm should be plenty of water that feels "powerful" for most folks. I would advise trying a different shower heads before removing a flow restrictor.

As for Grohe, I recently installed one that did not have a removable restrictor, which the client requested. In that same bathroom they also happened to unintentionally select an extra low flow "Hansa" brand lavatory faucet. While it looked really cool, at 1.8 gpm (or something like that) the water falling out of the wide-rectangular faucet head was underwhelming to say the least.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 10:42PM
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How in the world do you "try" different shower heads? That is virtually impossible.

Out of curiosity, I just talked to corporate Grohe and they confirmed that ALL of their shower heads and handhelds have removable restrictors. They are a German-base company and those flow restrictors are added for the US market. Perhaps the customer preferred the restrictor left in (is that what you were saying?), but every Grohe handheld and shower head has a removable restrictor. And, there are NO restrictors in any of their PB or thermostatic shower valves.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 12:27PM
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"With a good shower head, 2.5 gpm should be plenty of water that feels "powerful" for most folks. "

Glad you have made this important decision for all the population of the USA.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 6:34PM
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You're welcome.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 6:52PM
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Finding the right shower head has become a compulsion of mine too. I hate turning the shower on full blast and I can put my hand in the center of the stream and not get wet!!!

I have a box of shower heads I've bought and they just weren't what I wanted. I picked up another one last week to add to the collection that just might do the trick!!! And it only cost $6.00 and some change at Home Depot.

No fancy packaging...it is called PEERLESS Power Shower Head, with a power spray with a max flow of 2.5

The way it is made is different than what I'm used to. It's narrow with a button that slides so you can turn it off while lathering up. I don't do that, I want the hot water and spray to poke little holes in me while I lather up. This one seems to come close so until I see something else, this one will hang around awhile. The woman likes it too, says it rinses the soap out of her hair really good and does it fast.

Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:21PM
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The entire population of the USA might enjoy these two shower head options:

For a basic unit (no adjustments):

We also have a great one by Speakman. Looks like one of these (with the adjustmnet knob):


    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 8:43AM
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"..entire population"? Wow, that is quite the generalization and assumption. Quite the tongue in cheek comment....lol. That wouldn't help me cuz I use a handheld on a bar. Fixed shower heads would be a waste in our bathrooms.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 11:04AM
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I only meant the entire population that uses fixed shower heads (humbly, of course).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 11:20AM
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You call tell you are humble when you avoid mentioning it would be good for the entire world. But, some people are bothered when Americans only think of what would be good in the USA. Ya can't win.

Has anyone mentioned yet that a splitter you feed two shower heads from the same wall plumbing?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 12:50PM
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