We all know the green merits of going with a low-flow showerhead; typically it's the first piece of advice given to green newbies wondering what steps they should take to live a more sustainable life. We should also then know the frustrations that come with a low-flow showerhead: wimpy pressure + sporadic spray = more time needed to wash the shampoo out of your hair. Where's the conservation in that? So, we're happy to see The New York Times review 17 low-flow showerheads to see how well they each delivered an "acceptably robust shower."
The NYT also tested the usefulness of the various spray options, and how truthful the stated flow rates were. (Apparently, all the manufacturers told the truth.) Here are the top contenders:
• Evolve Water Lily: Technically not low-flow, this showerhead (as we noted in our review of it) gets points for automatically reducing the water flow down to a trickle when it gets hot, and stays that way until you get in. It also had the most satisfying and powerful massage spray. But beware: the water can be quite hot when you flip the reactivation lever!
• The Kohler Purist: With a force of 1.75 gallons-per-minute, this showerhead got good marks for its three settings (the highest of which is good for soothing sore muscles and rinsing out shampoo), easy switching mechanism, and sophisticated look.
• The FloWise from American Standard: neither the full spray or the combination spray were quite strong enough; it was only the third setting, the turbine spray, that felt stronger than its flow rate of 2 gpm.
• The Moen Envi: eight inches in diameter, with a flow of 2 gallons-per-minute, provided a strong, satisfyingly "rainlike" experience, adjustable via a lever allowing it to be either full flow or a gusty spray.
• Single-Action Models: the two units tested both put out 1.5 gpm with no adjustable flow. The Delta showerhead was okay with larger drops for an overall "wetter" feeling, but the a $10 version from Real Goods had a sloppy spray.
• Waterpik Ecoflow: the new Waterpik model has 5 sprays, most of which were pretty impressive with good pressure power. Strongest review came for the "soaker" mode, which the reviewer thought was very satisfying. Extra points for a nice feature that cuts the spray to under a gallon per minute, allowing for a "navy shower."
Read the whole article for more info at The New York Times.
• Green Choice Showerhead by Showertek
• Evolve Ladybug Showerhead Adaptor
• Kohler Watersense Showerhead
• Water-Efficient Showerhead: Earth Massage
Five Six Tips For Taking a Shorter Shower
• Hot or Not? Navy Showers
Images: Top image via Showerright; Image below the jump: Tony Cenicola for The New York Times
(Originally published 2009-08-27 - CB)