Low-flow Vs Regular Shower Head: Which One is Better?

Shower heads come in many forms and types. Among them, low-flow ones are a hot topic in the market. This type of shower head is comparatively modern and technologically superior.

Now, how does a low-flow shower head differentiate from a regular one? As the name suggests, a low-flow shower head utilizes less flow of water to operate. Regular flow, on the contrary, uses more water.

Since these two types of shower heads utilize different rates of water, their functionality differs from each other. These shower heads also have their own advantages and shortcomings, which we will discuss shortly. 


What Actually Is a Low-flow Shower Head?

The type of shower head that disperses 1.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM) is a low-flow shower head. These are modern-day shower heads that reduce your water bills. Low-flow shower heads also contribute to the environmental sustainability of this planet as they do water conservation. 

Standard flow shower heads, or regular flow shower heads, are traditional shower faucets that use six or more gallons of water per minute. Their GPM is higher than low-flow shower heads, so the water bill will also be 2.5 times higher.

Regular Vs Low-flow Shower Head (Main Differences)

Let’s have a brief overview of the main differences between regular and low-flow shower heads:

Now Let’s Know The Differences in Details

Now it’s time to have an in-depth discussion about the comparison between regular and low-flow shower heads.

  • Water Flow

 Winner: Regular shower head

Low-flow shower heads utilize significantly less water than regular shower heads. On average, low-flow shower heads use 1.2 to 1.8 gallons of water per minute. On the other hand, regular shower heads use 2.5 gallons per minute, considered a standard water flow rate (GPM).

  • Water Pressure

➤ Winner: Regular shower head

A regular shower head can have a flow rate between 2.0 and 2.5 gallons per minute, a range perfect for almost everyone. 

In fact, the lower end of the shower-head flow range can be used effectively to provide comfortable and gentle water pressure during your shower time.

There are two types of low-flow shower heads, aerating and non-aerating. Manufacturers make these types of low-flow shower heads so that it creates more consistent water pressure. This happens because low-flow shower heads have compressed water inside and thinner water sprayers.

Recommended reading: Low-Flow Vs High Flow Shower Heads

  • Showering Experience


➤ Winner: Low-flow

Since low-flow shower heads have superior technology, it gives you a smoother and gentler bathing experience. It will provide you with a further elegant showering experience if bought from top expensive brands.

[ Ona side note: Is it really worth it to buy an expensive shower head from a renowned brand? To find the answer, click here.]

However, a regular shower head will work just fine for most people, and it will give you slightly more water pressure with an average showering experience.

  • Energy Consumption

➤ Winner: Low-flow

A shower head’s energy consumption was 40% more than modern-day low-flow shower heads a few years back. Low-flow shower heads are very efficient and contribute much to your home’s water conservation.

NB. Like energy consumption, the low-flow shower head has many benefits. To know more about these benefits, read this.

  • Water Bill

➤ Winner: Low-flow

Regular shower heads, on average, use 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) of water at the cost of about $0.22 per gallon, for about $0.47 per minute (assuming you take 8-minute showers). Conserving water would mean cutting your shower to 6 minutes and reducing the total cost of a shower by $0.03, saving less than 8 cents per use.

Low-flow showerheads can easily cut the cost of your showers in half while using only 1.5 GPM of water, saving you $0.09 per use on a 6-minute shower or just over $0.18 per minute. 

Moreover, if you use 1.2 GPM or less, it can reduce your water bill by up to 2 times. This type of shower head uses less water and is very energy efficient.

  • Environment Friendliness

➤ Winner: Low-flow

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that if all homes use low-flow shower heads, it will save up to 260 billion gallons of water. Hence, low-flow shower heads are environmentally friendlier and more sustainable. 

  • Cost

➤ Winner: Regular 

Regular shower heads are cheaper because they are easy to manufacture. Low-flow shower heads cost more because they use modern state-of-the-art technology.

NB. Read our shower head price guide here. It will give you an idea about the current market price of shower heads based on your location in the US, shower head types, and materials.

Pros and Cons of Low-flow Shower Head

Comparisons aren’t always enough. That is why we have included a detailed pros and cons assessment of a low-flow shower head.



Pros and Cons of Regular Shower Head

Regular flow shower heads do have a few positive and negative attributes. And we have listed them below for your convenience:



Low-flow Vs Regular Shower Head: Which One Should I Choose?

In general, low-flow is the type of shower head you should buy. It is equipped with modern day technology that creates more water pressure but saves a ton of water bills. However, based on your budget, the answer might vary:

If your budget is very low, you can buy a regular shower head. Low-flow shower heads are comparatively a bit costly, they start from $50. But remember, regular shower heads are a bad investment in the long run because it will increase your water bills.

When you have a budget from $50 to $100, you must buy a low-flow shower head. They will give a smooth bathing experience.

All luxurious shower heads are the low-flow ones. You can even find low-flow shower heads from high-end posh brands that cost more than $1000. 


Choosing the proper sort of shower head is a difficult task. As a result, you should be aware of some of the frequently asked questions about low-flow and regular shower heads:

  • Are all new shower heads low flow?

Almost all modern-day shower heads are low flow. Since 1992, it is mandatory in the US to have 2.5 or less GPM in shower heads. Depending on the country you live in, you might only have low-flows available. 

  • What should I look for in a low flow shower head?

You should look for the “WaterSense” label on a low-flow shower head. WaterSense shower heads are less than 2.5 GPM and are very efficient.

  • How much do low flow shower heads save?

Low-flow shower heads save 40% more energy than regular shower heads. And when it comes to bills, they save around 2.5 times of money.

  • How much water does a 20 minute shower use?

In a 20 minute shower, a low-flow shower head will use 50 gallons of water at max. On the contrary, a regular shower head can use 100 or more gallons of water. 

  • What is the typical flow rate for a shower head?

In the US, the federal mandated water flow of shower heads is 2.5 GPM at maximum. In most places, you will find low-flow shower heads that have a water flow rate of less than 2.5 GPM.

The Bottom-line

A shower head is a common household appliance that is utilized daily. But many people do not consider diving deep enough to compare between the different types.

And to get the most pleasing experience, you must fully understand the differences. You should be aware that low-flow shower heads are the most excellent sort of shower heads because they are more energy and productivity efficient.

So we recommend you not to buy a regular shower head unless you have a budget of less than $50. It is essential to remember that regular shower heads will generate more water bills.

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