Wondering whether an electric shower would suit your needs better than a conventional mixer shower? Find out which is right for you with our expert guide.
For those of you who feel invigorated and refreshed when standing beneath a raging torrent of hot water, mixer showers are a popular choice. But what about electric showers? Could this be a better option?
Many of us favour mixer showers because we’d rather not use electric to heat our water (electricity can sometimes be more expensive than gas, leading to bigger bills), while others prefer the ease in which an electric shower can be fitted using just a cold water supply.
In this concise yet informative guide, we'll cover the pros and cons of each type and help you decide whether you'd prefer an electric shower or a mixer shower.
A simple mixer shower can be attached to your bath taps
Mixer showers are a common sight in UK homes, drawing water directly from your domestic water supply (just like your taps and toilet cistern). They come in a variety of designs, from basic models which connect to a bath shower mixer tap to more sophisticated showers where the plumbing is concealed within a wall—with just the controls and shower head on display.
Manual mixer showers work in a very simple fashion. The temperature and pressure of the water are regulated by turning the controls, with the water combining in the hose. However, if you choose a thermostatic mixer shower, the temperature will remain constant, even when water is being used elsewhere in your household. Thermostatic valves also provide an added layer of safety, with an anti-scald cut out device stopping the flow of water, should the cold supply fail for any reason—peace of mind, especially if your shower is used by children or elderly relatives.
Thermosatic mixer showers come in a variety of designs and even colours!
Pros of mixer showers:
- Easy to install
- Very simple to use
- Many homes come with mixers already fitted
- Uses a gas boiler rather than electricity to heat the water, which is preferable in some households
- Thermostatic mixer showers allow you to regulate temperature
- A wide variety of different models offer you a tailored showering experience
- Concealed mixer showers, with plumbing hidden from view, give a streamlined, unobtrusive appearance
Cons of mixer showers:
- If using a manual mixer shower, water temperature can be affected by other appliances in the house using hot or cold water (if someone runs the kitchen tap you could be in for an unpleasant shock!)
- The flow rate from your shower head can be negatively affected by the shower hose running up from taps or a valve instead of down from a unit
- With manual valves or bath shower mixer taps, temperature can be difficult to control and adjust
- When fitting, you will need access to both a hot and cold water supply, which isn’t always practical in certain circumstances (e.g. when installing in a new area of the home)
- If you suffer from low water pressure, you may need to fit a shower pump
Whilst not as common as conventional mixer showers, electric showers are a popular choice in many households. In this system, the water is heated in the unit itself by electricity, so doesn't rely on the boiler for heat. There is often a pull cord switch from the ceiling or a switch outside the bathroom that determines whether the electricity supply to the shower is on or off.
Most models offer precise temperature control with a simple-to-use dial, typically on a scale from 0 to 9. Some also feature a secondary dial, allowing you to select your desired water pressure—usually low and high, but often also with an “eco” option. An on/off button is usually incorporated into the design, to start and stop the water flow.
Modern electric showers, like the Triton Aspirante, are designed to complement contemporary bathrooms perfectly
Pros of electric showers:
- Easy to install (find out which tradesperson experts recommend)
- Water temperature will be unaffected by hot water being run elsewhere in the house
- Can offer more consistent heat in the winter if your boiler has difficulty coping with the cold
- Allows hot water to be used elsewhere in the house
- Only requires a cold water supply—ideal for extensions or new shower rooms
- Only heats the water used—great for rental properties
- Often uses less water than conventional mixer showers—great if your water bill is determined by a meter
Cons of electric showers:
- If the switch is outside the bathroom, your child or an annoying housemate (we’ve all had them!) can turn it off while you're in the shower
- In extreme cases, low water pressure can mean the heating system fails to recognise that it needs to provide the heat (call an electrician in this case)
- Doesn’t provide you with the variety of options that a mixer shower does
- The electrical unit can look a little obtrusive, especially if you’re aiming to achieve a designer style bathroom
- May not always provide you with the same flow rate as a mixer shower—for some, it's all about the experience!
Are electric showers better than mixer showers?
So, are electric showers better than mixer showers? If you're looking for consistent heat and pressure, have an older or inefficient water heating system or want a quick and easy solution for an extension or rental property, the answer is probably yes, however some households, especially more modern homes, simply suit mixer showers better. The choice is entirely yours!
The Mira Sport Max is a very popular electric shower, with advanced stabilised temperature control and Clearscale technology which cuts limescale build-up by half
More shower advice and inspiration
Want to find out more about the different types of shower available? Check out our expert shower buying guide which will help you make an informed choice.
If you’re keen on an electric shower, you can find out more about them in our electric shower guide. Mira Showers, one of the UK’s leading suppliers have even supplied a handy electric shower replacement guide, if you want to see how they are fitted.
For further inspiration, why not take a look our latest shower ideas?
Whether you’ve chosen to go with an electric shower, a mixer shower or have decided on something else entirely, we offer one of the widest selections of showers around. Click on the image below to begin browsing.