Choose A New Shower
Which’s latest electric shower tests have found a new Best Buy model from Mira. The Elite QT 9.8kW scored 77% in their lab tests. It joins Mira’s Azora 9.8kW in joint-second place, behind Aqualisa’s Quartz XTE 9.5kW, at the top of the table with 88%. Electric showers are useful for households in which hot water created by the boiler is in short supply, or for extensions, loft conversions and other places that your existing plumbing system struggles to reach. Unlike mixer and power showers, electric showers heat cold water with an element inside the shower unit.
They’re completely separate from your hot-water system, so they’re always ready to use, whether or not your hot water is switched on. While some electric showers provide fast-flowing, consistently heated water, many others are not so successful. For some, turning on a tap nearby is enough to send temperatures darting up and down. Others have little more pressure than a trickle. Which’s lab tests aim to uncover the best electric showers for day-to-day use, assessing each model for water-flow rate and temperature changes, plus how easy they are to install, use and clean.
Prices vary widely – high-end models with advanced features can cost more than £400, while entry-level options can be as little as £50. Our top scorers will all set you back a fair amount, but there are some decent cheap options, too. A high price doesn’t guarantee a great shower, either – some of the worst models in our tests cost as much as £300 or more.
Features to look out for
■ Power rating
When comparing electric showers, each model is categorised by a power (kW) rating – 9.5kW, for example. A higher kilowatt rating means the shower can heat up a larger volume of water, but the downside is that you’ll be using more energy – and you could see your bills increase.
■ Phased shutdown
If your water system is prone to limescale, look for a model with phased shutdown. Cold water will run through the system for a few minutes after you’ve switched the shower off, to help stave off limescale build-up.
■ Integral pump
Some more high-end electric showers come with built-in pumps, which can improve the water-flow rate. However, these require a gravity-fed cold water storage tank in your attic and use more energy than normal electric showers.
Aqualisa Quartz XTE 9.5kW
Pros – An outstanding shower. It barely changed temperature during our tests, so you won’t notice if someone uses a tap elsewhere in your home while you’re showering. Plus, it’s easy to use, install and clean.
Cons – If you’re replacing a shower, the riser rail can’t be adjusted, so might not fit existing drill holes.
Which Verdict – Superb
Mira Elite QT 9.8kW
Pros – A great opti
on if you struggle with weak water pressure, as this shower includes a built-in pump for extra flow.
Cons – The downside of having a built-in pump is that it’s quite noisy and consumes a lot of energy. It can only be used with a gravity-fed cold-water storage tank.
Which Verdict – Ideal for low pressure
Triton T80z Fast-Fit
Pros – Produces a decent amount of hot water, is easy to clean, and you can adjust the riser rail to fit existing drill holes. It doesn’t get too hot if a tap is turned on nearby.
Cons – It doesn’t score as well as the Best Buys on test for temperature drops and rises.
Which Verdict – Affordable All-rounder