What Is An Aerator Shower Head? (And Do You Need One?)

Are you always wishing for a more luxurious shower? Is your water bill preventing you from hopping in the shower every morning? An aerator shower head just might fix both problems while helping to reduce your impact on the environment.

In this post, I’ll explain what an aerator shower head is, how it works, its pros and cons as well as answer some frequently asked questions about the topic.

Let’s dive in!

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What Is An Aerator Shower Head?

An aerator shower head is designed to reduce your demand for water while producing a more vigorous shower experience. It simply screws in while replacing your old shower head.

They are available as rain, fixed, hand-held, and combination designs. Find one to match the finish of your existing taps in traditional chrome, brushed nickel, bronze, or the latest decor trend.

Aerator Shower Head

How Do Aerator Shower Heads Work?

Aerator shower heads draw in the surrounding air through vents at the top and mix it with water being channelled through aerating nozzles. This makes the droplets larger which makes it feel like you are standing under a more powerful shower.

If you’re considering an aerator shower head, just make sure it is compatible with your shower system.

Lower Your Water Bill

This is a key consideration if your water usage is metered. Regular shower heads simply propel water through their shaped nozzles and will consume up to 30 litres of water per minute.

You may find a simple aerator shower head with a single setting that uses as little as 7.5 litres per minute. Adjustable aerators may increase water usage to 20 litres per minute to create a massaging pulse. You can see that you could reap a metered savings of more than 50%! Considering that your shower statistically represents almost 20% of your overall water usage, this is a big plus.

Enjoy A More Luxurious Shower Experience

By infusing air into the water stream, aerator shower heads give the sensation of higher pressure. This can make your shower feel more powerful and relaxing.

As well as this, an aerator helps to evenly distribute water, resulting in a consistent, steady flow. This eliminates any sporadic or erratic water sprays, providing a more comfortable shower experience.

Additionally, some aerator shower heads have different settings to adjust the size and force of the water droplets. This can create a variety of experiences, from a gentle mist to a powerful massage, adding to the luxury of your shower.

Lowers Your Electric Bill

How does a shower head reduce your utility bill? If you are using more than 50% less hot water during each shower, you won’t be paying to heat all that water. It may only appear as a pound every other month, but that starts to add up over time. When you consider that the cost of a new shower head can be as low as £5, it doesn’t take long to earn back your investment.

Some Minor Drawbacks When Using An Aerator Shower Head

Just like any modern invention, there are often trade-offs for every home upgrade.

The most notable is that you may not be able to install an aerator shower head if you have an electric shower. Some electric showers have lower pressure or flow rates and an aerator shower head might further decrease the water flow.

If the flow rate becomes too low, this can result in extreme water temperatures as water takes longer to pass over the element and could even cause the shower to overheat and break.

As a general rule, they are compatible with any shower system that utilizes hot water supplied directly from your boiler system. This encompasses mixer showers and power showers. However, they are not suitable for use with most electric shower models

Another common observation is that new users of aerators notice that they have to turn up the heat on their showers. The aerator blends your nicely heated water with room-temperature air. That results in cooler water striking your skin. You may use a little extra energy to heat your water by a few degrees, but you are still heating less of it.

If you are looking at the aerator shower head as a cheap solution to very low water pressure, you may be disappointed. It uses no motors or mechanical devices to combine the air with the water, so if you only get a dribble with a regular shower head, the aerator may do little more than create a pleasing mist.

Finally, you will notice that it takes a little longer for the temperature to change when you turn up the heat. However, after using the shower head for a few weeks, you may forget that it was ever any different.

Aerator Rain Shower Head

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Advantages Of Aerator Shower Heads

  • Helping the planet by reducing your use of natural resources
  • Lowers your metered water usage
  • Generates a more luxurious shower experience
  • Lowers your sewerage bill due to less water going down the drain
  • Lowers your heating bill
  • Cost-effective upgrade

Disadvantages Of Aerator Shower Heads

  • Not compatible with most electric showers
  • Cannot fix very low water pressure
  • Produces a cooler shower
  • May increase energy usage to heat the water

Does A Shower Head Need An Aerator?

No, not every shower head is designed with an aerator. If you have a home built before 2000, it is likely that you have a non-aerated shower head. It only takes a few minutes and a quick visit to the plumbing supply store to update your shower.

There are also water-saving non-aerated shower heads available. They are not as common and do not create a stream that is as vigorous.

How Much Does An Aerator Shower Head Cost?

You will spend between £5 and £50 to change out your non-aerated shower head with a water-saving version. An average household could earn back the cost within the year.

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Can You Use an Aerator Shower Head on an Electric Shower?

Aerator shower heads are generally not suitable for electric showers due to flow rate and safety considerations.

Electric showers work by quickly heating the water as it passes through the heating element. If an incompatible shower head or hose is used that restricts water flow, it can result in dangerously hot water temperatures or cause the pressure relief device to blow. This happens because the water takes longer to pass over the heating element, leading to potential harm to the user.

Because of this, aerator shower heads are generally not recommended for use with electric showers. Their flow-restricting designs can cause a build-up in the heating tank, leading to overheating and damage to the shower unit.

Are Aerated Shower Heads Good?

Aerator shower heads can be a fantastic eco-conscious upgrade to any shower. It can lower your water consumption by up to 50% as well as your water heating costs (as you don’t need to heat as much water). All while providing a more luxurious shower experience.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about aerator shower heads.

While they may not be the answer to your low-pressure shower woes, they are a great water-saving upgrade to any shower system.

So, will you add an aerator shower head to your new bathroom renovation?


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.