Electric Shower vs Mixer Shower

shower types compared

Whether you choose an electric shower or a mixer shower will come down to your water pressure system, budget, and style. Essentially, electric showers are cheaper to install but mixer showers will give you better water flow. 

It can be tricky choosing the right shower if you don’t have the right information. We’re going to run through the difference between electric and mixer showers, find out which is cheaper to run and which of the two showers provides the best water pressure and temperature control. We’ll also explain why your water pressure system could be important when deciding. 

Electric vs Mixer Shower – How Do They Work?

An electric shower only requires a cold water supply and an electric supply that is fed into the electric shower. The electric supply is used to heat an element that warms the water, in the same way that an electric kettle heats up the water. The water temperature is regulated by allowing less or more hot water to be heated and sent back out to the showerhead. 

In regards to mixer showers, there are various models of mixer showers available on the market, from single lever models, rotary or sequential, concentric, and bar mixers to dual-control mixers. 

However, mixer showers operate by having a cold and a hot water supply fed into the mixer which allows you to regulate the temperature. The mixer doesn’t do any of the heating of the water as that’s taken care of by your boiler.

One of the biggest factors you need to consider when choosing the right shower is whether you have a high-pressure or low-pressure water system.

High-Pressure vs Low-Pressure Water System 

There are two types of high-pressure systems: vented and unvented. A vented system will have a combi boiler, usually located in the kitchen. An unvented system will have a hot water tank but no cold-water tank. Either way, both of these work well with mixer showers. 

If you have a cold water storage tank (usually located in the loft) and a separate hot water tank, you’ve got a low-pressure gravity system. Your best bet in this situation is usually an electric shower. However, if you have good water pressure you could consider a mixer shower.

Having said that, both electric and mixer showers can be compatible with nearly any water system or boiler. With that in mind, let’s look at the specific benefits that each of these shower types delivers.

The Benefits Of An Electric Shower 

running electric shower

If you’re planning on installing an electric shower, they have a number of benefits. 

The main benefits that you’ll get from electric showers are that they:

  • Can be more economical to run as they only heat water while you are using the shower. This saves energy because a whole tank doesn’t need to be filled up just for a shower. They usually save water too because they have a lower flow rate.
  • Are more compact and far easier to install in any bathroom as they are usually externally fitted onto the tiles and do not require a recess cut and waterproofing work done. 
  • Deliver hot water faster so you don’t have to wait for the hot water to be delivered from a boiler or tank. 

Before choosing one, make sure you look at what kW rating it comes with. That’s because ones with a higher kW have a better hot water flow.

The Benefits Of A Mixer Shower

testing mixer shower

Mixer showers are usually touted as being the superior of these two types. 

The main benefits that you’ll get from electric showers are that they:

  • Usually provide superior water pressure. 
  • Offer greater temperature control. 
  • Can be concealed which looks much nicer. 
  • Are more modern in design and they offer far more styles and finishes. 
  • Are much quieter, the only sound is the water running, which is relaxing.

Before choosing one, there are a number of styles to consider. Here are the main ones and their features:

  • Single lever – has one lever that can adjust the flow of water and temperature.
  • Rotary – has a single wheel that controls the temperature but you can’t adjust the water flow.
  • Concentric – has two wheels so you can control water flow and temperature.
  • Dual controls – has separate dials to control water flow and temperature. 
  • Bar mixer – has a bar with dials at both ends to control water flow and temperature. 

Negative Factors of an Electric Shower

Now let’s take a look at some of the downsides around electric showers:

  • If there is a power cut then the shower will run cold
  • The water pressure isn’t as strong as their counterparts. 
  • They need good water pressure.
  • Motorised pump is noisy 
  • Some cheaper models are housed in ugly plastic boxes.
  • More moving parts that are prone to faults. 

Negative Factors of a Mixer Shower

Now let’s take a look at some of the downsides around electric showers:

  • They are more difficult to install which also makes them far more expensive.
  • They’re also less economical to run compared to an electric shower.
  • If your boiler fails then you won’t have hot water.

Conclusion

Depending on what type of water pressure system you have will govern what type of shower you can install in your bathroom without major changes. If you’ve got good water pressure and have a high-pressure system, you’re always better to go with a mixer shower. 

If you’ve got a low-pressure system it’s best to go with an electric power shower. However, you can usually choose either.

That means your other considerations will be budget and design. Whichever you choose, make sure you research the different brands before purchasing and always check out customer reviews. 

After all, a new shower is a big investment and there is nothing as nice as having a good shower to jump into every day.