Today's showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute of water (referred to and measured as gpm) or less. Low-flow showerheads can use as little as 0.5, but most use between 1.5 and 2 gpm. In general, however, experts say showerheads that use 1.5 gpm or more tend to perform better than products that use less water. The reason: Extremely low-flow showerheads (under 1 gpm) often struggle to provide an even spray of water. Furthermore, these showerheads typically mix copious amounts of air with the water, cooling down outputted liquid. Still, these products can be appealing to eco-conscious consumers, those who have a small water heater or live in an area that is prone to water shortages. For most people, however, experts say a showerhead that uses 1.5 to 2.5 gpm is enough to fit the bill.
If you're in the market for a high-end showerhead, see if you can check it out in action. Some home improvement stores actually offer real-life demonstrations to give consumers a better idea of a product's spray and pressure. Nearly all replacement showerheads are easy to install, but if you're not experienced in home repairs or you're buying a specialty showerhead, check the packaging or manufacturer's website for installation instructions before you begin. In general, all you'll need is a wrench or pair of pliers, a rag or washcloth, and a small amount of Teflon tape. Some showerheads include Teflon tape and a disposable wrench in the package -- a nice convenience if you would otherwise have to buy these items.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when shopping for a showerhead.