How To Save Water With The Right Shower Head
If you go boondocking a lot, you know that one of the hardest parts of it is making the fresh water tank last as long as possible. This means being very conservative with water when doing dishes, taking a shower, washing your hands, and cooking. The hardest one, in my opinion, is being conservative while taking a shower in the RV. You can’t stand there for 20 minutes with hot water and think about your day because then you’ll run out of water real quick.
Luckily, there are ways to improve the shower experience in an RV while saving water, by using the right shower head. The shower heads that come with RV’s are bad in several ways. They have terrible water pressure and are small. Having bad water pressure from a small shower head will require longer showers to get the job done, and it won’t be a good experience.
Today we’re going to take a look at big handheld shower heads that will help you conserve the precious water in the fresh water tank. The best RV shower head has good water pressure, an on/off switch, and is big enough to where you can enjoy a shower without part of your body freezing.
All Shower Heads On The Table
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A Closer Look At Each Shower Head
A company called PIH has made this simple but functional shower head for RVs that has enough features to be a big improvement over most original shower heads.
It comes with a 59-inch hose and a wall bracket holder to hang the shower head on. The bracket can be hung with double-sided tape or screws. If you’re looking for what tape to use when installing a shower head bracket, scroll down to the frequently asked questions section where I answer a question about this.
The shower head can easily be switched from a full spray to a more centered massage spray. You can also “pause” the water, which lets you turn the water flow on and off to save water while shampooing etc.
If you’re looking for an easy upgrade, the PIH High Pressure RV Handheld Shower Head will do the job for most campers. It comes with the features and accessories you need to turn the RV shower into a real shower.
- Pause function
- 59-inch hose, bracket, hose sleeve included
- Two spray settings
- No mounting tape included
The YOO.MEE high pressure shower head is a nice looking shower head that comes with the longest hose on today’s list, a 79-inch stainless steel hose.
Other than the hose, YOO.MEE includes a bracket to hang the head on.
It’s missing an on/off valve, but it has three functions that are easily accessed and controlled. The settings available are a powerful spray, massage, or both powerful and massage together. Turning on the massage setting will center the spray more through fewer holes, resulting in a stronger focused spray.
I like that the YOO.MEE shower head is chrome colored and the hose is stainless steel, it looks nicer than the standard shower head and is more flexible. Add an on/off switch to this and you’ve quickly transformed the RV shower into a real one.
- 79″ stainless steel hose, adjustable bracket included
- Three settings
- No on/off switch
Camco sells this shower head kit that looks a lot like the Oxygenics Fury we’ll take a look at down below.
The kit includes the showerhead, a 60-inch flexible hose, washers, a wall bracket, and installation hardware to mount that bracket on the wall.
Camco’s shower head has four spray settings, making it a very versatile product with lots of options. With lots of spray settings, there will be one spray for everybody. The settings include rain shower (low), rain shower (high), massage with rain shower and massage spray.
Where you hold the showerhead, there is also an on/off switch that will turn off 100% of the water flow to save water while shampooing, etc.
The Camco Shower Head Kit is a very popular option that will help you conserve the water in your fresh tank while giving you a great shower experience in the RV. Good pressure, lots of settings, and an on/off switch is exactly what most people are missing from the regular shower head, and this one will deliver just that. For full-timers, I recommend a more high-quality shower head like the two below, but for the summer campers, this is a great choice.
- Five settings
- 60-inch hose, wall mount, and installation hardware included
- On/Off switch
- Questionable durability
A company called Oxygenics makes the last two products on the list. Both of them are very popular shower heads and the most high-quality ones on the list, which is why both of them are my top picks.
The first model is the ETL 26781. It’s a no frills shower head that turns low water flow into high pressure. Oxygenics has a unique design that I have looked at by taking the shower head apart. It’s a patented design that increases the oxygen in the water and self-pressurizes even though the original water flow is weak. Two gallons per minute is the amount of water it puts out at most.
An on/off switch lets you control the water flow very precisely, and you can turn it off completely if you want to.
It doesn’t have any spray settings, so the only thing you can change is the amount of water coming out of the shower head with the flow control switch.
Included with the kit except for the on/off switch, is a 60-inch plastic hose. We didn’t love the included hose, so we upgraded to a stainless steel one that was more flexible. Click here to see the kind of hose we’re currently using with the Oxygenics shower head..
Oxygenics 26781 shower head is one of the best shower heads you can get for your RV in terms of quality and water saving features. It doesn’t have a bunch of different spray settings to choose from, but the included switch will let you decide at all times how much water flow you want, and I can tell you that it delivers great pressure even with the lowest amount of water flow possible, it’s impressive. I just wish the included hose was a flexible stainless steel one.
- Incredible pressure for the water flow
- 60-inch hose, adjustable wall bracket included
- On/off switch
- No spray settings
The last shower head on the list is another one from Oxygenics. It delivers the same quality and pressure as the one above, but it has more frills, meaning more spray settings and it looks more like a shower head than the 26781.
It has a non-slip finger grip design which is great to have. The thing with the Oxygenics 26781 above is that it can be pretty slippery in your hands when it’s wet, which a grip design will take care of.
A 72-inch white hose is included in the kit, as well as a wall mount with 3M commercial strength tape for easy mounting without having to drill any holes in the wall.
Five spray settings are available to give you your kind of shower, and these are called Oxygenics, WideStream, Massage, FocusStream, and WideStream + FocusStream. Massage will provide you with a softened focused spray, while the FocusStream will be slightly more pressurized and harder towards one area. WideStream is what it sounds like, and Oxygenics is like a mix of WideStream and Massage.
You can easily control the water flow by adjusting it on the shower head, and it won’t close shut to 100%, for a reason. It’s designed that way to stop the water coming from your hot and cold pipes to mix, which often creates a cold and unpleasant experience when the water is turned back on. You can turn down the flow, but it will only go to a trickle. If you want to shut it completely, I recommend getting a shut off valve like the KES K1140B BRASS Shower Head Shut-Off Valve and put between the shower head and the hose.
The Oxygenics Fury is my top pick for a couple of reasons. It’s a high-quality, durable product that I feel confident recommending to full-timers that need to use it daily. It has five settings with different purposes and people, and it has a great grip to make it easy to hold. You can quickly install it to the wall in the RV shower with the included 3M tape, and the included 72-inch hose is long for a shower hose. It has everything that you could ask for from a shower head, and it’s the best one available on the market.
- Incredible pressure for the water flow
- 72-inch hose, adjustable wall bracket included with 3M tape
- Five spray settings
- Grip design handle
- Flow control
- No 100% on/off switch
All of the shower heads we’ve looked at today will be an improvement to the shower head found in your RV that the manufacturer installed. The big difference between these is the quality and durability. Not all hoses and shower heads are made the same way with the same material. My recommendations today will mostly be based on the quality and pressure it can deliver. Then it’s up to you to decide how many spray settings you need and if you want a valve that can turn off 100% of the water flow or not. Remember that a shut-off valve is something you can add later if needed.
Good: Camco 43714 Shower Head Kit with On/Off Switch – Camco is known for making camping accessories, and their shower head isn’t a bad one. I recommend their shower head kit if you only plan on using it a couple of weeks out of the year. For full-timers I recommend a higher quality head and hose. It has five spray settings, comes with a 60-inch hose, and has an on/off switch, not bad.
Better: ETL 26781 Oxygenics Hand Held Sprayer Kit – Whether you should buy this or the Fury one below depends on what you need in terms of spray settings. The ETL 26781 can create high water pressure out of almost no water flow, and it comes with an adjustable wall bracket. The included hose isn’t the most flexible one, but it’s durable. A great choice if you’re OK with only one spray setting.
Best: Oxygenics Fury Handheld Shower Head – The Oxygenics Fury shower head kit is my top pick today. Delivers great water pressure with almost no water flow, five spray settings, flow control, a great grip design to make it easier to hold, and a 72-inch hose are all included with this kit. It’s the best shower head you can buy for an RV or camper today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does GPM stand for?
Gallons Per Minute. How many gallons the shower head will let through each minute.
How long will my freshwater tank last?
If you know how big your fresh water tank is in gallons, and how many GPM your shower head is rated for, you can easily calculate by taking: Tank size/GPM. For example, if you have a 50 gallon tank, and a showerhead advertised as 2 GPM, we’ll do 50/2=25. This means that we can take a shower for 25 minutes. Note that if you have a water heater with a tank running on only propane gas, it might not be able to keep up and you’ll be showering in cold water after 10 minutes.
If I don’t know the GPM, how can I test it?
An easy way to test it is to take an empty 1-gallon milk jug and a stopwatch and start filling the milk jug with water in the shower. Start the water and the stopwatch at the same time and stop it when the jug is full. Then take 60 divided by how many seconds it took to fill.
If the milk jug is full after 30 seconds, you’ll know that you’re getting 2 gallons per minute since 60/30=2. If it’s full after 20 seconds, 60/20=3 GPM.
What is the best tape to hang a showerhead bracket in an RV?
We use 3M VHB RP45 Tape (click here). I have even seen it used to mount solar panels to RVs. It has held up great, just clean the area and let it completely dry and the wall bracket should stay up without issues.
What are the best ways to save water in the RV shower?
There are a couple of things you can easily do to use less water.
- When doing dishes, do it in a bucket. By saving the water, you can use it to flush your toilet instead of using clean water from your fresh water tank.
- Buy a better shower head. The shower heads we’ve looked at today will save water by giving you the same pressure with less water flow.
- Take navy showers. It’s not easy, especially if it’s cold, but it’s the most significant water saving thing you can do. Use a small Mr. Buddy Heater to heat the bathroom before you take your shower and it will be easier to get out after a navy shower.
- Cook less by meal-prepping. If you cook a big meal that will leave leftovers for days, you won’t have to do a lot of dishes every day, saving you water.
- Use nearby bathrooms. If you’re camping near a pit toilet, consider using it to save water.
When you’re camping and want to save water, a good way to do this is by taking a navy shower. It’s not the best shower you’ll ever have in your life, but once you get used to it, it will let you stay out and boondock for much longer than before because your fresh water tank will last longer.
A navy shower is a method of showering where you shut off the water while lathering and shampooing. Turn on the water to get your body wet, shut it off and lather, turn it on and rinse, turn it off, and you’re done. If done right, you can get clean with just a couple of gallons.
Can I add a shut-off valve to my current shower head?
Absolutely, there are lots of shut-off valves on the market that you can quickly hook up to your hose for this purpose. I recommend one like this (click here) that is easily accessible and controllable.
I hate my non-flexible shower hose, what should I do?
I hear you. My wife and I had the same problem with the plastic hose that came with our shower head. We couldn’t control it, as it was controlling itself and us. What we ended up doing, was buying a stainless steel hose like this (click here) and it has been working great. Now the shower head goes where we want it to, and it’s straightforward to install. Just unscrew the old one and screw on the new one.