I have spent the last several weeks testing the HighSierra FCS-200 water saving shower head; it costs about $25, provides a great shower experience, uses only 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) and I highly recommend it.
I have now done five low flow shower head reviews so far (sorry, no nude shower scenes in this one) and the HighSierra wins hands down on price and is a strong contender for the best feeling shower of those we have tried.
A water saving shower head can help you conserve water, and in particular hot water which means you’re also save energy.
The other very good water saving shower heads I tested are larger, and considerably more expensive. Don’t be deceived — the HighSierra model might look like those really cheapo, painful shower heads that they put in locker room showers. But HighSierra’s clever low flow design makes it really a totally different beast. Simple is good; the manufacturer claims that it is less likely to become clogged with mineral deposits, it’s very small, and solidly built.
Here are some criteria I use for water saving shower head reviews:
- Comfortable: is the spray pleasant overall and does not sting … nor is wimpy
- Droplet size: very small droplets cool down and can be chilly around the edges
- Effective: forceful enough to remove shampoo and rinse soap off easily and quickly
- Spray pattern: wide enough that your whole body is covered
- Adjustable: are there options to adjust flow rate, e.g. a shut-off valve
- Construction: does it seem solid and durable, prone to clogging or other failure?
- Water usage: regular shower heads use 2.5 GPM, a low flow head should use less
- Price: some of these puppies can be expensive
And here’s my review of the HighSierra FCS-200 low flow shower head:
- Comfortable: very comfortable and pleasant overall, compares favorably to normal 2.5GPM showerheads
- Droplet size: large droplets retain warmth and feeling of power and do not sting
- Effective: Very good, if a little less forceful than the Oxygenics model
- Spray pattern: wide spray is smart; more water reaches the edges and the spray is horizontally oriented
- Adjustable: The FCS-200 model has a flow-control button valve; good for reducing flow when shaving or soaping up
- Construction: all-metal, chrome, very well made, unlikely to clog
- Water usage: at 1.5 GPM, this one is a little better than other low flow heads
- Price: $22.90 for the FCS-100 (no shut-off), $25.45 for the FCS-200 as of 2/10/2009
Some comments from the family… my son greatly prefers this shower head over the Oxygenics shower head I reviewed and that we normally use. I think this is because the other head is optimized for adults (taller, and therefore closer to the spray). With the HighSierra head, the larger droplets stay warm longer so reach down the extra couple of feet to his 4-1/2 foot body. The shower head is very small and great for tight spaces. My wife and I are both very happy with it, with only one minor quibble — tiny drops of water tend to escape around the top, and can get into your eyes.
A heads-up for buyers: the unique design confused me at first (I didn’t read the instructions) — you have to rotate the head until the visible eye-shaped orifice is oriented horizontally (like the CBS logo). From experience, I can attest that it’s a rather unusual shower experience if you don’t do that step! But that’s a one-time thing. Otherwise, installation is a simple matter of unscrewing the old head and screwing on the new one (a wrench or pair of pliers might help).
Bottom line: this is a great shower head for about one half the price of other great ones I have used. (And the real bottom line is that my wife hasn’t asked me to re-install our old one). I think you’ll be very happy.