You Absolutely Must Buy This Miraculous, Water-Saving Shower Head

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 4 2014 1:00 PM

You Absolutely Must Buy This Miraculous, Water-Saving Shower Head

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They'd be even happier if they had the Niagara handheld.

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

The catastrophic drought in California is intensifying every day, and Californians are finding themselves flooded with tips about saving water at home to help alleviate the crisis. But the most obvious suggestion—take shorter showers—is also the most impractical: Americans are wed to their luxurious marathon showers, and not even the literal apocalypse is going to change that. So ignore the quixotic short shower crusade and take my advice: Don’t set a timer. Just buy this absolutely miraculous shower head.  

My wisdom here is hard-won. The water heater in my apartment is so puny that, with a normal shower head, it runs out of hot water after barely 60 seconds. Last year, unwilling to shell out money for a replacement, I decided to go the water efficiency route and ordered a Delta 1.5 gallon-per-minute shower head. (A traditional shower head is between 2.5 and 3.5 gallons per minute.) It was miserable. Although the head kept the hot water going, its tiny little jets barely made a splash against my body. Standing under the pitiful stream, I couldn’t tell whether I was taking a shower or getting peed on. Washing my entire body took over ten minutes and often wasn’t worth the struggle. My boyfriend described this period as our year of living dirtily.

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Last month, the Delta head let out its death knell with a wimpy, final sputter, and I was back on the market for a shower head. The water heater problem hadn’t been fixed, so I tried out another 1.5 gpm head, this time a Niagara handheld. I don’t know how to put this to you without sounding like a Niagara shill, but this shower head actually changed my life. It feels, hand to God, like a luxury shower head at a hotel—yet it uses vastly less water. You never, ever feel like you’re using a water-saving device, so seemingly extravagant is the ever-hot water that shoots out of the nozzle. If you want a quick clean, this thing delivers; if you want an opulent spa experience, the Niagara is your best bet. In an age sadly bereft of miracles, this shower head is a miracle.

I don’t live in California, but I do pay bills, and after a month, that shower head has nearly paid for itself. Every day, I use fewer gallons of water and fewer megawatts of electricity without doing anything at all. Even if you don’t care about saving the planet, then, the Niagara handheld is still worth it if you want to save your bank account. I don’t understand the technology behind the Niagara, but I know that it is a mind-boggling achievement of human ingenuity. If you’re still using a 2.5+ gpm shower head, you aren’t simply being wasteful—you’re being a fool. How often can you save water, energy, money, and time, all at once? Just take my word for it and buy the damn shower head

Niagara Earth Massage Handheld - 1.5gpm

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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