What is a Watersense shower and how does it work?

 What is a Watersense shower and how does it work?

Are you looking for a shower that will reduce your water consumption without sacrificing all the comfort of a traditional shower? These searches often come with doubts. Who says reduced flow, also says reduced pressure, right? This concern about the lack of pressure in your shower is natural, but our team at Bélanger, who have been leaders in developing Watersense products, is here to explain exactly how reducing the flow does not necessarily mean reducing the pressure. In fact, a Watersense shower will provide you with a comfortable and pleasant shower while reducing your ecological footprint!

Curious about how? Let us explain!

kit de douche watersense, avec focus sur la douche à main

Let’ use KIT-AXO120VTMB.as our example.It’s a fairly simple shower set, featuring a slide bar, valve, and hand showe, all in a matte black finish. It is one of our products from the AXO collection, with square shapes. It is a Watersense approved product, in particular thanks to its hand shower.

What is Watersense?

For a product to be Watersense certified, it must reduce water flow by at least 20% compared to a traditional product with a flow rate of 9.5 L/min or 2.0 gpm, while meeting performance criteria for water pressure and dispersion.

Watersense approved products ensure LEED certification points! 

For now, the only faucets that can be Watersense certified are those for sinks and showers. So for the time being forget the baths, and kitchen faucets. Indeed, the goal is to reduce the water flow as much as possible to control water consumption. Taking a bath will consume the same amount of water no matter how long it takes to fill.

While in the shower, reducing the flow creates great savings (water and money savings!) However, for this to be really effective, it is also necessary to ensure that the water pressure and that its dispersion is optimal. Imagine, if by reducing the flow of water, but that forces you to take a shower 10x longer… We agree, it’s not viable, and it’s definitely not how we will save the environment (or your wallet.) In short, this is where Watersense comes in.

A product, in order to be Watersense certified, must pass various rigorous tests. For example, a lavatory faucet must meet three requirements:

  1. A life cycle test: the faucet should continue to operate normally after 500,000 cycles.

  2. Lead-free: check that the faucet is lead-free.

  3. Minimum Water Flow: Water flow should be sufficient (greater than 0.8 gpm at 20 psi*) to meet typical usage needs.

Wondering what 0.8gpm at 20 psi means? This corresponds to a flow rate of 0.8 gallons per minute, at a pressure of 20 pounds per square inch – a pretty comfortable flow. 

For a shower, the tests are a little different.


The tests for a shower focus on the hand shower, or the shower head, depending on the model you have.

  • The first test is the water flow test. It should also be sufficient for typical needs, but it is calculated a little differently than for a sink faucet. The minimum water flow, at a pressure of 20 psi, should not be lower than 60% of the maximum water flow. For water flow tested at 45 psi pressure and 80 psig, it should not be lower than 75% of maximum water flow.
  • The second test is to assess the force of the water jet – its pressure. It must be sufficient to provide satisfaction to the user.
  • The third test evaluates water dispersion.

In short, this ensures that a person using the shower will enjoy a good distribution of the water. Interestingly, even more important than the amount of water, dispersion and pressure are the keys to a satisfying shower.

Choosing a Watersense certified product ensures that you will save water and money, without skipping out on quality. The opposite is actually true, you will have a high-performance, economical and ecological product.

At Bélanger, our products generally allow a greater reduction in flow than the Watersense certification requires, so we have created our own “certification”, called ecologiq.

Well, that’s all well and good, but in practice, what happens?

How does Watersense work?

Let’s use our KIT-AXO120VTMB, but let’s focus mainly on its hand shower, the FCSPS2036 (we’ll show it to you in a polished chrome finish, this time).

douchette watersense


So, we decrease the water flow – for this hand shower, we are talking about a flow of 6.8 L/min, or 1.8 gpm. People good at math will have already understood that we are therefore talking about a 25% reduction in water flow (excellent for LEED points!) compared to a traditional flow.

But now, how do we ensure that our product meets the Watersense requirements and gives you that pressure and comfort you crave?

The secret of a comfortable Watersense shower 

In order for the AXO hand shower to be Watersense approved, we had to have it tested in a lab. Do you see the image below? It was therefore necessary that at a certain height and inclination, the jet of the hand shower have sufficient force to reach the point in the middle of the target of the first image.

Diagramme du site EPA décrivant le test Watersense évaluant la pression d'une douchette.


This is the part where most of you think to yourselves “okay, we get it. Their shower head  has good pressure, but… how? The water flow has been reduced, right?”


Can I ask you a question?

Have you ever played with a hose?

As in putting your thumb in front of the water outlet to increase the pressure?

Gif d'une série télévisée - That 70's show - qui montre Red utilisant un tuyau d'arrosage pour arroser son fils.

Well, it’s the same concept for your hand shower. It all comes down to nozzles.

What is a shower nozzle again, you ask me? It’s the little flexible thing through which the water flows… In addition, ours are easy to clean!

Vue découpée de la douchette pour montrer le parcours de l'eau à travers les buses - cela illustre le fait que le débit d'eau peut être réduit sans que cela impacte la pression de l'eau.

Basically, the smaller the nozzle diameter, the greater the pressure. For example, we went from a 1 mm nozzle to a 0.7 mm nozzle, and the difference is really noticeable. This is what ensures that despite the water flow being restricted, the pressure remains comfortable. This is what allows even those who have the thickest hair among you to be able to wash your hair easily, quickly and without hassle.

It also works for your furry pets. It is difficult hard enoughto keep them in the bathtub long enough to be able to clean them, imagine if in addition, you had to struggle with insufficient pressure… With Watersense certified products, this is not a problem!

The second Watersense test evaluates the dispersion of water in the shower. Once again, our friends the nozzles come into play. Depending on how they are placed on the hand shower, we can increase the dispersion, without having to increase the flow.

Watersense products are often much more effective than their traditional counterparts, because innovation is needed to increase the performance of a product while minimizing its ecological footprint.

Interested by a Watersense shower? See where you can find one by clicking here!

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