Welcome to our big solar shower test 2021. Here we present all the solar showers that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.
We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best solar shower for you.
You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a solar shower.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Solar Shower: Our Choices
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a solar shower
- 5 Decision: What types of solar showers are there and which one is right for you?
- 6 Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate solar showers
- 7 Facts worth knowing about solar showers
- You can save energy with solar showers. You get all the energy needed to heat the water from sunlight. A maximum temperature of 60°C can be reached.
- When buying a solar shower, you can choose between classic solar showers with a temperature regulator and portable camping showers of a smaller size. Classic solar showers differ from each other in their materials: aluminium, stainless steel and PVC.
- It is particularly important to change or renew the water in the water tank regularly. If the water remains in the water tank at around 40°C for too long, the formation of legionella is promoted. In the human body, legionella can cause anything from flu-like infections to severe pneumonia.
The Best Solar Shower: Our Choices
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a solar shower
Where can you find solar showers?
Solar showers are most often found in private gardens of single-family homes. It usually does not matter whether the homeowner has an additional pool or not. After swimming in the pool, when it is already getting cooler outside and the pool is not heated, a warm shower outside can be pleasant.
You can also heat your pool using solar energy. All you need is a solar foil.
But even if you don't have a pool, a solar shower can be very practical for taking a shower outside. These types of showers are usually placed in the meadow. Sometimes, however, you can also find them on a terrace, as the sunlight may be better there.
You can also find solar-powered showers in public areas such as an outdoor swimming pool or the outdoor area of a spa.
The reason why public swimming pools do not only use cold water showers is because of the many advantages of solar showers: the possibility of showering with warm water outdoors, the energy-saving aspect (solar showers do not need electricity to work) and the environmentally friendly feature.
There are also solar showers at several campsites and also festival sites that can be used publicly by visitors. However, these are not offered on every site.
You should inform yourself beforehand. If the site or campsite does not provide such showers, you can take your own portable camping shower with you. More about this later in the decision section.
What is the operating principle of a solar shower?
A solar shower is an ordinary garden shower that has a water tank containing the water to be heated. The sun's rays now hit the solar cells on top. This generates heat and the water in the tank can be heated up to 60°C.
Even on rather cloudy days, water is heated because the sun's rays still pass through the clouds, but in a weakened form. The water is therefore only moderately heated on not so nice days.
In addition, the water tank is usually also provided with a UV-resistant coating. This also heats the water inside. Logically, the larger the water tank, the longer it takes for the water to heat up and reach the optimal temperature for you.
If you want to take a shower but the water is far too hot, or if you generally prefer a cooler shower, you can use a single-lever mixer to adjust the water temperature continuously. As with hot water, you don't need any extra energy.
The hot water is heated solely by the sun's rays and cooled by adding cold water via the temperature regulator.
So there is nothing to stop you from taking a shower in the open air at the temperature you want.
How is a solar shower constructed?
The column-like base is anchored in the ground - either with heavy plates or by pouring its own foundation. Depending on your preferences, additional equipment is available for purchase.
Solar showers can be set up in any place or location. It is particularly important that the solar cells on the top face the sun directly. The cells must never be in the shade or turned away from the sun, as otherwise the water in the water tank will heat up little or not at all, which is not the purpose of the solar shower.
There are two types of solar showers: stationary and stand-up.
The fixed solar showers are particularly suitable for people who set up their shower in the garden once and do not intend to change locations. This type of shower is anchored to the ground. Anchoring by pouring a foundation is particularly suitable. The showers are only dismantled during the winter months.
On the other hand, stand-up solar showers are particularly popular with people who like to travel a lot. Set-up showers are suitable for taking along on campsites or long hiking tours. You fill the base plate with water to increase the stability.
Then there is no danger of your shower falling over and breaking in strong winds or other environmental influences.
The solar shower is also equipped with a water tank that receives the water via a hose and stores it temporarily. The larger the water tank, the more people can benefit from the solar shower.
The mixer tap ensures the perfect mixing ratio of hot and cold water. The water temperature can now be individually adjusted by means of the temperature regulator on the base.
What does a solar shower cost?
With 30 sunny days per year, a family of 3 saves 50 € in energy costs.
All energy costs are eliminated by the purchase of this shower. The energy needed to heat the water is supplied exclusively by solar energy, which is known to be free.
Depending on the type and material of the shower, the costs will vary. The following table shows you how much the purchase of such a shower costs on average:
|Aluminium solar shower||approx. 100 - 1,500€|
|Stainless steel solar shower||approx. 100 - 4,900€|
|PVC solar shower||approx. 45 - 350€|
|Portable camping shower||approx. 4 - 14€|
What alternatives are there to the solar shower?
We list the types of alternatives in the following table:
|Garden hose||With the garden hose you can cool off and shower in the open air just like with the solar shower. You don't need optimal sunlight, but you don't have hot water either. In addition, this variant is not as convenient as a solar shower.|
|Pool||You can cool down in the same way as with a solar shower. However, it is very expensive.|
|Indoor shower||A classic alternative to the solar shower is the normal shower in the bathroom. Although you can't shower outdoors, you can shower with hot water. The disadvantage is the electricity costs for heating the water.|
Decision: What types of solar showers are there and which one is right for you?
If you want to buy a solar shower, there are two alternatives to choose from:
- Classic solar shower
- Camping shower
Camping and classic solar showers are based on the same principle: sunlight heats the water in a water tank without additional electricity consumption.
Depending on the material, quality and intended use, you can choose between the two variants listed above. We will list the advantages and disadvantages of the individual variants as best we can to make your decision as easy as possible.
What distinguishes a classic solar shower and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Classic solar showers are firmly anchored in the ground and are only dismantled during the winter months. They have a water tank with a large capacity.
The three subcategories of a classic solar shower differ in material and consequently in price (see guide):
- Aluminium solar shower
- Stainless steel solar shower
- PVC solar shower
Solar showers made of aluminium and stainless steel are significantly more expensive than those made of hard plastic. However, showers made of aluminium are particularly light and those made of stainless steel are durable.
These types of showers have several advantages. One of them is the possibility of regulating the temperature with a mixing regulator or mixer tap. If the water temperature is too high and you still want to take a shower, you can add cold water to achieve the optimum temperature for you.
Furthermore, the classic solar showers have a large water tank with an average capacity of 35 litres. A tank of 35 litres is enough for about 4 people to shower for 1-2 minutes each. This means that significantly more people can shower with one tank than with a camping shower.
The disadvantages of the classic solar shower are the bulky size and the cleaning. Due to the bulky size, solar showers cannot be taken everywhere, even when dismantled. In the winter months, the water tank must be completely emptied and the water from all pipes should be removed as well as possible.
To prevent calcification, you should clean the shower head regularly with descaler or vinegar. The degree of calcification depends on the hardness of the water in your region.
Temperatures of around 45°C can quickly develop inside the tank and hose. If this water stands for a long time, legionella will form. Legionella are bacteria that are absorbed by humans through the respiratory tract. This can cause illness in the lungs, for example. To counteract such a danger, the water tank should be emptied regularly.
The classic solar showers are not suitable for transport, as they are set in concrete or fixed in one place. These showers can therefore only be used in one place and are not designed to be taken to the campsite.
What are the features of a camping shower and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A camping shower is an easily transportable, less comfortable version of the solar shower. It basically consists of a PVC bag filled with water - this is the water tank - which is attached to a hook with the help of a suspension cord. The clamp valve opens the water inlet and the shower water is led to the shower head via a hose.
The UV-resistant water tank is usually black, as this absorbs sunlight even better and allows the water to be heated more effectively.
The advantage of camping showers over classic solar showers is their flexibility and independence of location. You can hang your camping shower from any tree or other object and enjoy a shower anywhere.
Furthermore, the shower takes up very little space during transport, as it can be dismantled into its individual parts. Due to its light weight and small size, this shower is very portable.
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate solar showers
In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many existing solar showers.
The criteria you can use to compare solar showers with each other include:
- Size of the water tank
- Scope of delivery
- Temperature control
- Additional water tap and various showers
- Towel rail & shampoo shelves
In the following paragraphs we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria.
Size of the water tank
The more people who want to use the warm water of the solar shower, the larger the water tank must be. However, you must bear in mind that the larger the tank, the longer it takes to heat the water. So if you only use the shower alone or as a couple, it is better to invest in a solar shower with a tank of a smaller capacity.
Camping solar showers and classic solar showers have different water tank capacities:
|Type||water tank volumes|
|Camping solar shower||10-20 l|
|Classic solar shower||up to 35 l|
A tank of 35 litres is sufficient for approx. 4 people showering for 1-2 minutes each.
Scope of delivery
The scope of delivery is also a decisive purchase criterion. When buying, be sure to check whether hoses are included with your product or whether you have to order them separately. You can also use existing garden hoses.
It is also important to find out whether other parts such as screws are included or whether you have to buy them separately.
Most classic solar showers have a mixer tap that allows individual temperature control. When buying, you should make sure that the water temperature can be adjusted continuously.
On very hot days and in extreme sunlight, the water can reach up to 60°C in the water tank. The mixer tap allows you to continuously adjust the temperature so that it is optimal for you. This creates the perfect mixing ratio of hot and cold water for you.
Temperature regulators are only available in classic solar showers. With camping solar showers, the temperature cannot be regulated, which is a major disadvantage.
Additional tap and different showers
Not all solar showers have exactly the same shower heads. The water tap, which is attached at the bottom, is also not available on all models. Therefore, you should find out what special features your solar shower has before you buy it.
In addition to the rain shower head, which gives you the feeling of a rain shower, smaller, rounder shower heads are also available. These direct the jet specifically at your body and let less water through. Most of these shower heads can be swivelled, but they are not height-adjustable.
Not all solar showers have an additional water tap. This tap is also used as a foot shower or for rinsing your feet or showering your pet. In addition, this tap is practical for filling a watering can, but also for draining the water from the shower before you dismantle your solar shower over the winter months.
When making your purchase, be sure to pay attention to the material the solar shower is made of. As already mentioned in the decision section, there are three types of solar showers, which differ in their materials and consequently also in their quality and price: Solar showers made of aluminium, stainless steel and PVC.
Stainless steel solar showers are the most expensive, but also the ones you can use the longest. Stainless steel is very durable, so your shower will last even in bad weather. The investment is therefore worthwhile.
Aluminium solar showers are also becoming increasingly popular. The advantage of these showers is that they are easy to transport due to the low weight of aluminium. These showers are also in rather higher price ranges.
The third type - solar showers made of PVC or hard plastic - is the shortest-lived, but also the cheapest.
Towel holder & shampoo shelves
Not everyone values towel rails or shampoo shelves. However, if you want these accessories included in your delivery, you can either look for a supplier or manufacturer who includes them, or you can simply buy them separately.
Towel rails are practical because you don't have to stand outside wet afterwards - this is especially important on cooler summer evenings.
Shampoo racks are useful if you don't just want to take a quick shower or cool down with water, but really want to wash with shower gel. This saves you time because you don't have to shower again with shower gel later.
Facts worth knowing about solar showers
How do I build a solar shower myself?
When it's hot in summer, there's nothing better than cooling off outdoors in the sunshine. It is not necessarily necessary to buy a solar shower. If you are good with your hands, you can also build a solar shower yourself.
You will need the following materials for your self-built solar shower:
- Rain barrel or water canister
- Standard garden hose
- Shower and shower head of your choice
- A mixer tap
- Black paint
Instructions for building a solar shower:
- The first thing you need to do is run a garden hose through the opening of the water canister. Connect this to an outdoor tap.
- Attach the garden hose to the canister using a dust cap to make it watertight. This will prevent the hose from jumping out of the canister when you turn on the tap to fill the solar shower.
- Afterwards, it is best to place the canister on the roof of a shed or another elevation. In this way, the water is heated more quickly by the sun and the water can simply flow downwards when you use your solar shower.
- Then attach a garden hose to the ¾'' connection. At the other end you attach a garden shower or spray gun, which is placed below the canister in the garden.
The following video is intended to give you a visual explanation of the instructions for building your solar shower:
We recommend using a black rain barrel or, in the case of a lighter barrel, dyeing it with black paint. This will absorb the UV rays more effectively.
Where do I place my solar shower and how do I attach it?
The three most important points you should consider when setting up your solar shower:
- Level, firm, non-slip surface
- Maximum sunlight
- Water connection within reach
Basically, most solar showers are attached to a floor plate with a stand. However, if your solar shower is to remain in the garden permanently, it is recommended that you pour your own foundation for your shower. Alternatives for solid mounting would be heavy slabs of wood or concrete.
It is particularly important to mount or fasten the solar shower on a firm, level surface. Otherwise, the solar shower could tip or fall over in strong winds or other environmental influences. You should also avoid slippery surfaces, as there is a risk of injury from slipping.
The larger the water tank volume, the heavier the shower's own weight and the more stable you need to secure your shower to the floor.
Furthermore, the maximum solar radiation must be able to reach the solar cells on your shower. Under no circumstances should you install the shower in the shade or in areas that do not often see the sun.
Finally, don't forget to have a connection within reach. The water connection should definitely be close to your solar shower, if this is not the case, the outer appearance of your garden will be destroyed by a hose that stretches across the entire garden area. A remedy would be to lay the hose underground.
How do I best care for my solar shower?
The biggest problem that can occur with owning a solar shower is legionella. Legionella are bacteria that cause various diseases in the human body.
From flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia, legionella can cause various types of illnesses.
The environmental germs, which are widespread worldwide, are found as a natural component in surface waters and groundwater.
You can prevent the development of legionella by regularly changing the water in the water tank of your solar shower and letting it drain off. It is best to drain the water through a drain valve once a day so that no water remains in the tank.
Legionella and other bacteria particularly like to settle at temperatures of 28 to 50 degrees Celsius. They are only killed at temperatures above 60°C, but this temperature is not always reached in the water tank.
You should also clean taps and shower heads every three to four days by descaling them. Depending on the hardness of the water in your area, they will calcify faster or slower. You can use vinegar or descaler for this. However, there are already showers with shower heads that automatically descale themselves.
Image source: unsplash.com / John Fornander