Solar outdoor shower vs plumbed outdoor shower (Comparison, costs, benefits + more)

An outdoor shower adds a fantastic element to your outdoor space, especially if you have a pool or hot tub in your backyard. In this article, we’ll compare solar outdoor showers and plumbed outdoor showers, including pros and cons, cost and more.

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In recent years, outdoor showers have become increasingly popular - and why not? An outdoor shower adds a fantastic element to your outdoor space, especially if you have a pool or hot tub in your backyard. Having an outdoor shower is also convenient for washing away dirt and grime, rinsing off before a swim, or simply cooling off in summer.

It is important to consider a few things before installing your own outdoor shower if you are thinking of having one.

In this article, you'll learn:

What is the purpose of an outdoor shower?

Outdoor showers are often seen as a luxury piece, something that only swimming pools, swim spas and spa pool owners would have in their homes. These outdoor showers, however, are used in different ways and can be a really useful element whether you have a pool or not.

Rinse dirt and mud off

One great benefit of having an outdoor shower is keeping your home clean. If your kids often come home muddy from the soccer game, dirting all your floors and furniture, wouldn’t it be a relief to rinse them outdoors? Bikes and other sports equipment can also be rinsed off to remove dirt and mud before storage.

Wash your pet

Our pets can really be unruly when taking a bath. The bathtub and bathroom floor can end up in a total mess after washing them. Not to mention their fur can clog the drains. By using an outdoor shower, you can keep your pets clean and keep their mess outdoors.

Clean up after lawn chores

Lawn or garden routine can get dirty. Instead of washing indoors and taking the dirt inside, an outdoor shower makes this chore not only more convenient but also sanitary.

Reconnect with nature

Who doesn’t love the idea of birds chirping, the sun kissing your face, and the breeze of nature while enjoying a refreshing shower in your backyard? If you want to reconnect with nature once in a while, an outdoor shower can be a great addition to your outdoor space.

Rinse before and after a swim or soak

Rinsing off before and after jumping in the pool and swim spa, or taking a dip in a spa pool is one the common reason why most people choose to install an outdoor shower in their backyard. Showering before swim or soaking keeps the sand, grass, personal care products, and other contaminants from getting into your pool. While showering after takes off the chlorine and other chemicals used in the water.

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outdoor shower

What is an outdoor solar shower and how does it work?

An outdoor solar shower is a self-contained unit that stores water heated by the sun. No plumbing is needed, only a garden hose for the water supply. Generally, they are composed of a bag (that holds the water), a pipe, and a showerhead. The shower may have a mixer to adjust the temperature with cold water from the hose.

Using the range we offer, you can fill them up with water by connecting your garden hose. As soon as the water chamber is full, the sun heats the water. Once you are ready to rinse off, turn on your garden hose and use the mixer to set the temperature according to your preference.

The water can reach temperatures as high as 133 degrees if there is enough sunlight. To avoid scalding with hot water, make sure to test it first before showering.

The cost of outdoor solar showers in Australia ranges between $299 to $799, depending on brand, quality and water capacity.

What are the pros and cons of outdoor solar showers?

Now that you already have a better knowledge of what is an outdoor solar shower and how it works, you might be wondering if it can be a perfect choice for you. We’ve listed its benefits and drawbacks below to help you determine if this product suits your needs best.

outdoor solar shower


  • They’re eco-friendly. Like most solar-powered appliances, these outdoor showers don’t rely on gas or voltage. They collect solar energy to heat the water. This simply means that they don’t use Earth’s depleting resources and don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
  • They’re an economical option. One of the significant benefits of solar energy is that you don’t need to worry about your electricity bill. Through outdoor solar showers, you can make your eco-friendly investment even more beneficial.
  • They’re easy to use. Solar showers don’t have complex mechanisms. They often have a straightforward design and are very easy to operate.
  • You can move them with ease. This outdoor shower is often easy to move around as most models don’t require plumbing. They’re also easy to install and no building work is necessary.
  • Offers various designs. There are various shower designs you can choose from. From minimalist to unique outdoor decor, you can surely find a design that fits perfectly into the style of your outdoor space.


  • Dependent on the sun. During the cooler months, or on cloudy days, the sun's energy may be less intense, causing the water not to reach your desired temperature.
  • Potential blistering due to water temperatures. The temperature in a solar shower can rise in the middle of summer or in particularly hot climates, so you should always test the temperature before showering and make sure you choose a model that allows you to blend in cold water so you can get a comfortable temperature for showering.
  • The water doesn’t heat up immediately. Solar showers require 4-6 hours of direct sunlight in order to heat water to a comfortable temperature, unlike gas or electric hot water systems.

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plumbed outdoor shower

What is a plumbed outdoor shower and how does it work?

A plumbed outdoor shower is simply a shower outside your house. It can be enclosed using pressure-treated wood, teak, cedar, or any weather-resistant materials that complement your outdoor design. Some may also feature amenities like textured stone floors, benches, shelves, and more.

Plumbed outdoor showers are composed of water pipes (hot and cold lines) and valves and of course the showerhead. Similar to outdoor solar showers, they can be connected to your home’s main water supply or a garden hose and typically come with hot and cold water mixers to set the perfect temperature for you.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $1400 to $3500 for the shower alone. Unlike the solar-powered type, you’ll need a registered plumber to get a plumbed outdoor shower installed. Plumbers usually charge $100-$120 per hour.

What are the pros and cons of plumbed outdoor showers?

If you’re leaning towards having a plumbed outdoor shower installed in the backyard, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure it works best for your requirements.

Let’s look at its benefits and drawbacks and hopefully help you decide if this is the perfect choice for your home.

outdoor showers


  • They’re built to last. Most plumbed outdoor showers are built permanently. Because of this mind, they are often made from highly durable materials that will last for a long time. Good quality plumbed showers are made from marine-grade (316) stainless steel that will stay looking beautiful for years to come. They also use brass and chrome plumbing components which are the best plumbing materials in the market.
  • The water heats up faster. One of the great advantages of plumbed outdoor showers is that they are connected to your home’s hot water system. This means that water heats up almost instantly.
  • They’re convenient to use. Just like the solar-type, they come with simple mechanisms and are straightforward to use.
  • They have countless designs. Whatever your outdoor theme is, there’s a design that will complement your home’s theme.
  • No need to connect a garden hose. Because this type of shower is permanently connected into your home’s water supply, there is no need for constantly connecting or disconnecting a hose.


  • They may require drainage. In most cases, outdoor showers drain naturally into the ground. Depending on the type of installation you prefer or if you choose to have your shower permanently plumbed in, you may be required to install drainage.
  • Costly running costs. Because this type of shower is typically connected to the main’s hot water supply, your electricity bill may increase.
  • Additional installation cost. You may also need to pay for assembly and installation that involves a registered plumber.

How long do solar showers last?

One common question about outdoor solar showers is “How long do they actually last?” Well, the answer to this question depends on the amount of water it holds.

If the water continuously runs, it can use 2 to 2 ½ gallons of water per minute. Simply put, a 40L Solar Shower (equivalent to 10 gallons of water) can last up to 4 to 5 minutes of continuous usage.

Do outdoor showers need drainage?

Outdoor showers do not generally need drainage systems unless they are permanently plumbed in. Most outdoor showers naturally drain grey water into the garden or grass. This means that you are recycling the water used for showering to water the plants in your garden or backyard.

To ensure the water runs off and won’t sit somewhere, the shower base should be built a little higher than the ground level so that you can run a pipe from the bottom to the ground.

Furthermore, if you’re not comfortable letting the grey water drain into the soil, you can build a proper drainage system. Make sure to consult a licensed plumber and discuss your plan.

How long does a solar shower take to heat up?

Solar showers typically take around 3-4 hours to heat up in direct summer sunlight with 70 - 80 °F temperature. This may vary depending on the temperature, exposure to wind and the base temperature of the water.

plumber for outdoor shower

Do I need a plumber to install my outdoor shower?

The answer to this question entirely depends on the type of outdoor shower you are installing.

Are looking to install a simple shower set-up, without a line for hot water? If yes, you might only need a faucet, a regular garden hose, and a shower fixture. By carefully following the included instructions for assembly, you should be able to get the shower working.

Solar outdoor showers work similarly to this shower type. The only difference is that it doesn’t connect to a hot water line, but heats the water through solar energy.

If you’re wanting a traditional shower set up, where you can enjoy both cold and hot rinse (especially in the cold Aussie weather), the hot water system in your home must be connected to your shower fixture. In this case, a registered plumber may be required to install it for you.

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In Summary

In this article, we differentiated the solar and plumbed outdoor showers, including their pros and cons. We also answered common questions that people ask around, installation, cost, and considerations about outdoor showers.

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