Why Water Pressure Matters When It Comes to Portable Showers

With the explosion in popularity of camping in the last few years, many campers have purchased portable showers as a solution for washing off at the campsite. While most portable showers perform essentially the same function, not all of them are created equal - especially when it comes to water pressure. In this article, we will explore how water pressure is measured, why water pressure matters when it comes to portable showers, and look at the pressurization methods of different brands of portable showers to determine which is best.


battery pressurized portable shower


What is Water Pressure and how is it measured?

By technical definition, water pressure is the force that pushes water through pipes or hoses. It is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the PSI, the more water pressure there is.

In the context of water pressure, PSI is generally used to measure the amount of pressure that water exerts on pipes, fixtures, and other elements of a water system. 

PSI can be hard to understand, especially for those that aren’t well versed in physics or engineering. Generally speaking, we typically judge water pressure as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘strong’ or ‘weak’. The average person can’t feel a water source and judge PSI, so when it comes to describing water pressure of various water sources it can be difficult to communicate how strong or weak a source is, even when using PSI as a metric.


how do you measure psi


So to help you better understand PSI, here are some examples of some common water dispensing appliances and their typical PSI so you can have a reference as to what different levels feel like.

  1. Sink Faucets - Most faucets at your home require water pressure of 30-50 PSI for optimal performance.
  2. Shower Heads - The optimal water pressure for a shower head is between 40-60 PSI. Below 40 PSI the flow of water may be weak and unsatisfying, while over 60 PSI it may be uncomfortable or even painful.
  3. Washing Machines - The PSI required of washing machines can vary depending on the model and capacity, but most require water pressure of 20-40 PSI. Larger or commercial models may require higher pressures.
  4. Sprinklers - Typically, sprinklers water flow is measured in gallons per minute. In order to reach a flow rate of 5-10 GPM, sprinklers require water pressure of 30-50 PSI.
  5. Water Heaters - Water heaters are designed to work with a wide range of water pressures, typically from 30-80 PSI. However, if the pressure is too high, it can cause damage to the water heater or other components of the plumbing system.

So this gives you an idea of the PSI levels of various plumbing fixtures, but how do those PSI levels actually feel? Let’s look at PSI levels from 0-100 in segments of 10 to better understand how water pressure actually feels at various levels of PSI.

0-10 PSI: No water pressure, or a trickle that's barely noticeable.

10-20 PSI: Water pressure is still quite low, but you can feel it more easily. You might need to run the tap or shower for a longer time to get the desired amount of water.

20-30 PSI: Water pressure is still low, but you can easily wash your hands or fill up a glass of water without much difficulty.

30-40 PSI: Water pressure is moderate and feels comfortable for most people. You can easily take a shower or run a bath.

40-50 PSI: Water pressure is on the high side, but still manageable. You might need to be careful when using delicate appliances like washing machines or dishwashers.

50-60 PSI: Water pressure is strong and can be quite forceful. You might need to be careful when using the shower or washing your face.

60-70 PSI: Water pressure is very strong and can be uncomfortable for some people. You might need to use a pressure regulator to lower the pressure.

70-80 PSI: Water pressure is very high and can be dangerous. You should definitely use a pressure regulator to lower the pressure.

80-90 PSI: Water pressure is extremely high and can cause serious damage to pipes and appliances. You should immediately call a professional plumber to fix the issue.

90-100 PSI: Water pressure is dangerously high and can cause pipes to burst or appliances to break. You should immediately turn off the water supply and call a professional plumber to fix the issue.

Overall, understanding the PSI requirements of different plumbing fixtures and appliances is important for maintaining optimal performance and avoiding damage or malfunction. It's also important to ensure that water pressure in a plumbing system is within safe limits to prevent leaks, burst pipes, and other hazards.


water pressure burst


The Importance of Water Pressure in Portable Showers

In a portable shower, water pressure determines the speed and effectiveness of the water flow. Without sufficient pressure, the water will trickle out slowly, making it difficult to rinse off your body or your gear.

Water pressure also affects the overall comfort of your shower experience. Low-pressure showers may be uncomfortable, especially if you're trying to rinse off sand or dirt after a day of outdoor activities.

Factors Affecting Water Pressure in Portable Showers

Several factors can affect the water pressure in your portable shower. These include:

  • Pressurization Method
  • Hose Diameter and Length
  • Water Source
  • Altitude

Let’s dive into each of these factors to see how they affect pressure.

Pressurization Method

Different types of portable showers pressurize water differently. Unlike other comparable products, with portable showers, the various models by different brands vary greatly in their functionality. Let’s take a look at the different types of portable showers and their pressurization methods, so you can know what to expect when researching portable showers.

Gravity-Fed Portable Showers

This type of portable shower does not have any actual pressurization functionality per se, as the pressurization simply comes from gravity. These types of portable showers typically come in the form of a plastic bag with a hose attached to it. The bag has to be hung above the person showering, and as a result of the bag simply being above the user, the water pressure pushes down from the bag through the hose, which creates pressure. This means that the pressure is very weak, as there is nothing actually pushing the water through besides the gravity pulling the water down.

Typical Water Pressure: 10-30 PSI

Manual Pump Portable Showers

Manual pump portable showers work by using a pump, operated either by hand or foot, to pressurize water inside a tank. The pump pushes air into the tank, which presses against the water, creating pressure. When the hose is connected and activated, the pressurized air in the tank pushes the water out through the hole or holes in the hose, which creates the pressure.

Typical Water Pressure: 20-40 PSI

Propane Powered Portable Showers

Some portable showers are essentially propane powered water heaters. While technically they use a battery to pump the water, their defining feature is that they use propane to heat the water as it is pumped through the system. These are different from most other portable showers in that they rely on an external water source, as in, there is no onboard or built-in water tank. They also usually rely on weak batteries, so their pressure is typically not ideal.

Typical Water Pressure: 20-40 PSI

Battery Powered Portable Showers

Battery pressurized portable showers use a battery to power a pump. There are different types of battery pressurized portable showers that use various types of pumps, and typically, the bigger the battery the stronger the pressure. These types of portable showers typically provide stronger and more consistent pressure than other types of portable showers, and don’t typically need to be repressurized like manual pump portable showers. 

The biggest thing to consider when researching battery pressurized portable showers is whether or not they have an onboard water tank. There are certain battery pressurized portable showers that do not have an onboard water source. These types of battery pressurized portable showers typically have significantly less pressure than other battery pressurized portable showers - so make sure you know what you’re getting.

Typical Water Pressure: 30-50 PSI

Hose Diameter and Length

The diameter and length of the hose connected to the portable shower can also play a role in determining water pressure. Typically, The narrower the hose, the more resistance there is to water flow, resulting in lower water pressure. Longer hoses can also reduce water pressure, as there is more distance for the water to travel.

Water Source

The source of your water can also affect water pressure. If you're using a gravity-fed system, the water pressure will depend on the height of the water source. If you’re using a battery pressurized portable shower that relies on an external water source, it may be lower as well.

Choosing the Right Portable Shower for Your Needs

As you can see, when choosing a portable shower there’s alot to consider. Pressure, heating options, capacity, portability and price are all factors you’ll want to consider, and depending on what you’re using it for, one factor may take priority. Let’s look now at the Pros and Cons of a few popular brands of portable showers to better understand how they differ.


 Portable Shower Comparison Chart


Pressurization Method




Water Source


Advanced Elements Summer Shower

$23.98 - $47.99




Must be hung


2.5-10 gal

POMO Portable Shower


Hand Pump



Easy Carry Top Handle


1.5 gal






Must be hung or placed on stand

External Water Source

No internal capacity

Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower





Small and Easy to Carry

External Water Source

No internal capacity

RinseKit PRO




Electric or Propane

Easy Carry Top handle

Onboard Water Tank

3.5 gal

Waterport Day Tank


Hose-fill or manual pump



Easy Carry Handle

Onboard Water Tank

3.85 al


So you can see that, depending on your priority, the various brands of portable showers offer something for every type of outdoor enthusiast. 

The Highest Pressure Portable Shower

If pressure is your priority, which, let’s be honest - is probably the most important factor, then you should consider the RinseKit PRO. It provides the most pressure, it has heating options, and it’s the most versatile portable shower out there. Let’s go over the exact features of the RinseKit PRO to show why it's the best portable shower out there, especially if pressure is your priority.

Battery-Pressurized - Now, while other portable showers are technically ‘battery pressurized’ the RinseKit PRO is pressurized by a 12 volt lead acid battery. It powers a diaphragm pump which creates super high pressure up to 50 PSI, at least 10 PSI higher than comparable portable showers. That means it can knock off the toughest dried dirt and grime, much like your hose at home.

Onboard Water Tank - The PRO has an onboard water tank which means that it’s an all-in-one portable shower. Unlike the Joolca and the Ivation battery pressurized portable showers, you don’t have to have an external water source to pump water from. That means it’s super easy to move around, set up and use, and you don’t need extra parts or a bucket to put water in.

Compact Shape - The cooler like shape of the RinseKit PRO means that it can fit in tight spaces and is very easy to store. This makes it easy to carry in your trunk or in your truck bed, making it super easy to transport.

Easy Carry Handle - The easy carry top handle of the PRO makes it super easy to carry around and move as you need it. That makes it super dynamic, able to be used as a shower at the campsite, a dog shower at the park or even a portable garden watering device. 

Heating Options - There are two heating options available for the PRO, the Immersion Heater and the HyperHeater. The immersion heater is an electric heater that can be plugged up to your 12v or trailer hitch plug, and heats the water in the tank about 18 degrees an hour. The HyperHeater is a propane heater that cycles the water out of the RinseKit, heats it up and dispenses it through a hose. It can heat the water up instantly, to 110 degrees in around 30 seconds.


high pressure portable shower


So as you can see, while water pressure is somewhat tough to understand, it’s critical to the function of any portable shower and therefore, you need to know how much pressure the portable shower you’re buying is going to create. While there are plenty of portable showers out there, not many can emulate the same satisfying pressure that you get from your shower or hose at home. If you’re looking for a portable shower that delivers enough pressure to have a satisfying shower or knock the nastiest grime off your camping gear, you should take a look at the RinseKit PRO.