Why Can’t Showerheads Be Shipped to California? (Explained!)

The flow of water from the showerhead has been one of the most controversial issues in California in recent times. Showerheads currently count for one-third of all residential water use in California. So, if you just relocated or bought a new property in California and you’re planning to upgrade your old showerhead with a new one but having trouble with shipping the newly purchased shower heads into California.

There are many California residents just like you, facing several challenges with their showerhead shipping. This article seeks to explain why you may have troubles shipping showerheads into California and why some products are classified as non-California compliant.

California is a desert state, and due to the drought conditions, the state authority has enacted measures to reduce water usage and wastage by restricting the type of showerheads Californians can ship into the state. Californians currently can’t ship in showerheads that exceed the 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) flow-rate limit. 

showerheads can't be shipped to California

The showerhead flow-rate rule was first established in 1994 and was pegged at 2.5 gallons per minute. It was later adjusted to 2.0 gallons per minute, and currently, the showerhead flow rate for both fixed body sprays and handheld showers is pegged at 1.8 gallons per minute, making California one of the toughest states in water management in the U.S. state.

The regulation is expected to save 105 billion gallons of water per year. Less than thirty-one percent of the showerhead in the country meets the 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) flow-rate limit, which may explain why Californians are experiencing difficulties shipping in showerheads from other states.  For smooth transition during shipping, ship in only showerheads products that meets the regulatory requirements of California Title 20.

Are certain shower heads illegal in California?

California is a desert state with a limited quantity of water supply. Therefore, limiting its uncontrolled use has become a necessity for the state. Since most water usage happens in the home environment, especially the kitchen and the bathroom, it is important to regulate the amount of water entering these places.

One of the most water-regulated parts of the house is the bathroom. Since the showerhead consumes over 186 billion gallons per year, the only way to reduce the water wastage is to make showerheads that don’t exceed the 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) flow rate legal and make the ones that exceed this limit illegal.

In addition, all showerheads that are not approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC) or listed as an acceptable product on the MAEDBS database are considered illegal in California.

What is California Compliant Products?

The world is changing, and so is the population. The demand for basic human needs is on the rise, and the California state authority has taken measures to make sure they provide the basic need of their residents in the short and long term.

One of such measures is the California Compliant Product. These are plumbing materials, including showerheads, that help regulate water usage. The standards are set by the California Energy Commission (CEC) through either Title 20 or Title 24.

This effort from the California Energy Commission (CEC) is designed to save Californians from complete water shortage in homes going forward. It is important to note that the California Compliant Products include indoor or outdoor lights that meet specific standards for energy use.

What are the requirements of a California showerhead?

The drought conditions have necessitated state of California authorities to enact rules and regulations geared towards limiting the amount of water wastage during usage. Under Title 20, the standards regulated the manufacturing, distribution, and installation of water-efficient showerheads.

Therefore, showerhead companies in the state were forced to manufacture functional, effective showerheads to maximize water efficiencies. The standard also means all showerheads in the state must not exceed the 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) flow-rate limit.

Even when a showerhead has more than one head, all the heads’ combined flow rates must not exceed the set 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM). As a result, any showerhead that exceeds the 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) flow-rate limit is illegal, and the user may be fined for using such if found guilty.

What showerheads are allowed in California?

The showerheads allowed in California are listed in the state-complaint list and can be found in most stores across the state. Using the specifications on the state-compliant list, shower head manufacturers within the state are shifting focus on improving customer preferences, satisfaction, taste, and aesthetic preference.

These manufacturers, through technology, are making shower heads that are fitted with a flow rate limiter (restrictor) to reduce the flow rate of every shower head to 1.8 Gallons per Minute (GPM) at a given time. Below are examples of showerheads that are allowed in California.

  • Brizo siderna hand shower package
  • Delta 1.75 GPM hand shower package.
  • Grohe Grohtherm 1.8 GPM rain showerhead
  • Miseno 1.8 GPM single-function showerhead.
  • Kohler artifacts 1.75 GMP single function hand shower

What is the GPM of a showerhead in California?

The flow rates of showerheads are measured in Gallons per Minute (GPM). According to The California Energy Commission, the GMP of all showerheads in California is 1.8. Many people have asked, “if the GMP is a single showerhead is 1.8, what is the GMP of multiple showerheads?” A single valve regulates the combined rate of all showerheads; therefore, the GMP of multiples showerheads is still 1.8 GMP.


Although individual opinions may differ, we can all agree that California’s restricting the showerhead flow rate through the regulation of showerheads that can be purchased or shipped into the state was a critical measure to ensure the sustainability of a vital resource that is essential to the survival of all Californians.

Every Californian or anyone planning to relocate to California has the right to access the right set of information about the types of showerheads that are allowed in the state and why the water is regulated. It is also important to note that the restrictions on showerheads do not spoil your shower time, as showerhead manufacturers in the state are stepping up to provide excellent showerheads that follow state regulations.

so, if you can’t ship in your preferred showerhead into California, it is because it is illegal.