How much does it cost to run a bath and is it cheaper than a shower?

Wondering how much does it cost to run a bath? Our energy expert has crunched the numbers to find out

Kids in bath splashing parent with bubbles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With energy bills at an all-time high you might be wondering how much does it cost to run a bath. Even though the Energy Price Guarantee (opens in new tab) is in place to protect households from drastic rises in energy prices, families are still concerned about how much their energy bills will cost (opens in new tab)

As such, knowing how to save energy in your home (opens in new tab) has never been more important. 

Goodto.com's Money Editor, Sarah Handley (opens in new tab), says: "Even though average annual energy bills are set to be frozen (although at different levels) until the end of March 2024 thanks to the Energy Price Guarantee, we're still paying more than ever before for our energy. Add to that rising food prices and high fuel costs, and family budgets are being squeeze tightly. 

"Understanding all the tips and tricks for cutting your household bills can help to ease the pressure a bit and help your money go further.

How much does it cost to run a bath?

It costs about £1.46 to run a bath (based on a 100 litre bath). This works out as about £44.39 per month and about £532 per year if you run the bath daily. But if you have a bigger bath, use more water, or use the bath more often you can expect to pay more. William Hobbs at Myjobquote.co.uk (opens in new tab), says: "The average cost of running a large bath of around 300 litres is roughly £2.80. If you run a bath daily, you’re looking at a cost of around £86.76 per month or £1,012.57 per year."

Having a hot bath will impact both your energy bill and your water bill and the total cost of running a bath will depend on several factors, including:

  • the amount of water you use
  • the size of your bathtub
  • the temperature of your bath
  • how your water is heated (gas or electricity)
  • water costs in your area
  • how you pay for your water
  • the cost of each unit of gas or electricity

While MyJobQuote estimated that having a 300-litre bath costs £2.80 each time, other experts have calculated other figures. For example, shower specialist Aqualisa (opens in new tab) worked out that a 100-litre bath at 40°C requires 3.84 kWh of energy. 

It says the total cost would be as follows:

  • Water cost: 14.9p
  • Electricity cost: £1.31
  • Total cost: £1.46 per bath.

Energy prices hit an all-time high this year, with the government stepping in and introducing the Energy Price Guarantee which caps the amount consumers can be charged per unit of gas or electricity. The typical cost per unit under the guarantee is 10.33p per kWh for gas and 34.04p per kWh for electricity.

Water bills also went up by an average of 1.7% in April 2022, pushing the typical bill to about £420 a year. If you have a water meter, you’ll be charged by how much water you use. So, if you use less water, you’ll save money.

But not all properties have a water meter. If you are billed for water based on your home’s “rateable value” or the “assessed household charge”, you’ll pay a flat rate for your water and the number of baths you take won’t impact your water bill. However, your water use will impact the planet and the environment – so bear this in mind.

 Is it cheaper to have a bath or shower? 

It’s generally cheaper to take a shower instead of a bath. Again, there are a lot of variables that need to be taken into consideration: Is it an electric or power shower? How hot is the water? How long do you shower for? What type of showerhead do you have?

Energy expert at Go.Compare, Gareth Kloet (opens in new tab), says: “In general, heating water for a bath will cost the same as heating water for a shower, but a bath will typically get filled to a depth that requires more water than running a shower for five minutes. 

“With this in mind, showering is typically much more efficient (provided they’re short showers) and by reducing the flow, you can have a longer shower for a reduced price. And if you do have a bath, filling it less than normal will also save you money.”

William Hobbs from MyJobQuote agrees, saying: “As long as you shower in 10 minutes or less, it’s usually cheaper to have a shower. It’s worth finding a high-quality showerhead to help cut down your showering time.”

The following table shows how much it costs to have a 300-litre bath (figures from MyJobQuote), 100-litre bath (figures from Aqualisa), and a five or 10-minute shower (figures from Go.Compare).

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Per useEvery day for a weekEvery day for a yearThree times a week per weekThree times a week for a year
300-litre bath£2.80£19.60£1,022£8.40£436.80
100-litre bath£1.46£10.22£532.90£4.38£227.76
10-minute shower39.67p – 59.50p (average 49.56p)£3.47£180.90£1.49£77.48
5-minute shower19.83p – 29.75p (average 24.79p)£1.76£127.75£0.74£38.48

The comparison shows that it’s considerably cheaper to have a shower than a bath. The length of your shower plays a big part in how much it costs and whether it works out cheaper than having a bath.

Martyn Bridges (opens in new tab), director of technical services at Worcester Bosch, says: “A typical bath requires about 90 litres of water, split between 60 litres or so of hot water and 20 to 30 of cold. A normal thermostatic mixer shower head discharges about nine litres a minute, requiring about six litres of hot and three litres of cold. So, providing you shower in less than 10 minutes, it will be more economical to shower.”

How much do your other appliances cost to run?

Use our comparison tool to compare how much your most-used appliance cost to run:

 How can you cut the cost of having a bath or shower? 

How to cut the cost of having a bath

It might sound obvious but an easy way to reduce the cost of baths, is to have fewer baths. Taking a dip every day will cost more than £532 a year, based on using 100 litres of water. 

MyJobQuote's William Hobbs suggests turning down the temperature of the water. “The harder your boiler has to work to heat the water, the more expensive it will be to run a bath,” he explains. “Try turning your boiler’s thermostat down by a couple of degrees. This can help you to save a lot of money in the long run, particularly if you find you’re having to add a lot of cold water into the bath to make it a more suitable temperature.”

Bath water can often be re-used too. For example, if you have children, you can bathe them one at a time in the same bath water (or together if the bath is big enough). 

Another option for parents is to buy a baby dam, like this one from Amazon, £38.99 (opens in new tab), which can be placed in your bath to allow you to bathe your child in a smaller area of water, rather than using the whole tub to bathe a small child.

How to cut the cost of having a shower

If you tend to take showers instead of baths, buy an aerator showerhead – these use half the amount of water used by a standard showerhead. An aerator showerhead combines water with air, creating larger droplets of water and giving the feeling of more water than there is. So while you will use significantly less water, it won't feel like you're using less water at all. 

Taking shorter showers will help too. The Energy Saving Trust (opens in new tab) says by cutting down your shower time by one minute everyday can save you up to £8 per person per year on your energy bills. 

If you have a time-of-use energy tariff such as Economy 7 or Economy 10, bathing or showering at off-peak times (usually between 10pm and 8am) will mean cheaper energy bills.  Find out more about when electricity is cheaper at night (opens in new tab) with our handy explainer. 

Emma Lunn

Emma Lunn is a multi-award-winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. With more than 18 years of experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and the Mirror.