Disrupting the shower industry is hardly a phrase I thought I’d be opening a review with. Showers or bathroom technology in general for that matter are, let’s say, not the most innovative of areas. With that said one particular product made headlines a few years ago promising to revolutionise showering as we know it, as well as using up to 70% less water in the process.
Called the “Nebia Spa Shower” the product consisted of an innovative new nozzle system built into a sleek, futuristic designed shower-head and wand. Anyone would be able to easily install it and in doing so would have an immediately have a better showering experience, whilst also helping to save the planet by using less water. Nebia described their shower to be like walking into a cloud. They coined a new term called the “Nebia Glow“, which described the way people looked after emerging from their first shower and its unique water vaporising “H2MICRO” nozzles. The startup had some heavy hitters behind it too. Both Apple & Google CEO’s invested in the Nebia startup in 2015 and when US-based gym franchise Equinox signed on the Nebia Spa Shower was well on its way.
Regular punters like myself were able to “kickstart” the Nebia, essentially being promised a finished product once in mass production at a reduced cost. That cost at the time was US$249 that then increased to just under US$399 + shipping whence regularly available around two and half years later. Even still, at the higher RRP the Nebia is cheaper than a lot of higher-end heads you can buy at Reece. When you add to that its eco abilities in water use reduction as well as the fact that costs you less in your water abilities and you have a very attractive product. All that’s left is for it to live up to all its promises.
Despite the product being sold internationally it was abundantly clear no one on the team ever dreamed that there could be different plumbing requirements beyond their own continent
My Nebia arrived in a very nice, very large box some 18 months ago. Inside was of course the shower head, which is attached to an arm that can be moved up and down to adjust the shower on the fly. In addition to the shower is the Nebia “wand”, a smaller hand-held version of the shower head that can be toggled on and off. It connects to the base of the shower’s arm via an included hose and can be used whilst resting atop its magnetically charged “dock”, which Nebia suggest you stick to your shower wall around torso height. Doing so means having both a waterfall style shower as well as a side outlet that could cost well into the thousands with conventional high-end shower manufacturers.
Those Aussie install blues
Installation of the Nebia Spa Shower is extremely straight forward. That is, if you live in North America. Despite the product being sold internationally it was abundantly clear no one on the team ever dreamed that there could be different plumbing requirements beyond their own continent. The company had gone as far as to ensure it was up to an international plumbing standards but hadn’t bothered to check on different versions of shower outlets. In North America, generally, when you remove your shower from the wall it has a pipe inside the wall that you screw a shower head into. In Australia, we like have our pipes stick out beyond the wall and our shower heads cover & screw into them. Suffice to say it wouldn’t install, or not without using a conversion pipe from Bunnings and having the thing sit about 8cm off the wall instead of flush.
Not the only person in the same boat, Nebia advised they were working on the problem and issued all those in a similar situation a new set of components to have it install correctly and flush. That process took around six months though and I’ve been advised, definitely addressed with the new version of the Nebia Spa Shower currently being advertised on Kickstarter.
Once equipped with the correct pieces, installation was as easy as it can be for someone who’s never done a lick of plumbing in their life. Unscrew old shower head (make sure your water’s off, just in case), attach Nebia collar and components, click in Nebia Shower and fix its stem with double-sided tape. All in the whole process took less than thirty minutes.
The water feels amazing, it wraps around you and floats all over your body in a way that’s difficult to describe.
Turning the Nebia on for the first time is definitely an exciting experience. Positioned around its halo shower head are a series of nozzles that use rocket engine engineering to effectively mist-ify the water and thrust it downwards as if the head was a rocket about to take flight.
It looks super cool and sounds quite “exhilarating”? Maybe I’m just a rocket nerd, I don’t know. About 30cm below the shower head the water begins to float. It’s become so fine and so light a water droplet cloud begins to form in your shower. The wand, mounted to the shower wall is doing the same if you’ve turned it on but is instead shooting the water out horizontally creating a full cloud effect the height of its intended user.
The Nebia Spa Shower experience
Stepping into the cloud it one of the more bizarre experiences I’ve had. The water looks like it should hurt or sting. It’s firing out of the nozzles with such force that it invokes a sort of physical apprehension at first. Instead, because the water is now so fine and so light it’s quite literally like walking into a lukewarm, wet, cloudy hug, which coincidentally describes everything good and bad about the Nebia Spa Shower.
Too cold and too messy it was a simpler life without it but I do miss that cloud feeling or “Nebia-Glow” I had when it was a hot day and the temperature was perfect.
The water feels amazing, it wraps around you and floats all over your body in a way that’s difficult to describe. It’s unlike any shower you’ve had before and I say that because it just doesn’t feel like a shower. You’re getting wet, you’re actually getting very wet but you don’t really notice it because the water kind of rests atop your skin before there’s enough of it that it begins to pool and stream down your body. I’ve seen a few people complain that you don’t get wet enough, which I disagree with completely, the Nebia does a great job of covering you with water it just doesn’t feel like it does in the traditional shower head pressure way.
The side effect of creating this mist and the reason for the wand’s position mid-torso is how little heat remains after the micro nozzle process. Running my shower entirely on hot water at a temperature that would definitely scald me with a traditional shower head was in fact too cold at the tail end of winter. Steaming hot as it shot out of the nozzles it was cold a foot away. I ended turning up my hot water service and even still I struggled to retain heat almost ruining the experience entirely.
Nebia advise the shower system works best when installed in an enclosed shower, trapping the mist, steam, which is the complete opposite to my open, walk-in, shower. Not only was the cloud of mist free to escape out of my doorless shower it would go on to coat every single surface of my bathroom and turn it into a gigantic dripping mess. Thankfully my walls are covered in tiles and it was no problem but for anyone with plaster walls and an open shower I’d think twice before investing.
To combat the heat issue Nebia have a toggle on the shower head to reduce the misting effect and activate a couple of more direct nozzles but it did little to nothing in my opinion. Clearly a major issue for many the new version is said to be up to 29% warmer but I fear will do nothing to help if you’re in an open shower position like myself.
All for naught?
At the end of the day I uninstalled the Nebia. Too cold and too messy it was a simpler life without it but I do miss that cloud feeling or “Nebia-Glow” I had when it was a hot day and the temperature was perfect. Enough that I hovered over the “Back” button on their second Kickstarter for quite some time before talking myself out of it by writing this review.
The Nebia is true to its word in offering a better showering experience but at what cost and at what temperature? If you have an enclosed shower though I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot, I guarantee you’ve never experienced anything like it before.
Nebia 2.0 units, which promise a better temperature retention, the feeling of more pressure and a larger plumbing compatibility are available from US$379 via Kickstarter. They’re due to ship between September & November, 2019.