Amphiro A1 Review: A Futuristic Energy-Saving Shower Accessory

amphiroThe amphiro a1 is a digital meter that displays the water and energy usage in real-time during your shower.  It installs easily and does not need any batteries; it also grades your shower from A+ through G-, and sometimes makes you feel guilty for your long, steamy shower.  It retails for $89.

The only things in the retail box. The amphiro a1 and instructions.

The only things in the retail box. The amphiro a1 and instructions.

Before you get started, you’ll first want to make sure your shower is compatible with the amphiro a1.  In order to be able to use the amphiro a1, you’ll need a shower with a handheld shower head.  This is because the amphiro a1 is designed to fit in-line with the hose between the wall and your shower head for easy, no-tools-necessary installation.  In Europe, handheld showers are much more popular than they are in America, which is why it was designed this way.  Assuming you’ve got a handheld shower head, all you need to do is unscrew the shower head from the hose, screw the amphiro a1 onto the hose, and then screw your shower head onto the extension hose that’s attached to the amphiro a1.  Simple as pie.

The amphiro a1 displaying water used, energy-efficiency grade, and the polar bear animation.

The amphiro a1 displaying water used, energy-efficiency grade, and the polar bear animation.

Once the amphiro a1 is installed in your shower, all you have to do is turn on the water and you’ll see the amphiro a1’s display light up.   This is because the amphiro a1 harnesses the power of the running water to power itself; this is also called hydro-power, which is used throughout the world as a source of renewable energy.  The amphiro a1 turns on right when the faucet is opened and turns off about three minutes after the faucet is closed, allowing you time to review the data from your shower.  The fact that no batteries are required helps the unit stay waterproof, since there is no battery compartment; this allows the exterior of the amphiro a1 to remain unbroken.

3-amphiro a1 Gear Diary-002Now that the amphiro a1 is powered, you’ll see a few pieces of information on the amphiro a1’s display.  On the top, you’ll see a readout that rotates between the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (or degrees Celsius, depending on which model you purchase) and the grade of your shower, between A+ and G-, based on your energy-efficiency.  The grade goes down as your shower gets longer, and it is calculated based on how much water you use combined with how much energy you use to heat the water.  Below that, in larger numbers, you’ll see a constantly growing number, showing how much water you’ve used in Gallons (or liters, depending on which model you purchase.)  And on the bottom of the amphiro a1, you’ll see a cute animation of a polar bear standing on ice.  As your energy-efficiency grade goes down, you’ll see the ice disappearing and as I’ve found out, the polar bear disappears when your grade hits “F.”  That sends a pretty straightforward message, doesn’t it?

After the shower is over, the amphiro a1 displays the energy used to heat the water in kilowatt hours.

After the shower is over, the amphiro a1 displays the energy used to heat the water in kilowatt-hours.  Or just watt hours in this case, since the water was only running for a short time.

Once your shower is over, the amphiro a1 will show you the final data from your shower; including how many kilowatt-hours were used heating your water, how many total gallons were used, and what your energy-efficiency grade was.  It will also give you a code consisting of three to four letters and three to four numbers, which can be entered into a free accompanying iPhone app or into their online portal which will keep track of your overall water consumption, shower temperature, and energy-efficiency data.   The online code includes aggregated information about your last 150 showers.

The first online efficiency code my amphiro a1 generated after it's test run.

The first online efficiency code my amphiro a1 generated after its test run.

The online efficiency code is a nice touch, although it would be nice for the device to somehow wirelessly transmit this data so that you don’t have to hope out of the shower and grab your phone before the amphiro turns off and you lose the code.  This could be accomplished using Bluetooth technology, although I couldn’t tell you whether the amphiro’s hydro-power could provide enough juice for this.

The homepage of the amphiro a1 app. Here's where you enter your online efficiency code.

The homepage of the amphiro app. Here’s where you enter your online efficiency code.

I’ve been using the amphiro a1 in my shower everyday for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve been very impressed —  not only by the technology and how well and easily it works, but also impressed by the effect it has had on my showers.  The cute polar bear standing on a block of constantly melting ice does not only serve the purpose of providing a kid-friendly graphical representation of your energy-efficiency, but it also causes a special sort of guilt in your daily shower.  I have actually found myself hopping out of the shower earlier than usual in order to prevent the polar bear’s untimely demise, which makes the amphiro a1 strangely effective in its energy-saving ways.

My biggest pet-peeve with the amphiro a1 is that the piece that your shower head screws into on the amphiro hose does not match the size of that piece on the original shower head.  This leads the shower head with the amphiro a1 attached to not sit perfectly in the wall holster, as it used to, which causes the shower head not be capable of being aimed perfectly as it could be before, because it now moves around in the holster a lot.  I’m sure this is something that I’ll get used to over time, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of purchasing this device.

Here is the page where the shower information is shown on the amphiro app.

Here is the first page where the shower information is shown on the amphiro app.

This is the second page after scrolling down.

This is the second page after scrolling down.

Although I cannot attest to the exact amount of energy that the amphiro a1 has helped me save, I can tell you that it works.  The real-time data that the amphiro a1 provides helps you realize just how much water and energy you use during your shower and has led me to shorten my showers by about 3 minutes each day.  This leads to a significant water and energy savings.

You can purchase the amphiro a1 directly from the manufacturer.  It’s available worldwide in a Liter/Celsius version as well as a Gallon/Fahrenheit version.

MSRP:  $89.00

What I Like:  Easy to install; No batteries necessary; Keeps you informed regarding how much water/energy you’re using in real-time; Cute animation.

What Needs Improvement:  The part that screws into your shower head may be a different size than the shower head itself, making your shower head not fit into the holster perfectly, which leads to not being able to aim the shower head as desired.  Some sort of automatic Bluetooth wireless communication of the after-shower code to your phone would be an improvement.

Source:  Manufacturer supplied review sample

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About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.