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How to Choose a Shower Head?

How to Choose a Shower Head?

Showering is an effective way to get clean quickly before heading out in the morning, and it's also a very relaxing way to bathe. Water falls overhead, or sore muscles are massaged with steady, consistent water pressure.

The key to a good shower experience is the shower head. The shower head attaches to the shower arm and redistributes the water flow through numerous spray holes. The placement, spray pattern and type of shower head determines the direction of the spray, the pressure of the water, and even where the water falls on your body. Before purchasing a new shower head for your home, it is crucial to understand the importance of a shower head and its associated product factors. Next, we’ll explore every aspect of shower heads in detail to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

How to Choose a Shower Head?

Before Replacing the Shower Head

Not all problems need to be solved by replacing existing parts. A clogged shower head can be cleaned or a leaking shower head can be repaired, saving you the expense of buying a new shower head in your bathroom.

Things to Consider When Buying a Shower Head

Before deciding to replace a damaged, leaking or clogged fixture with a new shower head, it is necessary to consider several product factors in order to make an informed decision.

(1) Filtering

In many cities and towns across the country, the incoming water can contain high levels of minerals, chlorine, and other contaminants that can dry out your skin and hair. It is often recommended to install a whole-house water softener or water filtration system to filter contaminants as soon as they enter your home, but this is not always an option. For example, apartment owners or apartment tenants often do not have access to the main water line, and there may be more than one water line entering the unit. This problem can still be solved relatively easily by purchasing a shower head with a built-in filter that removes contaminants before the water exits the shower head, allowing you to enjoy showering again without worrying about damaging your skin and hair.

(2) Spray Pattern

While filtered showerheads are typically chosen based on need, the spray pattern of a showerhead is often chosen based on personal preference. Only you really know how you like the water to feel when you are standing in the shower.

Common options include rainfall, massage and jet modes, but there are also full-panel shower products that massage your entire body with multiple sprays Adjustments can be made to hit all the right spots after a hard day at work.

Massage and jet settings on the shower head also provide users with a gentle hydrotherapy experience, while overhead rainfall spray is purely for calm, quiet relaxation.

(3) Mount

An important factor to consider when choosing a new shower head is the mount. Most shower stalls have an angled shower arm that extends from the top of one wall, allowing the shower head to spray down into the shower stall. These shower arms can be used with fixed, handheld, dual or even rain shower heads, but rain shower heads should be used with horizontal shower arms that extend into the shower stall, rather than sloping down from the side.

A ceiling-mounted shower head is another option, similar to an overhead horizontal shower arm. A rain shower head connects to a ceiling-mounted shower arm, allowing water to fall directly down. However, if you don't already have existing plumbing for this type of shower head, you'll need to consider the cost of installing this if you want a ceiling-mounted shower head.

(4) Cost

If you're having trouble with your shower head, or you just want a new model with a different spray pattern, you're in luck. Most shower heads on the market are relatively affordable, with the average price being around $50 to $150. Basic shower head products, such as fixed or handheld shower heads, will be at the lower end of the price range, while dual shower head and panel products occupy the higher end of the price range. The rain shower head falls halfway between the ends, but if you need to install an overhead shower arm for the full rain effect, that addition will increase the price.

More luxurious or sophisticated shower head products can cost much more than average, with some products costing as much as $1,000 to $1,200 to have professionally installed. So before deciding on a new shower head or shower panel for your bathroom, take some time to determine a reasonable budget.

(5) Water Pressure

If your area doesn't have any water flow regulations, then you can decide if you need a shower head designed specifically for high-pressure showers. There are a variety of water pressure options on the market, from variable pressure shower heads to high-pressure shower heads with a flow rate of 2.5 GPM.

How to Choose a Shower Head?

(6) Materials

The material your shower head is made of is almost as important as its overall functionality. Today, many shower heads are made of lightweight, inexpensive plastic with a metallic coating. They look like metal, but they don't last as long as metal parts and can become damaged over time.

On the other hand, all-metal shower heads tend to be more durable and less likely to experience the same level of wear and tear.

If durability is your goal, be sure to check that every part of your shower head—including the shower head itself, the shower enclosure, and all connectors—is made of metal.

(7) Finish and Style

Everyone used to have a basic chrome shower head. While many homes today still retain this look (and why not? It's totally timeless!), there are many more options for shower head finishes and styles.

When choosing the right shower head for your home, consider other bathroom fixtures and accessories, and be sure to find a shower head finish that matches or complements the look.

Common shower head finishes include:

  • Chrome;
  • Brushed Nickel;
  • Gold;
  • Matte Black;
  • Antique;
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze;

(8) Environmental Considerations

Since the early 1990s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has limited shower head flow in the U.S. to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), saving water and water heater fuel. Considering the average household uses nearly 400 gallons of water a day, consider investing in a water-saving shower head that uses even less than 2.5 gallons per minute. Models with the EPA WaterSense label have been certified to use flow rates of no more than 2 gpm.

Going green? Consider your home’s water pressure. EPA-specified flows apply at a standard pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi), so if your water pressure isn't that high to begin with, a low-flow shower head may not provide the results you're looking for. In fact, if you're already unsatisfied with the water pressure in your home, concentrate on models that have been specially engineered to mitigate that issue.

(9) Other Considerations

Who will use the bathroom you are updating? If this is a master bathroom and you don't plan on sharing the space with guests, then go with it. If visitors to your home are likely to use the bathroom, choose from the models that are easiest to use.

Shower Head Type

When you want to replace an older fixture in your bathroom, there are many types of shower heads to choose from, including fixed shower heads, rain shower heads, handheld shower heads, dual shower heads, panel shower heads, sliding Rod shower heads, vented shower heads and illuminated shower heads.

(1) Fixed Shower Head

The most affordable and basic shower option is a fixed shower head. These plumbing fixtures connect to a protruding shower arm and can often adjust the direction of the spray, although such fixed shower heads can only spray within a limited range. Some fixed shower heads have multi-function sprayers that allow you to choose from a number of different spray patterns, but not all fixed shower heads come standard with this feature.

(2) Rain Shower Head

Rain shower heads are larger in size than fixed or handheld shower heads and are suitable for overhead installation. This mounting position allows water to fall directly into the shower, creating a relaxing shower experience that mimics heavy rain.

(3) Handheld Shower Head

While fixed shower heads were once the most common option, handheld shower heads have replaced them as the most popular style. These shower heads often look and feel like fixed shower heads, and they can even be mounted on a wall-mounted bracket to shoot down into the shower at an angle. The main difference, however, is that a handheld shower head does not attach directly to the shower arm. Instead, it attaches to a long hose, allowing the shower head to be held in the user's hand for greater control over the direction of the spray.

Handheld Shower Head

(4) Dual Shower Head

If you can't choose between a rain shower head and a hand shower head, a double shower head is the right choice. These systems feature handheld or fixed shower heads for quick, efficient cleaning before heading to work, as well as overhead rain shower heads for a more relaxing, calming shower.

(5) Panel Shower Head

Panel shower systems are not showerheads, but they are often installed with new showerheads that provide a higher level of comfort and relaxation. These systems typically feature fixed or handheld shower heads and multiple body sprays located at the shoulders, hips, and knees. The spray direction of each sprayer can be adjusted, so when you shower, you not only get clean, but also get a full body massage.

(6) Sliding Bar Shower Head

The sliding rod shower head moves up and down along the wall-mounted base, depending on the user's height and personal preference. For bathrooms shared by family members, such a shower head, whether fixed or removable, ensures that everyone gets the best possible experience.

(7) Aerating Shower Head

Many shower heads on the market are inflatable, meaning they mix air and water to create the sensation of increased water pressure, although they actually use less water than regular shower heads. Aerating shower heads cost more initially, but they save you money on monthly utility bills.

(8) Lighted Shower Head

LED light-enhanced shower heads provide adjustable, mood-appropriate lighting that can make your habitual showers more enjoyable and convenient.

FAQs about How to Choose a Shower Head

Q: What Type of Shower Head is Best?

A: The right type of shower head depends largely on the user's personal preference. For some people, a basic fixed shower head is enough to get them quickly scrubbed down and ready for the day. Others may prefer to spend extra time enjoying the falling water from an overhead rain shower head, or enjoy a full-body massage from a panel shower system.

Q: Do All Shower Heads Fit Any Shower?

A: Typically, all shower head products are designed with connections (1/2" NPT) that are compatible with all shower arms. Although in some cases, overly enthusiastic DIY enthusiasts may make some unique adjustments to their home before you purchase it upgrade, but in most cases in this case, any shower in the United States and Canada comes with a shower arm.

Q: What Size Shower Head Do I Need?

A: The size shower head you need depends on the water pressure in your home, the coverage you want, and the size of your shower. A larger rain shower may be ideal for a master bathroom walk-in shower, while a standard fixed shower head may be better suited for a smaller shower with a tub.

Q: Is the Bigger The Shower Head, The Better?

A: It’s no secret that rain shower heads are much larger than standard fixed or handheld shower heads, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better. The benefit of a rain shower head is that the water completely covers your body, creating a falling stream of water that mimics the feeling of heavy rain. However, larger shower heads also reduce water pressure, so if you're looking for a solid massage spray, a large shower head isn't the right choice.

Q: Do You Need a Plumber to Install a Shower Head?

A: Shower heads can usually be installed by homeowners without professional help. However, if the plumbing work involves making changes to the pipes, a licensed plumber may be needed to ensure safety and compliance with code.

Q: Do Different Shower Heads Affect Water Pressure?

A: Yes, different shower heads can affect water pressure. Shower head design, flow rate, spray technology, and water-saving features can all affect water pressure during a shower, so these factors need to be considered when choosing a shower head.

Q: How to Choose a Shower Head Simply?

A: With so many features and styles to consider, figuring out how to choose a shower head can feel downright impossible. You could spend hours analyzing the materials, features, cost, and pressure options for the countless shower heads on the market. Or, you can simplify your shower head buying process with our shower head quiz.

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