Tips for Buying the Perfect Showerhead

Improve your shower experience and save water with a new showerhead

Tips for Buying the Perfect Showerhead

Installing a new showerhead is one of the most economical ways to make your bath more pleasant and eco-friendly. Improve your experience with a wide range of traditional showerheads, or upgrade to a variety of sprays and features like detachable heads and body spa systems.

This guide will help you understand the features and options available to you.

Head Design and Spray Patterns

The two basic types of showerheads are fixed and hand-held. Showerheads are available in a wide variety of configurations, many with anywhere from one to eight or more adjustable settings.

Tip: Hand-held showerheads are ideal for washing children and pets and make cleaning the shower easier. Hoses 84 inches or longer meet ADA compliance.

Fixed showerheads are attached to a shower arm and mounted permanently to the wall.

Hand-held showerheads are attached to the wall with flexible tubing, which makes it easier to guide water where you want it.

Traditional / fixed showerheads

  • Lowest initial cost
  • Offer a wide range of spray patterns and streams that vary from strong to fine mist
  • Wide selection of spray patterns and materials

Dual showerheads

  • Consist of two showerheads running off a single pipe, providing wider water flow over a larger area at multiple angles
  • Features include independent adjustable pressure and massaging heads
  • Some configurations offer two sprays on one unit, an overhead with a side spray, or a traditional head and a hand shower

Body spas and body mist showers

  • Use strips of jets or misters to create a soothing, massaging spray with body coverage from head to toe
  • Used primarily in custom showers
  • Larger up-front investment
  • May have special installation and plumbing requirements

Overhead / rain / rose showerheads

  • Cascade water directly from above for light, even distribution
  • Low flow rate
  • Often only have one setting, some models feature a more high-powered rinse setting

Side bar showerheads

  • Feature a movable mount on a vertical bar that can be moved up and down to the ideal height for various members of the family
  • Make it easier to shower without getting your hair wet


Spray patterns



When selecting your showerhead, consider the material it is made of and select a color and finish that matches the other fixtures in your bathroom.

  • Chrome may have a polished, brushed or matte finish. Durable, economical and easy to clean, it resists oxidation but does show water marks more than some other finishes.
  • Nickel may have a brushed or satin look and is stylish, durable and easy to clean. Look for units with a titanium finish to better resist scratching and tarnish.
  • Solid color finishes may be composed of epoxy or baked-on enamel and clean easily. While the most common colors are black and white, they are also available in a wide selection of deep, rich colors. The finish may chip or fade more easily than other finishes.
  • Brass may have a high gloss, satin or antique finish and is ideal for traditional décor. Showerheads with lifetime finishes resist damage and wear.
  • Bronze complements neutral color palettes and is a popular choice for a rustic look. It may have a polished, brushed or darker oil-rubbed look with highlights and resists scratches, tarnishing and corrosion.
  • Mixed colors and metallic tones can be matched to your bathroom’s color scheme. Striking combinations include satin nickel and polished brass, brushed nickel and polished chrome, satin nickel and white, and more.
  • Stainless steel has an attractive, modern appearance and doesn’t show water spots.

Water Pressure & Flow

The volume of water delivered by a showerhead is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and is affected by the water pressure in your home.

Since 1992, government regulations have mandated that all new showerheads have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 GPM at a standardized pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Not every home has water pressure this high, and lower levels of water pressure can make a difference in the effectiveness of your shower.

If you have low water pressure, look for a showerhead specifically designed for low water-pressure use. While they use less water, they still provide a full shower experience without sacrificing water pressure.

Some showerheads also allow you to adjust the nozzle for stronger flow when needed.

Shower Systems & Optional Features

Personalize your shower with a range of optional features, including deluxe heads, bendable nozzles, cut-off valves and more.

Complete shower systems provide a more relaxing shower experience using a combination of showerheads, configuration designs and features. These systems may range from an economical multifunction showerhead to easy-to-install tower showers and panels that connect to existing plumbing.

For a total personalized shower experience, custom shower designs offer higher-end systems with multiple valves, sprays and patterns in virtually limitless combinations.

These systems are designed to your specifications and are a popular option in new construction due to the often unique requirements for plumbing, water pressure, drainage, hot water and ventilation.

Optional Features

  • Deluxe heads may feature electronic control panels that put you in complete control of spray intensity, frequency and pattern.
  • Heads with bendable nozzles help prevent lime scale buildup. Simply swivel the nozzle from time to time to shake bits and particles of lime scale loose.
  • A rubber grip will make a hand-held head easier to hold, particularly when it’s wet, and an arm extender will allow taller people to raise the head to make showering easier.
  • Diverters allow hand-held and traditional showerheads to be used together in the same shower, providing you with multiple configuration options.
  • A shower arm extender attaches to a standard arm, allowing the showerhead to be positioned higher.
  • Cut-off valves allow you to stop the flow of water while shampooing, reducing the amount of water used.
  • Showerhead filters remove chlorine and other contaminants and skin irritants to help reduce damage to skin and hair.
  • If you need a convenient place to store all of your shower accessories, look for a head that provides a soap dish, shower basket and shelves. Some even include no-fog mirrors to make shaving or brushing your teeth easier.