Showering has come a long way since the days of the ol’ bucket of water. Today, you’ll find a downpour of options when it comes to showerheads. Styles and prices range from the basic fixed Chatfield Single-Handle 3-Spray Shower on sale for $89 to $1,000 for a Hinson Rainfall Shower System and $29,000 for the Graff – G-8750-BK/PC – Ametis Shower System.
Fortunately, there are hundreds in between, depending on the style, features, finish, and manufacturer.
“Consumers are looking for more than a shower that just ‘gets them clean,’” says Katie Baker, senior sales executive, Kohler.
Choices, choices, choices
Standard fixed shower head
Simple and reliable. The head consists of a fixed neck and is attached to the wall. The hand-held type is ideal for those who lack range of motion or stability (or sing), allowing you to not only sit but ensure you can wash all of yourself without being a contortionist.
Dual shower head
The best of both worlds. This showerhead is installed on the wall, with a hand-held head that can be detached.
Filtered shower head
This shower head specializes in removing hard water and chemicals from your shower. Capable of removing active carbon, heavy metals, and minerals, they come in many models, such as standard fixed, hand-held, and dual. The filter does need to be replaced per the manufacturer’s recommendation. This is a good option if you do not have a whole-home water treatment system. Your hair and skin will thank you.
Waterfall shower head
Turns out you can go chasing waterfalls. A waterfall or rain showerhead has one goal — to create a showering experience that mimics rain. Most rain shower heads offer one setting rather than being multi-use. They are typically larger than their counterparts and create larger spray patterns that closely mimic rain. Wall and ceiling-mounted options are available. This style tends to use more water to successfully imitate rainfall. Kohler offers models starting at $450. As of press time, these are 25% off on Kohler’s website.
Massage shower head
Found on multifunction showerheads, massage showerheads have unique settings that deliver massaging water at high pressures. Some showerheads that include a massage spray pattern have multiple massage settings to find what suits you best. Kohler offers multifunction showerheads ranging from $41 to $324.
High-pressure shower head
Need a strong shower to get you moving in the morning? A pressure shower head may do the trick. Water is delivered through the pipes and onto the skin at high (yet not dangerous) water pressures.
Low flow shower head
While low-flow toilets continue to be on the “rise,” low-flow shower heads are also gaining popularity. The average shower head will churn through roughly 2.1 gallons per minute. Low flow heads use between 2.0 and 1.5 gallons per minute range. The EPA’s WaterSense Program lists many low-flow shower heads on the market.
“High-efficiency shower heads, which can start around $25, can reduce water use by 50%. Energy savings from low flow showerheads often provide the quickest return on investment of all plumbing fixtures,” says Baker.
“If every household in the United States installed WaterSense labeled showerheads, we could save more than $1.5 billion in water utility bills and more than 250 billion gallons of water annually, which could supply more than 2.5 million U.S. homes with their water needs for a year.”
Be sure to look for the WaterSense label when shopping for a showerhead.
Also known as shower towers, shower panels are a fairly new design. A tall, thin panel is mounted to the shower wall. Multiple showerheads, with varying features such as rain or massage/body sprayers, can be utilized. Shower panels offer a sleek and futuristic look and tend to be pricey.
LED shower head
A relatively new innovation, LED shower heads offer visual aesthetics. Typically consisting of LED lights built in around the water jets, offering a multitude of lighting patterns. LED shower heads do not require batteries or electric sources. The lights are powered by the water pressure of your shower.
Aroma therapy shower heads
No need to leave home for a spa experience. Aroma Sense Therapy Shower Heads come equipped with diffused oil dispenser attachments for an existing showerhead. They offer models ranging from $85-$125 for their Aroma/Vitamin C infused showerheads. Not ready to commit to a purpose-built head? Essio offers diffuser attachments for less than $50.
Play that funky music in the shower! Intuitive digital controls such as Kohler’s DTV+, allows users to integrate lighting, music, steam, shower and spa experiences with a touch of a finger or voice command to Alexa. Kohler’s Moxie Showerhead combines a luxurious spray with high-quality sound powered by Harman Kardon®. Gear up or wind down with your favorite tunes or podcast.
We just scratched the surface on what is on the market. Do your research and then shop. The basic and mid-range shower heads are available at home centers. The higher, luxuries models can be found at Ferguson, Benjamin Supply, Central Arizona Supply, and other design centers.
How to swap out a shower head
• Tools & Materials Needed
• Shower head
• Adjustable wrench
• Slip joint pliers
• Pipe putty
• Electrical tape
1. Turn off the shower faucets. You do not need to turn off the water to the whole house.
2. Unscrew the old shower head by twisting it by hand in a counterclockwise direction. Most heads aren’t screwed into place, but if yours is, remove the screws first.
If it’s tough to remove because it’s old and corroded into place, use a wrench. Before working, cover the jaws of the wrench with masking tape or place a soft cloth around the neck of the showerhead to prevent scuffs and scratches.
Note 1: When having to use a wrench to remove the shower head, make sure you also have a wrench on the pipe sticking out of the wall. This is the neck, and it is screwed into a pipe inside your wall. You DO NOT want to break that seal, if at all possible. Remove the shower head without allowing the ‘neck’ to move or rotate.
Note 2: Don’t throw the old showerhead away, just yet. If the new one doesn’t fit or is defective, you’ll have to put the old one back on.
3. Once you remove the old showerhead, you’ll see a threaded pipe in the wall. Clean the hard water buildup, gunk, and dirt from the pipe and dry the threads.
4. Using plumber’s tape, wrap the threads in a clockwise direction. The tape will create a watertight seal between the new shower head and the pipe, which will prevent leaks.
5. Attach the new shower head by screwing it clockwise into the taped, threaded pipe. Tighten by hand.
6. Step out of the shower. Turn on the hot and cold faucets. If the showerhead is leaking, turn the water off and keep tightening.
Some shower head models may be a bit more complicated depending on their features. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
Change things up in your day-to-day shower routine. Take a shower that treats what you need at the time; soothe aching muscles, relax, moisturize, refresh, or awaken. Then let the drops fall where they may!
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:[email protected]. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.