The Different Types of Shower Heads and Which One Is Right for You

by Jay | Last Updated:  Last updated on July 26th, 2022,

You may be here because you want a better showering experience. Well, I can’t blame you. Showering is a vital part of our everyday lives and upgrading the experience makes sense!


If you do not know yet, different shower heads provide different experiences worth looking into. The possibilities are endless with spray patterns, water pressure, and aesthetics!

Shower system

The components of shower systems are:

  • Shower head: shower head + valve that controls water flow and temperature
  • Shower faucets and tub: three-piece systems that include a shower head, valve, and bath faucet
  • Luxurious add-ons: handheld shower head, steam shower, or wall jets

Types of shower heads

Single spray shower head

As the name implies, this is the most basic you can go. With that, this type also is the cheapest. It has only one spray pattern with no adjustability. That’s as generic as it can get. This is the usual type you see in public shower facilities.

Pros

  • Simple
  • Affordable
  • Straightforward

Cons

  • One spray pattern only
  • Usually contractor-grade
  • No adjustability

Adjustable shower head

Adjustable shower head

This type remains on the basic side, but its multiple spray patterns are adjustable. While some models have three options, there are models in the market that can go up to twelve.

This is especially great if different people use the same shower so each household member can adjust based on their preference. Since this typically includes the shower head, it’s pretty straightforward to install. Price largely depends on the number of spray patterns offered by the unit.

Pros

  • Multiple spray patterns
  • Affordable options
  • Adjustable

Con

Rain shower head

Rain shower head
Modern elegant stainless steel shower head

As the name implies, this shower head mimics rain. It sits directly above the user’s head so it can pour and flow straight down like a rainstorm. Personally, this elevates the experience on so many levels. First, it relieves stress and is just overall relaxing. Plus, it will make your shower room look elegant.

However, rain shower heads only have a single spray pattern and a relatively low-pressure flow. It’s also tricky to install since they are attached to the ceiling. Lastly, this is also on the more pricey side.

Pros

  • The soothing and relaxing shower experience
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Usually provides a single spray pattern
  • Low pressure
  • Difficult to install

High-pressure shower heads

High-pressure shower heads

If you want to waste no time and need all those shampoo and soap off you immediately, you must opt for a high-pressure shower head. It will rinse you off quickly and feel like some massage on your skin. A downside is that more water will be used with every shower and may increase your water bills.

Pros

  • Rinses off quickly
  • Massage sensation
  • High pressure

Cons

  • Increased water use
  • Higher water bill

Eco-performance shower head

Eco-friendly shower head

An eco shower head is every eco-friendly’s dream. It’s designed to utilize less water by providing low pressure. It uses 1.5 GPM only compared to other shower heads, usually using 2.5 GPM. So eight gallons of water are saved every eight minutes of use. In a year, that’s a whopping 3,000 gallons!

Pros

  • Environment-friendly
  • Low water bills

Cons

  • Not that satisfying due to low pressure
  • Longer time to rinse off

Shower panels

luxury panel shower head

A more complex option is a shower panel. This takes significant wall space but extends overhead. In addition, it houses spray nozzles in different positions: an overhead spray, nozzles at different body heights, and handheld ones.

The whole unit comes at a price, but still cheaper than installing all these nozzles and heads separately. A downside is that installing a shower panel requires several drilled holes in your shower, so it’s difficult to switch to simpler shower heads should you prefer to. 

Pros

  • Multiple spray nozzles
  • Adjustable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Requires permanent drilled holes

Filtered shower heads

You may opt for a filtered shower head to prevent water deposits on your shower tiles and doors. Specifically, a water softener system would be helpful, but it has some drawbacks. The filters need regular replacement, which may be quite a hassle, but for its benefits, it’s worth it!

Pros

Con

  • Regular filter replacement

Dual shower heads

Dual shower heads

Why not choose a dual option if you cannot decide on a shower head? Typically, this comes with a rain shower head on top and an attached handheld one. This offers great versatility and multiple spray patterns to select from. However, this type of shower head takes up a lot of space, so it’s not ideal for small shower stalls.

Pros

  • Two different shower head types
  • Includes a handheld head
  • Multiple spray patterns
  • Versatile

Con

  • Consumes a lot of space

RV shower heads

Handheld Shower Head

As you know, RVs conserve water. One way to do this is to install an RV shower head with high-pressure spray but with a narrower cone. This type also resists clogging from hard water. The great news is that this does not solely work in RVs, but you may also opt to use this in your own home.

Pros

  • Conserves water
  • High pressure
  • Clog-resistant

Con

  • Narrower spray cone

LED shower heads

LED shower heads

To pump up your shower experience, a LED shower head can give that to you. It houses color-changing LED lights for that ambiance and feels. In addition, LED lights can be installed in different shower head types, making them versatile. While this is an extra cost, it’s worth it if you enjoy the ambiance this gives!

Pros

  • Extra ambiance 
  • Multiple spray types
  • Changes color with temperature

Cons

  • Expensive or extra cost

Handheld shower head

Handheld shower head

Handheld shower heads allow targeted rinsing. The pressure can also be adjusted as the massage feel elevates as the head gets closer to the skin. Since it’s handheld, it’s ideal for bathing children and pets.

Pros

  • Easy to rinse off
  • Ideal for bathing pets and children
  • Adjustable pressure via manipulating distance to the skin

Con

  • Prone to leaks and problems

Buyer’s guide

Now that you know what the different types of shower heads are, let’s now move to some buyer’s guidelines to narrow down your options even further:

Budget

Determine your budget and work from there. Of course, the more options and advanced a unit is, the more it will cost you.

Bathroom size

A handheld rain system or a single spray shower head is ideal if your bathroom is small or medium in size. But if you have more room, a ceiling mount, body spray, or shower panel are great options.

Ease of installation

The simpler a shower head is, the easier it is to install. However, some more complex shower heads require permanent drills and professionals to help you.

Household size

If you have more than 3 to 4 people using the same bathroom, a handheld shower head is a great option as it’s adjustable based on the size of the individual. 

FAQs

What is the best showerhead type?

There is no one best showerhead, as different people have varying preferences. But generally, a handheld or a dual shower head is great for many people. You may want to check a shower head table to identify which matches your needs.

Are shower heads one size fits all?

At least in the US and Canada, shower heads are manufactured with a universal thread size of ½ inch NPT. This is most typical, except for RV or camper shower heads.

Last words

Elevating your shower experience is truly a worthy investment. After a long day, a great shower session can wipe away the day’s stress. You can use this article to guide you in looking for the shower head that’s perfect for you!

Jay

Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.