How to Choose the Best Showerhead (2023)

The right showerhead can make showering your new favorite hobby

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A new showerhead can transform your bathroom experience. Learn how to choose the best showerhead by focusing on the features that matter most to you, including massage settings, pressure knobs, and even LED lights. Even without the bells and whistles, a solid showerhead will keep water volume in mind, which can save you money in the long run.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a New Showerhead

Not everyone can afford theirdream bathroom renovation, but sometimes the most impactful upgrades are the simplest to make. Replacing your showerhead can completely change your relationship with your bathroom. Remember that dribbly, un-adjustable showerhead from your first apartment? Think again.

Whether you’re looking for a quick upgrade or doing a complete renovation, the best showerheads focus on maximizing comfort and relaxation while minimizing water costs. Before you splurge, you should consider:

Types of Showerheads

Most homeowners aren’t tuned in to how many showerheads are on the market. Gone are the days of a couple of basic options. Showering is now a fully customizable experience—you just need to know what’s out there. Some of the most popular types of showerheads are as follows.

Stationary (Fixed) Showerheads

Stationary showerheads, also known as fixed showerheads, are what most people think of when they think of taking a shower. These are attached to a shower wall using a short piece of metal tubing. Some stationary showerheads are adjustable, allowing you to change the angle of the water stream. Others are not.

Pros:Stationary showerheads are the most affordable option and theeasiest showerhead to install. The basic model costs around$20. A slight upgrade to a higher quality finish or multi-functionality will run you a little bit more.

Cons:Some models can’t be adjusted, meaning you’re stuck with whatever water flow you get.

Handheld Showerheads

How to Choose the Best Showerhead (1)

Photo: masayukisesoko / RooM / Getty Images

Handheld showerheads are far more versatile than fixed. These showerheads are attached to a long arm that can be removed from the wall. As such, they’re the preferred option for those who have limited mobility or take seated showers. They also work well for families who have children and pets.

Pros:Handheld showerheads offer more control and versatility.

Cons:They’re a bit more expensive than a fixed showerhead at$30 to $150for a basic model.

Dual Showerheads

Dual showerheads are often considered a luxury fixture in the shower world. This shower system includes multiple showerheads, typically operated by a lever. You can mix and match, opting for a fixed head and a rain shower or any combination. These systems also let you use a valve to operate one showerhead at a time.

Pros:You get water from different angles and can customize the type of stream.

Cons:This type of system may not be suitable for a small shower. The price also adds up. Dual single spray showerheads are more affordable than a series of rain showerheads. On the high end, dual showerheads can cost upwards of$1,000.

Slide Bar Showerheads

Slide bar showerheads are another versatile option. These operate on an adjustable, vertical bar. Simply slide the bar up or down to adjust the showerhead’s height.

Pros:The versatility suits families of varying heights and ages. It’s also great for people who want to shower without getting their hair wet.

Cons:This type of showerhead needs more space than a traditional fixed showerhead.

Rain Showerheads

How to Choose the Best Showerhead (2)

Photo: Irina / Adobe Stock

Rain showerheads have recently become very trendy in the world of bathroom remodels. These oversized, flat showerheads are just what they sound like—they’re meant to feel like you’re taking a shower in the rain.

Pros:Rain showerheads cover a larger surface area of your body while using the same amount of water as a fixed showerhead. It’s a great option for people who don’t have space for a dual system.

Cons:Rain showerheads have notoriously lower water pressure.

Body Spas

Body spas are a type of luxury showerhead. They come loaded with features, including jet sprays and misting settings. Thistype of shower upgradeoffers massaging sprays and full-body coverage. Essentially, body spas are the jacuzzi of the shower world.

Pros:You’re essentially transforming your shower into a mini spa with custom water pressure. In addition, many body spa options help reduce water usage and can operate as handheld showerheads.

Cons:These luxury fixtures are a larger investment, and they may require special installation that’s well beyond the basic DIY.

What You Need To Know About Water Pressure

How to Choose the Best Showerhead (3)

Photo: Tony Ruji / Adobe Stock

Believe it or not, the most important part of a showerhead isn’t the showerhead itself. It’s not the water volume, either. It’s the water pressure. Nobody wants to bathe in a drizzle, but sometimes, that’s the annoying consequence of not knowing what to look for.

“People like to feel the pressure even more than they do the volume,” says Lon Libsack, owner ofShower and Bath Connectionin Tempe, Ariz. “So I recommend that they get away fromlarge rain headsand stick with 8-inch or smaller showerheads.”

How do you ensure that you’re buying a showerhead that will deliver the right water pressure? You test it.

Check Your Water Pressure Before You Buy

Most showerheads have water pressure that fluctuates between40 and 60 pounds per square inch (psi). This isn’t a problem for a basic fixed showerhead, but things get dicey when you move into larger, high-volume options.

According to Doug Johnson, owner ofin Sunrise, Fla., these types of showerheads need 55 psi of water pressure. In other words: they’ll almost push your pipe’s capabilities to the max. You’ll have to check to see what your bathroom can handle.

To do this, pick up a water pressure tester from the hardware store. It screws right onto your shower arm. If the tester says your pressure is low, it could result from a leak, clog, or an old, narrow pipe. In some cases, you may also have a flow restrictor that limits your water usage.

Understand the Types of Spray Patterns Available

Along with picking the ideal type of showerhead, you should also look into the best type of spray pattern for you. Check out the various spray patterns available.


This spray setting is typically the default pattern for showerheads. Water sprays out consistently and constantly through each nozzle. If you enjoy the classic showerhead experience, this setting is perfect for you.


Showerheads with targeted spray patterns have some nozzles with higher spray power than others. As its name suggests, this spray pattern allows you to target the high-powered nozzles when necessary.


This type of spray setting is specifically for soaking purposes. The rinse spray pattern pours or drips water out of the showerhead’s central nozzles, allowing you to rinse at your own pace.


If you need some more variety in your shower spray, pulsating spray patterns are right for you. This setting shoots water out of the showerhead nozzles in alternating patterns, providing the same effect as massaging jets in a hot tub.

Consider Saving Money and the Environment

Even if you’re stuck with low water pressure, not all is lost. You can opt for alow-flow showerheadthat needs less water. Though the average showerhead uses 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), showerheads withEPA WaterSense certificationuse no more than 2 gpm. Couple this with aeration, and it could be a suitable fix.

According to the EPA, WaterSense certified showerheads save the average household 2,700 gallons a year. This translates to a lower electricity and water utility bill, so it helps you as much as it helps the environment.


How do I know what shower head to buy? ›

  1. Check for fit. ...
  2. Consider the showerhead's arc, the angle of your shower arm and how much headroom exists above the pipe. ...
  3. Find out if the showerhead is covered by a warranty, and ask about overall durability and performance.
  4. Shop where you can actually feel the water.

How do I choose a good shower head pressure? ›

There are several functional elements and design features to consider when shopping for a high-pressure shower head. Flow rate is the most important technical concern. In addition to aesthetic choices like appearance and finish, look for features such as spray patterns, energy-saving benefits, and other options.

Is 1.75 gpm enough for a shower? ›

Also known as "flow rate", GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute. Since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the federally mandated flow rate for new shower heads. This means no more than 2.5 gallons of water should flow out each minute.

Is 1.5 gpm enough for a shower? ›

Efficient shower heads use at least 1.5gpm. Taking the same amount of time in the shower uses only 15 gallons of water. The water savings amount up to 65 gallons of water!

What is the best flow rate for a shower head? ›

Studies have shown that 1.8 gpm is the minimum flow rate to have a good enjoyable rinsing, so the common 1.75 gpm models, is somewhat good enough for a decent shower. To save water further and still have a full enjoyable rinsing experience.

Is a square or round shower head better? ›

Square shower heads work best in contemporary bathrooms with angular elements, such as a square bathtub. Round shower heads tend to complement traditional bathroom styles. Ultimately, it's your choice, but these are things to consider when making your decision.

Is 80 psi good water pressure for a shower head? ›

Water pressure is measured in psi, or pounds per square inch, and represents the force at which water enters your home from the water main. Normal psi for a home pipe system is between 30 and 80 psi. While you don't want the psi to be too low, it violates code to be above 80.

Can a good shower head increase water pressure? ›

To get back to the important question - yes, a showerhead can help increase water pressure, and it can also do so while consuming less water than your usual fittings. Showery showerheads are designed to increase water pressure so you can experience a more enjoyable shower.

Are high pressure shower heads worth it? ›

High pressure shower heads work much better than low pressure shower heads. This is because water that is sprayed at high pressure can reach all areas of the body and cleanse them more thoroughly than low pressure water.

What is better 1.8 or 2.5 GPM shower head? ›

When it comes to Shower Heads, you'll typically find 2.5 GPM, 2.0 GPM, 1.8 GPM and 1.5 GPM. If you're looking for the most pressure, go for the 2.5 GPM Flow Rate, unless you are restricted because you reside in California, Colorado or New York. Again, this has been the Maximum Flow Rate since 1992.

Is higher GPM better for shower head? ›

One person who showers 10 minutes per day with a 2.5 GPM shower head uses 9,125 gallons of water per year. Switching to a 2.0 GPM shower head saves more than 1,825 gallons of water and $25 per year in water and energy costs. Those numbers jump to 7,300 gallons and $100 in savings for a family of four.

How many gallons is a good shower? ›

Consider this: The average shower lasts about eight minutes. Since the average showerhead has a water flow of 2.1 gallons per minute, each shower uses more than 16 gallons of water! Across the United States, we use more than one trillion gallons of water each year just for showering.

What is a good water flow shower? ›

If your flow rate is less than 10 litres per minute, you may have what is considered low water pressure. Anywhere between 10 and 15 litres per minute is acceptable but can be improved. A flow above 15 litres per minute is considered good.

Should I remove flow restrictor from shower head? ›

The water restrictor is intended to save people money on water and energy bills, but if you live in an area with low water pressure, the flow restrictor can reduce your shower to a thin drizzle of water. Removing the water restrictor will return your shower pressure to normal, but it may also increase your water bills.

Does the shower head determine water pressure? ›

Do different shower heads affect water pressure? Yes, depending on which shower head you choose, they can increase the water pressure at the head itself in order to create a more powerful shower or decrease it to create a more gentle shower.

How much money does a low flow shower head save? ›

With a low-flow showerhead, 175 minutes of showering uses just 262 gallons of water. Which means you save about 60 percent every month. Translate that to yearly figures, and a 1.5 gpm showerhead uses just over 3,100 gallons of water versus over 5,200 with a 2.5 gpm model.

What GPM is allowed in California? ›

Residential household toilets must use no more than 1.28 GPF (gallons per flush). Residential bathroom faucets must use no more than 1.2 GPM (gallons per minute). Residential showerheads, including handheld showers and fixed body sprays, must use no more than 1.8 GPM.

Does flow rate affect pressure? ›

Yes. As there is a very close relationship between water flow and pressure, an increase in pressure also increases the flow rate. Therefore, changes in the pressure will directly change the flow rate.

What makes a shower head more powerful? ›

Most low-flow showerheads have a rubber pressure-reducing valve (called a regulator) to maintain a lower pressure. You can increase the flow by simply taking it out. You could also consider enlarging the hole that allows water into your showerhead with a drill to increase the amount of water coming through.

Do big shower heads have less pressure? ›

Because they're so much bigger than the average showerhead, but still provide the same amount of water (which can vary by water-saving mandate depending on where you live), it's just math: The same amount of water delivered across a bigger surface = less pressure. That's not the only drawback.

What is a 3 star rated shower head? ›

The higher the rating, the more water-efficient the shower head. This means the shower head uses less water, which will save you money. For example, a standard shower head uses up to 25 litres per minute, whereas a WELS 3-star rated shower head uses as little as 7 litres per minute.

Is 20 psi enough water pressure? ›

Residential water pressure tends to range between 45 and 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Anything below 40 psi is considered low and anything below 30 psi is considered too low; the minimum pressure required by most codes is 20 psi. Pressures above 80 psi are too high.

What is the maximum water pressure for a shower head? ›

U.S. government regulations limit the maximum flow rate of shower heads to 2.5 GPM as a measure to save water.

How do I know if my water pressure is too high? ›

Four Signs Your Water Pressure is Too High
  • Banging or Clanging Noises in Pipes. When you run your faucet or flush your toilet, ideally shutting the water off or the flush cycle ending shouldn't make any strange sounds. ...
  • Noisy Appliances. Is your dishwasher unexpectedly loud? ...
  • Short Hot Water Supply. ...
  • High Water Bills.
Mar 8, 2019

How often do you need to replace a shower head? ›

Many people don't realize it, but shower heads should actually be replaced every 6 to 8 months. That's up to two times each year! Most people neglect to do this, of course, but the reasons for keeping up with the replacements are more important than you might expect.

What slows down water pressure in shower head? ›

The most common cause of low shower pressure is a blocked showerhead, as a result of limescale build-up. These blockages obstruct the water flow, leading to reduced pressure over time. Most showers are fitted with a filter, protecting the pipework from debris, but this can become partially blocked by scale.

What is the difference between low pressure and high pressure shower head? ›

Low-pressure showerheads are very similar to high-pressure showerheads. The only difference between the two is that, while high-pressure showerheads tend to produce high water pressure, low-pressure showerheads tend to produce low water pressure.

How many GPM does a house need? ›

For most single-family homes, a minimum flow of 6 GPM is suggested from a well or spring. This flow would provide 360 gallons of water each hour, which would be sufficient to meet most home water peak demands.

Does gallons per minute affect water pressure? ›

So if there is a shower running that uses 2 gpm, the washing machine which uses 3 gpm is running, and the kitchen sink is running at 3 gpm, which means 8 of 12 gallons are currently being used. This can often lead to lower “water pressure” because the flow rate simply can't keep up.

How many GPM is the average home shower? ›

Standard shower heads use 2.5 gpm, but to earn the WaterSense label, a product must use no more than 2 gpm and still meet strict performance requirements. The EPA estimates that the average family could save 2,900 gallons of water per year by installing a WaterSense-labeled shower head.

What is a reasonable shower size? ›

The average walk-in shower in the U.S. measures 60" x 30", though size options can vary widely, typically up to 60" x 42" for a rectangular shower and 42" x 42" for a square one. For smaller bathrooms, most experts recommend a shower enclosure no smaller than 36" x 36".

Is 2.5 gallons enough for a shower? ›

A standard showerhead, as mandated by the national energy policy act (EPAct), should have a water flow no higher than 2.5 gallons per minute, which means that the average shower should use no more than 20 gallons. Before 1980, many showerheads sold in the use had a water flow of 5 gallons per minute or more.

What is the most efficient shower? ›

An electric shower is considered the most energy efficient thanks to its reduced requirement for power when heating the water and its reliance on just a cold water feed.

Why do new shower heads have flow restrictors? ›

By managing water flow, a flow restrictor prevents built-up pressure from damaging pipes, appliances, and fixtures. Not only do flow regulators save you money by decreasing damage to appliances, but they also save water in lines with high pressure.

Do modern shower heads have flow restrictors? ›

Do All New Shower Heads Have Flow Restrictors? Not all new shower heads come with flow restrictors. While many brands focus on water and energy efficiency, it's not a universal feature. So, before you make a purchase, it's a good idea to check the specifications and ensure they fit your needs.

Do all shower heads fit every shower? ›

Pretty much every shower head has the same connection in the United States, 1/2" NPT. This is the standard! As long as you have the shower arm plumbing coming from your ceiling or your wall, you can choose whichever shower head you want and mount your shower head wherever you want.

Do shower heads fit all showers? ›

Yes, most shower heads are universal and have ½-inch pipe threads or cuts as per National Pipe Thread (American) and British Standard Pipe (British) standards. While there are different sizes for old faucets, most wall or handheld showerheads will fit the existing plumbing.

Are all shower head fittings standard? ›

Shower pipes and connections come in universal sizes, which means any shower head should fit your existing pipes. But do consider your flow rate and water pressure before you buy.

Can I just replace shower head? ›

Yes! Changing out your showerhead can be a do it yourself job and we are going to help you do it. Luckily, it's pretty easy to replace a showerhead. Even if your current showerhead “works just fine”, upgrading is a job that can save you money on your energy and water bills.

How often should shower heads be replaced? ›

Because many types of bacteria thrive in moist areas like your shower, it is recommended that you replace your shower head every 6 to 8 months. Keeping your shower head clean, especially if you have hard water, can be very difficult to manage.

Do different shower heads make a difference? ›

A jet shower head is more powerful and the pressure is directed towards a smaller surface area. A rain shower head takes a more natural approach and is designed to give you the sensation of showering in rainfall. Many have different pressure settings so you can determine how powerful you want your shower to be.

Do certain shower heads use more water? ›

Know the Impact.

One person who showers 10 minutes per day with a 2.5 GPM shower head uses 9,125 gallons of water per year. Switching to a 2.0 GPM shower head saves more than 1,825 gallons of water and $25 per year in water and energy costs. Those numbers jump to 7,300 gallons and $100 in savings for a family of four.

Are smaller shower heads better? ›

If you fit a smaller shower head to a shower hose you increase velocity, it appears that the pressure has increased but it hasn't, similar to pinching the end of a garden hose with your fingers, the water travels further and faster but the flow rate/pressure still remain the same.

How many inches should a shower head be? ›

While standard shower heads are typically placed around 80” high, they can range from 68 to 86” for people ranging from 5' to 6'6” tall. Of course, there is no standard shower head height code, so when it comes down to it, you can place your shower head wherever it feels best to you.

Do you need a plumber to fit a shower head? ›

Replacing a Standard Shower Head

There's no need to call a professional plumber for this job. Changing a shower head is a fairly simple and quick DIY job you can do without technical skills. Updating to a more modern shower head can also save you money on your water bill!

What size are most shower heads? ›

Most rainshower heads come in 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. The larger the showerhead, the larger your coverage. You'll want to keep in mind how big your shower is when shopping.

Are all shower fittings the same size? ›

Most shower mixers have a 1/2 inch thread, and almost all shower hoses are standardised to this size (on both ends). The 3/4 inch thread is much rarer.

How many years does a shower head last? ›

Many people don't realize it, but shower heads should actually be replaced every 6 to 8 months. That's up to two times each year! Most people neglect to do this, of course, but the reasons for keeping up with the replacements are more important than you might expect.

How do I know if my shower head is bad? ›

7 Signs You Need to Replace Your Shower Head
  1. Water Leaks. ...
  2. Sediment Buildup in the Shower Head. ...
  3. Sudden Water Temperature Fluctuations. ...
  4. Mould and Mildew. ...
  5. Sudden Changes in Water Pressure. ...
  6. Excessive Use of Water. ...
  7. Inability to Filter or Soften Impure and Hard Water.
Oct 16, 2022

Does changing shower head increase pressure? ›

To get back to the important question - yes, a showerhead can help increase water pressure, and it can also do so while consuming less water than your usual fittings. Showery showerheads are designed to increase water pressure so you can experience a more enjoyable shower.


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