11 Different Types of Shower Heads

Last Updated on July 29, 2020

Showering is an integral part of daily life. Well, hopefully, for most of us! Since it’s something we do so often, it’s easy to do it on autopilot. But are you enjoying your showers as much as you could? If you’re still using the same shower head that was installed when you moved in, then the answer is probably no.

Today, many different types of shower heads provide a diverse range of spray patterns, water pressure, aesthetics and more. From rain showers that sprinkle down from the ceiling to filtered shower heads that reduce limescale and mineral deposits, there is a shower head available that’s perfect for each individual and every situation.

Let’s break down these 11 different types of shower heads so you have a better idea of how each one performs, plus their advantages and drawbacks.Divider 2

1. Single Spray Shower Head

PhaiApirom, Shutterstock

This is the most basic shower head you can purchase. They’re usually very cheap, often contractor grade. As the name implies, a single spray shower head has just one spray pattern and no adjustability. This means you’re stuck with whatever spray pattern is built-in, and it’s usually pretty generic. You’ll often see this type of shower head in gyms, motels, and other public shower facilities since they’re so cheap and readily available.

Pros
  • Simple with nothing to adjust
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Only one spray pattern
  • Usually contractor-grade

2. Adjustable Shower Head

adjustable shower head
ben bryant, Shutterstock

Adjustable shower heads are still basic and simple, but they provide a lot more versatility than single spray heads thanks to their multiple spray patterns. Most have at least three options to choose between, but some have as many as 12 types of spray patterns. This is especially great if you share a shower with a spouse, roommate, or even your children. Everyone has different preferences, and with an adjustable shower head, each person can dial in their settings with the flick of a switch. These are still very easy to install since there are no extra parts, just the shower head itself. They range in price from very affordable to quite expensive, depending on how many spray patterns they provide, among other factors.

Pros
  • Multiple spray patterns to choose from
  • Very affordable
  • Many options to choose from
Cons
  • Tends to clog easily from hard water

3. Rain Shower Head

luxury outdoor shower head
MIA Studio, Shutterstock

While most types of shower heads are mounted to a short neck that comes directly out of the wall, a rain shower head takes a different approach. This type of shower head sits directly above your head and pours water straight down, imitating a rainstorm. For many, this is an extremely relaxing experience and can help make shower time a stress-relieving escape. Moreover, it adds a lot to the looks of the shower since rain shower heads tend to be quite elegant.

However, rain showers still have their drawbacks. First, they don’t usually have many spray options to choose from, often only providing a single spray pattern. They’re also a low-pressure shower head, so it’s harder to rinse off and you won’t get the massaging feeling of high water pressure on your skin and muscles. Finally, these are one of the more difficult shower heads to install. Often, they’re installed directly into the ceiling. This is the best-looking approach, but it’s also the most difficult and labor-intensive, and therefore, the most expensive. An alternative is to use a long neck that will raise and extend your shower head from the wall.

Pros
  • Very relaxing shower experience
  • Looks elegant
Cons
  • Low adjustability of spray patterns
  • More difficult to install
  • Low pressure

4. High-Pressure Shower Heads

High Pressure rain shower

If you’ve ever felt that your shower was just dribbling on you and you can’t seem to wash off the soap and shampoo, you may be dealing with a low-pressure shower head. The solution is to use a high-pressure shower head instead. You’ll find it easier to rinse off, plus, the high-pressure feels great on your skin while it gently massages you all over. On the other hand, you will be consuming more water with every shower, which will add up over weeks and months. This will result in higher water bills as your usage increases. For those who are heavily concerned about the environment, the extra waste may not be worth the improvement.

Pros
  • Easier to rinse off
  • Massages as you shower
Cons
  • Uses more water
  • Higher water bills

5. Eco-Performance Shower Head

Eco-Performance Shower Head

Are you concerned about your environmental impact? How about your rising water bills? If so, then you may consider an eco-performance shower head. These are designed to use far less water than traditional shower heads by operating at lower pressures. While many shower heads use up to 2.5 GPM of water, eco-performance shower heads can use as little as 1.5 GPM. Over the course of the average eight-minute shower, this adds up to eight gallons of water saved. If you extrapolate that for a full year, you’ll be conserving nearly 3,000 gallons of water.

Pros
  • Good for the environment
  • Lower water bills
Cons
  • Not as satisfying of a shower
  • Harder to rinse off with low-pressure

6. Shower Panels

luxury panel shower head
Ersler Dmitry, Shutterstock

Shower panels are considerably more complex than traditional shower heads. They take up a lot of wall space, but they also extend overhead. It will include multiple spray nozzles in different positions. Usually, you’ll get an overhead spray, several nozzles at varying body heights, and even handhelds are built-in. While they are pretty pricey, it’s still a lot less expensive than having all of those nozzles and shower heads installed separately. Keep in mind, installing a shower panel will require several holes being drilled into your shower wall, so you may have a hard time switching back to a regular shower head. They’re also difficult to install for the same reason, so you’ll likely need to hire a professional.

Pros
  • Multiple spray nozzles
  • Lots of adjustability
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Can permanently damage the shower wall behind

7. Filtered Shower Heads

High speed shower filtered
turydddu, Flickr

A common frustration that many people experience is hard water deposits consistently ruining the looks of shower tiles and doors. Once the water dries, the white spots left behind are difficult to clean and not at all visually appealing. A water softener system would fix the problem, but these are very expensive and include other drawbacks. For a cheaper, easier solution, consider a filtered shower head. These contain cartridge filters that need regular replacement. While this is a bit of a hassle, the benefits are great. You’ll see a reduction or possibly the elimination of scale buildup around your shower. What’s more, the filtered water is much better for your hair and skin and will leave you feeling healthy and nourished instead of dried out and flakey.

Pros
  • Reduces hard water spots
  • Better for your hair and skin
Cons
  • Requires regular filter changes

8. Dual Shower Heads

types of shower heads dual
Naypong Studio, Shutterstock

If you’re having a hard time deciding between shower heads, then a dual shower head may be the best solution. Instead of choosing just one, you can have the benefits of two different types of shower heads. You’ll get a rain style shower head up top, but a handheld will also be attached. This gives you great versatility in how you shower off. You’ll also usually get multiple spray patterns to choose from as well, providing even more flexibility. On the downside, they do take up much more space than other types of shower heads, so they’re not the best choice for cramped shower stalls.

Pros
  • 2 different types of shower heads
  • Includes a handheld
  • Multiple spray options
Cons
  • Space consuming

9. RV Shower Heads

Handheld Shower Head

RVs have a limited water supply, and RV shower heads are built to conserve that water so it lasts longer. That said, they still provide high-pressure spray, but they have a narrower spray cone. This means that you won’t have as much water hitting you at once, but the water that’s coming will be of sufficient pressure to rinse off with ease. They’re also built to resist clogging from mineral deposits that are present in hard water. But these aren’t limited to just RVs. You can use this shower head in your home to receive the same water-saving benefits, lowering your water bills and lessening your environmental footprint.

Pros
  • High pressure
  • Doesn’t waste water
  • Resists clogging from hard minerals
Cons
  • Smaller spray cone

10. LED Shower Heads

LED shower head
Mifid, Shutterstock

Does your shower seem boring? You may consider an LED shower head to liven it up! These feature color-changing LED lights that can add some ambiance to your shower and your whole bathroom. LEDs are installed in multiple types of shower heads, so you can have some versatility in your selection. You’ll pay a bit more for the LEDs, but for many, the tradeoff is worth it. The color of the lights will also change according to the temperature of the water, turning blue when it’s cold and red when it’s hot.

Pros
  • Adds ambiance to the shower
  • Comes in multiple spray types
  • Changes color with temperature
Cons
  • More expensive

11. Handheld Shower Head

adjustable hand held Spray Shower Head

Handheld shower heads allow you to rinse off any part of your body from any angle. You’ll also get higher pressure and more of a massaging feel with the jets so close to your skin. The added pressure also makes it easier to rinse off soap and shampoo. Since you can move the nozzle around, it’s much easier to bathe children and pets with a handheld. That said, they have more connections, which means they’re more prone to leaks.

Pros
  • Makes it very easy to rinse off
  • Using it close to your body increases pressure
  • Great for bathing pets and children
Cons
  • More prone to leaks and problems

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Conclusion

Step into a home improvement store and you may be overwhelmed at the sheer number of shower heads to choose from. With so many different types available, it can be hard just to determine which kind you want, let alone pick a particular model! To help make it easier, we’ve covered all 11 types of shower heads that you’re likely to encounter. They all have their benefits and drawbacks, which makes each one best for a particular situation. Hopefully, after reading this article, you understand the differences between them all, making it easier to decide which is the right choice for your shower.


Featured Image Credit: Naypong Studio, Shutterstock