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7 Different Types of Showerheads

Having a great and relaxing shower experience mostly depends on the type of showerhead your using. Here are the different types so you can choose which suits you best.

Two out of three people in the U.S. take a shower once a day or even multiple times a day, according to extensive studies. That’s a lot of people who probably don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the showerhead that’s providing their water while they’re standing in the shower. But maybe it’s time you start.

Look up at the showerhead next time you’re in the shower. There are many different types of showerheads that do lots of different things. There are different spray patterns, different sizes, even cool features you may not know you can have. Maybe you’ve actually been using a showerhead that doesn’t really suit your shower style all along.

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The Basic Types

If you try looking online for different showerheads to buy, you’ll find lists that are way too long to ever go through. You’ll see all kinds of different sizes and styles. You could easily feel overwhelmed and confused about what it all means. There are many different styles of showerheads out there. But when you get right down to it, there are three basic types of showerheads. All the different designs and different finishes, the many different sizes, all fit into one of these three categories.

Fixed shower heads

A man bathing under a fixed showerhead.

Fixed shower heads are permanently mounted to the shower wall or unit. Some showerhead designs are actually mounted to the ceiling. These are still just fixed showerheads. Any showerhead that is directly and permanently mounted is fixed.

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This just means that the showerhead stays where it is and you move to it in order to enjoy the water spray. Some fixed shower heads are usually somewhat adjustable. They often move slightly up and down and right and left so you can exercise some control over where the water falls.

Handheld showerheads

A woman holding a vintage handheld showerhead.

Handheld showerheads are still mounted to the wall or ceiling but they are connected with a flexible hose. This allows you to take the showerhead off of its mount and move it all around. The other end of the hose is connected to the pipes that provide water. Handheld showerheads usually hang on a wall bracket.

These showerheads are useful for bathing children and pets. They also give you control over where the water goes, which means it easier for you to keep your hair dry while you’re showering. You can also avoid injured areas of your body. For example, you can’t get a cast covering a broken bone wet. Handheld showers are incredibly useful when you need to completely control the water spray.

This is a close look at a stainless steel hybrid showerhead.

The third option is a hybrid between these two types, usually called dual showerheads. This is a showerhead that doubles as a hand shower. It stays fixed on the wall when you want it to and it can be removed from its mount and used a handheld when you like. This gives you the best of both worlds and still gives you complete control over where the water goes.

Types of Showerhead Designs

Within these three main types of showerheads, there are many different styles to choose from. Showerheads range in size, style, and appearance. They even have different water spray patterns.

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Energy-saving showerheads

ALL METAL Fixed Shower Head, Chrome | 1.75 GPM Low Flow Showerhead | 4 Inch Round Showerhead for Universal Wall Mount Installation

Energy-saving showerheads, also known as low-flow showerheads, are available in any type. These have a WaterSense label that shows they are more energy-efficient than other styles of the showerhead. No showerhead can have a flow rate that is greater than 2.5 gallons per minute, with a standard pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. Low-flow showerheads provide water at a reduced rate to help you save energy.

Different Showerhead Finishes

This is a close look at a golden overhead fixed showerhead.

Showerheads come in a variety of different metal finishes as well. Typical finishes are off-white, white, antique brass, copper, polished nickel, chrome, and oil-rubbed bronze.

AquaDance High Pressure 6-Setting 3.5" Chrome Face Handheld Shower with Hose for the Ultimate Shower Experience! Officially Independently Tested to Meet Strict US Quality & Performance Standards!

Size and style are always important but don’t forget that you want your showerhead to be practical. Look for a showerhead that has the spray pattern you want. Most showerheads are designed with one of three different patterns: a wide spray, a drenching downpour spray, or a targeted spray pattern designed for massaging.

Most Common Showerhead Styles

Though there seems to be an almost endless amount of choices when you’re shopping for showerheads, there are some common styles that you’ll end up seeing again and again. The designs may vary in size, look and finish, but they still perform the same basic function.

Body spas

Oxygenics 26481 Brushed Nickel Body Spa RV Shower Kit

Body spas are designed to shoot water out in a jet-like fashion to provide a massaging shower spray.

Rain showerheads

A woman is bathing underneath a showerhead that is mounted on the ceiling.

Rain showerheads, also called top-mount showerheads, pour water down on you from above. These showerheads are typically mounted on the ceiling. They also usually have a low water flow rate.

Sidebar showerheads

Kohler K-98361-BN Awaken G90 Multi-Function Handshower with Slide Bar Kit, Vibrant Brushed Nickel

Sidebar showerheads are made to be adjustable, so you can move them up or down to accommodate different heights. The showerhead essentially slides up and down to achieve different height levels.

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Interesting Extras

You can actually find smart showerheads these days. These newer designs have really upped the showerhead game. You can get showerheads that have built-in speakers that will sync up to your phone so you can play music or listen to podcasts. Some showerheads even have programmable spray settings that change the water spray pattern as you’re showering.

Some showerheads may have a self-cleaning function to prevent limestone and calcium buildup. Others may have built-in filters to strain out chlorine and other chemicals from the water.

Building a Better Shower

A showerhead can range from as little as $5 to more than $1,000 in price, depending on the size, style, and extras it may have. Think about what kind of shower experience you want to have and what’s going to work best for you. If you have a little extra to spend and you want to splurge a little, go ahead.

Choose the finish that’s going to match your existing decor and make sure you stick with a showerhead that’s going to work with the plumbing you already have. If you want to switch from a wall-mounted showerhead to a ceiling-mounted shower head, you’re going to have to call a plumber and pay lots more money to upgrade your shower.

However, you may be able to use a shower arm to change up the style of your showerhead if you like. Some ceiling-mounted showerheads can be mounted to a shower arm, which can be connected to a wall mount. The arm will come out and point down. If your wall mount is too low for the showerhead you want to use, get an arm that rises up and then points downward.

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By knowing more about your options, you’ll find it much easier to go shopping to find the exact showerhead you want.