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Choosing a Shower Head or Shower System

By UJJBARAN October 23, 2021

An invigorating shower can get the day off to a smart start. Learn about the different types of shower heads, shower faucets and shower systems to find what will work best in your bathroom.

What Is a Shower System?

Shower heads, shower faucets, bath and shower faucets are components of shower systems. The shower head is the piece that the water comes out of when you turn on the shower. Shower faucets are the shower head plus the valve that controls the flow of water and its temperature. Bathtub and shower faucets are three-piece systems that include a shower head, the valve and the bath faucet. Shower systems include other luxurious elements for your shower, like a handheld shower head, steam shower or wall jets.

Types of Shower Heads

Fixed Shower Heads

Shower Faucets

The shower faucet controls the water temperature and flow. Lever, cross or knobs are the most common handle type. A scald guard or pressure balancer prevents a sudden drop in cold water from being a burn hazard. If your shower system includes a tub, you’ll need a faucet with a diverter to control both the shower and the tub.

Materials and Finishes

Most shower heads are made of metal, solid brass or plastic with a chrome or colored finish.

Fixed and handheld shower heads come in a variety of finishes to complement the other hardware and faucets in your bathroom. The most popular colors and finishes include:

  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Brushed or polished chrome
  • Brushed or polished nickel
  • Copper
  • Polished or antique brass
  • White
  • Off-white

Other Considerations

Energy Savings

For energy savings, look for shower heads that have a WaterSense® label to save water and money. These low-flow shower heads use less water than a standard model. According to government standards, no shower head can have a water flow rate greater than 2.5 gallons per minute at a standardized pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). Low-flow shower heads use even less than that, which translates to lower energy costs to the consumer. Not every home has water pressure as high as 80 PSI. Levels substantially lower than that can make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of the shower. If it feels as if you never can get the shampoo rinsed out of your hair properly, look for a model designed specifically for low water pressure use.

Some shower heads also come with a cut-off valve that allows you to stop the flow of water while bathing, which greatly reduces the amount of water used in every shower.

Spray Patterns

Look for a unit in which the spray pattern is easily adjustable. Most shower heads offer three different spray patterns including:

  • A wide coverage that feels like a drenching rain and is ideal for everyday use
  • A drenching spray pattern that's good for rinsing shampoo from your hair
  • A targeted pattern producing a sharp spray that's ideal for sore muscles

Other Features

Would you like to sing along to music while taking your shower? Consider a shower head with a built-in wireless speaker. It can stream your music playlist or even get you caught up on the morning news. This shower head synchronizes with your Bluetooth-enabled devices (tablets, laptops or smartphones) and can last for seven hours before you need to recharge the removable sound capsule.

They're mounted permanently to the wall of the shower unit. Some fixed shower heads are mounted in such a way that the height can be adjusted. Rainfall or spray shower heads can be mounted from the ceiling (special plumbing required) to replicate a true rain shower.

Handheld Shower Heads

These are connected to the wall by a flexible tube or hose, allowing a range of motion. Handheld shower heads most often hang on a fixed-mount bracket, which can hang low or high on the wall depending on your needs. They're also useful for bathing children and pets, and they make cleaning the shower and tub easy.

Shower Heads With Hand Showers

If you can't decide whether you want a fixed or handheld shower head, consider a 2-in-1 unit where the handheld unit is attached to the fixed shower head.

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