How to Change a Showerhead for an Easy Bathroom Upgrade

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated August 3, 2022
A view of a showerhead with eucalyptus
Photo: New Africa/Adobe Stock

Out with the old, in with the new

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Whether you’re doing a big bathroom remodel or you just want to put a personal touch on a rental bathroom, a new showerhead is an easy upgrade to consider. Learning how to change a showerhead is simple, even for novice DIYers. When you’re ready to refresh your bathroom, you’ll enjoy better water pressure, advanced features, and a more stylish option. Here’s how to swap out a showerhead for a new-and-improved look. 

Why Replace Your Showerhead?

Some prefer a gentle stream of water in the shower, while others like strong, jet-like water pressure. A showerhead replacement can make your bathroom look more modern and make your shower feel more tailored to your personal preferences. Aside from that, you should replace old or outdated showerheads because bacteria can grow in the head over time. Here are some common reasons for changing out a showerhead:

  • Your showerhead may show signs of mold or mildew.

  • Lower-quality models or older showerheads may leave you with poor water flow.

  • Newer models have low-flow technology to reduce your water consumption without compromising on water pressure, making this an eco-friendly swap.

  • You may want modern features in a high-tech showerhead upgrade, like advanced water pressure and temperature controls.

  • You can change your showerhead simply for a new look that better suits your bathroom’s aesthetic.

How Much Does It Cost to Change a Showerhead?

A new showerhead costs around $50 to $100, although high-end models with upgraded features can cost up to $300. With tools and supplies, changing a showerhead yourself will cost about $75 total. Professional installation costs about $50 to $100, plus the cost of the showerhead.

How to Replace Your Showerhead

A view of someone removing a showerhead
Photo: Aliaksandr Kisel/Adobe Stock

To change a showerhead, you’ll need to know how to remove the old showerhead. Then, depending on the type of the new showerhead, there are different steps to take for a secure installation.

Remove the Old Showerhead

Before putting in the new showerhead, you have to take out the old one. 

  1. Turn the showerhead counterclockwise. If the showerhead feels stuck, use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the old showerhead.

  2. Remove any existing plumber’s tape on the shower arm. Use a toothbrush and a damp cloth to clean the arm threads, which is where the new head will attach. Wipe the threads dry. 

  3. Wrap the shower arm threads with seal tape. This ensures a tight, waterproof seal around the arm threads to prevent leaks after you attach the new showerhead.

Install a Fixed Showerhead

A view of a black showerhead
Photo: Michal/Adobe Stock

Some showers have retractable heads you can maneuver around while you wash up, but a fixed showerhead stays on the wall. While they offer less adjustability, a fixed showerhead is the easiest to install.

  1. Screw the showerhead onto the shower arm, over the taped threads.

  2. Turn on the water to test for leaks.

  3. If you notice leaking, add more seal tape and tighten the showerhead with a wrench.

  4. Test again to check for leaks. If you still experience leaking, you may want to call in a plumber to take a look.

Install a Handheld

A view of a handheld shower
Photo: Jo Panuwat D/Adobe Stock

A handheld showerhead rests on a mount. You can pick it up and move it thanks to a long, flexible arm. Handheld showerheads are also simple to install, but there’s an extra step to connect the showerhead to its mount.

  1. Screw the showerhead onto the shower arm. 

  2. Attach the flexible hose. It should connect in two places: the shower arm, which it will screw onto clockwise, and its mount. Consult the product manual for specific instructions.

  3. Once the connections are tightened by hand or with a wrench, place the showerhead onto the mount.

  4. Turn on the water and test for leaks.

  5. Add more seal tape and tighten the connections again if the showerhead leaks.

Install a Combo Showerhead

A view of a combination showerhead
Photo: Matthias Nitsch/EyeEm/Getty Images

For the best of both worlds, consider a combination showerhead. These feature a fixed head and a second, handheld showerhead—also called the arm—that rests on a mount.

  1. Connect the diverter to the shower arm. The diverter allows the water flow to switch between the head and arm, depending on which you want to use.

  2. Next, connect the fixed showerhead to the diverter. Move in a clockwise direction. You can tighten the connection by hand rather than with a wrench.

  3. Connect the shower arm to its mount.

  4. Attach the shower hose to the handheld shower arm and mount.

  5. Turn on the water, and test the diverter. Check for leaks.

  6. If there are leaks, tighten the connections and test again.

Replacing a Showerhead Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro

A new showerhead costs about $75 to $150 to install yourself, although it may be higher if you splurge on a more expensive showerhead. You can find many showerheads for $15 to $50 at hardware stores or online. You may also need to buy a few tools and supplies, including plumber’s tape, an adjustable wrench, and slip-joint pliers, if you don’t already have them.

Hiring a plumber to install a new showerhead costs about $50 to $100 for labor, plus the cost of the showerhead. While DIYing can save you money, hiring a pro can give you peace of mind that the showerhead was installed correctly and won’t lead to leaks or poor water pressure. It’s also best to hire a pro if you’re planning to switch from a standard wall, hand-held, or combo showerhead to a rainfall showerhead that attaches to the ceiling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average life of a showerhead?

Showerheads can last anywhere from 6 months to 15 years, depending on the type and how you take care of them. Make sure to deep clean the showerhead once a month to extend its lifespan.

How do you know when you need a new showerhead?

While you can change a showerhead at any time to upgrade to something more stylish or with more features, you should definitely change the showerhead if you notice:

  • Black mold

  • Sediment buildup

  • Low water pressure

  • Rust or other mineral deposits

Which showerhead is best?

If you’re in the market for a new showerhead, consider investing in a metal option rather than plastic. Metal showerheads are more durable and long-lasting, and bacteria tend to survive and grow better on plastic.

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