This definitive guide highlights the most popular showerheads available to purchase
The shower is a special place, both a site of quotidian responsibility and a gentle refuge from the stressors of a long day. Without the right showerhead, however, it can quickly become a place of frustration, providing neither the cleanliness nor comfort you seek. Today, the market offers a wide array of showerhead styles, with options for all sorts of different preferences and bathroom types. Here we’ll walk you through every type on the market, so you can confidently pick which showerhead is right for you and your home.
1. Standard Wall Mount
There’s a reason this is called the standard; when you close your eyes and picture a shower, this is likely the showerhead you see. This option can be found in simple, straight-forward (and economical) models, though some styles offer adjustable angles and different spray patterns; the more elaborate, the higher the cost. In addition, some options feature newer technology that prevents hard water buildup or corrosion. The cost range for this style is $25 to $200.
Handheld showerheads can be removed from their mounting, allowing flexibility when it comes to washing kids and pets. They can also be used for those who need an accessible, sit down bathing option, and can make cleaning the tub a much less onerous chore. Some people also like the feeling of the water being very close to their skin, which can provide a massage-like stimulation. Handheld showerheads cost anywhere from $30 to $150.
3. Rain Shower
Rain showerheads have necks that extend out from the wall (usually 6 to 12 inches) or are installed in the ceiling. The water falls on you the way it might if you found yourself caught in a gentle rainstorm. Some people find this simulation relaxing and spa-like, and they also prefer the elegant look of this type of showerhead. However, it should be noted that rain showers usually don’t have many spray options to choose from—and typically only offer low water pressure. A simple fixture from a hardware store will run you around $100, but luxury models can be as high as $500.
Dual showerheads are great for families with different shower style preferences, as they feature two showerheads on one base. One of the heads might be a wall mounted one—sometimes a rain style—and the other could be a handheld. The unit’s diverter valve will let you decide which showerhead you want on; some valves will allow you to have both heads on at the same time. A simple dual showerhead can be purchased for as low as $30, but luxury models with extra features can run into the thousands.
Not all water quality is created equal, and in some places, shower water might contain chemicals and minerals such as chlorine that irritate skin and dry out hair. If you live in a place with hard water, you can buy a showerhead with a built-in filter. Be sure to research which contaminants exist in your water so you can buy a showerhead suited to your location. Depending on complexity, these cost anywhere from $35 to $150.
6. Panel System
A panel system is a sleek, modern solution for your shower if you want a highly customizable experience. You can select your level of shower pressure, and install pre-configured models or design your own. This opens up a whole array of choices as to where the panels are installed (overhead, at your knees, chest-height), how many of them you want, the level of pressure, and more. If you’re concerned with water efficiency, however, this is probably not the best choice; panel systems also tend to be on the pricier side, costing between $1,000-$3,000 on average, depending on level of customization. In addition, you will need to drill multiple holes into your shower to install them, so it could be difficult to someday replace the panels with a more straightforward showerhead.
7. Sliding Bar
Are you 5’6’’ and married to someone who is 6’4’’? As its name suggests, a sliding bar showerhead will allow you to adjust its position along a wall-mounted base, so everyone can find the optimal water level for their height or preference. This can also be useful if someone in your home has mobility issues. These can also be installed horizontally or even diagonally and with multiple showerheads, allowing for additional options. The cost for a sliding bar showerhead is typically $60 to $300.
These may cost a little more upfront, but can ultimately save you money on your water bill as they mix water and air to create the feeling of stronger water pressure—while using much less water than other options. We found aerating showerheads ranging from $35 to $90.
If conserving water at home is your top priority, a low-flow showerhead will help to reduce your overall water usage and keep your bills down. There are many showerhead manufacturers that advertise low-flow heads, but these are usually following the maximum flow rate (2.5 gallons per minute) established by the Energy Policy Act in 1992. Several states, such as California and Vermont, have updated and lowered those standards, which could become more commonplace. To meet this demand, true low-flow heads often have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute. Basic models cost around $40, with rain styles coming in higher, around $150 to $200.
These are designed for campers, which notoriously have very low water pressure, and are meant to tackle that issue. They are better suited for very small bathrooms, though you’ll need to check the plumbing set-up as they aren’t easily installed in many standard home plumbing systems. RV showerheads cost around $40 to $60.
Meant to invoke the same water-saving strategy those at sea might employ, these showerheads have an on/off switch so you can simply pause your shower while soaping up and then restart the flow when you’re ready. Unlike turning the shower completely off and back on, using the navy shower will allow you to maintain whatever optimal water temperature you’ve already set. We found many priced between $25 and $65.
If you’ve ever thought that showering might be more fun if it were inside of a disco, well, an LED-lit showerhead might be a good choice for you. These fun showerheads change colors depending on the water temperature, which, in addition to creating a party ambience, can help kids know when the water might be too hot. Options range from $40 to $200, depending on how elaborate the fixture is.
A smart showerhead can do a number of things, all controlled by your smartphone. You can free your inner Celine Dion, as many of them have built-in Bluetooth speakers, or set shower timers to limit your water usage and/or make sure you stay on schedule. One model, the Kohler Moxie ($150 to $250 before installation), also comes with Alexa, making it easy to order more body wash as soon as you realize you’re down to the last few drops.