Choosing a Shower Head Style For A Master Bathroom Remodel

This shower has a through-the-ceiling rain shower head, as well as grab bars, a seat, and a handheld shower head.

Fixed Single Setting To Multi-Setting Massage Tower Shower Heads

If you're remodeling your bathroom one of the most fun choices you'll get to make is choosing your new shower head. In the not too distant past, you had basically a couple of choices – you could have a fixed shower head with a single setting that got the job done, but little else. Or, if you had an old claw foot tub, you probably had a handheld showerhead that was attached to the tub spigot and gave you an adequate bathing experience.

Today, choosing a shower head is fun! From dual heads to rain shower heads, to multi-setting multiple jet massage towers complete with lighting and music, whatever your fancy, you'll find it!

Let's take a look at the myriad of choices you'll have when you're shopping for a new shower head for your bathroom remodel.

First, A Little Background on Shower Heads

The EPA estimates that showers account for almost 1.2 trillion gallons of water each year. That's about 1/6th of all the water used in the U.S. For bathing. Before 1994, the typical shower head produced a flow rate of about 5 ½ gallons per minute. In 1994 to promote conservation, the Department of Energy mandated limiting the flow rate to 2 ½ gpm to conserve not only water but the energy needed to heat the water. If conservation is important to you, look for shower heads that display a WaterSense label. They use no more than 2 gpm and still provide a refreshing bathing experience!

Today, manufacturers have perfected the process and have created shower heads that offer users a relaxing, pleasing experience while still meeting the federal guidelines.

Even a humble acrylic bath tub shower combo can have an amazing shower tower. This unit is designed to be able to retrofit the standard location.

Choosing A Shower Head: Types

You can get a great shower with even the most straightforward, least expensive shower heads, but more money can give you more options. Here are the basic types of shower heads you'll have to choose from.

Single Setting Models – both single and dual-head

These are simple shower heads that provide a single setting as the name implies. A dual head single setting model can consist of a standard shower head often combined with a rain shower head. Both provide a single setting but work in tandem.

Multi-setting Models

These shower heads give you up to 12 choices for settings like mist, pulsing, massage, wide and narrow stream. Some offer a continuously variable setting. Multi-setting heads are a good choice if you like to vary up your shower routine.

Shower Towers

Shower towers can provide you with a spa-like experience at home. They generally consist of a fixed shower head along with a handheld unit and add several additional body jets mounted on a vertical strip. Recent action by the Department of Energy has changed the way these units work. Initially, towers got around the 2 ½ gpm limit by limiting each head to 2 ½ gpm. That meant if a unit had four head and jets it could legally use up to 10 gpm. In 2013 the law was changed to limit the output to 2 ½ gpm “combined.” So towers that are sold today will often limit the number of heads you can use simultaneously.

View Our Luxury Bathroom Remodeling Projects

This shower has a wall-mounted rain shower head and unique geometric tile design.

Choosing A Shower Head: Features

Today, along with the types of shower heads available, you'll also have to consider the features that you want. Here are some characteristics to consider.

Aerating Shower Heads

By mixing air and water, an aerating head forms a misty spray that can make the flow feel more substantial. A laminar-flow shower head forms individual streams of water. Laminar- flow heads using aeration cool the water anywhere from 5 to 15 degrees on the way from the shower head to your body. While they can cost a little more, they save energy and maintain water temperature better than a standard aerating shower head. And they create less steam and moisture.

Handheld Heads

You can leave a handheld shower head in its holder, or remove it and focus the spray on any part of your body. A handheld shower head is an exceptional choice for older homeowners or those with mobility problems.

Rain Shower Heads

If your seeking a gentle experience, a rain shower head is an excellent choice. With a large surface area and wide spray pattern to reduce pressure, they offer a soft, soothing experience like standing in a gentle rain shower.

Finally, you'll have options as to where and how to mount your shower head. It can be ceiling mounted (most rain shower heads are ceiling mounted), wall mounted, in the case of a multi-head tower jets heads can be positioned throughout the enclosure. Handheld heads can be mounted on adjustable rails to make it easier for older homeowners.

The best course of action is to do some research to understand the models available and then speak with your bathroom designer or design-build contractor. They can explain all of the options available to you. Often your shower enclosure and design can help you to narrow your choices. Thanks to the technology available today, with a little research, you can design the perfect shower experience for your new bathroom!

Want to learn more? Read about Choosing A Shower Drain Style For A Master Bath Shower.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 1/23/2019.

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.