Sep. 7 2021

Shower Heads 101 - Breakdown of Both Size and Function

by Bennett Bottorff

Are you looking for ways to improve your shower experience by upgrading the shower head? There are a lot of attractive options out there. We've taken a look at three of the most popular shower head upgrades on the market, looked at their pros and cons, and compiled this brief guide to help you make the best choice.

Here, you'll learn about the different types of shower heads. Most of the products discussed here can be installed easily and can dramatically change the quality of your shower as long as you pick the one that suits you best.

Before we get started, let’s start with the basics, 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. 

 Rainshower Head

Rainshower Head

Rainshower heads are mounted either from the wall or ceiling. Wall-mounted models made a big splash in the early 2000s and have continued to be a popular showerhead choice. These are large shower heads with a face resembling a medium-sized dinner plate. With many nozzles, they deliver a wide spray arc for a “rain-shower” like experience. 

Depending on the proportions of your shower or bath and your ceiling height, your options will vary. Overhead mounting is generally preferable for the true rainshower experience. If an overhead mount is not available due to a low ceiling, you can still get the rainshower experience as long as you are not too tall to stand comfortably under a wall-mounted shower head.

Single-function and multi-function rain shower heads are available. Single-function models may be best with an overhead mount if the fixture is water pressure,,, beyond your reach. A multi-function rain shower head will usually include both a top rain shower head element along with a hand-held faucet. That way, you get the best of both worlds! However, do keep in mind that the water pressure will diminish a bit with a larger shower head and multiple nozzles.  If water pressure is something you need for a good shower experience, be sure to discuss this with your remodeler about options for pressurizing your water system.  If your dream is to have a multiple shower head/nozzle shower, make sure to run multiple water lines to the bathroom so that each can function properly. 

Pro Tip. If your dream is to have a multiple shower head/nozzle shower, make sure to run multiple water lines to the bathroom so that each can function properly. 

When it comes to maintenance and ease of cleaning, the general rule is that you get what you pay for. The more metal components the shower head is made with, usually the better it will perform in the long run. This will hold true with other types of heads discussed below. Interestingly, the rainshower type is usually the easiest to clean and maintain since the design is relatively simple and is almost always made from high-quality stainless steel.

The Rainshower head is marketed as one of the most relaxing types of showers. It’s critical to note that as relaxing as it might be some people try the rain shower head out and really don’t like it. With all the water coming down around you, it can be hard to angle your head for hair washing. Our advice is to try it out first at a local hotel or when you’re on a trip and see what you think for yourself.



A handheld shower head offers the best all-around performance and is easily the most popular type of shower head. Even a low-pressure stream is improved by the ability to hold it in your hand and use it how you like.

This type of shower head is most often sold in a bundle with the hose and the holder mount and it often comes with a massage function. You will be able to mount it where you like. You may use it to replace your fixed shower head or use it in combination with other heads. Keep in mind that if you do choose to combine two or more shower heads, your water pressure will be reduced when using both simultaneously. Again, you can talk to your remodeler about how to further pressurize your water flow.

This type of shower head makes it easy to wash those hard-to-reach spots. It's also a great choice if you're going to be bathing pets or small children since you can easily avoid getting water in their eyes. It's also very handy if you need to fill a bucket, or if your toilet is acting up and needs a pressure boost. And if you are needing to age in place or have an elderly family member this is perfect if they ever need to sit while showering due to old age or an injury.

With all these options and capabilities, it's easy to see why the handheld models are the most popular alternative to the wall-mounted, standard shower head. 

Mounted Waterfall Showers

Mounted Waterfall Showers

Mounted waterfall shower heads are another showerhead option that is often not explored. These shower heads can either be set up as the main and only shower head but more likely they are a full-body shower addition to a regular shower head nozzle. 

If this is the main and only shower head, you should note that the water flow has a gentle water pressure and can either create one full stream of water coming down or have multiple jets in a waterfall type nozzle (similar to the rain shower head but often situated much closer to the shower wall).

For a full-body gentle massage-like shower experience not limited to your head, mounted waterfall shower heads can be inserted with multiple jet streams of water at different points on your shower’s wall. This full water shower wraps around your body and gives its user one of the fullest immersion experiences one can have in a shower. This kind of full-body mounted waterfall showers are incredibly impressive and create a very unique shower experience, but not everyone enjoys them. So, we do recommend considering this option carefully and encourage you to try it out before selecting this choice.

Double Shower Heads Double Shower Heads (For Couples)

This type of shower is usually found in luxury bathrooms and the layout includes exactly what it sounds like two shower heads in one shower. In order to have two showerheads, however, you will want to ensure that you have the space for this kind of shower to make sense in your bathroom setup. Each shower head can be either wall-mounted or mounted from the ceiling for a downpour-like experience.  With either setup, you will want to make sure each is plumbed with its own temperature control so that each person can dial in their preferred water temperature.

People considering this option are usually wanting to shower simultaneously with their partner or simply love having the luxury of a shower with multiple stream options and even showerhead nozzles at their disposal.

Steam Showers

The steam shower is like having a type of sauna in your own home. With specific tiling, insulated watertight doors, a special steam gasket, and more, this particular shower is a work of art that provides an incredible spa adventure each time you use it and all in the comfort of your own home. The double use of a shower with steam means you will wish to install a seating area, a timer, and possibly a sound system for a full relaxing sauna-like experience. If you really wish to deck out your steam shower be sure to ask your contractor about installing multiple steam heads so you can be sure to be encased in steam every time you step into that shower. And note that this shower setup can surprisingly be environmentally friendly and as you may know have incredible health benefits.

Next Steps

From water pressure to shower head size and type, there are a significant amount of details to figure out to give you the exact shower experience and, ultimately, the bathroom remodel you are looking for. At Innovative Home Renovations, we’ve created the IHR Renovation Roadmap, a step-by-step, repeatable remodeling process to ensure you feel confident in every aspect of your bathroom remodeling project including choosing the right shower head configuration. Reach out and give us a call today to learn more about our unique remodeling process that leaves all our clients wondering why they ever considered working with anyone else.


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