The pros and cons of rain showerheads

Rain showerhead running with water.
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How do you turn an ordinary shower into a luxurious experience? Some people would argue it all comes down to the nozzle. With a wider-diameter face distributing water, a rain showerhead can make you feel like you’re showering in a waterfall without leaving your house.

The best rain showerheads distribute water so that it feels like it’s raining down on the body. How you install it will affect how the rain feels. Some heads mount to the ceiling and others are wall-mounted. Before purchasing one be sure to look at the instructions. You’ll have to take your water flow rate, pressure levels, number of settings and cleaning instructions into account. Most install in just a few minutes without the need for tools, however more complicated rain showerheads might require the hands of a skilled plumber.

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If you already have great water pressure, start with a large showerhead, such as an 8-inch to 10-inch version. Look for the flow rate that will tell you how many gallons per minute it will distribute.

If you’re a bells and whistles person, look for showerheads with custom settings available to adjust depending on your mood. Those may include rain, aeration and high-pressure waterfall settings. The higher the number of jets on the showerhead, the more realistic the rainfall experience.

If you’re trying to mimic a true waterfall vibe, go for one that hangs from the ceiling. If you want to reach every nook and cranny on your body with water, find one that offers a handheld accessory.

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While rain showerheads look high-end, they can be challenging for those with long hair because they have lower water pressure than standard nozzles.  If you have a typical half-inch pipe feeding your shower, you might want to upgrade to get more pressure with your new showerhead.

If you don’t have good water pressure to start, and don’t want to change your pipes, choose a smaller rain showerhead. A 6-inch head will force the water out at a higher rate. Most types will fit a standard U.S. plumbing connection, but it’s worth checking your showerhead connector specs before purchasing.

You can always add a handheld showerhead, but keep in mind this may require piping and an additional faucet. There are functional options for a basic solution. Tub spouts and pipe fitting include a diverter and threads where a handheld showerhead can be attached without previous experience.

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Plastic showerheads may be less expensive, but they may not last as long as metal versions. Plastic can crack and leak faster.

All showerheads require regular cleaning to prevent lime and soap scum buildup. To clean them, start by pouring a 50/50 mixture of hot water and vinegar into a bowl large enough to contain your showerhead. Remove your showerhead and place it nozzle side up down into the solution, letting it sit for up to a day. After this, remove the nozzle and reinstall it. Once reinstalled, run it with hot water for a few minutes.

If you’re in the market for this luxury home hardware, check out our selection of the best rain showerheads that’s been vetted by a team of experts. Who wouldn’t want to shower every day with a cascade of warm water raining down on them?

About the Author

Emily O'Brien

Emily is a freelance writer who loves connecting the dots among facts and finding obscure little details to weave in throughout her work. Whether she's interviewing Olympic athletes, small business owners, dessert cookbook writers, or world-renowned architects, she's passionate about shining the spotlight on good people doing remarkable work. More.

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