Different types of shower heads: what to know before you buy

Here you’ll learn what the different types of shower heads are, their pros and cons and hopefully be able to gauge which shower head is best for you.

*Heads Up* You’ll be getting real insight into the difference, especially what manufacturer’s and other distributors don’t want you to know. Let’s Go!


A Fixed Shower Head, aka Wallmount Shower Head, is what most people have in their home. It’s no-frills and is typically smaller in size, with diameters from 5 inches or less. For those of you who just want a Shower Head that doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, and just gives you solid pressure, this is the way to go.

If you want to get a little bit fancier, you can look for a Multi-Function Fixed Shower Head. The Multi-Function option allows you to change the spray patterns, usually ranging from a very concentrated Massage setting to a more gentle Wide Spray setting.


While Rain Shower Heads are essentially Fixed Shower Heads, they are much larger in size. Ranging from 6 inches and up, you can really increase the coverage in your shower. Coverage refers to how much water hits your skin, leaving you with a warmer feeling in the shower.


Rain Shower Heads can be mounted from the Wall or from the Ceiling. For Wall Mounts, you can easily install this in minutes like most all Shower Heads.

That said, if you are going to have the full effect of the Ceiling Mount Rainfall Shower Head, you’ll need to consult with a Plumber and/or Contractor to run the pipes through your Ceiling in the Shower. (That is, if you haven’t already had the work done.)

Don’t worry though, if you really want that Rainfall Shower Head experience coming from your Ceiling but don’t have the time or money to have the plumbing done – there is still a solid compromise.

That of course, is by using an Overhead Shower Arm. These Shower Arms extend between 12 and 16 Inches from your wall and sometimes even raise the height of the actual Shower Head. That makes it possible for you to stand underneath the Rainfall Shower as if it were coming from the Ceiling.

Pretty much every Shower Head has the same connection in the United States, 1/2″ IPS. This is the standard! As long as you have the Shower Arm plumbing coming from your Ceiling or your Wall, you can choose whichever Shower Head you want and mount your Shower Head wherever you want.


One thing to keep in mind is whether you should go with a Single Function or Multi Function. Very easily put, if you are going to mount your Rainshower from your Ceiling, go for a Single Function. That’s because it will likely be hard to change the settings if your Shower Head is mounted 3-4 feet above your head.

If, on the other hand, you are mounting your Rain Shower Head from your wall or have a fairly low ceiling, the choice is yours. Do you just want one full flow, or prefer to adjust to a more concentrated spray? At The Shower Head Store, we’re all about the Single Function Spray, focusing in on the one spray that’s actually giving you the most satisfaction – the Rainfall Spray!


With new water flow regulations, manufacturers restrict the output of water to a maximum of 2.5 Gallons Per Minute (GPM), going as low as 1.5 GPM for some real Eco Performance Shower Heads.

That means whether you choose an 8 Inch Rain Shower Head or a 12 Inch Rain Shower Head, you’ll get the same amount of water output. Not saying that larger Rain Showers aren’t great, but it’s something you need to keep in mind if you are more into sharp pressure. The Rainfall is all about relaxing under large water droplets, not getting blasted by a concentrated spray.

You can always consult with a plumber or contractor to see if your house pressure can be adjusted. These flow rates are typically based off 60 PSI, meaning if your pressure is less in your house, you aren’t even getting the full flow rate which is already being restricted.


No doubt, Hand Held Shower Heads are the most popular Shower Head type on the market. Whether you are building out a new shower or just need to replace your existing Shower Head, this is such a versatile option.

Hand Held Shower Heads are usually sold in packages which include a detachable hose and holder to mount the showerhead. You get all of the freedom to leave the Shower Head in place like a Fixed Shower Head or take it off the wall to rinse soap off your body, clean the shower walls, fill up a bucket outside the shower or whatever purposes you may find.

These Shower Heads with detachable hoses are also great for bathing kids and for those who are recovering from an injury or are elderly and need to sit on a Shower Bench. Simply pull the Shower Head off the wall and control where the water goes.


While most Hand Held Shower Heads are sold in sets with all the needed pieces, there are still many options to just buy the Shower Head, which may not include the hose and holder. Just double check with the manufacturer or distributor. At The Shower Head Store, we tell you exactly what you are getting on each product page and at the time of writing the vast majority include all three components.


Most Handheld Showerheads come with a 60 inch (5 Feet) long hose. However, there are times where the length of the hose is too short, not flexible enough or you need a different color.

Again, like most things relating to Shower Heads, you can easily upgrade this part with most all Shower Hoses on the market in just a matter of minutes. The connection size, again, is 1/2″ IPS if you are buying your Shower Heads and Accessories in the USA.

Hands down, the most important feature to look for is the material. I strongly recommend a Metal hose as it provides the flexibility and durability that you’d hope for in a Hand Held Shower head. As for the length of the hose, that’s up to you and anything over 72 Inches would be considered an upgrade from the standard.


What happens when a Hand Held Shower Head meets a Fixed Shower Head? A Combination Shower Head. In fact, companies are getting so creative these days that there are even Fixed Shower Heads paired with Rain Shower Heads too!

For those truly looking for a great way to upgrade their shower experience on their own, this is the way to go. Good news too, these Combination kits typically come with all the components to install. You’ll get the Fixed/Rain Shower Head, Hand Held Shower Head, Hose and Diverter Mount.


Similar to very large Rain Shower Heads, these 2-In-1 Shower Heads lose pressure the larger they are. Something many people ask us at The Shower Head Store is, “Can I run both Shower Heads at the same time?” Well, sometimes…You’ll have to check the specs to make sure, if that’s a feature you want.

Now, to the drawback. As of 2017, the highest flow rate you’ll find on the market is 2.5 GPM. That means if you run both the Fixed and Hand Held Shower Head at the same time you will get 1.25 GPM flow out of each Shower Head. That’s because the Flow Restrictor is in the Diverter Holder, not on the individual Shower Heads. Nevertheless, they are still super fun and will give you the full 2.5 GPM flow when you are running one Shower Head at a time.



Sick of dry skin or frizzy hair? You need to consider a Filtered Shower Head. These Shower Heads greatly reduce the amount of Chlorine, Scale and Hard Water that comes through your Shower Head.

Depending on where you live, you may have more of a need for this than others. In places like Southern California, the water is exceptionally hard.

Not sure how your water stacks up in your area? Check out this map from the USGS.


The most recognized brands when it comes to Filtered Shower Heads are Culligan and Sprite.

If you are looking at other brands, make sure that they have the NSF Certification. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is one of the most respected independent product testing organizations to ensure that manufacturers meet strict standards imposed by NSF for the safety and health of consumers.

Another thing to consider is buying Filter Replacements. It’s recommended that you change your Shower Filter every 6 months at maximum. If your water is worse or you have a larger household using the Shower Head, you’ll want to change it more frequently. Companies like Crystal Quest have been around for a while, making it easier and more likely for you to find Filter Replacements in the future when you need them.


While there are a variety of Shower Heads that have a Filter built-in, you may want to keep your existing Shower Head or upgrade to a different one. That’s no problem. You’ll just need to look for an Inline Filter like this model by Crystal Quest.

You simply attach this Filter onto your Shower Arm and then you can attach whichever shower head you’d like onto the threading at the end of it. Very easy!