Showerheads Buying Guide
If you're in the market for a new shower head, you've got plenty of options to choose from. It helps to set a budget before you go shopping, as does doing your homework. We'll provide help on that front with this comprehensive buying guide designed to help you choose the perfect shower head for your newly updated bathroom.
Types of Showerheads
You can choose either a fixed or handheld showerhead. But you can also put together an entire shower system with several showerheads, and the permutations of designs, materials, and finishes multiply rapidly. So think carefully about what type of showerhead will work well and look good in your dream bathroom.
Mounted permanently to the shower's wall or ceiling, a fixed showerhead is the most common installation. This type is adjustable, so users short and tall can move the spray to an appropriate height. Many different designs -- from compact and square to sunflower-size circles called rain-style showerheads -- are available. Slide-bar models allow the showerhead to move up and down. And if you want the look of a spa without the cost of changing the plumbing, you can buy a shower tower with showerheads at different heights that rinse shampoo at head level or shaving cream at leg level.
Handheld units connect to the water supply via a flexible hose and work well for bathers with limited mobility as well as cleaning kids, pets, and the shower enclosure itself.
In upscale bathrooms, the trend is toward shower systems with multiple showerheads, body sprays, and controls. These systems often have an independent volume control for each water outlet. When only one control is included, it generally has a thermostatic valve to easily control water temperature.
Showerheads can make your shower a more pleasant experience. And they can also play a role in saving on water, energy, and your utility bills. Take the following tips under consideration to make the wisest purchase for you -- and the environment.
Many showerheads can be adjusted for different spray patterns, including pulsed sprays, forceful jets mixed with gentler streams, soft mists, and concentrated sprays that mimic the feel of a massage.
Hands are wet in the shower, so a handheld shower is easier to control if it has a rubber grip. And a fixed showerhead with an extender attached to the regular arm makes it easy to reposition.
Showerheads deliver a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute at a standardized pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. If your home's water pressure isn't this high, choose a showerhead designed for use with low water pressure. This type of showerhead lets you adjust for a stronger flow even when the water pressure is lower than normal.
Low-flow showerheads use less water than the above-mentioned government-mandated figure, thus conserving water and providing savings on your utility bills.
Diverters let you use both fixed and handheld showerheads in the same shower, and cut-off valves allow you to stop water flow while lathering up and turn it on again for rinsing -- which can provide substantial water savings.
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