Choosing a Shower Fixture

No matter how nice your shower space feels, the fixture is what really makes it special. Get it right, and you'll never want to leave. But if you choose one that doesn't do all you had hoped, you might wonder why you went through your remodeling project in the first place. The first step to selecting the right shower fixture is understanding your options.

Standard wall mount

The standard wall-mounted shower head ranges from simple designs to more elaborate, feature-heavy models with adjustable angles and multiple spray modes. These fixtures often include technology to counteract hard water buildup, corrosion, and tarnishing. Some have only one setting, while others boast mist, massage, and assorted other shower effects. Prices cover a wide range, but if you're looking for affordability, this is a good place to start.

Top mount

A top-mount shower fixture either installs directly onto the ceiling or hangs down from an extension arm. As the name implies, this type of showerhead allows water to stream from above.

Sliding bar

A sliding bar showerhead moves up and down along a wall-mounted base. Its height can be adjusted depending on the preference of the user, which makes it ideal for a bathroom shared among family members.

Handheld

A handheld showerhead can be removed from its mounting and offers a good choice for bathing applications. It can be useful in situations where the user has limited mobility or for bathing children or pets. The ability to move this fixture around also makes cleaning the tub or shower easier. It is often used with a sliding bar (described above).

Shower Panel Systems

Highly customizable, shower panel systems deliver more water pressure where you want, less where you don't. They are great for turning a shower into a spa-like experience. These systems usually consist of valves, showerheads, hand showers, body sprays, water outlets, and volume controls. You can buy them prepackaged or you can customize your own, specifying the number of spigots and their placement (overhead, chest-level, knee-high, etc.), the output volume, as well as the included spray options. Note that these systems tend to increase hot water consumption, so you'll need to make sure your water heater can keep up. You'll also want to verify that your plumbing can accommodate, as some shower panel systems require pipes that are wider than the standard one-half inch.

Options

  • Aerating option

    Many showerheads mix air and water to create the feeling of enhanced water pressure, allowing less water use than a regular fixture. Although these showerheads may initially cost a little more, they will ultimately help save money on monthly utility bills.

  • Lighted option

    Some showerheads may be enhanced by LED lights to provide adjustable, mood-matching illumination.

  • Water-saving options

    Current government standards mandate that showerheads may use no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute at 80 psi pressure. Low-flow showerheads, however, use even less, and the EPA developed a program called WaterSense in 2005 that allows showerheads with no more than 2 gpm to earn that label. These showerheads help protect the environment through less water usage, and they can save you money on your utility bills accordingly. However, if your home already suffers from low water pressure, a low-flow showerhead won't be the best choice. Instead, look for a model that is specifically designed to mitigate this issue.