Shower heads: a buyer’s guide
Finding the perfect mix of power, spray coverage and temperature control can give you a serious case of Goldilocks syndrome when browsing the huge selection of shower heads out there.
Many of the features of your shower, including temperature control, are contained within the shower valve, but the shower head is responsible for controlling the spray and flow of water. If you’re unhappy with your current shower head, it’s relatively easy to retro-fit a new one to your existing shower system if you check compatibility before you buy, meaning you don’t need to install a whole new system to freshen up your showering experience.
Whether you’re changing just the head, or replacing the entire fixture, here’s what to look for when shopping for shower heads…
Fixed or handheld?
Image: Frontline Bathrooms
A fixed shower head may come directly out of the wall or ceiling, or may be connected to a shower riser rail. Though it may have an adjustable head, you won’t be able to remove it to use it as a handheld shower. Fixed shower heads have become more popular with the rising trend in rainfall showers.
A handheld shower with a hose is a useful option, especially when you have to shower children or pets. This can be affixed in a shower holder also and act like a standard fixed shower when the need arises.
The choice between a fixed shower head and one that can be handheld may come down to personal preference, but there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate both styles into one shower space to make it more versatile, like this sleek shower column from Frontline Bathrooms.
Jet spray or rainfall?
A rainfall shower will have a lot of jets, spread out across a larger shower head. They are designed, as the name suggests, to recreate a more natural style of showering – wide and even, as if you’re under a rain cloud! Rainfall heads are a fixed head style, but some retailers also offer rainfall-style body jets for more targeted showering of the body.
Jet shower heads can be fixed or on a hose, but they are generally a better option for those who like some power in their shower, as the spray is more focussed on a smaller target area.
Want the best of both worlds from one model? Hansgrohe’s Rainfinity has an adjustable head with jets ranging from PowderRain to RainStream spray modes.
We already know that showering is a more environmentally friendly option than running a bath as it uses less water. However, did you know that you can make an even more eco-choice by specifying a water-saving shower head? The feature you want to pay attention to is the amount of litres a shower uses per minute. The lower the number, the more efficient the shower.
Look for models that cleverly deliver water jets, often by mixing water with air to reduce the number of litres needed for a luxurious spray coverage. Methven’s Aio range features Aurajet technology which delivers an enveloping shower spray, while only using 9 litres of water per minute.
Showers with smart controls are a growing trend in the bathroom, helping to create your dream shower situation before having to set foot under the jets. While many are tied in with temperature controls, Grohe’s Rainshower 310 SmartConnect can be used to control the shower head and specify either a rainfall or jet spray using a bluetooth connected remote.