Shower heads are meant to make your bathing experience refreshing and rejuvenating, and of course, appeasing to your senses. However, "showering glory" is marred by leaky shower heads, clogged ones throwing uneven water jets at inconsistent pressure, or malfunctioning six-months-old pieces. If this is the condition of your shower head, it is time to replace it.
In the cluttered shower-heads' market, which factors and features distinguish the average, the good, the better, and the best? We ask for your ten minutes to find out from this article. We assure you it will be time well-invested.
What are the main types of shower heads?
You can check out these types on the internet or in physical stores.
This is the most common shower head that is usually threaded or screw-fitted with the water outlet. They could also be recessed into the wall. Either way, they are fixed wall-mounted pieces. In this design, you can rotate its pivoted neck to change the angle of the water stream up or down, or sideways. This feature makes the fixed shower head user-friendly for tall or short people.
Choose this shower head for its efficient affordability - they offer value for money. Contemporary designs offer a wide range of shower head shapes and streams, so you will not miss out on variety while opting for affordability. If you have naughty brats at home, you will also benefit from the fixed shower head being out of their reach. This helps to avoid wastage of water, and also possible water-related incidents.
The "showering glory" is in your hands, literally, with the hand-held shower head. It is fixed to one end of a long, flexible hose, whose other hand is fitted to the faucet. In many designs, the shower head also rests in a cradle, so you can use it as a fixed shower head, or detach it from the cradle and use it as a hand-held piece.
Apart from this dual-use feature, there are other benefits of hand-held shower heads:
Control over water-flow. You can direct the jets wherever you want on your body - on your stiff back as a warm water massage, or your fatigued face for a deeply calming effect.
Good for low-pressure water-flow. When the jets are weak, you can bring the shower head closer to your body for a strong and more guided water-flow.
Better hair-wash. By bringing the shower head very close to your hair and moving it all around, you can wash the shampoo more thoroughly, easily and quickly, and with a lesser amount of water.
Shower your pets
Clean the bathtub
You will also come across dual or integrated fixed and hand-held shower heads. They look like one shower head but have a concealed or inlaid wand and shower head which you can pull out or slide, and it becomes a hand-held shower head.
Hand-held shower heads are good for persons who:
- Love the close feel of the water jet
- Want a multi-purpose shower head
- Are water-conscious
If you choose a hand-held shower head, don't let the hose be too long, or it will come in the way and might even make you fall. About 60"to 72" is ideal hose length.
This is the advanced variant of the hand-held shower heads. It consists of a wall-mounted panel or tubular structure with clamps of hooks to hold the hand-held shower head. Many design options are available to suit your individual preferences and type and style of your bathroom.
The main advantage of slide-bars is the height adjustment of the shower head. Hence, it will be ideal for you if you are a family of multiple-aged members with varying heights.
These shower heads offer therapeutic benefits combined with personalized, luxury bathing experiences. They could be wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or hand-held, with each type offering many design innovations. However, their basic principle remains unchanged:
Water entering from the faucet into the shower head creates a small reservoir before it comes out of the head. This builds pressure in the reservoir, which throws out water with force. The small openings of the shower jet compound the force of water. It can be regulated or calibrated with multiple controls.
The different types of massage shower heads are:
Aeration massage. This shower head mixes air with water. Because of this, an illusion of a high-flow stream is created even though it is actually low-flow. Since part of the stream is air, aeration shower heads use lesser water and have been categorized as eco-friendly, andtermed as water-saving or low-flow massage shower heads.
Pulse massage: This shower head releases a gently pulsating stream that tingles the skin and offers stress relief and soothes tired muscles.
Rain massage. A square-shaped overhead shower head, it releases a gentle, intermittent flow that feels like raindrops.
The main advantages of massage shower heads are:
- Calms the nervous system, improves blood circulation, and relieves stress
- Luxury, misty spray
- Acupressure benefits
Are you a hard-working, time-pressed individual who needs a massage but don't have the time for it? Also, do you want personalized and focused massage hydrotherapy? Then choose the massage shower head.
This is a unit of multiple shower heads installed in the walls of the bathroom. It is a high-end, composite system that offers shower heads at different levels and of different sprays. These heads can target different body muscles and rejuvenate them with hydrotherapeutic benefits. Body sprayers require planned professional installation.
Are you buying a new home or remodeling your existing bathroom, and have a dedicated budget for the luxury of body-sprayers? Then go ahead and indulge.
What Do You Need to Keep In Mind Before Choosing a Shower Head?
Although the purchase of a shower head is highly personalized, there are some common points you should consider before you zero in on your choice.
Today, 785 million people don't have access to clean water and 2 billion lack basic sanitation facilities. Against this water crisis, shower head manufacturers have developed efficient solutions that save water without compromising on the shower quality.
From a consumer standpoint, the simplest and the best way to developing responsible showering habits is to purchase a shower head with a Watersense" label. It is a holistic water conservation initiative by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Shower heads with this label ensure water usage of 2 gallons per minute (GPM), against the household average of 2.5 GPM. If every US home switched to such shower heads, the annual monetary value of water saved will be $2.6 billion.
You could save energy by replacing your old shower head with a new WaterSense certified product. Apart from significant individual energy saving - almost half,this simple measure will save $2.2 billion annually in the national energy bill.
Alternatively, you can also install a thermostatic device behind the shower head. It first flushes out the cold water from the shower head and then stops the water flow until it is 95^0^F hot. Hence, when the water flow stops, you know hot water is available in the shower head. Only then do you turn on the shower head valve, saving much energy and water too.
The low-flow aeration shower heads are a major advance in water and energy conservation. We recommend you place them at the top of your wish-list.
- Water Pressure Enhancement
As mentioned earlier, a concern with aeration shower heads is weak streams due to relatively low water pressure. The above mentioned thermostatic valve also addresses this concern by aligning the water-flow with water pressure. It calibrates both, which results an optimized flow relative to pressure.
The combination of low-flow shower heads and a thermostatic valve behind them is the best solution for water pressure enhancement, particularly if you live in a low water pressure area. Look for a shower head with these features if you live in such an area.
There are two primary issues that water filtration can address:
The chlorine content in your tap water is something that you cannot control. While it cleans water, excess chlorine is harmful to hair and skin. A study surprisingly reveals that our skin absorbs more chlorine during a shower than we do by drinking two quarts of tap water.
Check if the shower head you are considering has a chlorine filter at the back.
It is caused by excess calcium and magnesium ions in water. Hard water dries your hair and skin and ages it faster. It also clogs the shower head outlets very fast, requiring frequent cleaning and maintenance, or replacement.
The best way out is reverse osmosis (RO) filter attached to your shower head or the faucet. This is an external attachment and will add to your budget, but it is worth its cost.
Caution: Shower heads cannot incorporate RO systems in their structure for technical reasons. Beware of false claims made by some manufacturers in this regard.
The shower head market offers an array of choices. Rather than getting confused by the excess of information, read this filtered information and make the right choice.