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Can You Put a Rain Shower Head on a Regular Shower Arm?

Make no mistake about it; installing a rain shower head can be a costly endeavor. From ripping out tile to running a new water line, the costs can be out of reach for many.

Fortunately, all shower heads feature a universal connection, allowing you to save money and safely install a rain shower head on a regular shower arm.

However, before doing so, it’s important to think about the following:

Will there be enough clearance?

This is where many homeowners run into problems when trying to put a rain shower head on a standard shower arm. The distance between the end of the shower arm to the flange, the metal disc on the bathroom wall, may only be a few inches in length. If you try to install an oversized rain shower head that is 10″ or greater in diameter, the edges of the shower head may hit the wall, shower door, curtain, or other fixtures.

Before making a purchase, it’s important to take a few measurements. One way to do this is to cut out a piece of cardboard and place it over your existing shower head to see just how much space a rain shower head may take up.

What about the space between your head and the shower head?

In general, a rain shower head should be positioned between 80 and 84 inches above the floor. Be sure that you have plenty of clearance so you don’t have to duck or bend down to avoid hitting your head on the shower head.

Expected water pressure and flow rate

One of the leading complaints that folks have about rain shower heads is that they have low water pressure. The reason why is that the larger surface area of the shower head reduces overall pressure. This is further amplified if the flow rate, or gallons per minute, of the shower head 2.0 or less.

To make a rain shower head have more pressure, go with a smaller diameter, fewer nozzles, and a higher flow rate. This should provide sufficient water pressure to rinse off soap and shampoo. Another option would be to install a rain shower head with a handheld wand. This will allow you to switch between the two shower heads to get the best of both worlds.

Be mindful of spray patterns

Most rain shower heads only have one spray pattern: rainfall.

This is because the shower head is designed to be installed on a ceiling mount and mimic the feeling of natural rainfall. As such, if you like a jet setting to massage your body or a relaxing misty spray, your options are limited.

Decorative considerations

Given the large size, putting a rain shower head onto an existing shower arm will look out of place. This will be especially true if you opt for a much larger shower head than your current one. So if the decor is important to you, consider the balance of aesthetics and functionality.

Fixed vs. tilt movement

Standard shower heads have a ball joint that allows you to tilt the shower head in any direction a few degrees. This may be helpful for various uses.

Given the typical ceiling-mounted nature of rain shower heads, most companies don’t include a ball joint, as the shower head should be fixed once installed. If you want to be able to tilt the shower head, you’ll need to purchase a separate ball joint and add it between the shower arm and the shower head.

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Frank Harmenstein

From humble beginnings as a plumber and handyman, Frank Harmenstein has emerged as a leading authority on shower heads, a title he has earned through years of dedication and hard work. With over two decades of experience in the plumbing industry, Frank has developed an unrivalled expertise in the installation, maintenance, and repair of shower systems. His passion for shower heads has led him to write extensively on the subject, sharing his knowledge and insights with readers around the world.

Born and raised in a small town, Frank's interest in plumbing was sparked at an early age by his father, who was a respected plumber in their community. Inspired by his father's dedication to his craft, Frank pursued an apprenticeship in plumbing and soon discovered his niche in the world of shower heads. He quickly gained a reputation as a skilled handyman who could fix any shower-related issue and provide expert advice on selecting the perfect shower head for any bathroom.

After years of honing his skills and knowledge, Frank decided to share his passion for shower heads with a wider audience by becoming an author.