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.
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.