While it’s important to understand the pros and cons when buying a rain shower head, you should also be aware of the common regrets homeowners have after using one for some time.
Here’s a list of what existing users wish they had known before buying a rain shower head:
1. A constant stream of water on your head becomes unpleasant
The biggest selling point of this showerhead type is also one of the biggest drawbacks. As the water comes down like a rain shower, much of the stream is concentrated to the top of your head. Many folks have to consciously move their head aside to get air as it tends to be harder to breathe while showering.
The problem becomes more pronounced with smaller diameter shower heads.
2. Only large diameters can cover the entire body but sacrifice pressure
To offset the constant stream of water on one’s head, users will often buy a larger diameter shower head that covers their entire body.
Unfortunately, this creates another problem: weak water pressure.
The increase in the surface area of the shower head reduces overall water pressure. Even at the federal limit of 2.5 gallons per minute, the shower experience can be dissatisfying. As we explored, there is very little you can do to increase the water pressure of a rain shower head.
In short, you have to decide whether you want full coverage from a large shower head at the cost of weaker water pressure or a smaller shower head with stronger water pressure but less coverage.
3. Not suitable in all states due to GPM restrictions
To make matters worse, states like California have a mandatory limit on the flow rate for showerheads. They cap the flow rate for all units sold in the state to 1.8 GPM.
With such a restricted rate of water flow, rain shower heads are virtually impractical. As a result, many folks believe that rain shower heads are completely banned in the State of California! However, as we discussed in this post, this is not the case, and rain shower heads are still relatively common in the Golden State – but they just have such a low flow that they are virtually unusable.
4. Requires a larger walk-in stall to reduce water damage
Some folks try to force a rain shower head into a shower stall that is simply too small. Unfortunately, what many prospective buyers don’t realize is that the splash radius of the rain shower head is much larger due to the increased surface area of the unit.
With regular use, water may pool up in the grout, cracks, and other areas, resulting in eventual water damage and costly repairs to the bathroom.
5. Rent an apartment? You likely aren’t allowed to install a rain shower head.
Adventurous renters may try to make upgrades to their bathrooms, especially if they have lived in the same place for a long time. While some fixtures, like shower filters, should be safe to install without violating the lease agreement, rain shower heads will either need to have new piping installed off the main water line to the ceiling or require that the shower arm be replaced entirely.
Both installing a new line and/or replacing the shower arm will require shutting off the water main and changing the existing plumbing. Of course, all of this will likely violate your lease agreement.
6. Costly installation for a ceiling mount
Running a new water line to an outlet on the ceiling isn’t a trivial task, nor is it cheap. Homeowners will likely need to hire a plumber who is experienced with ceiling mount installations.
Given the level of work required, it should only be done during the initial construction of the home or during bathroom remodels, as access to the main line is required. Otherwise, the plumber will need to remove tile, drywall, etc., to access the main line.
And what if you end up not liking it? You’ll have to pay to have the plumber come back and remove the new line and shower arm.
7. Aside from installation, the fixture is quite expensive
While the cost of installation can quickly add up, rain shower heads are pricier than their standard counterparts. They require more material, labor, and fittings than a regular shower head – all of which are factored into the cost. Price often averages around $75 to over $300 for a new unit.
8. Children and pets will be scared
While these shower heads mimic the natural sensation of rainfall, they still can be quite startling to pets and children. This limits the use of the shower to adults only.
The only exception to this is if you decide to purchase a rain shower head that comes with a separate handheld unit; we review a few of these here. These models have a diverter valve that allows you to switch between the overhead and handheld units, giving family members greater control and flexibility when showering.
9. Trying to keep your hair dry while bathing is nearly impossible
Whether you just had a blowout or simply want to keep your hair dry, it is virtually impossible to try and clean yourself without your hair getting wet. Attempting to prevent the water from coming in direct contact with your hair will require you to uncomfortably bend out of the way while washing the rest of your body.
10. Constant water hitting your head leads to hair loss (speculation)
One interesting complaint from some buyers is that they believe that rain shower heads could lead to hair loss, especially when the hair tends to be thin or brittle. The thought is that the downward force of the water at higher pressure may break or damage the hair follicles.
While this isn’t scientifically proven, of course, it still is a valid concern for some folks.
11. It’s harder to clean your body
Rather than having water come down at an angle, like a traditional shower head, the downward direction from a rain shower head makes it quite difficult to clean the lower half of your body. Some body contortions are necessary to rinse the groin, stomach, and legs.
12. Require regular cleaning to prevent harmful bacteria growth
Keeping the unit clean and free of bacteria like legionella and other microbes, limescale, and water spots is important and rather difficult.
To adequately clean the shower head, you’ll have to remove it from the mount and soak it in a solution of vinegar and water. This is a tedious process that requires a lot of time and effort.
Not doing this regularly will lead to potential health problems and poor performance of the unit.
13. Increase in water bills
While rain showers don’t necessarily use more water due to federal limits, depending on the shower head unit you are replacing it with, could lead to an increase in water bills.
Not only that, but they also put more strain on the water heater, which will lead to higher energy bills.