High-pressure shower heads can provide anything from a quick, cooling rinse to a luxurious, multi-jet massage. Find out what to look for and how to choose the best high-pressure shower heads.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best High Pressure Shower Heads

High-pressure shower heads are a great addition to any bathroom, but before deciding on which model is best for your needs, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Type

There are two types of high pressure shower heads: handheld and mounted. A handheld shower head is held under the water while directing the spray toward the body.

Mounted shower heads include a bracket that attaches to the wall, a flexible hose that snakes around the bracket, and a nozzle that directs the spray. The flexibility of the hose allows it to adapt to the contours of the shower wall, so its less likely to leak.

While both of these options deliver high pressure showers, they use different types of nozzles.

  • A fixed nozzle is a standard on most high pressure shower heads. It has a relatively low output stream compared to a rain or full-body shower head, but the spray is consistent from cycle to cycle.
  • Rain nozzles have a higher output than fixed nozzles but vary in distribution, depending on the pattern selected. Rain patterns have a larger area of coverage than a fixed nozzle, though users may find the cycling time for each pattern is different. Rain nozzles are ideal if you want a little more oomph from your shower.
  • Full-body nozzles can target specific areas of the body, like the feet or the upper torso, but they cover a larger area than rain or handheld nozzles. Theyre suitable for those who want a more complete shower experience rather than just a rinse or a blast.

Spray Settings

Rain and full-body shower heads often come with a variety of spray settings, including:

  • A massage function cycles through the spray patterns to create different massaging motions, such as a quick pulse or a slow oscillation.
  • A rinse function holds the water flow constant and only changes the spray pattern.
  • A power sprayer has a strong pulse and an oscillating feature similar to a massage function.
  • A dual-function sprayer offers both a power and a rinse setting.

Fixed nozzles do not usually come with multiple spray settings, since they typically have only a power sprayer.

Water Temperature

The temperature of the water flowing from your shower head affects your bathing experience. Chilled water feels cooler when you run it through a hot-water heater, whereas warmer water feels tepid. The current trend is toward hotter showers, so if you prefer to bathe in cool water, you may want to consider a shower head with a lower water temperature.

Most high-pressure shower heads have a maximum water temperature of about 572 degrees. If you live in a state where water is treated to reduce contaminants, such as chlorine, you can use a higher-temperature shower head.

Flow Rate

The amount of water that flows from your shower head is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The current trend is toward higher GPMs, up to a maximum of 2 GPM for fixed nozzles and up to 3 GPM for rain nozzles.

Handheld shower heads tend to have lower GPMs, between 1.0 and 1.5 GPM. Mounted shower heads can have higher GPMs, up to 2.5 GPM. Rain nozzles will have a slightly higher average GPM than fixed nozzles, and full-body nozzles will have the highest GPM.

Pressure

The pressure of the shower water is measured in pounds per square inch (psi), and the current trend is toward higher psi. Most high-pressure shower heads have a minimum psi of 200, but the actual psi can be higher. The reason? Water pressure is measured at the nozzle, but manufacturers sometimes boost it by adding pressure back into the system. This is called return pressure.

Return pressure is important because water pressure decreases as the distance from the shower head increases. So while the advertised psi might be 300 at the shower head, the actual psi could be closer to 250 at the feet.

Nozzle Diameter

The diameter of the nozzle determines the width of the spray. Nozzles range in size from 1/2 inch to 4 inches. Rain nozzles will have the smallest nozzles and fixed nozzles will have the largest.

Since rain nozzles spread water farther than fixed nozzles, they also have a larger surface area and, therefore, produce more concentrated moisture. This means you need to use them less often, reducing overall water usage.

Cycling Time

The cycling time of a shower head refers to how long it takes to go through all the available spray patterns. This time period is measured in minutes and varies among products. Rain nozzles will cycle the fastest, followed by fixed and then handheld.

If you want a product with many pattern options, a shower head with a longer cycling time is better. However, if you want a specific pattern, such as a rinse or a power spray, a shorter cycling time might be more desirable.

Leak-Free Design

A leak-free design is essential for a high-pressure shower head. Leaks can waste water and cost you money replacing. To prevent leaks, every connection point between the shower head and the drain must have a seal. Rain nozzles tend to have the strongest seals, followed by fixed and then handheld.

To help prevent leaks, rain nozzles often have a rubber gasket around the outside to seal the connection between the shower head and the drain. Another leak-preventive measure found in some high-pressure shower heads is a pop-up drain valve that automatically seals when the shower head is turned off.