Rain Shower Head vs Regular Shower Head: How to Pick

A rainfall shower head pouring down in the shower area of the bathroom

The first time we saw a rain shower head, we thought there must have been a mistake. We were staying at a fancy hotel, and walking into the shower, it looked like someone had accidentally stuck the shower arm into the ceiling by accident, resulting in a showerhead that came down from the roof instead of the wall.

However, it didn’t take long in the shower to realize that this was clearly by design.

And what we have come to realize is that a rain shower head is a little slice of heaven, and quite simple for you to install in your own home.

If you’re in the middle of the rain shower head vs regular shower head debate, then we know right where you are.

Here’s our take on the topic:

​Rain Shower Head vs Regular Shower Head

It’s a fair debate, and one that you should consider. Some of the questions we had are probably the same that you’re having. We’ll walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of the rain shower unit and how it differs from a regular one. We’ll also give you some things to consider as you decide what to do so you can have the best option for your spa shower experience.

A rainfall shower head pouring down in the shower area of the bathroom

Source: tritonshowers.co.uk

What is a Rain Shower Head?

The rain shower head was designed to give you the feeling of showering in the rain. While that might seem a little odd (who runs outside in the rain to take a shower??), it has quite an alluring feel to it. And while no one actually showers in the rain, a rainy day does bring a lot of amazing feelings and emotions with it.

Whether a gentle spring sprinkle or a heavy summer thunderstorm, rain is one of nature’s most tranquil and peaceful happenings. Imagine being able to bottle all of that up into an experience that you could have on a daily basis.

In a nutshell, that is what a rain shower head does. It provides a rain-like showering experience, which many find to be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating.

A rain shower head is typically installed on the ceiling of your shower, although newer models can be put on the side wall where your current head probably sits.

These shower heads are typically oversized, and often square or rectangular, with typical sizes being 8" to 10" wide. Rather than a regular shower head, which produces a steady spray of water that is guided towards your upper body or midsection, a rain shower head is meant to flow water down over top of your head.

Typically these showering heads are not very high in pressure – to some degree, that defeats their primary purpose of relaxing you. However, there are a variety of shower heads in the rain classification that have adjustable pressure settings.

How Does a Rain Shower Head Differ from a Normal Shower Head?

There are several key factors that distinguish a rain shower head vs a regular shower head.

Relaxation vs Function

Most people install a rain shower head for its relaxing qualities. The feeling of water completely surrounding you, falling over top of your head and running down your body, can be incredibly relaxing and refreshing.

On the other hand, a rain style shower head is not nearly as functional as a regular head.  Normal shower heads typically come with a variety of settings to allow you to take care of your cleaning business as quickly and effectively as possible.

Even when you opt for a high quality handheld shower head, you’re still putting function over form for your showering experience. A rain shower system will bring a touch of luxury and sophistication to your bathroom that a regular head just won’t.

Angled shower head pipe in a tiled bathroom shower

Installation Process

There are a lot of factors to consider when looking at the installation process of a rain shower head.

If following the traditional method of putting the rain style shower head in the ceiling, then you will need to get water piping into the area so you can install the rain shower arm. Odds are very low that you’ll have pre-existing water pipes in the ceiling above your shower.

You can either do this work yourself, or hire a professional, but it does have some complications. A lot of people install a rain shower unit as a second shower head when they are already remodeling their bathroom, or replacing their shower area.

You can also opt for a rain head unit that installs into the wall, instead of the ceiling. These are becoming more popular and don’t require much, if any, additional work.

Water Pressure

Usually rain water heads don’t have the greatest of water pressure. So, if you prefer strong showerheads that put off a ton of pressure, then a traditional rain showerhead won’t be a great move for you.

They do make high pressure rain shower heads, which can make a great option for you in that case. You’ll have the best of both worlds – relaxation and high pressure.

How to Pick Between a Rain vs Regular Shower Head

Choosing is always tough, but here are a few factors to consider as you weigh out the options in a normal shower head vs a rain shower head:

  • If you want an elegant and luxurious touch to your bathroom, you’ll love having a rain shower head. These units bring a feeling of sophistication. Bonus – consider adding one in your guest bathroom. Your visitors will definitely be impressed!
  • If you live in an area where water is expensive, you might not prefer a raining shower head. These types of shower units don’t necessarily use more water than the regular alternatives… its that you typically spend more time showering when you have a rain head. Note: they do make water saving rain shower heads!
  • If you are the type that enjoys relaxing in the shower, odds are you’ll love the rain shower unit. It elevates what is already a relaxing experience.
  • If you are the type that prefers to take short, no frill showers, you’ll probably not see much point in a rain head.
  • If you struggle to get full water coverage in the shower from a regular shower unit, you might really enjoy the larger head that comes with a rain unit.
Dual shower head operating water in a tile shower

Source: deltafaucet.com

Consider Both Types of Shower Heads

For most people, they actually prefer having both a regular shower head and a rain shower head. There are times when you prefer the relaxation of the rain unit, and other times when you need the function of a regular showering head.

Just the same as you can have both a handheld shower head and a regular shower head, you can combine both rain and normal units. This will allow you to switch between depending on your preference or need in the moment.

Remember that you can actually have the best of both worlds, which is what many prefer. And, if you don’t want to do the dirty work of ripping apart your bathroom to install a pipe in the ceiling, you can opt for a wall mounted version.

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.

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