Best Rain Shower Head 2018: Top Rated Overhead & Ceiling Rainfall Systems

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Best Rain Shower Head 2018: Top Rated Overhead & Ceiling Rainfall Systems

In this guide, we’ll show you all our favorite rain shower options on the market right now. We’ve chosen a range, so there’s something for everybody! Read on for our in-depth reviews of rain shower heads that are perfect for low-flow situations, or for the ultimate in luxury!

If you love the relaxing, immersive sensation of a rain shower head, you’re not alone! Rain shower heads are all the rage these days. Lots of us find the natural, gentle flow soothing and therapeutic.

As happens with many hot new products, though, lots of brands are trying to get in on the rain shower trend without actually putting effort into designing and building fixtures properly. That’s why you’ll find that a lot of rain shower models clog easily, have anemic flow, and come in awkward designs which don’t fit well in the average bathroom.

Our recommendations have smart spray channel designs and aeration features to boost flow and volume. They’re stylish, reliable, and user-friendly.

So, which models make our cut?

If you love the relaxing, immersive sensation of a rain shower head, you’re not alone! Rain shower heads are all the rage these days. Lots of us find the natural, gentle flow soothing and therapeutic.

As happens with many hot new products, though, lots of brands are trying to get in on the rain shower trend without actually putting effort into designing and building fixtures properly. That’s why you’ll find that a lot of rain shower models clog easily, have anemic flow, and come in awkward designs which don’t fit well in the average bathroom.

Our recommendations have smart spray channel designs and aeration features to boost flow and volume. They’re stylish, reliable, and user-friendly.

So, which models make our cut?

Best Rain Shower Head Reviews

 

  • Delta 75152 3-7/8″ Single-Function Shower Head with H2Okinetic Technology
  • KOHLER K-10282-AK-CP Forte Single-Function Katalyst Showerhead
  • High Sierra’s All Metal High Efficiency Low Flow Showerhead
  • Speakman S-2252-E2 Signature Icon Anystream Adjustable 2.0 GPM Solid Brass Shower Head
  • Speakman S-2255-E2 Vintage Anystream Adjustable 2.0 GPM Solid Brass Shower Head
  • Speakman S-2254-BN-E2 Retro Anystream Adjustable 2.0 GPM Solid Brass Shower Head

 

1. Moen 21007SRN Vitalize 7”

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The Moen Vitalize is our most affordable choice in the rain shower category. It’s not actually the least expensive option on the market, but we think it’s the least you can spend for a really solid fixture in this style. The Vitalize might not have the finesse or ruggedness of a $200 fixture, but it gives you all the key elements of the rain shower experience for a very low price.

Pros:

It’s very inexpensive.

It gives you nice, wide coverage. The 7” diameter fits well in most average showers, without compromising on the flow pattern you expect from a rain shower model.

It’s pretty impervious to hard water. That’s a major flaw with most models at this price! The spray nozzles are flexible, and wipe free of deposits as well as the expensive models.

It has a great track record overall for longevity. We don’t know of any common problems with this model, so you can plan on it lasting as long as you need it to before you invest in something nicer. Like all Moen fixtures these days, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty.

It looks great. The Vitalize comes in both chrome and brushed nickel finishes. Since they’re both mostly plastic, you can go for whatever looks best in your bathroom without having to sacrifice build quality.

Unlike other plastic models, the finish is remarkably hardy on both models. Fingerprints don’t show up, either!

It doesn’t take much pressure to work well. The Vitalize has special flow channels built in, to amplify the flow and give your pressure a boost as it comes through the head. It’s about 3x more powerful than the average rain can head!

Overall, it feels pretty great for how inexpensive it is! It has bigger drops than typical shower heads, and a wider coverage zone that’s consistent throughout. You won’t mistake this for a $400 Hansgrohe, but you won’t feel bad about saving a little money either.

Cons:

While the Vitalize is a lot sturdier than other budget options, it’s made with a lot of plastic. This definitely won’t be your last rain shower head. It has a great track record for longevity, but we generally recommend that anybody who can afford a metal fixture buy one.

It’s also not quite as sophisticated as the more expensive options. The Vitalize does a good job of boosting flow, but it’s not quite as lush or gentle a sensation as pricier fixtures. It’s slightly stingier than the pricier models we’ve included.

It uses 2.5 GPM. That’s the standard rate for most shower heads at the moment, but it is higher than allowed in some states and municipalities. Be sure you know your local water regulations before you buy. This one’s also not ideal for anyone looking to save water.

A 7” fixture is all you can fit in most compact showers. So, this one’s great for apartment dwellers and people with a traditional tub combo. If you want something wider, though, you’ll have to spend more money.

2. Moen S6365BN Voss 6″ Eco-Performance

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The Moen Voss is our least expensive all-metal recommendation. It’s a super compact rain shower head that’s ideal for anyone who wants a rain shower experience in a tight space. We recommend it to people with smaller bathrooms who don’t want to skimp on quality or looks!

Pros:

It’s a water-saver! Most rain shower heads use the full 2.5 GPM flow rate that’s standard across the USA. This one cuts out 1/5 of that usage with a 2.0 GPM flow rate!

Since it’s smaller, it doesn’t feel like you’re losing out on anything to save water. The Voss also has some cleverly-designed spray channels, much like the Vitalize. It’s self-pressurizing, so it stays consistent without relying completely on gravity, as so many rain can heads do.

It’s sturdier than the Vitalize by a long shot. We think the Vitalize is the best by far in the inexpensive plastic range, but the Voss knocks it out of the water. It’s solid metal, apart from the flexible rubber spray nozzles.

On the whole, this is a compact rain shower head that’s built just as well as anything more expensive! It feels sturdy in hand, and it doesn’t have any parts that will wear out quickly.

*avoid the chrome model, though! It’s not nearly as hefty or classy as the brushed nickel.

It has a really unique look. The Voss isn’t quite contemporary, but it certainly has a funky aspect to the shape. At the same time, it has a classic, elegant finish. It’s easy to adapt to lots of different aesthetics!

Just like the Vitalize, the Voss is covered by a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

6” is on the smaller side of things where rain shower heads are concerned. It’s certainly the smallest fixture we recommend in this category. With that said, this model is ideally-suited to compact spaces.

It’s expensive for its size. This is a small shower head, but it’ll cost you as much as many larger (but more cheaply made) models.

The seams on this model are watertight, but they aren’t as attractive as a seamless water can model.

3. Moen S6320BN Velocity Two-Function 8”

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The Moen Velocity is our favorite midrange rain shower head by far. It simply outclasses anything else in its price range! The Velocity produces rich, smooth droplets, and it’s built like a tank. This one’s out of the range of most budget buyers, but it’s a superb investment for those who can afford it.

Pros:

Thus far, we’ve looked only at single-function rain shower heads. That’s to say that they only have one setting, without any room for tweaks or adjustments. The Velocity is more flexible than the Voss or Vitalize:

In its normal spray mode, it’s a generous 8” rain shower head. If you need a bit more oomph and focus, you can simply flip a lever to switch things to a concentrated stream. The rainfall setting uses the full 100 spray heads, while the concentrated setting narrows things down to a central 30.

Having the flexibility to choose between both spray modes means you can reap the benefits of the relaxing rain shower while still being able to get a good massage or rinse when you need it.

The 8” diameter gives you lots of coverage, without being as awkward as a 10” or 12” fixture. We think it’s the largest fixture most folks should buy. Unless you have a big walk-in shower, you won’t need any more coverage than this provides.

Like the Moen’s we’ve looked at above, the Velocity has self-pressurizing spray channels built in. So, the rain spray pattern works well on lower pressure, and the focused pattern is super powerful.

It has rubber spray tips like our other Moen picks. They’re flexible, so they come free of deposits as you wipe across the spray face. This one does super well with harder water, too. Most folks shouldn’t notice any problems with accumulation.

It comes in both brushed nickel and rubbed bronze finishes. Both are from Moen’s LifeShine series, which is a big step up from the finish on the Vitalize.

Like the Voss, the Velocity is a solid metal fixture apart from the spray tips.

This model works in any number of settings. It has the finish and grace to fit with more traditional, classic bathrooms, or you can play off the lever to get a funkier look.

It’s covered by a lifetime warranty. That applies to the finish, the fittings–everything!

Cons:

Like the Vitalize, the Velocity uses the full 2.5 GPM. That could still save you water if you’re coming from an older fixture, but it’s certainly not the most conservative fixture on the market these days.

It’s not the most expensive rain shower head by any stretch, but it’s still more costly than most standard fixtures. Be prepared to drop $250+, depending on which finish you go for. Again, avoid the chrome! It’s cheap in every way. The finish won’t last nearly as long, and the build quality is sub-par.

You’ll probably need to grab the extension arm at the checkout, unless you’ve already got an appropriate setup. The Velocity is too large to fit as close to the wall as most traditional shower heads.

4. Hansgrohe 27380821 Raindance E 240 AIR 1-Jet

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This Hansgrohe fixture is a bit of an oddity, but we love it! Most rain shower heads are either a circular or square shape. The Raindance E 240 is a rectangle! If you’ve got a walk-in shower and a modern aesthetic, this is an excellent choice. It’s sturdy, sophisticated, and very relaxing to use.

Pros:

It’s totally unique in both look and experience. The Hansgrohe is a rare rectangular shower head, which instantly stands out from other fixtures. That gives it a unique look, as well as a unique coverage area. It’s ideal for wall-mounted pipes in walk-in showers, especially if your shower area is wider than it is deep.

It’s perfect for anyone who’s looking for something to break out of the “traditional” design mold. In chrome, it’s totally contemporary. In one of the nickel finishes, it has a funky modernist look. Either way, it’s definitely modern!

It comes in brushed nickel, polished nickel, and chrome versions. You can easily match the finish of your other fixtures! They’re all as durable and fingerprint resistant as the Velocity above.

It’s built like a tank, and even the chrome version is rugged! The Hansgrohe is all brass, so you can plan on it lasting for years of daily use without issues.

The air injection system gives you big, luxurious droplets without a hint of sting. It’s hard to describe the difference between this and something cheaper like the Vitalize in an objective way, since showers are so subjective. There’s a qualitative difference in how the air boost features integrate with each droplet, though! They’re smoother, gentler, and feel more relaxing.

An unexpected standout feature is the Hansgrohe’s sound! It really does sound like a downpour in a rainforest when you’re under it. You wouldn’t think the sound of your fixture would make a big difference, but it can add a lot to the relaxation factor.

The 141 spray channels are designed to be clog-free. The tips are rubberized like the Moen models we’ve looked at above. They wipe clean (usually in one go), and they’re resistant to hard water buildups.

It’s covered by a lifetime warranty. The Hansgrohe also has a fantastic reputation for durability and reliability.

Cons:

Even by itself, it’s very expensive. This one isn’t for anyone who doesn’t own their home and plan to own it long-term.

It’s designed to be used with a Hansgrohe valve, too. So, if you don’t already use the company’s fittings, you should factor the cost of them into your budget.

It won’t look good in every setting. This is a very distinctive fixture, and we wouldn’t recommend trying to make it work in period-look homes or other more traditional settings.

Likewise, the rectangular shape would make it awkward in the average shower/bath combo. We recommend this one just for walk-in showers.

It uses 2.5 GPM. Again, that’s in compliance with national EPA standards, but it won’t save you water compared to other contemporary fixtures.

You can’t make any adjustments. The Hansgrohe has just one spray mode, and no room for tweaks or personalizations.

5. Hansgrohe 27474821 Raindance 240 Air 10” https://www.amazon.com/Hansgrohe-27474821-Raindance-10-Inch-Brushed/dp/B001A07J9O?tag=showerchamp-20

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This Raindance model isn’t any bigger than the E 240 in terms of width, but it adds some extra depth to give you a super spacious spray. We think it’s the largest fixture most people need to buy. It’s 10” in diameter, and it offers a nice compromise between the coverage of the 12” models and the lower price tags on 7” or 8” models.

Pros:

It has a very generous coverage size, at 10” in diameter. That’s enough to produce coverage for the average person’s whole body, and it does a great job filling a larger shower space.

If you want to be absolutely drenched in your rain shower, you should go for something this large. It completely drenches you! So, unlike some smaller rain shower options, it’s actually more than enough for rinsing.

The size of the fixture makes an instant visual statement. While the lines on this model are clean and simple, it’s distinctive in that it creates a visual centerpiece to your shower.

There are 180 distinct spray channels across the 10” face. They surround an air inlet, which supplies the built-in aeration feature. It sucks in air as the water rushes through, creating larger, fatter, smoother droplets. It’s the best of the bunch at this, as far as we’re concerned! The 12” model might give you a bit more coverage, but it’s not qualitatively better.

We can’t think of a single thing to complain about with the Hansgrohe’s shower sensation. The aeration feature works perfectly, and it creates real droplets, not just lots of smaller streams.

Something in the intake mechanism also gives you the feeling of a slight pulse in the flow, which helps add to the illusion of a natural downpour. And like the rectangular model, this one makes a fantastic noise!

Overall, this 10” fixture has great distribution and pressure considering it uses the same amount of water as our 7” pick! Whatever Hansgrohe has done to modify the spray channels and air intake clearly works!

As with our other picks, it wipes clean very easily. The rubberized nozzles dislodge any accumulation, and the ones on this model are designed to clean themselves as they spray! We think they’re pretty great, though it’s always a good idea to clean off fingerprints and general shower grime yourself.

It has impeccable build quality. You’d expect that at this price, but many American companies don’t quite measure up to Hansgrohe’s German construction–even at this price point.

Cons:

There’s no way you could mount this at an angle, unless you’ve got a specially reinforced pipe fitting. In any case, you’d be likely to shear the joint off if you tried to keep it at too severe an angle. This one’s much better off as an overhead fixture.

This 10” model isn’t going to do well in smaller showers. It’s purely for spacious, walk-in showers with room to take advantage of the coverage. Plus, it would look awkward in a compact space.

As with most of our other picks, it uses 2.5 GPM. Make sure your local water regulations allow for that usage!

It’s a larger fixture, but it has the same flow rate as most of our smaller recommendations. The extra spray area doesn’t translate to more water coming out of the spray face, so be aware of that! You do need a decent amount of pressure to make this one work, even though the aeration helps.

Just like with the rectangular model above, this 10” model costs over $400. It’s not something you’d want to buy if you don’t own your home.

If you’re a larger person and want complete shoulder-to-shoulder coverage, you may want to splurge for the 12” model. It’s even costlier, though.

6. Hansgrohe 27493821 Raindance 300 AIR 12” https://www.amazon.com/Hansgrohe-27493001-12-Inch-Raindance-Shower/dp/B001UM1XF8/ref=sr_1_97?s=kitchen-bath&ie=UTF8&qid=1499886204&sr=1-97&keywords=rain+shower+head&refinements=p_72%3A1248909011%2Cp_n_condition-type%3A6358196011

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This Hansgrohe fixture is our ultimate rain shower recommendation. It’s supersize and exorbitantly priced, but we think it’s the absolute best experience on the market right now. It has most of the same design elements as the 10” model above, only with some extra coverage area. If you have a large walk-in shower to outfit, this is your best bet!

Pros:

It’ll absolutely give you shoulder to shoulder coverage! The ultimate rain shower experience is to be drenched all across your body, like you’re standing under a monsoon. Thanks to its sheer size, that’s what you get from this 12” Raindance!

As with the 10” version, it has lots of spray tips and an aeration system to enlarge the droplets. It feels sublime, to put it in one word. The drops are distinct, relaxing, and they pulse periodically without losing pressure or volume.

The flow, along with the central air intake on the spray face, produces a fantastic whoosh. As with our other Hansgrohe recommendations, the sound is one of the stars of the show. It adds a lot more to the experience than you might think!

It’s fairly impervious to hard water, and cleans easily. The spray channels clean themselves close to perfectly, and anything else wipes off quickly.

It’s solid brass, like the 10” model. Shower heads don’t come better than this in terms of build quality. This is sturdy and rugged, so you can plan on your investment lasting a lifetime. In any case, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty to do so!

It looks fantastic, both in finish quality and in its sheer size. This is a real stunner. If you’re trying to finish off a large master bath, this is a very good centerpiece option that any guest would compliment!

Cons:

It’s a very expensive fixture, depending on the finish you choose. That’s absurdly expensive for most people, so only buy this if you’ve got a luxurious bathroom and flexible budget.

It’s a massive shower head by any measure. This one is only suitable for a roomy walk-in shower which demands such a large fixture.

It’s heavy as well. You need a strong, reinforced fitting to mount this on, whether you’re using a ceiling outlet or an extension from the wall. We recommend the arm and flange set that are offered as a bundle with this one. It most definitely can’t be installed at angles.

As with the 10” version, there’s no room for adjustment. This model has just one setting.

Conclusion

Which of these rain shower heads should you fit in your bathroom?

If you like the idea of a rain shower head, but can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars, we suggest the Moen Vitalize. We don’t normally recommend fixtures made mostly of plastic, but in this case, we think it’s a respectable budget choice. It’s sturdier than anything else for the price, and it gives you all the key elements of a rain shower experience.

On the downside, no plastic fixture is going to last as well or as long as something made of metal. The Vitalize is also less well designed than our other picks, so it doesn’t have as relaxing or smooth an output. It’s slightly harsher, and more like having many softer streams than a deluge of drops.

If you can afford to spend more and want something compact, the Moen Voss is a big step up from the Vitalize. It’ll cost you twice the price, but it has much better build quality and superior flow channels.

The Voss is the most water-efficient of our recommendations in the rain shower category, which makes it excellent for people with weaker water pressure (as well as any environmentally-minded folks). Plus, it will meet water regulations anywhere in the country. It has a compact format which works well in bath/shower combinations where a 10” fixture would be impractical.

The big downside of the Voss is is also one of its upsides: the size. It’s ideal for small spaces, but it simply won’t give you the kind of immersive experience that something with a larger spray face can. We don’t suggest it for larger spaces. And while the output feels smooth and relaxing, it’s not quite as sublime as one of the (much) more expensive Hansgrohe’s.

The Moen Velocity is our midrange choice for a number of reasons. It’s sturdy, with all-metal construction and a hardy finish. It’s versatile, thanks to the additional flow pattern option. Compared to the Voss, it also gives you much more coverage. The Velocity works with just about any aesthetic, and is reasonably priced for what you get. If we had to pick one rainfall fixture for the average buyer, this would be it.

However, compared to the Hansgrohe’s we’ve chosen as our premium options, the Velocity just isn’t as excellent. As with the Voss, its aeration feature doesn’t produce as luscious water droplets as the Hansgrohe’s. It’s hard to describe in an objective manner, but the Hansgrohe’s simply feel more “rain shower”-y. They’re fuller, smoother, and feel more like a downpour. They also give you more coverage–albeit for a much higher price.

If you’ve got the budget to invest in something premium, and want a fixture that stands out from the pack, the rectangular Hansgrohe Raindance E 240 is your best bet. It has a unique profile, a wide coverage area, and comparable build quality to both the 10” and 12” models we’ve recommended alongside it. This one feels superb, with the aeration system and nozzle array. It’s the best choice for someone who wants a big, sturdy rain shower head that doesn’t look like the rest of the pack.

There’s no real downside to the E 240 aside from the shape itself (which could also be a plus). It looks great, but isn’t a good traditional/classic choice. It definitely lends itself to more modern aesthetics. And, of course, it doesn’t give you quite as much coverage as the big circular Hansgrohe’s.

The circular Raindance 10” is our deluxe pick for all but the largest spaces. It’s about the same price as the rectangular model, but it gives you deeper coverage and a more familiar look. This one is a good choice for people who want lots of coverage and an impressive fixture without going crazy on a 12” model.

The downside, as with the rectangular Raindance, is the price tag. It’s a premium fixture, and you’ll pay a premium price to get one. However, it’s still not nearly as expensive as the 12” model! You may also find that the 10” model doesn’t quite give you full-body coverage, depending on your size.

If you want the absolute best of the best for a rain shower head, and have both the budget and space for it, the 12” Raindance is as good as it gets. It’s rock-solid, it feels sublime, and it gives you as much coverage as you could want. It’ll draw even the largest space together with a classy center point.

Of course, it goes without saying that something this large and this good has a massive price tag. Don’t plan on finding this for less than $500. It’s a top-notch fixture, and it costs top dollar. If you can afford it, though, we think you’ll be thrilled with how it performs.

See Also:

for something more versatile

Rain shower heads are super popular these days, but they aren’t for everybody. If you love a rainfall experience but live with someone who hates these fixtures, you might consider a multi-setting fixture with “rain shower” as one of the options!

Our current favorite is the Speakman Anystream: https://www.amazon.com/Speakman-S-2251-PN-Signature-Anystream-Adjustable/dp/B004AH02A2/ref=sr_1_230?s=kitchen-bath&ie=UTF8&qid=1499886799&sr=1-230&keywords=rain+shower+head&refinements=p_72%3A1248909011%2Cp_n_condition-type%3A6358196011

The Anystream has been on the market for a while now. We’ve always loved it to start out with, but have been wishing it would be built better. This brand new version is finally made from solid brass! We can now recommend it wholeheartedly!

The Anystream has 8 plunger nozzles, with 64 independent spray heads. Instead of picking through set options, you can scroll infinitely through different patterns and levels to find your perfect setting.

The adjustment knob goes around 360 degrees, so you can find your setting and then know where to adjust it each time you go to shower. Plus, you can make precise tweaks based on your mood on a given day.

It’s pretty much universal, or as close to universal as you can get with a shower head! There’s a reason this is a staple fixture in good hotels around the world.

If you want something to cater to rainfall lovers as well as everyone else in your home, get an Anystream!

for homes with anemic pressure

For a lot of folks, rain shower heads can be frustrating to use. You finally pick one out, get it home, and set it up, only to find that you don’t have the water pressure to get a good spray. While most of our recommendations include some sort of air boost to help you out, you may find that even the best of them won’t work well for you.

Don’t worry, though!

This Kohler Forte model isn’t quite a rain shower head, but it’s the closest thing you can get if you’re in a home with super low pressure! https://www.amazon.com/K-10282-AK-CP-Single-Function-Katalyst-Showerhead-Polished/dp/B003BIFGUM/ref=sr_1_184?s=kitchen-bath&ie=UTF8&qid=1499886736&sr=1-184&keywords=rain+shower+head&refinements=p_72%3A1248909011%2Cp_n_condition-type%3A6358196011

The Kohler is a single-function fixture with a relatively wide spray face. It has most of the coverage of a rainfall head, but with a lot more pressure-boosting features. Its air-induction system mixes two liters of air into every two and a half gallons of water, which gives a massive boost to droplet size.

This one’s great for people who need a shower head that can be installed at an angle, but don’t have the pressure to get a rain shower head working in that position. It’s also the best of the bunch at simply boosting anemic pressure. The downside is that it’s not quite as gentle or luxurious as our more expensive picks. Still, it’ll give you a good rain-like shower to get you through until you can overhaul your plumbing!

If you need even more of a boost, you could also try the water-sipping 2.0 GPM version of the Forte!

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Buying Guide

Know what you’re looking for:

Rain shower heads are designed to do two main things. They’ll give you a wider coverage area than your average shower head, and they’ll give you a gentler flow with larger water droplets.

The size of the droplets is key to the sensation of a rain shower. The larger the droplets, the softer they’ll feel on your skin. If you’ve ever had the experience of using a “stinging” shower head, that’s because the fixture was producing small drops at a higher pressure. They’re responsible for the needle sensation on your skin. With a rain shower head, the idea is to produce big drops at a lower pressure, giving the illusion of a gravity-fed downpour.

So, you should look for a shower head with lots of individual spray channels. You’ll also want to look for aerating design features. These help the fixture add air to the water coming from your pipes. As the air mixes with water, it boosts the volume to give you bigger drops without actually requiring more water.

All good rain shower heads today have some sort of air-induction system. The big difference between the cheap models and the premium ones is how well the effect works. If the air isn’t integrated well, you end up with a bit of that stinging sensation, and a less relaxing shower experience. The better it’s integrated, the bigger and more luxurious the individual droplets will feel.

Having a wider coverage area gives you an immersive experience. More coverage means more relaxation, and an easier time rinsing off! That’s why rain shower heads tend to have at least a 6” spray face, and can come as large as 12” across. We generally recommend choosing the most generous fixture that suits your space. Larger models do cost more, but they’ll give you a better experience on a daily basis.

Now that you know what to shop for, here are some general areas to focus your attention:

Budget

Before you shop, get a sense of how much you’re looking to spend on your new shower head. Rain shower heads do tend to be more expensive than traditional shower heads. That’s partly because they’re so much larger. If you get an all-metal model (as we suggest), you’re paying for materials to a large degree. You’re also paying for the engineering that goes into designing good spray channels and a luxurious shower experience.

You can find cheap rain shower heads starting around $25, or even cheaper. We recommend staying away from most models under $50, because they’re crappy plastic. We’ve recommended one ~$50 model here for budget buyers. It’s much better than the competition, but we do suggest that anyone who can afford to buy an all-metal one do so.

The sort of all-metal fixtures that we recommend most buyers invest in can cost anywhere from $100-$750. We don’t think anyone should pay much more than $500, though, unless you’re buying a rain shower head in a bundle with other fittings.

Since all our recommendations above $100 are solid metal, there’s not a vast improvement in build quality as you go up the price scale. Instead, you’re mostly paying for better design features and functionality. With some exceptions, more expensive rain shower heads produce smoother, larger drops, and compensate for pressure better. And, of course, you’ll pay more for a larger fixture.

Stick with reputable brands

This is something we discuss at length on our home page, but it’s worth restating here. Rain shower heads are super popular these days, and a great number of knock-off models are on the market. You want to steer clear of them.

Avoid anything from a brand that sounds made-up, especially if the price seems too good to be true. If you see something from a brand you haven’t heard of, make sure you do your research to make sure it’s legitimate.

We recommend avoiding these super cheap plastic options with any fixture, since they’re so crappy in design and quality. With rain shower heads being so expensive, we know that the knock-off, fake brand versions can seem especially tempting. Avoid them!

These ultra-cheap options often have harmful chemicals and substances like lead in their construction. They release fumes right out of the box, and will continue to leach unhealthy plastic chemicals into your air and water each time you shower.

Plus, just from the standpoint of user experience, none of these ultra-cheap models are designed very well. They’re not enjoyable to use. They break easily, spray erratically, and are anything but luxurious.

They often don’t meet EPA standards for water usage, either, which means you’ll end up wasting gallons for no good reason. That’s bad news for your water bill, and bad news for the environment.

And finally, they’re often from companies that aren’t established, so they can’t give you good plumbing advice or help you out if something should go wrong with your fixture.

So, stick with a good brand with the resources to design something that actually works well. You’ll pay more for a rain shower head from a prominent company, but you’ll get a far better, safer product.

Build quality

We have a helpful primer on shower head materials and construction elements on our home page. That’s where you’ll want to look for our comprehensive guide to getting a fixture which will last for years and work well until you’re done with it.

In terms of rain shower heads, you should be especially picky about materials. These are large pieces, so any materials that aren’t up to scratch will show very obviously.

Inside the fixture, rain shower heads are also more complex than your average fixture. They have lots of different spray channels and air induction components. If you cheap out on them, you can end up with a fixture that only partially works, or which works very poorly.

So, look for fixtures with all metal construction, aside from the spray tips. Unless you absolutely can’t afford an all-metal option, plastic models aren’t worth your money. That’s why we’ve only recommended one in this guide.

As always, avoid chrome unless we say otherwise! In most cases, chrome is code for coated plastic, and even some $500 fixtures use plastic components dressed up to look like metal. Unless you’re on a very tight budget, you shouldn’t be spending your hard-earned money on cheap plastic. You can read more about why we recommend avoiding nearly all chrome fixtures on our home page.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the construction of the spray face. Rain shower heads typically have lots of individual spray tips. Sometimes, a single head will have as many as 250. They’re particularly vulnerable to hard water buildup and clogs. So, you want to make sure that the model you buy has a rubberized tip material which is flexible enough to dislodge accumulated buildup, yet strong enough to hold up to lots of cleanings.

Expect a lifetime warranty as standard on any good rain shower head.

Installation

Rain shower heads are substantially larger than your average shower head. So, it’s no surprise that they weight more–especially the all-metal options. So, you need to make sure that the fittings you plan to use can handle the weight.

That often means purchasing an extension arm or joint to hold the fixture out over the shower. Ceiling mounts are also popular. Rain shower heads work best directly overhead, instead of at an angle.

Never try to “make it work” with a big metal rain shower head. It’s just plain dangerous. If you have a heavy fixture hanging at a severe angle, or hanging too far along a weak extension arm, the metal in the coupling or joint can shear off.

You don’t want to be underneath when that happens! Even if you don’t happen to be in the shower, that kind of a drop with a heavy metal object will crack a tile or tub floor fairly easily.

So, always play it safe and make sure you’re using fittings that are appropriate for your new fixture. Make sure the fittings have proper support, and are rated for the weight of your shower head. It’s always better to get everything straightened out up front. You’ll be able to get a better sense of your budget, as well as what modifications you need in your bathroom plumbing.

When in doubt, consult an expert! Your local plumber should be able to point you in the right direction. Or, give the shower head manufacturer a call. The companies who make the models we recommend all have good customer service departments in our experience. If you call with measurements and some idea of what you’re looking for, they can help you buy any necessary fittings with your fixture.

Coverage

As we’ve said, one of the defining features of a rain shower head is the wide coverage area it produces. Your task is to get as much coverage as you can with your available space and budget.

If you’re shopping for a shower/bath combo, you probably want to stay within the 6”-8” range. If you have a larger walk-in shower area, you could easily go for something as large as 10” or 12”, depending on taste, budget, and space requirements.

Versatility

Think about whether you want the option of a secondary rinse/power wash feature in addition to the rain shower setting. You’ll need to consider anyone else in your household as well as your own tastes. Most rain shower heads are single-function fixtures, which means they can’t be adjusted at all.

Looks

As with any fixture, make sure your new rain shower head looks good in your space. That’s one reason to put real thought into the size of the fixture you buy. Too large a fixture can look awkward in your space, and vice versa. Make sure your finishes match, and visualize whatever piping or brackets you’ll be using with your new shower head.

Water usage

Rain shower heads in general aren’t water sippers. They tend to use the maximum 2.5 GPM allowed by federal water regulations. If you live in a state or district where water standards are stricter, be sure to buy accordingly. We’ve recommended an eco option here for areas with tight water restrictions.

Even a full 2.5 GPM flow isn’t going to impress if it’s just gravity-fed through your rain shower head. That’s why you should expect any good quality rain shower head to have some sort of air-integration feature to boost pressure and enlarge droplets.

What’s Next

Hopefully, you’ve seen at least one or two rain shower heads here that suit your downpour dreams! If so, great!

Click on the links in our reviews to see the best current prices on the market for these fixtures. The product links are also where you’ll be able to see fitting specs, available accessories, and all the other important details.

If you’re still on the hunt for your ideal new shower head, don’t despair! We have dozens of other recommendations. Head over to our homepage to see our all-around favorites, as well as specific guides in lots of other categories.

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