Are Shower Hoses Universal? How to Find the Right Hose

Replacing and installing a hand shower hose is pretty easy, but choosing which shower hose to get is another matter entirely. Are shower hoses universal?

Most shower hoses have a standard size of 1/2 inch NPT and 1/2 inch BSP, a more uncommon size is a 3/4 inch hose. To ensure you get the right fit, measure the hose fitting or take your shower hose to the store and compare it to the available hoses.

There are a few other things you might want to consider when choosing a shower hose and we’ll walk you through how to measure your shower head to ensure you get a hose that fits correctly.

Let’s dive in!

Are Shower Hoses Universal?

Are shower hoses universal

There are two main set of standards for shower hose sizes, American standard, called the National Pipe Thread (NPT), and the British standard, called the British Standard Pipe (BSP).

Although they’re labeled differently, these threads are made to be the same size. Both sizes are 1/2 inch straight threaded pipes.

These sizes are made so that they fit the standard universal fit of shower heads, shower arms, and plumbing fixtures which is also 1/2 inch straight threaded pipes.

However, some showerheads are not standard sizes. If your shower is from a very old home, or if it is from a country that does not use the NPT standard or BSP standard, then your shower could be a different size.

For more information about standard shower head sizes, check out this other post we have which goes through it step by step.

Now that you know the standard sizes and situations where you might have a nonstandard connection size, let’s talk about how to measure your shower to make sure you get the right-sized new shower hose.

How to Measure Shower Hose Fittings

How to measure a shower hose

When checking what size your shower hose needs to be, there are three things you’ll have to determine: whether it has male or female thread, if the fitting is straight or tapered, and the width of the fitting.

Let’s take a look at your shower arm to

Male or Female Fitting

Male and female are plumbing terms describing whether the threads are on the inside or the outside of the pipe.

If the threads of the shower arm pipe are on the inside, it has female threads, if they are on the outside it has male threads.

You need to know this so that when you go to buy your shower hose, you have the correct thread to connect with your shower arm.

Most shower hoses will have a male thread on one side and a female thread on the other. But, there are some weird ones that might not.

So, make sure you’re getting the correct threading to attach to your shower arm on one side of the hose and to the shower head on the other side of the hose.

Straight or Tapered

The next thing you need to determine is if your shower arm threads are straight or tapered.

This is exactly what it sounds like, straight threads means all the threads are the same height across the pipe. Tapered threads means the threads decrease from the start of the threads to the end of the pipe.

If it’s not obvious whether your pipe is straight or tapered, you can measure the threads to double check.

To do this, you will need a set of measurement calipers. Measure the first thread on the end of the pipe and take note of the size. Then measure the last thread and take note of the number.

If the first thread is the same as the last thread, you have a straight thread.

If the first thread is small than the last thread, then you have a tapered thread.

When you buy your new shower hose, make sure you get a fitting that matches to either the straight or tapered orientation of your shower arm and shower head.

Width of Hose Fitting

The third and final detail is to determine the width of your shower arm. Like we discussed earlier, the standard size for shower fittings is a 1/2 inch thread, but if you’re worried that your shower is not standard, you can measure the pipe to double check.

Take a tape measure and measure across the pipe from one side to the other measuring the inside diameter of the pipe. This will give you a close measurement of your pipe.

If it’s close to 1/2 inch, congrats it’s the standard thread size. If it’s not at all close, then you might have a non-standard size.

For a more precise measurement, you can follow this guide from Zoro.

That’s a pretty brief description of how to do it, if you need more information or a visual aid, here’s a great video from Fresh Water Systems that walks you through this process step by step.

How to Choose the Correct Hose For You

Now that you’ve got the correct measurements, it’s time to choose the more fun things, you have to decide how long you want your flexible shower hose to be and what kind of material you want the hose to be made of.

1. Length of Hose

Shower hoses come in a ton of different lengths. You’ll want to consider what your handheld shower heads will be used for and how far it will need to reach.

If you have this hose to accommodate someone tall then it will need to be long enough to reach as far as that person needs it to.

If you’re using the handheld showerhead to bath someone who has to sit in the shower or a child who will be sitting in the tub, then you need to make sure your hose is long enough to reach where it needs to.

This is easier to determine if there was already a shower hose in your shower. If your old shower hose was too short, get a longer one, and vice versa.

2. Hose Material

The other thing you need to consider is what material you want your shower hose to be. There are tons of finishes and colors of shower hoses that are made to match common finishes in bathroom plumbing

You probably want it to match the already existing fittings and shower heads in your bathroom. If you don’t know what the finish is called or how to describe it, you can always take the shower head with you to the store and match it to the new hoses to see which one you like.

Or, if you need to replace both the old hose and old showerhead, you can pick the new shower head and new hose at the same time.

There are also plastic hoses available which could be a good option if this is a dual showerhead for a camper or RV, or if you need the hose to be more flexible than the metal shower hose alternatives.

Are Shower Heads Universal?

In the United States, shower heads are made to be the standard size of 1/2 inch. Showerheads that are made in another country, an unconventional showerhead design, or showerheads from very old homes could have different sizes. For more information, check out my other post about showerheads here.

What’s in a Showerhead Replacement Kit?

Replacement shower head kits usually contain the shower head, installation instructions, thread seal tape, a water flow restrictor, and other shower headspecific parts that will be determined by the type of shower head you buy. For example, if you buy dual shower heads, the kit may also come with a slider bar and a shower hose.


Leslie has lived in tons of different places that were all in different states of repair. She has experience remodeling and replacing just about everything in a home including the roof. When she's not working on a project, Leslie blogs about home improvement tips to pass on her knowledge to others.

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