A Detailed Guide to the 14 Different Types of Shower Heads

There are tons of showerheads out there, so, to help narrow down your options, we’ve got an in-depth look at the 12 main types of showerheads.

The 12 main types of shower heads are standard fixed, handheld, dual, filtered, waterfall (rain), massage, high-pressure, low flow, shower panels, LED, RV, Navy, sliding bar, aerating, and smart showerheads. Each kind of shower head has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

To help you understand what you’re dealing with, I’m going to show you an example of each type of shower head, and give you an overview of the most important details. In addition, we’ve summarized all the basic pros/cons in a comparison table at the end. Let’s dive in!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you choose to make a purchase using my link

Shower Head Mounts

Before we get into the types of showerheads out there, we first need to discuss the different styles of mounts that showerheads come in. This will help you better understand the 13 shower head types in the next section.

There are three main styles of mounts used for showerheads: wall mount, ceiling mount, and bar mount. The names are pretty self-explanatory but they are each used for different reasons.

Wall Mount

Wall mount shower head

The wall-mounted shower heads are the most common style of showerhead mount and are the way that most plumbing systems are installed.

It comes out of the wall above the faucet for the shower. However, something that the wall mount lacks is height.

The wall mount showerhead is often not very high, which is fine if you’re of average height. But, if you’re taller, a fixed wall mount might cause you some problems.

Ceiling Mount

ceiling mount shower head

This style of mount is exactly what it sounds like, the showerhead comes down from your ceiling.

While this showerhead offers more height and versatility for different types of showerheads, it’s not very common and requires special plumbing.

So, if you’re shower isn’t already equipped for a ceiling mount, it’s probably not worth it to turn it into a ceiling mount unless you’re re-doing your whole bathroom.

Bar Mount

Bar mount shower head

This style of mount is also called a sliding bar shower head and gives a little of both of the above types of mounts. It attaches to a wall plumbing hookup but, because of the bar, it can make the showerhead higher than a normal wall-mount showerhead.

The bar allows the shower arm to slide up and down which can be great if people are living in the same place that are a wide variety of heights.

This makes it great if you have a wall mount plumbing but need some extra height. It is usually paired with a handheld showerhead or a dual showerhead which I’ll talk about more in the below sections.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the 14 different types of shower heads.

14 Types of Shower Heads

1. Standard Fixed Shower Head

fixed shower head

HOPOPRO Fixed Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Very common
  • Easy to install
  • Many options


  • Not very movable

This is by far the most common type of shower head and is what you think of when you summon up an image of a shower head. The neck of the shower head doesn’t move it stays fixed and attached to the wall at all times.

Usually, the shower head itself is able to rotate up and down and side to side slightly but not much.

In terms of installation, fixed shower heads are pretty easy because most bathrooms are already set up for a fixed shower head. You just have to take off your old head and put on your new one.

If you go to buy a fixed shower head, you’ll basically just be buying the head and nothing else which makes it pretty cheap and easy to get.

One of the great things about these shower heads is that there are tons of different kinds with multiple stream settings.

2. Handheld Shower Head

Briout Handheld Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Great for seated showering
  • Multiple settings


  • Can be harder to install

Once again, the name is pretty self-explanatory, handheld shower heads are attached to the waterline with a hose which allows you to take them off of their mount and move them around.

The handheld shower head is a great option if you have mobility issues or need to sit down while you shower. It allows you to move the shower head around to get it where you need it to be.

They’re also great if you have pets that you need to wash in your tub. As someone who has washed dogs in a tub without one of these, I assure you that it will make your job a lot easier.

3. Dual Shower Head

AquaDance Dual Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Great for seated showering
  • Very versatile


  • More expensive

A dual shower head is one of those things that gives you the best of both worlds. It has a fixed head and a handheld head which gives you the versatility of a handheld but also the stability of a fixed head.

Some of the dual shower heads allow you to use both the fixed head and the handheld at the same time but others only allow you to use one at a time.

This shower head is also great if you have mobility issues or need to sit down while you shower since you can move one head while still having a regular shower head.

However, it can be a little pricier than other showerheads because you’re basically getting two showerheads in one.

4. Filtered Shower Head

AquaHomeGroup Filtered Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Filters hard water
  • Filters out chemicals


  • Have to replace filters

A filtered shower head is exactly what it sounds like. This showerhead is designed to have a filter built into it so that it filters your water as it comes out of the head.

These shower heads are primarily made to filter out excess chlorine found in some water. Having too much chlorine in your water can make your hair and skin very dry.

In addition to filtering our chlorine, they also filter calcium, active carbon, heavy metals, chemicals, and minerals. How much your shower head filters will depend on the filter. Make sure you read the descriptions carefully to make sure your shower head will filter what you need it to.

You can get filtered shower heads as fixed head, handheld, and dual shower heads which makes them very versatile.

One of the downsides of a filtered shower head is you have to change the filter. From what I’ve found, the filter needs to be changed about every 6 months depending on how much your shower gets used.

Having to replace the filter ups the price of these shower heads a bit, but if you have hard water or chemicals in your water, it might still be worth it.

5. Waterfall (Rain) Shower Head

HarJue Waterfall Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  1. Gentle rain like stream
  2. Multiple Mount types


  • Poor water efficiency
  • Only one setting

Most of the showerheads we’ve talked about so far have had a lot of different settings, this shower head is different.

The waterfall shower head is only made with one setting. This shower head is made to be very large with lots of water streams that makes it feel like a gentle waterfall.

These shower heads are also called rainfall shower heads or rain shower heads because they imitate rain.

Because of the large amount of water needed to simulate the rain, these shower heads aren’t very water efficient.

But, these shower heads are great if you’re not a fan of the hard pounding that some shower settings can give you.

Usually, when you see these shower heads they’re mounted on the ceiling, but they’re also made with wall mount option.

6. Massage Shower Head

Different Types of Shower heads

Aqua Elegante Massage Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Multiple settings
  • Multiple head types


  • Lower water effeciency

Massage shower heads are exactly what they sound like. These shower heads have specially made settings that let them deliver high pressure streams of water to give a massaging effect.

A lot of shower heads that have multiple settings will have a massage setting but massage shower heads have multiple settings that deliver a fabulous spa experience.

They come in fixed, handheld, and dual, giving you all sorts of different options for how to use this shower head.

If you’ve got back problems or chronic knots, a message shower head with a dual or handheld option can help you loosen up all those tight muscles.

7. High-Pressure Shower Head

types of shower heads

Aisoso High-Pressure Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Good for plumbing with low water pressure


  • Low water efficiency

Nothing is more satisfying than a shower head that has great water pressure.

If your house or apartment has bad water pressure and there’s not anything you can do about it, look into getting one of these shower heads.

They concentrate the water flow coming through your pipes to deliver it with more pressure.

A lot of shower heads are getting better at doing this in general. In the future, there may not be special high-pressure shower heads at all.

But, because this kind of shower head ups your water pressure, they also may reduce the water efficiency.

8. Low-Flow Shower Head

kinds of showerheads

High Sierra Low Flow Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Extremely high water efficiency


  • Only one setting
  • May have lower water pressure

If you’re looking for a way to be more eco-friendly or if you want your water bill to go down, low flow shower heads are a great option.

When you’re looking at low flow shower heads, they are usually labeled with gpm which stands for gallons per minute. This denotes the amount of water a shower head uses for every minute it’s on.

The average shower head uses about 2.1 gpm but older showers will have a higher gpm. When looking for a low flow shower head, you will find them with 2.0 gpm, 1.75gpm, 1.5 gpm, and 1.25 gpm.

The lower your gpm, however, the lower your water pressure might be. A good low flow shower head will decrease your water consumption without changing the water pressure of your shower too much.

Switching from a shower head that uses 2.1 gpm to one that uses 1.5 gpm will use about 28% less water every time you shower. That can make a huge difference on your water bill and on the planet.

9. Shower Panels

different kinds of shower heads

ELLO&ALLO Shower Panel (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Multiple shower features
  • Very modern appearance


  • Low water effeciency
  • Very expensive

Shower panels, also known as shower towers, body spas, or a shower wall, are something new that are just beginning to gain popularity. Apart from looking like a shower straight out of Star Trek, these shower heads have some great features.

They have a waterfall shower head, a handheld shower head, adjustable body sprayers/messagers, and sometimes a built-in full-body spray panel that sprays your back.

They also have a very sleek appearance that goes great with a newly remodeled modern bathroom. If you’re planning to redo your bathroom and are going modern, keep these shower towers in mind.

With all these great features why doesn’t everyone have one?

Well, with all those fancy bells and whistles come a few downsides. First, with all those panels, you can imagine it’s not very water efficient. And, your water pressure will decrease the more features you turn on at once.

The big reason not very many people have these is the price. Since it’s an all in one shower, you have to pay for all those features.

10. LED Shower Head

best types of shower head

Kairey LED Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Good for low light
  • Doesn’t require batteries


  • Only gives aesthetic benefits

Yes, they do indeed make shower heads with LED lights built-in because who doesn’t want to have a dance party while they’re showering?

Just kidding, it’s not that type of light. These shower heads come with LED lights around the water jets. There’s a couple different ways they work.

Some shower heads fade from one color to another in a preset pattern while others are able to sense the temperature of the water and change according to that. Pretty cool, huh?

Another cool fact: the LED lights used in these shower heads work off of the water pressure so no batteries are required

These shower heads are great if your bathroom has low light and you can’t see in your shower. I also think it’d be a great way to get kids that hate showering to want to get in the shower.

11. RV/Camper Shower Head

best rv shower head

Oxygenics RV Shower Kit (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Small and sleek
  • Very water efficient
  • Good for low water pressure


  • May not fit regular plumbing

I know what you’re thinking, “why would I want an rv shower head in my house?” Well, RV/Camper shower heads actually have some features that can be great for water efficiency or if you have problems with low water pressure.

Since RV’s work off of small tanks of water, it makes sense that their shower heads are made to be very water efficient.

And because there’s limited water, RV’s are also notorious for having low water pressure. The shower heads used in RV’s are made to combat this issue.

However, because they’re specifically made for RV’s some of the shower heads may not fit the regular plumbing hookup used in normal bathrooms.

Lastly, because RV’s have limited space, the showerheads are usually made to be pretty small making them a good option if you have a small shower space.

12. Navy Shower Head (on/off)

best kind of shower head

Qualihome Navy Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • High water efficiency
  • On/off switch


  • Only one setting
  • Lower water pressure

The navy shower head is another great option if you’re looking to conserve your water. And I’m pretty sure it’s called that because it’s what they use in the Navy, but don’t quote me on that.

This shower head is designed to have an on-off switch usually on the side of the shower head that allows you to stop the flow of water while your shower is on.

The idea is you’ll get in the shower and get wet, then you’ll shut off your water while you shampoo your hair and get all soapy, and then you’ll turn it back on to rinse off.

Just doing that quick off and on can save you and the planet a lot of water.

13. Smart Shower Head

different shower head types

hai Smart Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • Convenient setting changes from your phone
  • Bluetooth speakers for in shower music


  • Very expensive
  • Difficult to install

This is a showerhead that comes with all the fancy bells and whistles you could want in the 21st century.

This showerhead connects to an app on your phone that lets you change spray settings, sends you alerts about water temperature, and sends you alerts about water usage.

The features can help you customize your shower experience and help you decrease your water usage by changing flow settings without sacrificing your shower experience.

The main drawbacks of these shower heads are that they are very expensive and can be difficult to install depending on the showerhead you get. The showerhead above says that it has easy-to-install instructions and a follow-along video to help you out.

14. Aerating Shower Head

best showerheads

Niagara Conservation Shower Head (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions


  • High water efficiency
  • Increases water pressure if you have low flow water


  • Small flow area

This showerhead is designed to aerate the water as it passes through which makes it seem like there is more water than there actually is.

This helps increase water efficiency and increase water pressure if your house has low water pressure.

As always, water efficiency is a great way to decrease your water bill. Getting this showerhead will pay itself back in the amount of water it saves you since it’s relatively cheap to buy.

The main drawback of this shower head is that people complained it the stream and shower flow area were small. If you like a large water range then this showerhead isn’t for you.

Now for the grand finale, a quick recap of all the pros/cons for each type of shower head in an easy table:

Shower Head Pros/Cons Table

Type of ShowerheadProsCons
Standard Fixed Head Very common
Easy to install
Many options
Not very movable
Handheld Great for seated showering
Multiple settings
May be harder to install
Dual Shower Head Great for seated showering
Very versatile
More expensive
Filtered Shower Head Filters hard water
Filters out chemicals
Have to replace filters
Waterfall Gentle rain like stream
Multiple Mount types
Poor water efficiency
Only one setting
Massage Shower Heads Multiple settings
Multiple head types
Lower water efficiency
High Pressure Good for plumbing with low water pressure Low water efficiency
Low FlowExtremely high water efficiencyOnly one setting
May have lower water pressure
Shower PanelsMultiple shower features
Modern appearance
Low water effeciency
Very expensive
LED Shower Head Good for low light
Doesn’t require batteries
Only gives aesthetic benefits
RV/camper Shower HeadsSmall and sleek
Very water efficient
Good for low water pressure
May not fit regular plumbing
Navy Shower Heads (on/off) High water efficiency
On/off switch
Lower water pressure
Only one setting
Smart Shower HeadsConvenient setting changes from phone
Bluetooth Speakers
Very expensive
Difficult to install
Aerating Shower HeadsMore water efficient
Good for low water pressure
Small flow area

What is the best type of shower head?

The best type of shower head depends on what you want your showerhead to do. In general, the best multipurpose shower head is either a handheld or dual shower head that has multiple stream settings. But, there are still many other options. Check out this shower head table for a quick look at all the different kinds.

Do shower heads fit all showers?

Shower heads have a universal thread size in the United States and Canada, which is designated as ½-inch NPT.  If you make sure the shower head you buy is ½-inch NPT, it should fit the plumbing fixture in your bathroom. The only deviation from that is if you choose to buy an RV or camper showerhead.


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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