What could be more soothing than rain?
I love the stuff. It helps me sleep, it waters my herbs (good thing too, I swear the only things I can’t kill are mint and basil), and it gives the inspiration for a very nice style or shower head.
If you’ve never heard of a rainfall shower head: they’re cool.
They simulate falling rain by dropping it straight on your head from above, instead of angled like a normal shower (though some, especially cheaper once, can be angled as well…though it impacts their quality some) and feel like a very natural way to get clean, not unlike showering under a very warm waterfall.
Today I’m going to go over some of my favorites, and how I picked them. But if you’re in a rush, here’s my top choice:
In A Rush? My Top Choice:
Top RAted Products
SR SUN RISE SRSH-D1203
WYJP Large Square
So How Do I Pick the Best One?
There are three main things you want to look for: construction, layout (and number of holes), and price.
Rainfall shower heads usually are (and should be) made of stainless steel with silicone nozzles the water drips through. Better ones are plated in scratch resistant chrome for a clean look.
Generally, when it comes to this type, thinner is better. A thinner plate allows the water to flow more evenly from corner to corner.
When it comes to mounting, you generally have three kinds:
- Wall mounted ones that can be used as a normal unit, but can be angled straight down for the rainfall experience. Usually the cheapest kind.
- Ones set on a much longer arm that falls straight down every time. The most common kind, and usually requires a bit of special plumbing to make it work.
- Ceiling mounted ones. Rare, but the best of the bunch (and more expensive, with more special plumbing required. Best built around rather than added on later).
They come in either square or rounded shapes, or rarely rectangles (usually for handhelds).
They generally only come in three sizes: 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch, with 10 and 12 being more common. Anything smaller than 8 inches usually isn’t worth it, it’s just too narrow to really feel like rain so you may as well get a higher quality normal unit instead.
Nozzles generally come in the 144 nozzle varieties, though smaller ones will have numbers like 120 instead, and some go up to nearly 200 individual nozzles. The more nozzles, the denser the rainfall. This is mostly up to personal preference, though I’ll always note it as generally higher quality products have more nozzles per square inch.
At the cheapest, you’re looking at around $30, a little more expensive than a normal shower head. As a luxury item, and a relatively niche design though, the prices can soar higher than you might expect, getting into the hundreds pretty quick.
Generally speaking for stuff I feel should be used long term (5 years minimum) I don’t feel a few hundred is too much to ask for, but keep that in mind before sticker shock sets in. For the most expensive ones particularly, keep in mind that their design means they’re probably going to be installed only in brand new homes built to accept them or as part of an extensive remodel as well.
Best Rain Shower Heads
Superior quality in every way.
Grohe is a brand that always goes the extra mile when making their stuff, and this this is no exception.
The basic construction is exceptional: it sits flush with the ceiling, putting it fully out of the way for even the tallest people (though requiring a bit of extra plumbing to get done if installing in an existing shower). Water drips from 120 easy to clean nozzles along its surface in a unique almost star-like pattern (most are squares or circles) that are just non-uniform enough that it will feel more like real rainfall than other offerings.
Along with the basics, the these comes with some of Grohe’s more interesting and unique features: Starlight, Drop Stop, and Dream Spray.
Starlight is a finish that is three times harder and more scratch resistant than a normal finish. As a result it’s difficult to dent, scratch, or otherwise mar ad will stay shiny long after others would begin to look dingy. Drop Stop prevents the it from dripping after the water is turned off.
The real draw is the Dream Spray technology though, which keeps the water flowing evenly to each nozzle for the duration of the shower. Important in any type but particularly great for rainfall models, which rely on drenching your whole body to get their unique feeling.
The only thing missing is a high water flow option (it flows at 2.0 GPM), but even that could potentially be remedied by removing the water flow restrictor (though Grohe, unlike some brands, does not make this a simple task).
Of course for such quality you do end up paying quite the price: over $500. Then again, with an appliance like a shower head, particularly for somewhere you plan to stay long term (a recently purchased or built home, and the shower put together with this shower head in mind from the stat especially) that price is easily worth what you’re getting out of this.
Small, but mighty.
Delta’s offering is a bit smaller than most rainfall shower heads (8 inches aren’t unheard of by any means, but most tend to be 10 to 12 inches at a side) but it packs as many nozzles into the frame as any of the larger options.
144 silicone nozzles provide a more directed (and high flow: 2.5 GPM), but higher volume per square inch shower than most other rainfall unitd. This is perfect for those that love a high pressure shower, but don’t like the angled cone stream of a more traditional showerhead.
The construction is great, being primarily made of stainless steel and a small arm to mount it onto.
For people that want this perfect mixing of high pressure and rainfall this scratches the itch perfectly, though will set you back between $200 and $250 on average.
Delta 57740 Single-Spray Touch Clean
One of the few completely handheld rainfall options around.
This is a great high flow (2.5 GPM), small and unobtrusive addition to any shower. While I’d hesitate to recommend it as a solo option, paired with another shower head (like the Delta above) it’s quite nice, as it takes up little room and can be used as an excellent compact handheld for cleaning or rinsing tough to reach spots.
It has easy touch clean nozzles itself, and comes with a few spray patterns (though as you’d imagine, the design leaves it somewhat limited to essentially a full blast and a jet option), and is designed to prevent backflow.
It’s under $100, which is about the limit I’d suggest paying for a supplementary product, but doesn’t exceed my “No, way too expensive for what you get” threshold…though only just.
It’s great, but don’t buy this expecting it to be your sole shower head…that will result in some cold, unsatisfying baths since there’s no way it will cover your whole body, but it’s great as a companion piece (both decorative and usable!).
Kohler K-14788-GR-CP Shift Square
A great combo set.
The unit itself is already pretty good: 12 inches a side, made entirely of stainless steel (coated in chrome), and comes with its own arm extension.
What pushes it above are its “air energy technology” which ensure even distribution of the water combined with the water pressure and heat monitor which prevents abnormal bursts of hot or cold water.
Combined these make a simple on the outside but very sophisticated on the inside.
Throw in the included handheld shower head to go alongside it (a nice rectangle shape that keeps it mostly out of the way, sidestepping my main issue with combo types) and you have an excellent piece that is well worth the over $200 price tag.
SR SUN RISE SRSH-D1203
Interesting, though not the greatest for most people.
I’ll admit, in most situations this is not a great style. It’s only 6 inches in diameter, it doesn’t spray down perfectly flat, and it has no real special features. It’s stainless steel with self cleaning nozzles, and that’s about all.
But its one claim to fame is printed proudly on the image above: it has a removable flow restrictor, and is designed for that to be EASILY removed. You basically just pry the sucker out with a butter knife and you’re good to go.
For that minimal effort your reward is water pressure, and lots of it. 7.62 GPM at max depending on your native water pressure (over three times what shower heads and faucets are restricted to by law in the US). Basically, this thing is your monsoon simulator. Throw on your ambient thunderstorm sounds and shower away your troubles in far, far too much water.
And for under $50, too!
SomovWorld High Pressure High Flow
Large, but flawed.
This 12 inch square unit has 196 silicone nozzles dripping nice oxygenated water on your head.
It’s pretty standard as far as rainfall shower heads, but that’s not really a bad thing. Since these types of heads are so specialized and niche (relatively speaking), standard is pretty good. It can make full use of your water flow (2.5 GPM), it can be touch cleaned (silicone tends to be pretty resistant to accumulating tough grime), it’s super thin (2 mm thick), and made of solid 304 stainless steel.
For the price (under $100) it’s pretty good, though should be noted that a number of people report that it leaks around the join, so some extra sealant or something may need to be used on your end.
Pretty good overall.
This one rolls in with an 8 inch face and 144 nozzles. As is standard, the nozzles are silicone and just need to be flicked or rubbed to unclog.
This one will run you over $50, though that price might actually be deceptive; that doesn’t include any extension arms you may need to handle installing this as a brand new shower head type.
Basically, it’s really cheap if you’re replacing your old unit, but a bit expensive if it’s your first go around with it. Still, it’s covered by a three-year unconditional warrantee, so you can at least try it out and not be too afraid of losing much if it breaks or you don’t like it.
One thing to keep in mind: installation changes depending on your water pressure. It can handle up to 2.5 GPM, but if your flow is too low you need a different arm and bracket to install that gives it a little more pressure to come through.
Keeping those things in mind though, this one isn’t a bad option at all.
The cheapest still good product you’re likely to find.
I like this thing. It’s as bare bones as you can possibly get with this type, but it’s still pretty nice. It follows the format of the ultra thin 12 inch shower heads we’ve already looked at: it’s got 144 nozzles, it’s only 2 mm thick, and it’s made of stainless steel. As you’d expect it has the usual easy to clean silicone nozzles as well.
For well under $50 you can do a lot worse. It has no extra features besides the warranty (2 years alongside a satisfaction guarantee) and the fact that it’s ultra lightweight (like the rest of the 2 mm thick ones we’ve looked at), but it doesn’t really need any.
WYJP Large Square
While Grohe takes the cake here with its EXCELLENT product, you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything here if you keep in mind whatever your budget and situation is.
While I don’t think spending a few hundred on a shower head is necessarily overkill, if you’re buying it for a rental place or something, any of the under $50 options will do you just fine and then some, since most of what you get from the more expensive stuff is longevity and incremental increases in quality save at the absolute highest end.
The Lordear in particular, despite its reported flaw, is a great buy for someone in that kind of situation where they’re in an ultimately temporary housing arrangement but still want a nice bath. Most of the reviews of leakage are said to have occurred 6 months to a year after install (and didn’t affect every unit, and were fixable with a little know how), plenty of time for you to make use of it and not feel bad about either spending the money or having to leave it behind if need be.