Have you ever wandered out into a summer rain? I don’t mean getting stuck in a downpour without an umbrella or trudging home in a storm. I’m talking about stepping outside and turning your face up to the falling water. I have, and I love the feeling! So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that rainfall shower heads are starting to show up in homes as well as spas.
What Are Rainfall Shower Heads?
The premise is pretty simple: instead of your typical high pressure shower head aimed at blasting you with water to get you in, out, and clean as fast as possible, rainfall shower heads attempt to recreate the gentle, natural feeling of falling water. They let you luxuriate, relax, and embrace your inner wild child… and also happen to get you clean!
How Do They Work?
The rain-like sensation is created with a funny-looking showerhead. Almost all rain showers look like large, flat sheets of metal in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also tend to have lots of nozzles spaced fairly far apart across the face. Rather than forcing water out through a small space like your typical high pressure showerheads, those found in rainfall showers let the water flow out over a large area and then let gravity pull it through the nozzles.
An Eco-Friendly Luxury Shower?
Rainfall showerheads not only mimic the natural world, but are also good for it, too. Many low-flow showerheads leave a lot to be desired; if you have long, thick hair, or very soft water, you know exactly what I mean! But even huge-looking rainfall shower heads use as little or less water per minute than the EPA standard. Better still, you won’t miss the extra water. Why? Because the big, natural-falling drops of water wick away dirt and soap naturally and efficiently, without damaging your scalp.
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Multi-Function Rainfall Shower Heads
Really attached to your water pressure, but like the idea of having a spa-style showerhead? Look for in-between models to get the the best of both worlds. Specifically, models that have adjustable pressure/spray settings give you more options to customize your shower experience. Be aware, though, that multi-function shower heads (even ones with rainfall capability) tend to be smaller than the single-function kind. They can still produce the same effect when installed properly (and tend to be a little less expensive). But because rainfall showers are gravity-driven, the smaller size of the face means a smaller “shower” on the rainfall setting, which won’t feel quite so natural.
Getting The Height Right
To get the genuine rain shower experience, you have to get a little creative how you mount the shower head. Most showers spray at an angle and can be anywhere from over your head to chin or chest level. But you’ll need to mount your rainfall showerhead at LEAST six inches above the head of the tallest person using it. Rainfall shower heads typically come with a long arm bar that attaches to your existing plumbing. Depending on the height of your existing shower head, you may want to look for models that have arched necks. These also connect to your existing plumbing, but further elevate the shower head to ensure you get the full effect. Willing to do a slightly more extensive renovation? Shower panels and shower pipes will give you the height you need, with a bonus hand shower and/or body sprayers.
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If You Want To Build A Spa Shower…
Mounting your rain shower head either from the ceiling – or better yet directly IN the ceiling – is the best way to get an ultra-realistic rain feel. A ceiling mount allows for both a huge area for the shower head (and by extension a larger “cloud” to feed your indoor storm), as well as ensuring that the “rain” is falling on you from high enough to really feel like it’s pouring down on you straight from the sky, rather than a nozzle you have to duck your head under. The drawback? You’ll need to reroute your plumbing from your shower wall into the ceiling above. That’s a much more expensive (and invasive) project, but the best way to get that real spa experience.
That said, installing a rainfall showerhead is a project that can really scale to any scope or price range. Especially if you already have a fairly high mounted head, upgrading your shower to a rainfall shower can mean as little as swapping out a crusty old shower head. Or, if you want to go all-in, it can be the catalyst for redesigning your whole bathroom into a spa-space. Either way, you’ll be bringing a great slice of nature back home with you. And trust me, your peace of mind will thank you!
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