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The 9 Best Shower Heads in 2021

What are the best types of shower heads?
Explore our picks for the best shower heads in 2021:
Although there are several types of shower heads on the market today, not all shower heads are created equally and not all of them will meet your household's specific needs. Whether you want a shower head that provides a luxurious spa experience, saves water, provides multi-function settings for a personalized experience, or is designed for those with limited mobility, there are many options available for you. To help you make your choice, the experts at Modernize have compiled the following list of the nine best shower heads in 2021.

Best Shower Heads for Homeowners in 2021

This list of the best types of shower heads is based on competitive market research by Modernize's home improvement experts. While creating this list, we considered five main factors - cost, adjustability and multi-functionality, accessibility-friendly, water settings, and positive impact on home value. We have provided the total cost to install each shower head, including both materials and installation. Professional installation typically costs between $75 and $150 per shower head.

Fixed Shower Heads

Fixed shower heads are the most common and easiest shower head type to install, since most bathrooms are already set up to support them. You can usually install these on your own by removing the old shower head and attaching the new one. This ease adds to the affordability of fixed shower heads, which range from $20 to $100.

Fixed shower heads are small (5 in. in diameter or less) and provide a variety of water stream settings. However, what fixed shower heads have in versatility they lack in adjustability. They can move up and down and side to side, but the range is minimal compared to other shower heads. This makes it difficult for people who need to sit in the shower to get the flow of water they need. Fixed showerheads are the best option if you need a standard product without extra bells and whistles.
Average Cost to Install
$20 - $250
Best Quality
  • Often equipped with multiple water settings
  • Readily available
  • DIY-friendly installation

Handheld Shower Heads

If you are looking for a shower head that gives you versatility, look no further than handheld shower heads. They are mounted to the shower wall and have a flexible, 5-foot hose made of metal or plastic. You can choose to use it for targeted water pressure on specific areas of the body, or leave it in the mount for a standard shower experience. Thanks to the flexibility, this is a great option for those with limited mobility and may need to sit in the shower, as well as for families with children and pets.

Handheld showerheads range from $30 and $200. They can be installed by a DIY-er, but since installation is a bit more complicated than standard shower heads, you may want to hire a professional.
Average Cost to Install
$30 - $350
Best Quality
Targeted water pressure
  • High level of versatility and flexibility
  • Great for those with mobility challenges and families with children or pets
  • Often allows for adjustable water pressure

Dual Shower Heads

Those who want the combined experience of a handheld and fixed shower head will love the multi-functionality of a dual shower head. Dual shower heads use a diverter valve that allows you to switch between the two shower head types at your leisure. Despite having two shower heads in one, dual shower heads do not double the amount of water flow. If you use them simultaneously, they each reduce the flow of water since they share the same amount of water that normally flows through a single shower head. Keep in mind that dual shower heads take up a good amount of space in the shower.

The most common type of dual shower head you will find is a handheld and rain shower head combination. These products can be installed without the help of a professional, and you can expect to pay about $30 to $100.
Average Cost to Install
$30 - $250
Best Quality
  • Versatile and adjustable for everyone in the family
  • Accessibility-friendly for those with mobility challenges
  • Allows for a quick shower

Filtered Shower Heads

If you live in an area that has hard tap water, it may leave deposits on your shower tiles, door, and pipes, as well as damage your hair and skin. A filtered shower head can help you address these issues while reducing the amount of chlorine, scale, and heavy metals in the shower water.

Filtered shower heads will improve water quality, but may not provide the same luxury experience that you get from other types of shower heads. These are completely no frills types of shower heads. If you are looking for various features and functionalities, you may not find them with this type of shower head. However, their simplicity does make installation simple. Filtered showerheads are reasonably priced, with products costing $50 to $100 and filters costing about $20.
Average Cost to Install
$50 - $270
Best Quality
Provides soft water
  • Reduces chlorine and heavy metals in water
  • Avoid deposits and blockages in pipes
  • Simple installation

Massage Shower Head

A massage shower head can be a good choice for people looking for a product that will provide a concentrated flow of water to certain muscle groups. Massage shower heads can be handheld or fixed, and you can find them in different shapes and sizes. They also have multiple water settings and provide a stronger water flow than many other shower heads. Therefore, keep in mind they are not the best for water conservation.

Massage shower heads cost around $20 to $80 per shower head. The complexity of installation differs depending on what type of massage shower head you choose. Pay attention to the instructions and decide whether you can do a DIY installation, or if you will need assistance from a professional.
Average Cost to Install
$20 - $230
Best Quality
Hydromassage therapy
  • Handheld and fixed varieties
  • Ability to target specific muscle groups
  • Multiple water settings and high water pressure

Rain Shower Heads

A rain shower head is a great choice for relaxation, as it allows water to pour straight down on you. This stress reliever is a trendy choice for modern bathroom remodels, thanks to its elegant appearance. Rain shower heads, which can be found in square or rectangular shapes, have the largest surface area of any other type, coming in at 6 to 12 inches. They can be mounted to your shower wall, or alternatively overhead as a ceiling tile rain shower head.

On the downside, these shower heads can be a bit pricier, ranging from $100 to $500, and a bit more complicated to install. If you want a ceiling-mounted shower head, you may need to get a plumber or contractor to run pipes through the ceiling, which will raise the cost. Another consideration is the size of your shower area. Due to the size of rain shower heads, they are not the best choice for smaller showers, such as the shower/tub combo.
Average Cost to Install
$100 - $650
Best Quality
Largest surface area
  • Relaxing shower experience
  • Stylish, modern appearance to boost home value
  • Multiple water settings to mimic different types of rain

LED Shower Heads

LED shower heads make your shower a colorful experience by lighting up based on the temperature of the water. If the water is hot, an LED shower head will shine a red light, while cold water will be blue, and warm water will be a greenish yellow. These lights, which are battery operated, are not only fun and unique—they can help you see inside the shower better if your bathroom has low lighting.

Although LED shower heads elevate your shower experience, they rarely have extra bells and whistles. So if you want special features in addition to lights, you may want to opt for a different type of shower head. However, since they do not usually have additional features, they are easy to install. Therefore, this is a simple project for a DIY-er. LED showerheads are reasonably priced, costing between $30 and $80 for the shower head.
Average Cost to Install
$30 - $230
Best Quality
Unique lighting
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Good for bathrooms with low lighting
  • Affordable options

Low Flow Shower Heads

If you want an environmentally-friendly shower head option that will help you lower your water bills and slash water consumption by 40% or more, a low flow showerhead may be right for you. While most showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, low flow showerheads can reduce the amount of water to as low as 1.25 gallons per minute. However, with this lower water pressure, it can be difficult for some people to enjoy their shower and the shower duration will likely be longer.

Low flow showerheads do not have multiple functions, but they are easy to install. They generally cost $15 to $60 per shower head.
Average Cost to Install
$15 - $210
Best Quality
Lowers water consumption
  • The most environmentally sustainable shower head option
  • Easy to install DIY
  • Budget-friendly

Shower Panels

Shower panels provide a unique experience for shower remodels. Also called shower towers, they are long columns made of PVC backed composite, fixed to your shower wall and connected to pipes. These multi-functional shower heads include various water settings, including a waterfall function, a handheld shower head, and multiple body sprayers/massagers that can be adjusted. Shower panels also have a modern appearance that can upgrade the look of your bathroom.

Due to the complexity of shower panels, they are fairly difficult to install and should be handled by a professional. Bear in mind that shower panels take up a lot of real estate on your shower wall; they are not the best fit for smaller showers. Shower panels fall on the more expensive side for shower heads, and generally cost between $300 and $600.
Average Cost to Install
$300 - $750
Best Quality
Numerous water settings
  • Most versatile and multi-functional shower head type
  • Sleek, modern appearance
  • Luxurious, spa-like shower experience
Because there are so many shower heads available to homeowners today, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. As you decide on the best shower head for your household, we recommend considering water settings and functionality, water pressure needs, cost, and energy-efficiency. Remember that for certain shower head models, you will likely need installation assistance from an experienced shower remodel contractor. Modernize can help by connecting you with top-quality bathroom remodel professionals in your area.