Shower Buying Guide(page 1 of 2)

Think about the size of your bathroom and the style of spray you want when picking a fixture

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Shower fixtures are more than just functional items—they're our friends. They freshen us up for the day ahead, warm our souls when we're chilly and give us a soothing pat on the back after a workout. We have a close relationship with our shower fixtures and we want them to perform well and last a long time. If you're in the market for a new showering system, here's what you need to know.

Before choosing a bathroom shower fixture, you'll need to consider a few factors, such as which spray style you want, as well as what your budget will allow. Other considerations include the size of your bathroom and what sort of shower fixtures are typically found in similar homes in your area.

Shower Fixture Types

Showerheads fall into five general categories. Many have some adjustable features that let you select the spray pattern and the intensity of the jets.

Single-head spray showerheads are the familiar bulbous, adjustable nozzles that have been rinsing our collective bods for decades. Single-heads feature four or more individual nozzles that distribute the spray in patterns. The nozzles adjust with a small lever that changes the flow pattern from wide spray to concentrated streams.

Rain showers are large, flat heads that are suspended directly above the user and direct the spray straight down.

Dual and multiple showerheads feature more than one showerhead controlled by a single set of levers (or handles). A typical configuration is a fixed, wall-mounted showerhead paired with a handheld counterpart. In some instances, a diverter valve allows the user to operate either showerhead or both simultaneously.

Hand-held showerheads feature a single head sprayer attached to a flexible hose, good for washing hair and those hard-to-reach places. Hand-held showerheads are particularly useful for those with limited mobility, and those who might shower in a sitting position.

Body sprays have multiple spray heads integrated into the shower wall. The heads themselves are either compact nozzles, or are flat and nearly flush to the wall surfaces. The possible configurations are limited only by your imagination and your home's water pressure—you'll need at least 45 psi (pounds per square inch) delivered through three-quarter inch supply lines. Prices for pre-configured systems range from $500 to more than $5,000.

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