Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the top shower features that professionals love to recommend for homeowners. As experienced bathroom remodelers and designers, we’ve seen the latest innovations and understand which shower upgrades provide the most value, functionality, and enjoyment.
In this post, we’ll cover the 8 best shower additions that can transform your bathing experience. From luxury rainfall showerheads to customized body sprays, each upgrade we feature is popular among industry experts. We’ll explain the benefits of each shower feature, provide pros and cons, share cost considerations, and offer professional tips for installation and use.
Let’s dive in and explore the most recommended ways to upgrade your shower!
Rainfall Showerheads Create a Spa-Like Experience
Of all the shower upgrades pros suggest, switching to a rainfall showerhead tops the list. Rainfall showerheads are designed to mimic the feeling of bathing in a warm, gentle rain. This is accomplished by using an extra-large showerhead face, ranging from around 6 inches up to over 10 inches wide.
Why Rainfall Showerheads Are Loved
There are several key reasons rainfall showerheads are a favorite for professional remodelers to recommend:
- Provides a drenching, spa-like experience. The wide showerhead face distributes water over more surface area of your body at once for a luxurious, soaking sensation. It’s like enjoying your very own personal downpour.
- Relaxing and therapeutic. The water cascades down like a gentle rain, massaging sore muscles and melting away stress. The weighted, distributed flow helps relieve pressure.
- Improved coverage for better rinsing. With water raining down over you, it’s easier to fully rinse shampoo from hair and soap from the body. No more angling a narrow stream to hit all areas.
- Stylish, modern look. The large, round chrome or bronze face serves as an eye-catching focal point in the shower. Rainfall showerheads provide an upscale, sleek look.
- Adjustable positions. Look for a rainfall showerhead that can be adjusted to different angles to customize the ideal water flow angle.
What to Consider Before Installing
Rainfall showerheads require at least 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) water flow rate to provide adequate pressure. Confirm your home’s plumbing and water pressure can support this need before making the investment.
Along with checking your water flow, here are a few other tips for choosing the right rainfall showerhead:
- Size – Consider the proportions of your shower area and decide on the ideal diameter for optimal coverage without overwhelming the space. Standard sizing ranges from 6 inches to over 10 inches.
- Material – Solid brass or stainless steel are the most durable options. Chrome and bronze finishes add style.
- Adjustability – Look for a model that allows you to pivot the angle of the showerhead to customize the water direction.
- Easy cleaning – Choose a rainfall showerhead with silicone nozzles that resist mineral build-up and are easy to wipe clean.
Cost of Rainfall Showerheads
Expect to invest $100 to $600+ for a rainfall showerhead. More affordable options around $100 provide a basic rainfall experience, while luxurious high-end showerheads cost over $600. The sweet spot for most homeowners is the $200 to $400 range. This provides an indulgent rainfall rinse with durable quality that lasts for years of enjoyment. Consider paying more for adjustable positions and easy cleaning features.
Installing a rainfall showerhead is a project a competent DIYer can tackle. Here are a few tips:
- Use plumber’s tape on all threaded connections for a watertight seal.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper mounting and positioning. Wall-mounted arms often provide the best adjustability.
- Check that water flow from the pipe is sufficient before attaching the rainfall showerhead.
- Make sure the shower arm is securely anchored and reinforced to support the weight of the rainfall showerhead.
- Use a wrench to firmly hand-tighten connections. Don’t over-tighten.
Hiring a professional ensures proper installation plus they can evaluate your plumbing and make any needed adjustments for adequate water flow.
Shower Towers for Ultimate Luxury
If you want the ultimate shower indulgence, pros recommend installing a shower tower. Shower towers integrate rainfall showerheads with body sprays for a completely drenching, spa-like experience.
Pamper Yourself with a Shower Tower
A shower tower delivers the pinnacle of luxury. Here’s how this über-upgrade takes your shower to the next level:
- Combines waterfall showerhead with side body sprays. The tower installs a rainfall showerhead overhead along with two, three or more body sprays.
- Total-body coverage in a warm, gentle water cocoon. Enjoy water cascading over you from all angles for relaxing, therapeutic coverage.
- True spa-quality pampering. Shower towers provide the total-coverage immersion you’d experience in a premium spa.
- Customizable experiences. Direct the rainfall showerhead’s angle while controlling the on/off and temperature of the body sprays for personalized hydrotherapy.
- Sleek, contemporary style elevates your bath decor. Stainless steel and chrome towers make an eye-catching style statement.
Shower Tower Considerations
To enjoy the benefits of a shower tower, ensure your bathroom’s layout can accommodate the footprint and your plumbing system can support the water volume required.
- Adequate space: Measure to make sure you have room for the tower plus elbow space.
- Sufficient water flow: Towers require 2.5 to over 5 gpm flow rate for adequate water pressure.
- Supply lines: Towers need multiple supply lines run to support all water outlets.
- Drainage: Confirm drainage capacity so water doesn’t pool at your feet with drenching multi-head towers.
Cost of Shower Towers
The sky’s the limit when it comes to shower tower costs. You can invest $2,000 to $4,000 for an elegant mid-range tower or $5,000+ for an ultra-luxurious system with features like chromotherapy lighting, steam, Bluetooth sound systems, and more.
Professional Installation Recommended
With their multiple water lines, extensive plumbing work, and electrical requirements for operation, shower towers require expert installation. A professional can:
- Evaluate your existing plumbing and electrical systems to see what must be added or upgraded to support the tower.
- Install new supply lines, valves, drain modifications, and wiring as needed.
- Ensure the tower components are properly connected and sealed for safe operation.
- Adjust and test the rainfall showerhead and body jets for ideal positioning and spray patterns.
While a major investment, shower towers bring a stunning, spa-quality transformation to your bathroom retreat.
Double Showerheads for Duo Bathing
If you share your shower or want to upgrade for high-capacity rinsing, installing double showerheads allows two people to bathe at once. Pros recommend this handy feature for family bathrooms.
Benefits of Double Showerheads
There are excellent reasons to consider incorporating two showerheads in your shower:
- Share the shower without compromise. Each bather enjoys their own water flow for simultaneous washing.
- Conserve water. Shower together and cut your home’s overall water usage.
- Wash pets, children or those needing assistance. The two showerheads simplify bathing another person or your dog!
- Flexibility in positioning. Place the showerheads at different heights and angles to suit the heights of various bathers.
- Provides high-capacity rinsing. The double water flow makes it easy to quickly rinse long hair, wash large pets, or spray down sporting equipment.
Choosing Your Double Showerheads
Look for the following when selecting two showerheads for your shower:
- Same design or coordinated styles. Choose two matching showerheads or complementary designs for a cohesive look.
- Adjustable angles. Flexible showerhead positioning lets each bather direct water flow perfectly.
- Shut-off valves. Individual on/off valves allow controlling each showerhead’s water independently.
- Different spray settings. Opt for two showerheads with varied spray options – one may have massage jets while the other provides a gentle rain rinse.
Expect to pay $150 to $600+ to add two showerheads, depending on the quality, finishes, and settings you select. The installation labor will add $200 to $500 or more to this cost.
Professional Assistance Recommended
While savvy DIYers can handle installing double showerheads, it’s smart to consult a pro to ensure:
- Adequate water flow, pressure, and supply lines to add the extra showerhead
- Structural support to mount the additional showerhead
- Proper positioning of both showerheads for an ideal showering experience
The professional can also manage any plumbing modifications needed to accommodate two showerheads sharing the water supply.
Handheld Showerheads Offer Flexible Functionality
Need added versatility in your shower? Handheld showerheads are a popular pick recommended by pros.
Why Handheld Showerheads Are Loved
Handheld showerheads provide flexibility that standard overhead fixed showerheads just don’t offer:
- Targeted cleaning control. Easily spray exactly where you want: feet, legs, back, hair, or hard-to-reach spots.
- Comfortable bathing assist. Helpful for bathing children, pets, or those with limited mobility.
- Peace of mind preventing falls. Safely sit while bathing without risking slips or stumbles.
- Independence for all users. Useable even if you need to sit rather than stand to shower.
- Quick rinses. Rinse down the tub or shower walls, spray-wash pets, or tackle other targeted cleaning tasks.
- Fun for kids! Children often enjoy using the handheld themselves as part of their bathing routine.
Key Features to Look For
- Adjustable slide bar allows vertical positioning of the handheld unit at different heights.
- At least 5′ of flexible hose for maximum maneuverability.
- Easy-grip handle designed for wet hands along with an anti-slip texture.
- Secure holster dock at the height you prefer for keeping the handheld secure when not in use.
- Convenient push-button or lever flow control on the handheld unit itself.
Budget $100 to $300+ for a handheld showerhead setup. The price rises with luxury finishes like brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze, advanced spray settings, and quality materials like solid brass.
Factor in another $100 to $250 or more for professional installation. This ensures proper placement and any needed plumbing modifications.
If tackling adding a handheld showerhead yourself, keep these tips in mind:
- Use plumber’s tape on all threaded joints for watertight seals.
- Make sure the supply pipe is sufficiently anchored to support the handheld’s supply hose weight.
- Follow manufacturer’s directions for slide bar mounting positions. Most install 6 to 7 feet above the tub floor.
- Confirm the docking station holder secures the handheld firmly so it doesn’t detach and fall.
- Test the range of motion. You should be able to comfortably sit and bathe along with standing showers.
Rainfall Shower Panels for a Spa Experience
Want to surround yourself in gentle rainfall? Shower panels allow you to add rainfall showerheads, hand showers, body sprays, and more for a customizable spa-like experience.
Why Pros Love Shower Panels
Here are the many advantages shower panels offer:
- All-in-one immersive spa experience. Panels may combine waterfall showerheads, handheld shower wands, horizontal body sprays, vertical raindrop jets, steam outlets, and more.
- Customizable hydromassage zones. Direct water streams where you want them for neck massages, lower back relaxation, foot pampering, and more.
- Space efficiency. Multi-function panels add spa experiences while taking up minimal wall space.
- Simplified installation. Everything arrives pre-assembled. Proper positioning and connection to supplies are the primary steps.
- Easy upgrading. Panels allow upgrading an outdated or builder-basic shower to luxury status in one consolidated remodel.
- Contemporary style. Sleek towel-bar style panels or futuristic-looking units bring modern design to your bathroom.
Entry-level shower panels with basic functions start around $300. High-end systems with all the bells and whistles like Bluetooth, lights, steam, etc. cost $2,500 to $4,000+. Focus on finding the right balance of features for your budget.
Professional Installation Recommended
Given the involved water and electrical hook-ups, it’s smart to have a professional handle shower panel installation. They can:
- Verify adequate supply lines and water flow/pressure to meet the panel needs.
- Make any necessary plumbing adjustments like re-routing supply lines.
- Ensure watertight seals on all connections.
- Confirm proper voltage and amperage if the unit includes electrical features.
- Adjust the position of the body jets and showerheads for optimal experiences.
Steam Showers for Therapeutic Relaxation
To enjoy relaxation, detoxification, and skin hydration right at home, pros love installing steam showers.
Why Steam Showers Are So Popular
Steam shower benefits go well beyond mere relaxation – incorporating one provides true therapeutic perks:
- Detoxification. Sweating purges toxins and impurities from the body. Steam helps amplify this detox benefit.
- Muscle therapy. The heat and steam soothe sore, tense muscles to provide natural pain relief.
- Respiratory relief. Inhaling steam moisturizes and opens airways for easier breathing. The humidity may help sinus congestion.
- Stress and anxiety reduction. The cocoon of warmth melts away the tension while the sound of steam is soothing.
- Skin hydration and rejuvenation. Steam infuses the skin with hydration and improves circulation.
- Improved sleep. A pre-bedtime steam shower may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Considerations Before Installing a Steam Shower
Here are some key factors to assess when exploring a steam shower addition:
- Bathroom size. You need a minimum of 35 to 40 square feet for a steam-capable shower.
- Moisture precautions. Proper ventilation and sealing are a must to prevent moisture issues.
- Accessibility.Provide plenty of clearance for safe entry/exit from the steam shower.
- User safety. Those with certain health conditions should check with a doctor before enjoying steam bathing.
Costs of Steam Showers
You’ll need $3,000 to $8,000+ for a professional-grade steam shower installation:
- Steam generator unit: $1,500 – $4,000
- Plumbing, electrical, construction: $1,500 – $2,000+
- Materials like waterproof shower surfaces and seating: Varies based on selections
Ongoing costs include periodic descaling treatments for the steam generator unit.
Professional Expertise Essential
Steam showers require extensive specialized plumbing, waterproofing, ventilation, and electrical work. A professional is essential for:
- Safely running electrical and plumbing to supply the steam generator.
- Waterproofing and sealing the steam shower to prevent moisture issues.
- Installing vents and fans to properly exhaust steam.
- Positioning recessed lighting and steam heads evenly throughout the shower area.
Body Sprays for Customized Hydrotherapy
Strategically placed body sprays in the shower offer the perk of directing water exactly where you want it. Pros recommend incorporating sprays for total-body relaxation.
Why You’ll Love Body Sprays
Body sprays offer hugely customizable showering:
- Target stiff shoulder muscles with a concentrated stream right where you need it.
- Massage and soothe sore lower back areas while showering.
- Rinse shampoo thoroughly without awkward neck-bending by directing spray exactly on your hair.
- Foot massage sprays to relax and refresh tired, achy feet.
- Enjoy an all-over hydrotherapy experience with banks of sprays up and down the shower walls.
- Position body sprays at varied heights to suit bathers of all sizes.
- Control each spray’s on/off and often also temperature/flow pressure independently.
Design Considerations for Body Sprays
- Place shoulder-height for general upper body coverage and foot-level sprays low on walls.
- Locate back sprays approximately 4 feet up from the tub floor to target the lower back area.
- Use an anti-scaling filter to keep spray nozzles free of mineral buildup.
- Select flow-control valves to prevent excessive water volumes.
- Include backflow preventers for safety and to meet code requirements.
Costs of Incorporating Body Sprays
- Body sprays: $25 – $150 per jet
- Valves and plumbing: $40 – $100+ per spray
- Installation labor: $200 – $500
So you can expect to invest $500 – $2,000 depending on how many sprays you add and plumbing complexity.
Professional Plumbing Expertise Recommended
The plumbing involved makes hiring a knowledgeable pro a wise choice for adding body sprays:
- They can evaluate your home’s water pressure, supply lines, and drainage to see if adding multiple sprays is feasible.
- Professionals have the expertise to decide how many body sprays your plumbing can reasonably support.
- They can install the new supply lines and valves while ensuring a leak-free system.
- A pro will position the sprays for ideal ergonomic spraying of key body zones.
Shower Benches for Safe, Relaxing Bathing
For accessibility, convenience, and leisure, pros favor incorporating shower benches. These features come in many