Have you ever wandered out into a summer rain? Not gotten stuck in a downpour without an umbrella or your galoshes, or had to trod home through a storm, but just stepped outside and turned 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 rain showers are starting to show up in homes as well as spas. What is a rain shower?
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 showerheads like this Soiree Rain Showerhead 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!
The rain-like sensation is created with a funny-looking showerhead. Almost all rain showers have something like this Natural Rain Showerhead - flat sheets of metal in a variety of shapes and sizes (though all of them very large), with a lot of nozzles (140 in this case!) 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.
Rainfall showerheads not only mimic the natural world, but are also good for it, too. While 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 at this 11 Inch Rain Showerhead’s meager 1.75 GPM (almost a full gallon less per minute than the EPA standard), 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.
If you’re really attached to your water pressure, but like the idea of having a spa-style showerhead, in-between models like this Rohl 3-Function Rain-Flow Showerhead can give you the best of both worlds. Like a traditional, massage, or handheld shower it has several different (higher) pressure settings in addition to the primary rainfall one.
Regardless of what style showerhead you buy, to get the genuine rain shower experience, you have to get a little creative at least with your mounting, if not with the plumbing entirely. While most showers spray at an angle and can be anywhere from over your head to chin or chest level, a rainfall showerhead should be mounted at LEAST six inches above the tallest person that will be using it, and pointed straight down. Most of them, like this Square Rain Showerhead have a long, straight arm bar that can attach to your existing plumbing (assuming it goes far enough up in the wall) and extend out into your shower to create your very own delightful rain cloud.
Smaller showerheads, like this Nexus Rain Showerhead can produce the same effect if they’re installed properly, and tend to be a little bit less expensive than 10 or 11 inch discs, but remember that true rainfall showerheads are gravity driven, so a smaller one will produce a smaller, well, “shower” of rain, which won’t feel quite so natural. If you’re really looking to turn your shower into a full-blown one-with-nature spa experience, though, you’re going to need to go a step further…
Mounting your rain shower head either from the ceiling with a Ceiling Mount, or better yet directly IN the ceiling as shown in the picture above, is the best way to get an ultra-realistic rain feel, as it both allows for 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 best part about installing a rainfall showerhead is that it’s 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 anything from swapping out a corroded old nozzle for a fancy new one to redesigning your whole bathroom into a spa-space, and 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!
Have you ever had a great experience with a rainfall showerhead – at a spa or at home? Ever gotten blissfully stuck in the rain? Do you love the relaxing natural feel, or miss your water pressure? Let me know in the comments!