What is a downpour shower head?
To put it simply, a downpour style shower head, sometimes called a rain fall shower head, is a shower head designed to imitate falling rain.Those who choose to install these types of shower heads are typically looking to reproduce the sensation of being in a gentle rain in the haven of their own home.
Downpour shower heads come in two main styles: suspended from the ceiling and as a replacement for the standard wall-mounted shower head.
Ceiling mounted rainfall shower heads are most commonly found in custom-designed showers where the homeowner specifically chooses this design. This is because the plumbing for the shower head must come through the ceiling, which is not where your standard subdivision builder usually puts the shower head. The shower head is connected to the in-wall (or in this case in-ceiling) plumbing by a straight nipple. While you can use a standard chrome plated nipple as the connections are still standard 1/2” npt, finish-matching nipples are available from the same companies who make these sorts of shower head, such as Jaclo, Danze, and Sign of the Crab, just to name a few. The style is striking and the feeling of water raining down as if you were outside in a cloudburst is like nothing else.
Downpour shower heads that are designed to replace the standard shower head have two options: an overhead style shower arm or an adjustable shower arm.
An overhead style shower arm extends straight out from the wall with the outlet perpendicular to the shower floor, allowing the downpour head to drizzle straight down. One lovely type of overhead shower arm is shown in the image just to the right, but there are several different styles of overhead shower arms, so you’re sure to find one that looks just right in your shower.
Adjustable shower arms are pretty much what they sound like. They typically have two points of adjustment, one at the base, where it attaches to a standard shower arm or the in-wall plumbing (depending on the particular design) , and one at the top, where it connects to the shower head.
Adjustable shower arms are also ideal for tall people who constantly crouch to fit under an apartment shower head! Simply fit between your existing shower arm and shower head for an instant boost to your shower height.
A word of caution if you’re thinking about wall-mounting a shower head designed for ceiling mounting. Some of the larger rainfall shower heads can only be ceiling mounted due to their weight; a standard shower arm or adjustable shower arm simply will not hold them. A good rule of thumb is to choose a downpour style shower head that will not significantly outweigh the shower head you are replacing.
Now, as we know, there are as many different opinions as there are people, so if you share the bathroom with someone who loves the gentle spray of downpour shower heads, but you prefer muscle-pounding massage, we suggest pairing the two for a more satisfying shower for everyone. The simple addition of a dual shower arm or three way diverter would allow both a rain fall shower head and a massage shower head (or hand shower) with almost no effort at all.
Our team members here at PlumbingSupply.com seem to be split on the opinion of downpour shower heads. Some love them, some can’t see what all the hype is about. What’s your opinion?