A hot shower is one of life’s little joys. But a shower head that’s at the wrong height can quickly turn a joy into a nightmare.
The right shower head height is neither too low nor too high. You want the water from the shower head to cascade over you, without you having to contort your body into an awkward position.
You also don’t want the shower head to be so high up that the water’s cooled down before it has a chance to reach you.
Whether you’re installing a completely new shower or just swapping out an older shower head for a new one, here’s what you need to know about the right shower head height.
Is There a Standard Shower Head Height?
It might surprise you to learn that there is a standard, recommended shower head height.
According to Hunker, the standard height for a shower head is 80 inches above the surface of the tub or shower floor. That’s 6 feet, 8 inches up, high enough that everyone but the very tall will be able to enjoy a relaxing shower.
Of course, we think it’s important to note that “standard” isn’t the same as “hard and fast rule.”
If you want a different shower head height — if you’re over 6’8″, for example, or if your entire family and everyone who uses the shower is very petite — then it’s your right to ask your contractor to install a shower head that’s higher or lower.
Does Shower Head Style Affect Its Height?
Another thing to consider when installing a shower head is the style of the shower head.
When we talk about standard shower heads, we typically mean the ones that are attached to the wall of a shower stall or tub. But other styles might attach to different surfaces. You might also find a model of adjustable height shower head.
Let’s take a look at a few of the more common shower head styles out there.
- Standard shower head. A standard shower head is no-frills and super basic. It attaches to the wall of a shower or tub. It might have a long neck, which can make it a bit shorter. Some models are more adjustable than others, allowing you to change the angle of the shower head as well as its height.
- Rainfall shower head. A rainfall shower head is meant to provide a super relaxing experience in the shower. Instead of coming at you at an angle, the water falls on you from above. Rainfall shower heads are often ceiling mounted, making them the tallest shower head option.
- Hand-held shower head. A hand-held shower head is a more flexible option than either a standard shower head or a rainfall model. Usually, the shower head features a nozzle that’s attached to a hose. You can slip the nozzle into a bracket on the wall or slide it off and hold it in your hand while rinsing off.
Who Uses Your Shower?
Who’s using the shower is an important question when deciding on the right shower head height. If everyone in your family is of average height (5’9″ for men and 5’4″ for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control), then you can probably easily get away with installing a shower head at the standard height.
But if you’ve got a few taller-than-average folks in your household, it might be best to install a shower head that accommodates them. A ceiling mounted shower head will solve that problem.
If you have pets or children who regularly need to be rinsed off or who (in the case of kids) can’t yet take a shower on their own, a hand-held shower head is going to give you the most flexibility.
You can install the shower head at the recommended standard height, then slip it off the wall mount to lower it when needed.
What Else Should You Think About When Choosing a Shower Head?
Beyond shower head height, there are a few things to consider when you’re picking out a shower head.
One thing to think about is how easy the shower head will be to install. Usually, wall-mounted models are the easiest to put in up, followed by hand-held models that also have a mounting bracket.
Typically, the plumbing is already in place to make putting up a wall-mount shower head super simple.
It’s a different story if you’re going to install a ceiling-mounted shower head. You might have to fiddle with the plumbing a bit to get the pipes up to ceiling level.
Then there’s the issue of attaching the shower head to the ceiling. You want to make sure that the shower head is firmly attached, as no one wants to have their shower interrupted by a falling piece of plumbing.
Although it might seem to have nothing to do with height, it’s important to pick a shower head that has the right water pressure for your existing system.
If you choose a shower head that requires more water pressure than your current plumbing system can provide, you’ll have a disappointing shower experience, no matter how high the shower head is installed.
Another thing to consider is the size of your bathtub or shower. The smaller the tub, the shorter your shower head needs to be.
Why? Because a higher shower head is going to have a wider spray area. For example, a rainfall shower head that’s mounted on the ceiling is going to be more likely to spray water all over, unless you have a very wide shower or tub.
Can Shower Head Height Affect Resale Value?
One last thing to think about when choosing a shower head height. If you need a custom height that deviates from the standard 80 inches considerably, it can be worth thinking about how much that customization affects the value of your home.
Admittedly, a shower head is a pretty easy thing to switch out. But people who are looking for a move-in ready, turn-key home might be turned off by shower heads that are at lower than usual heights or shower heads that are in any way different from the norm.
That said, it’s up to you to decide whether your bathroom’s usability and livability are more important to you now than the future resale value of your home. If you do plan on selling your home one day, you can always swap out your custom shower heads with more standard models to make the property more attractive.
Final Thoughts on Shower Head Height
On an average day, you probably don’t pay much attention to shower head height. You take a shower, you get clean, and that’s it.
But if you’ve struggled with getting the spray right in the shower or regularly find yourself hunched over, it could be that the height of your shower head is all wrong. It seems like a small thing but adjusting shower head height to suit you can make a huge difference.