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How to Choose a Bathroom Shower

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Shower Bathroom Showers Power Shower

When choosing a shower for your bathroom there are quite a few criteria that need to be settled, from whether or not to have a separate, enclosed shower or fit one above a bath. Then there all the different shower types, from power showers to water economising showers, and of course you need to decide how you're going to heat the water for it.

The Range of Bathroom Showers

The things that are likely to influence these choices are the amount of space you have in your bathroom and the amount of money you are prepared to spend. At the very top end of the kitchen design arena are the large built-in shower enclosures which seat two people. They have a plethora of different massage and spray nozzles in all sorts of places so that you can have water shot at you from all sides in all different fashions.

At the other end of the scale is the humble push-on rubber hose pipe shower attachment, a sorry and near useless device to be avoided at all costs, frankly.

Options for Over the Bath Showers

If you really don't have the space for a separate shower enclosure and you want to keep your bath as opposed to replacing it with a shower, then you will have to install a shower over the bath. You can have a shower curtain suspended from a rail, or a solid toughened glass or clear plastic panel that will shield the bathroom from the worst of the water.

Curtains are better at keeping the water in the bath but inevitably get mouldy and can be dangerous for the very young or very elderly. Panels allow for a cleaner line which is more likely to be in keeping with a contemporary bathroom design but water can get around them.

Different Mixer Shower Types

If you go for the over bath route you can put in an independent electric shower but it makes more sense to have a mixer unit that's integrated with the plumbing for the bath, then you can use the hot water from the tank as well. The cheapest units of this kind are all one combined tap and shower unit and are susceptible to temperature changes.

Going upmarket a little brings you into the realm of separate shower controls in a unit mounted half-way up the wall. These work in a similar way but at least you don't have to bend down to reach the controls every time someone turns a tap on in the kitchen. If you can go up a step further then thermostatically controlled mixer showers come into range, these will stay at a set temperature and can be a real blessing.

Power Showers and Alternatives

Power showers can be either electric or mixer style, the thing that makes them different is that they have an electrically powered pump to push the water out faster and harder. You may be able to achieve the same effect by raising the water tanks that feed the shower, if there are tanks.

Of course you need to have the room to do this and the pipework will need to be extended, and you must make sure that whatever platform you put the tank(s) on is capable of supporting the load.

Shower Enclosures and Shower Head Design

With the space and the money for a separate shower enclosure the shower options remain the same, being either self-contained electric shower units that only need a cold feed, or the various mixer types discussed above. But if you have more money to spend there are some very extravagant shower heads that are available to use in enclosures.

There are large circular chrome 'sunflower' heads that rain a curtain of water on you, 'cloudburst' shower heads that look like something out of a science fiction movie and many more. If you push the boat out a little further you can reach shower towers. These are a series of jets on a wall-mounted pole at different heights so that you get sprayed all down your body as well as from a rose above your head.

This brings you quite a way along the road to the luxurious shower we mentioned at the start of this article, getting all the way there is all down to the size of your purse.

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