What is the Ideal Shower Head Height?

Learn what the standard shower head height is, and how to find the ideal height for you.

Installing a new shower head might seem like a straightforward task, but is it really? Different factors should be considered, including the shower head height and type of shower.

Is there a standard height, or do you simply follow your preference? This is what you need to know.

How High Should a Shower Head Be?

There’s no special code of requirements when it comes to the height of your shower head. Factors such as how tall the users are and the style of the shower head play a role.

In saying that, the standard height of a shower head is 80 inches, which is about 6 feet 8 inches. This height should be more than enough for people of average height, and it can even be enough for people on the taller side (1).

Public places such as hotels or guest houses generally install shower heads a bit higher. This is because the shower has to suit even the tallest guests. Most hotels opt for handheld shower heads for this very reason.

When you’re trying to figure out the best height for your shower head, the tallest person in the family should be measured. After figuring out the starting point, add a buffer such as 3 inches to the measurement. Adding 3 inches will give enough space for the tallest person not to injure their head and to still be able to enjoy the shower.

Rain Shower Heads

Rain shower heads are very accommodating to all heights as they provide good coverage no matter the height. Even if you have a low ceiling, a rain shower head will still provide an excellent shower.

The thing with rain showers is that you want the effect to feel like you’re standing in the rainforest. However, you can’t get that effect if your head is rubbing against the shower head.

We recommend that you install a rain shower head at 84 inches from the shower floor. This will be a comfortable height for anyone in the family, tall or small.

Handheld Shower Heads

Handheld shower heads consist of a 3 to 6-foot hose that allows you full control within the shower. This type of shower head is an excellent choice for families with children or pets. It’s easy to bathe young children without the risk of getting water in their eyes and potentially scaring them.

Some handheld shower heads will have a fixed wall mount. Others are able to move the docking up or down on a sliding bar. An adjustable shower head can be beneficial in a household where height varies.

A handheld shower head can be installed at any height that you and your family find comfortable. However, it’s important to place the head at a reachable height. You shouldn’t place it as high as a rainshower; rather, go a bit lower than the standard — between 72 and 78 inches should suffice.

How to Accommodate Everyone

If you have a big family with children of different ages and heights, try to find a way to accommodate everyone. We recommended rain shower heads for this, but there are other ways to go if you’re not feeling a monsoon bath.

Consider a Combination Shower Head

A combination shower is an excellent way to cater to everyone. These typically include a rainshower-type head and a handheld, adjustable head. These are very accommodating since you get a full-coverage shower that adults and bigger kids will enjoy and a handheld for younger children.

Combo showers are usually controlled by the same shower valves, but a small lever can be pulled to change between the two. Some combo showers can run both heads at once; however, water pressure may be compromised.

So, at what height should you install a combo shower? We highly recommend that combo shower heads are installed at around 78 inches. This is slightly lower than the standard, but you have to keep in mind the functions of each.

Take Note

Since the fixed shower head usually has broader coverage, it needs to be slightly higher. But, you shouldn’t install it as high as a rainshower because then you’ll need a stool to reach the handheld.

Shower Enclosure Height

Any area above the shower pan should also be covered to prevent damage such as mold or mildew. Fungi can begin to form in the grout lines or any other area that’s frequently exposed to moisture (2).

Again, there are no codes or regulations when it comes to the height of the shower enclosure, but the standard is generally between 72 and 78 inches, measured from the floor. These are available to buy at heights reaching 96 inches.

Most builders recommend that the shower enclosure is at least 3 inches higher than the shower rough-in. The rough-in is the height at which the shower arm extends from the wall.

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Now, you might think that it would be a good idea to install the enclosure from floor to ceiling to prevent moisture damage. However, this isn’t a good idea since the ventilation will be very poor inside the shower cubicle. Leaving a few inches from the ceiling allows good airflow to circulate while you’re showering and will help the area to dry once you’re done.

Height of Shower Fixtures

Now that we know how high the shower head should be, let’s focus on the fixtures. Shower fixtures include the valves and, potentially, a bathtub faucet.

To figure this out, first determine whether you have a shower stall or a shower tub. The valve has to be placed at a reachable height for everyone in the household. You don’t want to have to bend down every time you turn the water on or off.

If you have a shower stall, a good place to start is at the standard height of 48 inches. This is a comfortable height for everyone in the family (3).

On the other hand, if your shower is set in a bathtub, the fixtures need to be a bit lower. This is because they have to be connected to the bathtub faucet. The standard height of 28 inches is a good place to start.

Shower Head Height FAQs

How High Should a Shower Door Be?

It’s recommended that the shower door is at least at the same height as the shower head. However, the height can range from 72 to 78 inches — with some reaching up to 96 inches.

How High Should the Shower Wall Be?

Unlike shower heads and doors, there are different codes for the height of the shower wall. Now, this does vary between US states, but most specify a minimum height of 6 feet within an enclosed shower (4).

Reaching New Heights

When installing a new shower or redoing your bathroom, there are many things to consider. A crucial but often overlooked issue is the shower head height. Installing your shower head at the right height is essential if you want to get the most out of your shower.

While there are no codes or regulations when it comes to the correct height, the standard is 80 inches. This number varies, depending on the type of shower head you have. Rain showers should be installed higher to get the full effect, while handheld heads should be lower so everyone can reach them.

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About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.