If you've had one of those tiny water-saver shower heads for forever -- the ones that send out needle-thin streams of water and that feel like concentrated mist -- it's time to change the shower head. Most shower heads are now made with water-saving features that let you enjoy abundant, comforting showers without wasting a lot of water. However, you have such a large number of choices that it can be difficult to choose which style you want. Here are some of the ways in which the different styles of plumbing fixtures affect how you deal with the shower.
Your standard shower head is likely going to be the cheapest option you find. The cost will go up for shower heads that have more features, like multiple spray configurations, pause buttons, and self-cleaning features. If you're really low on cash, grabbing a generic shower head from a big box store should work fine (just remember to use the plumber's tape included in the kit to ensure there are no leaks through the threads where the shower head attaches to the pipe). If you can spare a little more money, a plumbing supply store could have shower heads for a reasonable cost that have many more features.
Ease of Cleaning
One of the best ways to clean a shower head of scale is to dip it in white vinegar. For attached shower heads, this often means either removing the shower head entirely and placing it in a bowl full of vinegar, or tying a bag full of vinegar around the shower head while it's still attached to the pipe.
An easier option is to get a handheld shower head. These are the ones that sit in a bracket that's attached to the pipe that normally holds the shower head. You can use the handheld shower head in the bracket (as if it were a normal shower head), or you can take it out and aim it wherever you want. These shower heads can be turned upside down, so to clean them all you have to do is fill a sturdy container with vinegar and dip the shower head into the container -- and you don't have to mess with detaching the shower head.
Versatility Versus Reach
If cleaning isn't the issue but reach is -- sometimes those shower head pipes can be very high up on the wall -- you might want to look into combination shower heads. These have two shower heads per kit; a bracket attaches to the pipe in the wall and diverts the water to two different shower heads. One sits up on the bracket permanently, and the other is a handheld shower head that rests in a bracket lower on the wall. You switch water delivery by turning a lever. This type allows people to use the regular shower head above and still have access to a handheld version even if the pipe above is too high to reach.
One more style is the rain shower head. This is a wide -- very wide -- square or circle that sends a cascade of water straight down as if you were standing in a rainstorm. You can find regular shower heads that are slightly wider than normal for a cheaper version of the rain style, but the real rain style has to be professionally installed. That can cost you, but the resulting shower can be very luxurious.
A company that sells plumbing fixtures will have examples of all of these fixtures. Take a look and see which might be the best match for you.