Are Shower Heads Universal?

Engaging in bathroom renovations bring plentiful questions with themselves, one of the important ones is the question of dimensions. Dimensions aren’t only important for larger items such as bathtubs or cabinets, even smaller aspects of our bathroom need to be properly aligned with their measurements, one of these is the shower. Are shower heads universal is one of the questions we’ll be answering below as well as other fits and concerning factors that you need to make your bathroom really shine.

What’s a shower composed of?


Before we get down to looking into more specific aspects of the whole process, let’s look into the most basic parts of the shower.

  • The shower control
  • Shower hose
  • Shower head

The shower head itself can vary. Usually, showers will have only a hand shower head. However, there are showers that offer overhead shower heads, more frequently referred to as rain shower heads, which offer a different showering experience.

Rain shower heads usually come with a specific design in mind depending on the model of the shower. There are also various luxury shower heads we could put on. This versatility of shower heads is interesting but there’s a catch to it. Although shower heads can be switched out, the new part needs to be compatible with the rest of the shower.

Are shower heads universal and do they fit the same?

The shower heads can come in many different shapes and sizes but there’s a connecting feature for any shower head in the United States and Canada. This being their ½-inch NPT, which stands for National Pipe Tapered Thread. [1]

That alone tells us all shower heads in these places have a standard measurement, answering us that these are shower heads universal in size.

Are all shower heads universal?

No, just like with any other rule there are exceptions. Make sure to keep that in mind when purchasing new shower heads or you may end up with a useless shower head.

It pays to look at the provided measurements and quickly discern whether the item is of standard size. Of course, if you are still unsure or the measurements aren’t provided we recommend asking the employees about this.

Do showerhead sizes vary by country?

Yes, shower heads possess different standard measures depending on the country they are from. As we’ve already said, NPT stands for National Pipe Tapered Thread which means that it dictates the nation’s standard size.  In other places, you can find different standard measures, one of the most prevalent ones being BSP. BSP stands for British Standard Pipe but its application is common to other locations as well.

These include:

  • Australia
  • Asia
  • Parts of Europe
  • South Africa

This standard is different from the NPT and thus incompatible with the usual fit of shower heads.

The main use of knowing this difference is discerning compatible items during online purchases. After all, using online stores is a great way to cut costs and find some unique items to add to our home so knowing their compatibility is incredibly important.

Take note of the sizes and measurements before ordering a shower head. Another thing to take note of is shower hoses.

Do shower heads have universal fittings?


Well, that question has a similar answer. They follow the same NPT standard but vary by country, with some exceptions that deviate from the standard cropping up.

Unique showerheads

Of course, apart from regional distinctions and outliers, there are shower heads that are fundamentally different from the regular ones. The most noticeable types of such showerheads are rainfall showerheads. While these may fit the standard and have their own extension that’s added onto the regular shower setup, it’s more frequent to see them being mounted onto the ceiling, requiring additional plumbing work to make it functional.

These shower heads are often very easy to distinguish, they are frequently made with a way bigger surface than the usual shower arms and have far shorter connectors. They can be very useful for the sake of speeding up your showers, speed being one of the reasons people prefer showers to bathtubs.[2]

The wall-mounted shower heads are another example of unique shower heads. While the overall connectivity may be similar, the wall mounted shower heads are a lot smaller and specific in use than handheld ones. They too can require a full revamp of your plumbing system and as such should be avoided unless you are going for an excessive renovation of the bathroom.

Check if any parts of the shower need repairing

Once we’ve confirmed what type of shower heads fit our situation and what type we wish to acquire, it’s time to confirm that other parts of our shower are working properly. While renovating, it’s possible to miss some issues, suffering the consequences at a later date. In order to immediately resolve potential issues and skip over potentially heavy consequences, make sure to check every part of the shower.

The shower hose comes first, as it’s the part that’s immediately tied to the shower head. We should look out for potential leaks or knots on the hose. These can cause loss of water pressure and even result in flooding in some cases. Dirty shower hoses are even more problematic as they can pose a danger to our health as well as our installation. Make sure it’s properly taken care of before continuing with the check-up.

The shower control will usually show telltale signs of malfunction, either by the fact it’s not operating at full capacity or by releasing weird sounds once the shower has been turned on.

The problems can include debris, loose fittings, or any other number of issues. Such issues will usually require a replacement, although tighter plumbing could rectify the problem as well. Tighten up the fit, if there are still problems make sure to contact a professional.

The issues with the flow of water can be more frequent if you have a bathtub with a shower diverter.

Taking care of your shower heads


Once the renovation is over, there’s still a matter of keeping your shower head clean. There are plentiful ways to approach it and get the cleaning done but a few steps should be included each time you clean the shower head.

First, you should rub the rubber nozzles of the shower head. These nozzles can be prone to the buildup of minerals and other substances, by rubbing them you can dislodge the debris and keep them operating at full capacity.

Cleaning the head itself can be done with standard cleaning solutions and a rag but if you want to fully clean it we suggest soaking the head itself in vinegar. Detach the head and submerge it in a container of white vinegar for a few hours. Attach it to the hose after a few hours have passed and turn the water on. This will clear out any remaining vinegar, making sure that your next shower doesn’t have a hint of vinegar with it.


  • Can you use a regular shower head in an RV?

The regular shower heads do fit inside of an RV, you needn’t specifically get one for RVs. We recommend lower water pressure ones for this purpose.

  • Are shower hoses universal?

Yes, although they have a similar caveat as shower heads. While shower heads have standard pipe measurements that have exceptions with different sizes, shower hoses can also have a different bit at the connecting part. This can compromise the fit and even cause the shower head to slip out if it isn’t properly tightened.