When selecting a handheld shower head for your bathroom, there are many options to consider within the marketplace, including the construction material, flow rate (i.e., gallons per minute), and weight.
But beyond the features, you also need to know if it’s going to last you a few months or several years.
To help you decide on the best handheld shower head for your bathroom, we put together this handy guide to help you with your journey.
Breaking Down GPMs of Shower Heads
In your research, you may have noticed that no shower head has a flow rate with a GPM (gallons per minute) greater than 2.5. The reason for this has to do with government restrictions.
In 1992, a federal mandate was issued restricting manufacturers from making shower heads that had a flow of greater than 2.5 GPM.
To make matters worse, in 2016, a few states and cities further tightened the restrictions and capped the flow rate to 2.0 GPM to save more water. To incentivize manufacturers to attain a GPM of less than or equal 2.0, the EPA now issues a WaterSense certificate that demonstrates that the product is environmentally sound (somewhat similar to how LEED certifications work for buildings).
But my shower head is already low pressure; what are my options?
If you, like most folks, aren’t a fan of these low-flow shower heads, don’t fret, as there are a few options at your disposal. First and foremost, you could specifically buy a high-pressure shower head. These shower heads often rely on the aeration of water that injects air into the stream to make it feel more powerful.
However, many high-pressure shower heads aren’t handheld, and therefore will give you limited flexibility when showering.
Consider the Finish of the Fixture
When it comes to the finish of your shower head, consider one made from nickel, chrome, or stainless steel. If possible, avoid plastic as it can easily crack if dropped too many times.
A stainless steel handheld shower head, on the other hand, is durable, naturally rust-resistant, and should last you for several years.
The only instance where a plastic handheld shower head may make sense for you is if you are installing it in an apartment and don’t plan on taking it with you once the lease is up.
The Best Handheld Shower Heads
Handheld shower heads are becoming increasingly popular due to the flexibility they give in the shower. They allow water to easily hit hard-to-reach places, resulting in a more thorough clean.
The Speakman Caspian shower head is a balance between form and function, with the added benefit of being eco-friendly.
This shower head is designed to save water while you shower, lowering your water bill by regulating how much water comes out of your shower at one time.
The flow regulator does reduce water pressure, and while you technically can remove it, it is not advised. Speakman support will not tell you how to remove it, so if the flow regulator breaks while you are trying to remove it, your warranty becomes null and void.
However, you should not need to remove the flow regulator at all. The Speakman Caspian 3 distinct spray cycles, one of which is the ‘massage’ setting – literally a jet of water spewing from the three inner circles.
Of course, there is the standard wash setting and a combination between the wash and massage cycles for working out surface aches.
The body of the shower head is nice to hold as well, with a perfect curve that fits in a hand without being cumbersome. Both the chrome finish and the brushed nickel resist water stains and fingerprints, leaving you with a spotless addition to your shower.
Don’t be intimidated by the mouthful of a name, this shower head is a perfect blend of handheld and stationary shower heads.
When separated, the stationary head gives off a very wide water radius that covers the whole of the body in a gentle mist, and the handheld has a variety of settings to suit your mood.
Together, they create a very stylish, wide shower head that rinses everything completely. The diverter switch lets you choose which head to use, whether that be one or the other, or both simultaneously.
While you have the hand-held head, the hose it is attached to stretches up to 82 inches. Nearly 7 feet for you to move around, and it is extremely flexible so there is no hassle trying to rinse hard-to-reach places.
The hand-held portion also features a pause switch so that you can stem the flow of water while you lather up.
With all that this shower head is, there are bound to be some drawbacks. Considering it is made out of very hard plastic, it is a fairly weighty item; the whole unit together is 4 pounds, which makes it slightly heavier than other conventional plastic models.
This shower head is also rather expensive, especially for something that is not made of stainless steel. However, the convenience is nice, and many buyers appreciate that it does not diminish water pressure.
The Venetian bronze finish is a classic color and will go well in any bathroom.
Technically, this shower head only has one function, and that is to make you clean. It does have 6 settings, however, and those you can use to enhance your cleaning experience.
The holding apparatus uses Magnetix technology to easily remove and reattach the shower head. The hose on this model is upsettingly short, at a mere 4 feet compared to similar brands on the market, s maneuvering around may take some practice.
The hose also utilizes anti-kink measures to prevent cracks and breakage, however, this also causes the hose to be rather stiff. Despite this, it is still a very solid shower head that has a multitude of great features.
It is a plastic shower head, which for some is seen as a negative thing, but it is very lightweight and easy to carry around while in the shower.
The settings range from gentle mist to deep massage, which enables more or less water pressure depending on what you desire. The shower head is eco-friendly, which means it has flow restrictors in place to prevent excessive water usage.
Many buyers have stated that these can be removed, but this is definitely not recommended as it will void your warranty.
This is not a high-pressure shower head, but rather one that will help maintain decent water pressure while also being easy on the water bill.
There’s a disco in your shower, and you’re invited!
The DreamSpa Color Changing shower head is both beautiful and functional, with long-lasting LEDs that change color based on the water temperature.
For cold water, the LEDs start at blue, and then slowly cycle through to green or red when it reaches your desired temperature.
It will start flashing red when you are trying to bathe in very hot water. Works especially well if you are trying to conserve water heating costs.
The five shower settings are fairly standard compared to all other shower heads; power rain, which is a touch stronger than your regular rain setting, pulse massage to work out your various kinks, hydro mist, and of course the ever-present eco-friendly mode.
There is also a pause function that allows you to stem the water flow while you partake in other shower activities.
The LEDs are a wonderful addition because they are charged by the running water.
No changing the batteries, just a long-lasting LED that you can enjoy for years. The overhead bracket is easily adjusted to get the angle you need while you aren’t using the DreamSpa in your hand, and the hose is incredibly flexible to help you reach those hard-to-reach places when you are.
This product is a must-have for anyone who wants a touch of color in their shower.
Don’t let the name fool you, this shower head does not act like a fire hydrant.
What it does do is takes your low water pressure and boosts it to high-pressure levels.
This is perfect for people who struggle with weak water and want to feel a more aggressive shower. The output is comparable to that of a hotel shower, which is great for people who have struggled with weak water output up until this point.
The shower head has several standard shower settings such as rain and massage, and you can use it as a stationary head or a mobile one with a 6.5-foot hose.
This model has very few downsides, other than the price. It is not a metal head like you may be lead to believe, but a plastic one. It is hard plastic, so it is not liable to crack if you drop it a few times, but you may notice wear earlier than with a metal head.
The hose is great, and it stretches out past its packaged size, but some customers have reported that the fit with the shower head is not very tight. It is something that you would have to test for yourself.
This GROHE product is innovative in its design, featuring a hole in the center of the shower head for better water dispersion. This shower donut delivers a wide rain shower of water all around you, ensuring complete and total coverage from your head to your feet.
The head itself is 5 ¾ inches across, which makes for a nicely broad covering range. The hole in the center does not impede water flow and outputs a high 2.5 GPM water pressure consistently throughout the shower head’s life.
All of GROHE’s products feature an easy to clean head that resists the buildup of rust, calcium, and lime scale.
The body of the shower head is made of plastic, not metal, and is plated with chrome to give it that very shiny and sleek look that matches any and all shower ensembles.
The faces come in a variety of colors, including gold, white, black, and silver to match your bathroom décor. The RainShower Icon also features a pause button that will help stem the flow of water while you are busy doing other shower activities such as washing or shampooing your hair.
Microbubble showers are a great way to get clean without feeling like you are at a car wash.
The Jet Bollina shower head utilizes numerous small holes to distribute water down in a soft, gentle rain, leaving you with a deeper clean than higher pressure washes.
This shower head works great for people who have low water pressure or need a gentler shower for sensitive skin. Plus, it is eco-friendly, so you do save money at the end of the month by using this product.
The shower head utilizes a very small face to distribute water.
At only 2 inches across, it is not all that great for use as a standalone shower head. It would be better to attach it to the side of your main head and use it when you want a softer clean on your skin.
Other than that, it does work as intended and is made with Japanese craftsmanship for longevity.
When picking a shower head, many people look for a few things: style, function, and settings.
Massaging shower heads are great after a long day at work, while heads that simulate a gentle waterfall are relaxing. However, nothing beats an old-fashioned, single-purpose shower head with the sole purpose of getting water from your pipes to your shower as efficiently as possible.
The LP150 from KES is just that; a single-purpose shower head with no bells, whistles, or additional settings. Its primary function is to spray water, and it does that very well. In fact, some buyers claim it enhances water pressure for a more satisfying shower.
The sleek stainless steel design also adds a modern touch to any shower.
The LP150’s stainless steel design ensures a long-lasting shower head that will not rust, and the rubber nozzle protects against limescale build-up.
You will also never have to stretch your hand-held shower head again with the included 6-foot hose. Installation is as easy, and you can purchase parts separately to mount this shower head next to your pre-existing stationary one.
One of the downsides is the holder is made of cheap plastic instead of stainless steel, and it does not come with an adhesive option for attaching to walls.
However, there is a multitude of products that can be used to replace this problem at very little additional cost to you.
This shower head is a great choice for people looking for something different to put in their shower. This LDR shower head features more than just the standard spray and massage.
It also showcases an “aerated” setting and an “economy spray” for people who are looking to be more environmentally conscious or to save a few dollars on their water bill.
The handheld wand sports a pause button when you would otherwise let the water run idly, such as when applying shampoo or lathering one’s body.
While the pause button does not stop the water completely, it does slow it to a trickle to help converse water.
This product comes with a ball joint socket that enables the whole unit to rotate when not being used as a handheld shower head.
It is perfect for when you need to go hands-free, however, the 60-inch hose connected to the head makes using it as a handheld wand effortless as well. This shower head can also be attached to your existing shower arm, which saves you money in the long run.
Overall, this is a very easy-to-use product that has a lot of nice little features.
Instead of constantly hooking and unhooking your detachable shower head, the Moen 26008 utilizes innovative Magnetix technology to help snap your shower head into place.
However, this shower head is great for more than just magnetic attachments. This model comes with both a stationary and a detachable shower head that can be used separately or together.
With the included 3 way diverter, you can effortlessly switch between whatever head you want to use. The main shower head is designed to simply rain down on you for a full body wash, while the detachable head features 6 different settings.
The heads are made of hard plastic that has been brushed with nickel or chrome, so it is a very lightweight unit to hold and maneuver.
It’s great for people with weak joints who cannot hold up heavy metal shower heads for long periods of time. The 60-inch connecting hose is perfect for maneuvering around, and it works great if you need to shower pets or your children with ease.
The 3-way diverter is also made out of plastic, but it should not break if it is being used properly. A great product that is innovative as well as affordable, from a name that you can trust.
For a more simplistic shower head that meets all of your basic needs, look no further than Movario.
The Movario Five Hand shower head combines traditional design with innovative features that make this piece a joy to own.
5 unique settings like gentle rain, massage, and jet create an all-around wholesome shower experience that is catered to your needs.
The spray is a consistent pressure with each different spray setting, so even with the “gentle rain” setting, you do not have to worry about water pressure that is too weak. It can be used as a stationary shower head or as a hand-held wand thanks to the shower pipe attachment that allows swiveling motion while docked.
The face of the shower head is covered in limescale-resistant plastic. While this does not prevent the eventual build-up of calcium and limescale, it does make it a lot easier to clean. A simple swipe of your finger will render this shower wand virtually brand new with no decrease in performance.
The Movario is an exceptional product that will last for years to come.
GROHE goes back to the basics with their Sena Stick shower head.
Consistent with the company’s manufacturing, the Sena Stick is entirely metal with the exception of the rubber sprayers. This would normally mean that the shower head is prone to scuffs, but it actually resists scratches and limescale.
Like other GROHE products, if limescale does build up around the nozzle area, all it takes is a single wipe to make the nozzles work like new again. The nozzles run at 2.5 GPM, which makes it a powerful wash.
However, with all that the Sena Stick offers, it is actually a very limited system. For starters, it only has one shower setting. There is no pulse or massage, just a standard rain setting for easy cleaning.
Secondly, the shower head does not come with a hose, so you do have to purchase that separately. At the price that it is, you would expect a shower head, but no.
Overall, it’s a very pricey addition to the bathroom, but many customers swear by the product and have bought multiples for each bathroom.
Customizable settings are a standard for shower heads of today.
Waterpik is a trusted brand that outputs high-quality products for a reasonable cost.
With seven different settings to suit you, this shower head is perfect for showering yourself or bathing pets.
The rubber nozzles on this model resist buildup and are easily cleaned if they do get a little dirty. The attached hose is also exceptionally long at 5 feet, so there is no more stretching the wand to get the water where you need it.
For all that this shower head does, it does have some downsides.
Many buyers have reported that it has a tendency to leak at the connector from the hose to the water pipe. This is due in part to the fact the connector piece is plastic instead of metal. There are multiple other connectors you could purchase as an additional cost that may work better for you.
Once the shower head is set up, the regular shower setting is phenomenal, but ensure that the other settings are what you are after; there are reports that the massage setting isn’t massage-y enough, but otherwise, it is a good, high-quality product that will last for years.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.