Long gone are the simple shower heads of yesteryear. Today’s modern nozzles are far from the type used in the past; those simple standard models. Today’s equipment runs the gamut, from adjustable spray units, streamlined handheld devices, all the way up to spa stand-up fixtures. The bathroom fixture section of the hardware aisle now has many alluring options from which you can choose. But which is the best shower head for your needs?
Types of shower heads
Standard traditional wall mount
The range of shower heads in the standard wall-mounted category now extends from the simplest design, all the way up to fixtures that are extremely elaborate. You can find models that include adjustable angles along with numerous spray patterns. Some of these newer models have technology that will even resist the build-up of hard water, and the effects of tarnishing and corrosion. There are those with only one setting and those with a multitude of shower effects, such as massage, gentle mist, and an assortment of flow options. There is a great deal of price variance with these units, but for those who are trying to economize, these units are a good starting point for your search.
If you would like the full force of your shower to fall straight down upon your head, this is the type of showerhead you may wish to select. These models are installed either directly onto the ceiling or through the use of an extension arm, hang down.
A lot of products under this type are in the top 20 top shower heads. This type of showerhead is able to accommodate the height of several individuals. The head of a sliding bar type unit is able to move up and down on a wall-mounted base. When this type of fixture is used in the bathroom, all family members are able to share the shower and adjust the nozzle to their preferred height, ensuring an optimal experience for everyone. These units can be removable or fixed.
A showerhead that is handheld is able to be removed from its mounting. Not only is this type of unit useful for bathing, it can also be of use for washing other things, such as kids and pets. If you are having trouble deciding whether a traditional fixture or a handheld fixture would be better for you, there is no need for you to settle on just one. There are combination units that are two-in-one. You want to make sure that the model you select can’t easily be manoeuvre and control even when your hands are soapy and wet.
These dual showerheads, which have both a fixed and a movable component, are generally controlled through the use of a single lever within the showerhead itself, or within the handle. Typically you will find a wall-mounted showerhead, which is fixed, in combination with a unit that can be handheld. Some models have a diverter valve, which will allow you to use both units simultaneously or either unit, separately.
Shower panels system
The best way to understand this system is to think of it as a stand-up Jacuzzi. These shower panel systems are very customizable. They allow you to control the water pressure in such a way, that you can get more pressure where you want it and less pressure in other areas at the same time. You can purchase units that are pre-configured or you can have unit of your own design; this will allow you to specify how many nozzles you wish to have and of course, their placement; whether that be at your knees, at your chest, or even overhead, etc. The output volume can be controlled as well, and you will have the ability to choose your own spray options.
Keep in mind that hot water consumption is often increased when shower panels are used within a home. It’s a good idea to check with the local authorities to ensure or that environmental restrictions regarding the installation of multiple shower heads will not be an issue.
It is extremely important that you make sure that the plumbing within your home is able to accommodate any shower system you may be considering. One half inch is the standard diameter for water pipes; wider pipes are often required by custom showers. Another consideration is the water heater that now resides in your home; it may have insufficient capacity to meet the new demands required by the new system. Of course, there are always retrofit options available, but enlisting help from a professional may be a wise decision.
In today’s market you will find many showerheads which are aerating. These showerheads mix air into the water creating a sensation of increased water pressure; in actuality, they are using less water than a traditional fixture. Initially the cost of an aerating showerhead is more; however, you will be saving money each month on your utility bills.
You can now purchase showerheads that have been enhanced with LED lights. These mood-matching lights can make your routine shower more enjoyable and exciting.
The satisfaction of water efficient models
Our shower testers, both female and male, evaluated the stream strength of each model, along with ease of adjustment, various flow settings, and other factors. Along with the subjective judgments of the panel, lab measurements were taken to test various flow rates and water temperature changes at various settings.
We were not particularly surprised when the results from the lab test coincided with the findings from our testers, as to which showerheads seem to provide the most water. Median scores were all that were achieved by most of the water-saving models. One of the water-saving models however, stood out to our testers as being “stimulating” and “refreshing”, even though it only provided a moderate 2 gallons per minute rate of flow.
Most of the time, the replacement of a showerhead is an easy do-it-yourself venture. With the use of an adjustable wrench, simply undo the old head, and take off the old plumber’s tape that is most likely stuck to the threaded arm of the shower. Place new plumbers tape around the threads in order to create a sufficient seal, then simply screw on the new showerhead, tightly. However, if one of the new “shower towers” with multiple jets is to be installed, there may be expensive and extensive plumbing alterations needed.
It should also be noted, that water pressure in your home may be low which will lower the stream force at the showerhead. A plumber will be able to give you advice regarding the readjustment or the replacement of the pressure regulator in order to increase flow.
Shower Head Reviews
Fixed shower heads
When it comes to standard fixed showerheads, the Speakman Anystream S-2252 stands out among reviewers.
The showerhead is composed of solid brass, and offers 48 separate spray jets, which are able to operate in three separate patterns, whether that is a full-force stream or a simple gentle rinse. There is a lever, which is side-mounted and easily grasped, which allows you to change between the settings, even with soapy and wet hands. ConsumerReports.org has not rated this showerhead however, professional reviewers have made it a popular choice. They have stated the spray to be “invigorating” and “rewarding.” The Speakman’s heavy-duty construction and its fashionable looks have impressed both owners and professionals alike. It has been mentioned, however, by some users, that when water pressure is low, it does not work very well. This showerhead can be purchased in five different finishes: oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, polished nickel, polished brass, and brushed nickel.
There are two large drawbacks to the Anystream: it uses the maximum legal flow rate allowable of 2.5 gallons per minute and it has a price tag of $70. Both of these problems are addressed by the American Standard FloWise 1660.717, which is approximately $35. Being only half as much in price compared to the Speakman, it still has three nice spray patterns from which to choose; turbine massage, full spray, or a combination of the two. It also boasts a modern flare design. Even though this unit uses only between one and a half – two gallons of water per minute, depending on which of the spray patterns is being used, according to reviewers, the flow still seems strong and generous. Professional testers have also scored this unit with high marks regarding its performance and water feel, temperature of hot water, and how easily it is to adjust. There is one component that is not generally liked by users; each time the water is turned off, the showerhead is automatically reset to the lowest-flow setting. The FloWise 1660.717 only comes in either polished chrome or at approximately $15 more, satin nickel. There is also available from American Standard, a handheld version, called the Water-Saving Hand Shower 1660.502.
Hand held showerhead
If you are looking for a way to upgrade your shower that is easy install without the need for power tools, wrenches, or even a screwdriver, then the Ana Bath SS5450CCP 5-Function Showerhead Combo Shower System is just what you’re looking for; all you need are your hands to install this unit. This shower head is in our top 10 shower heads. The showerhead has five distinct functions and the handheld unit has five as well. This unit uses water saving technology in its showerhead, so even though you will be saving money on your water bill you will still enjoy the performance of this shower. All in all, it is a great shower package.
When you purchase this package you will receive the HS5450, a five-function, 5 inch, handheld shower. These functions include: massage spray, bubbling spray, saturating spray, bubbling spray and saturating spray together, and massage spray and saturating spray together. The flow rate of this unit is 2.31 gallons per minute which translates to 8.3 L per minute. This particular model has a chrome plated finish and is similar to the nickel finish of the better known Ana Bath Shower Head System. If you find that water pressure is a little low, it may be possible to eliminate the limiters from both the handheld shower and showerhead in order to create a stronger flow. If you are unfamiliar with the limiters, you can locate a black rubber gasket containing small holes in one unit and a piece of white plastic in the other. Your money will be well spent if you purchase this exceptional product.
You will find that the of Ana Bath SS5450CCP 5-Function Showerhead Combo Shower System installs quick and easy.
When comparing this system to other systems within this class, you will notice that it is more functional and more attractive than the others, even the ones with twice the price tag. Full review.
If you want to enjoy the bathing, this type of shower will be your best option. Our pick for rainfall showerheads can only be the Velocity S6320 Rainshower Showerhead (Review) from Moen. This showerhead has two spray settings which is one of its best features; you can switch easily between the 30 middle nozzles giving you a good additional shower with powerful jets to the rainfall experience of 100 nozzles being triggered across the entire 8 inch diameter showerhead. This is a nice feature that can be utilized depending on your mood or the mood of your partner. The feel is quite sturdy and the unit’s rubber nozzles are easily cleaned; Moen also gives you a lifetime warranty.
When you want a little extra fun and colour with your showering experience, LED showerheads are just what you need. There are different models which can give you different results. There are LED heads which can change colour depending on the temperature of the water within the shower: blue for cold, green for warm, and red for hot. Still, other models give you the ability to change from the “temperature” mode to a mode of random colours; allowing you to have your own private party while showering. Another consideration with LED showerheads is to look at how the light is powered. Some units use batteries to power the LED, while others power their lights by generating power with water pressure.
We found the MagicShowerhead SH1026 to be our choice in this category. It cycles through seven various colours, approximately every 10 seconds, those colours being white, yellow, red, orange, blue, purple, and green. This unit does not use batteries just like others within this category. The water pressure generated by the unit provides enough electricity to light the LEDs. In the majority of households this system works quite well and without issue. The water flow is limited to 2.5 gallons per minute through the use of a flow restrictor; however, if you would prefer to have greater water pressure, this restrictor can be removed easily. Click here for the full review.
Shower heads with speakers
Yes, you can enjoy your favourite music while in the shower, using a showerhead that includes speakers. Doesn’t everybody long sing while in the shower? Shower speakers have a variety of options, from the basic AM/FM radio all the way to the more technical units that allow for Bluetooth connection, enabling you to stream your favourite music straight from your cell phone.
The unit we picked in this category could only be the Kohler Moxie Showerhead with Bluetooth Speaker. This is the Bluetooth unit to which all other showerheads compare themselves against, not only regarding spray patterns, but also in showerhead quality, convenience, and speaker module quality. The magnetically attached Bluetooth speaker can be removed easily in order to recharge the lithium ion battery, which is built-in. When fully charged, the battery will last about seven hours. One of the nice features of this unit is if you happen to be listening to one of your favourite songs when your shower ends, you can simply take the speaker unit with you as you finish getting dried and dressed. You will not need to stop listening to your music just because your shower has ended.
Although the Delta 75152 does not have a wand that is detachable and has fewer jets, it still uses H2OKinetic water flow technology, the same as our main pick; we found it to provide an excellent shower for under $30.
If you have no need for all those extra nozzles or a wand, then this step down model of Delta’s premier models, with its four jets, will come in under $25. Once again, the same H2OKinetic technology is being utilized that is found in the higher-priced In2ition line, allowing for a good understanding of Delta’s range. For those on a budget, this showerhead with its minimal design, basic functions, and four jets that provides a great deal of water, make this showerhead one of the best. Other than the $150 Delta (the best feeling showerhead of them all) and the $100 Speakman at the high-end, this showerhead has no equal. Depending on the water pressure, this unit provides between 1.8 and 2.5 gallons per minute. The amount of water we measured was 2.2 gallons per minute, which still felt adequately strong. It should be noted that on Amazon, this unit has a combined rating of 4.5 stars with over 600 reviews. This is a very good indication that the way we felt about this unit is also felt by the majority of users.