When it comes to massaging aching muscles, bathing young children, or giving the family dog his monthly bath, a handheld shower head can be a handy upgrade to your bath.
A handheld shower head replaces a standard shower head. It features a long, stainless steel hose that allows you to remove it from its mount, and aim the stream of water from the head. This design also makes handheld shower heads a good choice for accessible showers with chairs. The best handheld shower heads feature multiple settings for massaging or rinsing, and a switch to cut off water at the shower head.
If you want to purchase one of these versatile shower fixtures, read on to learn what factors you should consider when shopping and why these models are among the best handheld shower heads available.
- BEST OVERALL: Couradric Handheld Shower Head
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Chrider Handheld; Shoer Head with Hose
- BEST HIGH-PRESSURE: WASSA High Pressure Handheld Shower Head
- BEST RAIN SHOWER HEAD: Bright Showers Rain Shower Head with Handheld Spray
- BEST DUAL SHOWER HEAD: AquaDance 7″ High Pressure 3-Way Rainfall Combo
- BEST WITH FILTER: PureAction Luxury Filtered Shower Head with Handheld Hose
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Handheld Shower Head
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a handheld shower head, including material, flow rate, spray options, and water pressure.
Most shower heads have a combination of metal and plastic parts. Stainless steel and brass are typically used for the threaded fittings to the shower spigot as well as the internal parts that direct water flow. The external components usually consist of high-grade plastic, which is not susceptible to rust or corrosion like many metals. Some showers use aluminum with a chrome, brushed nickel, or bronze coating. High-end shower heads are made of brass or stainless steel, metals that resist rust and corrosion. Most handheld shower heads use silicone nozzles, which are clog-resistant and require little maintenance.
Since the National Energy Act was passed in 1992, the maximum allowable flow rate for shower heads is 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM), significantly less than older models with flow rates of 3.5 GPM or more. Some shower heads offer maximum efficiency, with flow rates as little as 1.5 GPM.
Flow rate usually dictates water pressure. The higher the flow rate, the higher the water pressure. That’s changed with the development of shower heads designed to increase the water pressure with air inside the head. These shower heads can improve the water pressure for showers in homes with water pressure problems. They can also provide excellent water pressure at flow rates as low as 1.5 GPM. While these shower heads may cost you more up front, they’ll save you money in the long run by reducing your water bill.
Many shower heads offer a variety of different flow patterns:
- Broad spray patterns allow for maximum coverage.
- Pulsating and targeting spray settings create a narrow, intermittent stream of water for massaging sore back and neck muscles.
- High-pressure spray settings work well for rinsing shampoo and conditioner from hair.
- Oversize rain-style shower heads offer maximum coverage while simulating the feel of rain.
Energy consumption is directly related to the flow rate. The lower the flow rate, the less water the shower head uses and the more you save on your water bill. The maximum flow rate for a shower head is 2.5 GPM, but some have outputs as low as 1.5 GPM, which can save you a significant amount of money.
Handheld shower heads lack the sleek, minimal look of standard shower heads because of their long hoses, which give them a more utilitarian look. To make them more aesthetically pleasing, most are designed with attractive stainless steel, brushed nickel, or chrome finishes and feature sleek rounded shapes.
Installing a new shower head is one of the easier DIY jobs. Installation typically involves unscrewing the old shower head from the spigot, applying plumbers tape to the threads, and screwing on the new head. Depending on the type of shower head you purchase, installation may involve an extension arm, which attaches to the spigot on one end and the shower head on the other. Installation normally requires only a crescent wrench. Since virtually all shower spigots are a standard ½-inch size, you don’t need to worry about compatibility.
Our Top Picks
The shower heads below are some of the best in their respective categories.
With its six spray settings, high-pressure output, and durable metal and plastic construction, this handheld shower head from Coruadric will meet a variety of needs. The 5-inch diameter spray head has settings for bubbling rain, bubbling water, shampoo rinsing, pulsating massage, and water-saving, making it an excellent option for a relaxing shower or bathing the kids.
Forty-eight self-cleaning rubber nozzles prevent mineral build-up. A 70-inch stainless steel hose gives this model a greater range of motion and mobility, while a copper, wall mounting bracket adds stability. Its rounded features and brushed nickel finish make it an attractive addition to your bathroom.
A quality handheld shower head doesn’t have to be expensive. This model from Chrider offers an excellent value without skimping on the features. With its seven spray settings, including power massage, power rainfall, mist, water spout, and water-saving, this handheld shower head can rinse hair or soothe aching muscles.
This shower head is made of durable stainless steel, ABS plastic, and brass with a chrome finish. A 60-inch stainless steel hose provides plenty of length for bathing a child or washing the dog. An adjustable bracket provides a secure hold, and the shower head comes with plumber’s tape for installation.
Boost the water pressure in your shower with this shower head from WASSA, which is designed to provide excellent flow even in homes with low water pressure. This versatile shower head offers nine flow settings, ranging from massage to mist to saturating spray. It also features a low-pressure setting and pause mode that allows you to stop the water flow from the head, making it ideal for bathing babies and pets.
The head features ABS plastic construction with a chrome finish and brass and stainless steel valves and connections. Its 16 self-cleaning nozzles are virtually incapable of clogging, making maintenance easy. A 60-inch stainless steel hose provides plenty of mobility and reach for bathing.
This shower head combo combines the enveloping feel of a rainfall shower head with the versatility of a handheld shower head. This 8-inch square shower head features 200 nozzles and mounts above your head, providing that one-of-a-kind rainfall experience. The handheld model, also with a square-shaped head, matches the contemporary styling of the rainfall shower head.
It has three spray settings, including massage and rinse settings, as well as an on/off switch, making it suitable for bathing pets and children. A 3-way diverter control allows you to direct water flow from the faucet to the handheld shower head, the rain shower head, or both. Both feature clog-resistant silicone nozzles for low maintenance.
This setup from Aquadance includes two separate shower heads, including a 7-inch broad rainfall shower head and a 4-inch handheld shower head that mounts alongside it. Leave the handheld shower head attached for maximum water coverage from both heads, or detach it and use it as a handheld.
There several flow options, allowing you to run water through either head or both. A switch on the handheld shower head allows you to stop or start the flow of water for water savings. Both shower heads feature six flow settings for massage, rainfall style, or standard. These shower heads feature plastic construction with a chrome finish.
Remove all the impurities damaging your skin and hair with this filtered handheld shower head. It features a shower filter that fits inside the nozzle. This unit filters out chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand, and sediment that can dry skin and damage hair. The filtration system also makes it a good option for bathing babies with sensitive skin. The filter, which lasts about six months depending on use, removes impurities using a filter sponge and alkaline ceramic beads.
The shower head, which features durable ABS plastic and stainless steel construction, has three spray settings, including rain, massage, and combo. A 60-inch hose provides plenty of length and mobility for use while bathing.
FAQs About Your New Handheld Shower Head
If you still have questions about handheld shower heads, read on for answers to the most common questions.
Q. How do I choose a handheld shower head?
The best handheld shower heads should provide the right settings for your needs. If you plan on using it to massage sore muscles, make sure it has a pulse setting. For rinsing hair or bathing pets, get a shower head with a powerful rinse setting. A good handheld shower head should also have a hose long enough to facilitate various uses.
Q. Are handheld shower heads universal?
Handheld shower heads, like standard shower heads, fit standard ½-inch pipes.
Q. Are there shower heads that increase water pressure?
Some shower heads can increase water pressure by circulating air into the shower head, which results in a more intense flow of water from the head.
Q. Do all shower heads have flow restrictors?
The National Energy Act of 1992 requires all shower heads to include flow restrictors limiting water flow to a maximum of 2.5 GPM. In areas with low water pressure, a flow restrictor can reduce your water pressure to well below 2.5 GPM. In these cases, you may need to remove the flow restrictor from the shower head.