The Best Handheld Shower Heads of 2022

Add versatility to your shower with one of these top handheld shower heads.

By Tony Carrick and Kristen Mosier | Updated Mar 30, 2022 10:48 AM

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The Best Handheld Shower Head Options

Photo: Kristen Mosier

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 bathroom. A handheld shower head features a long hose that allows you to remove it from its mount and aim the stream of water from the head. This design is also ideal for households with shower safety concerns, allowing users to bathe from a chair to limit injury.

The best handheld shower head features simple and seamless functionality, multiple spray settings for massaging or rinsing, and a kink-free shower hose. If you are hoping to purchase one of these versatile shower heads but need some help deciding which model is right for you, you’re in luck. In addition to our shopping tips, we’ve taken the time to test some of the most popular handheld fixtures on the market. Read on to learn about the various features of each and how they stood up to our standards.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Couradric Handheld Shower Head
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: AquaDance High Pressure 6-Setting Handheld Shower
  3. BEST LUXURY: Delta Faucet H2Okinetic In2ition Dual Shower Head
  4. BEST WITH RAIN SHOWER: American Standard Spectra+ Duo
  5. BEST FOR LOW PRESSURE: LOKBY High-Pressure Handheld Shower Head
  6. BEST FOR MODERN BATHROOMS: Bright Showers Rain Shower Head with Handheld Spray
  7. BEST DUAL SHOWER HEAD: AquaDance 7″ High-Pressure 3-Way Rainfall Combo
  8. BEST MASSAGING SHOWER HEAD: G-Promise High-Pressure Shower Head
The Best Handheld Shower Head Options

Photo: Kristen Mosier

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 modes, and water pressure.

Type

There are several factors to consider before purchasing a handheld shower head, including material, flow rate, spray modes, and water pressure.

  • Combination shower heads have both a fixed and handheld shower head. Users can use one or the other or both while showering. A three-way diverter allows each of the two heads to be used simultaneously or independently. Due to flow rate regulations, however, water pressure is reduced when both heads are used at the same time.
  • Low-flow shower heads control the amount of water usage to help conserve water. Water-saving shower heads, according to the EPA, have a flow rate of no more than 2 GPM (gallons per minute). These water-efficient shower heads are available with flow rates as little as 1.5 GPM.
  • High-pressure shower heads provide a nicer rinse and a massage-like feeling on the body. They’re designed to increase the water pressure with air inside the head. While these shower heads may cost you more upfront, they’ll save you money in the long run by reducing your water bill.
  • Rain shower heads are a popular option for combination sets. Water flows down over the top of your head, creating a relaxing sensation reminiscent of a spa. They’re either mounted to the wall or ceiling and usually have a wider spray and lower pressure compared to standard fixed shower heads.

Material

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, which also resist rust and corrosion. Most handheld shower heads use silicone nozzles, which are clog-resistant and require little maintenance.

Flow Rate and Pressure

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.

Since the National Energy Act was passed in 1992, the maximum allowable flow rate for shower heads is 2.5 GPM, significantly less than older models with flow rates of 3.5 GPM or more. With the exception of high-pressure shower heads, flow rate typically dictates water pressure; the higher the flow rate, the higher the water pressure.

WaterSense Certification

Water-saving shower heads that earn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense label use no more than 2 GPM while providing a shower that is equal to or better than standard shower heads on the market. EPA estimates that replacing a conventional shower head with a WaterSense shower head can save nearly 3,000 gallons of water each year.

When shopping for an efficient shower head, don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it. Look for the WaterSense label. These shower heads have been tested and approved for their ability to save water and energy and provide a shower of equal or better quality.

Spray Patterns

Most shower heads offer various flow patterns, with some featuring more than 40 spray settings. In general, flow patterns can be distilled into the following types:

  • Broad spray patterns allow for maximum coverage.
  • Pulsating and targeting spray settings create a narrow, intermittent stream of hot 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.

Aesthetic 

Handheld shower heads lack the sleek, minimal look of standard shower heads because of their long hoses, which give them a more utilitarian look. Unless you’re planning to redo the entire bathroom, you’ll likely want to match the new shower head to the current bathroom fixtures, including the finishes and materials.

Some of the most popular finishes are chrome, polished brass, brushed nickel, and stainless steel. Keep in mind that shiny finishes may show water spots, while matte finishes resist staining. The size of the shower head can play a role in design and style.

If you have space in a nice stand-up shower and want a square rain shower head up to 18 inches, why not? It can add a modern look and provide a relaxing shower experience. Conversely, those with compact shower spaces may need to stick with something smaller.

Additional Features

Some nice extras that you can look for when purchasing a shower head include:

  • Filtered shower heads feature a built-in filtration system that softens water and removes contaminants such as chlorine and lead.
  • Nonslip grip shower heads come with rubberized handles so that they don’t easily fall out of your hand while showering.
  • LED lights add an extra level to the shower experience. Users can select from various colors depending on mood, or users can turn off the lights and just hide out if they need to ignore the world for a while.
  • On/off switches allow users to pause the shower while shampooing or shaving to save water.
  • Magnetic docking connects the handheld shower head to its cradle and is a relatively high-end feature.

Installation

Most handheld shower heads are easy to install. 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, installation may involve an extension arm, which attaches to the spigot on one end and the shower head on the other.

Installing a shower head 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

This curated list highlights some of the best handheld shower head options available, according to our own careful installation and testing. From traditional models to sleek rain shower head combinations, these reliable picks can upgrade your bathroom and bathing experience.

Best Overall

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: Couradric Handheld Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

Making the top of our list for its high-pressure output, durable metal and plastic construction, and easy-to-adjust spray settings, the Coruadric handheld shower is likely to please most users. The 5-inch-diameter spray head has six easily adjustable settings, including bubbling rain, bubbling water, shampoo rinsing, pulsating massage, and water-saving mode. All the modes worked effectively, with sprays to suit different user preferences. The fixture comes standard with a 2.5 GPM but is available in 1.8 GPM for California users.

Easy installation and 48 self-cleaning rubber nozzles to prevent mineral buildup add to the value of this shower head. 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 any bathroom.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 2.5, available in 1.8 for California users
  • Number of spray settings: 6
  • Finishes available: Brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, and matte black

Pros

  • Good value
  • 6 easily adjustable spray types
  • 48 self-cleaning nozzles

Cons

  • Not as water-saving as other shower heads

Get the Couradric handheld shower head on Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: AquaDance High Pressure 6-Setting Handheld Shower
Photo: amazon.com

Numerous spray patterns and an affordable price make this shower head a great option for those looking to upgrade their existing fixture to a handheld model without breaking the bank. This small shower head packs a punch with plenty of water pressure. Six different settings range from power rain to mist, offering a nice array of options from a softer spray to an intense massage. One drawback we found was that the shower head began to buzz when it was switched to the pulsating massage setting. However, we also found that the setting was slightly too strong for a comfortable shower, with the other settings more preferable.

A 5-foot hose provides enough length for bathing young children or even pets, while a mounting clip allows it to function as a standard shower head. It was simple to install without any tools and is available in chrome, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 2.5
  • Number of spray settings: 6
  • Finishes available: Chrome, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze

Pros

  • Good value
  • 6 spray settings
  • 5-foot hose

Cons

  • Buzzing on massage setting

Get the AquaDance handheld shower head on Amazon, at Walmart, or at Wayfair.

Best Luxury

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: Delta Faucet H2Okinetic In2ition Dual Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

Delta’s H2Okinetic shower combo has a lot to like, including its attractive appearance and robust build. We love the innovative design that allows this fixture to function as both an overhead rainfall shower head and a handheld option, the latter of which is fitted inside using a simple magnetic connection, which felt snug and secure during our testing. The handheld works effectively with five powerful spray patterns, including kinetic power drench, full body, massaging, and full-body spray with massage.

The hose can be stretched to over 6 feet, making it perfect for cleaning children and pets. When the outer overhead spray is turned on along with the handheld, coverage increases to a 7-inch diameter. The overhead spray gives off medium water pressure, characteristic of a rain shower. The regulator is built-in and not intended to be removed, so some users may crave more spray pressure. We thought the overall pressure was a little light but appreciate its water-saving qualities.

This shower head uses the company’s H2Okinetic technology, which allows its nozzles to create larger water droplets than a standard shower, designed to mimic a drenching rain forest shower. The technology provides ample coverage at 1.75 GPMs and earns a WaterSense certification.

The H2Okinetic was simple to install and comes in seven finishes, including chrome, bronze, polished nickel, and black stainless.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 1.75
  • Number of spray settings: 5
  • Finishes available: Chrome, black stainless, champagne bronze, stainless, matte black, polished nickel, and Venetian bronze

Pros

  • Dual functionality—fixed and handheld sprays
  • WaterSense certified
  • Available in multiple finishes

Cons

  • Lower pressure when both sprays are turned on

Get the Delta H2Okinetic In2ition on Amazon.

Best with Rain Shower

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: American Standard Spectra+ Duo
Photo: amazon.com

For shoppers who enjoy the feel of a rain shower, the American Standard Spectra+ Duo provides this experience along with the bonus of a handheld shower head integrated into the center of the fixture. The unique design includes a 9.5-inch diameter that provides plenty of coverage with a comfortable, even spray. Our testing found the water pressure on the 2.5 GPM version to be light to medium when used with a regulator and medium to high without. There is also a 1.8 model available for those looking to save water.

The shower head was simple to install to our existing piping with just the use of a wrench. A magnet keeps the handheld securely attached but easily removable. Each of the four spray settings—drench, sensitive, massage, and power wash—were easily adjustable and comfortable, offering options for the different preferences of family members. At about 5 feet, the hose is plenty long for cleaning children and pets.

We didn’t love the pattern of the overhead spray once we removed the handheld. While we appreciate that it can function with both sprays on simultaneously, the overhead has a wide gap in the rain shower without the handheld in place, leaving us craving better coverage. You can turn off the outer spray when using the handheld, which may be the better option.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 2.5, 1.8 available
  • Number of spray settings: 5
  • Finish options: Chrome, brushed nickel, legacy bronze, and polished nickel

Pros

  • Overhead rain shower option
  • Wide coverage
  • Five easily adjustable settings

Cons

  • Gap in spray when handheld is removed
  • Light pressure when used with regulator

Get the American Standard Spectra+ Duo on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or on AmericanStandard-US.com.

Best for Low Pressure

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: Lokby High-Pressure Handheld Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

This handheld shower head uses nozzles that compress the water as it passes through to increase velocity, improving low water pressure. The flow rate is 1.8 GPMs, allowing users to save water while still obtaining a comfortable, even spray. This choice is well suited for those who want to save water or like a gentler spray. It also has five settings that boost the water pressure, including massage, rain, power rain, mist, and rain plus mist.

Between the mid-level pressure and a lengthy 59-inch hose, this shower head is an excellent option for bathing young children. A convenient off button lets the operator turn the shower off from the head, while silicone jets keep this shower head functioning properly by resisting buildup from hard water. It was easy to install and features a bracket that attaches to the spigot with a 60-degree pivot, allowing this handheld also to function as a standard mounted shower head.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 1.8
  • Number of spray settings: 6
  • Finish options: Chrome, matte black, brushed nickel

Pros

  • Water-saving
  • Soft, comfortable spray

Cons

  • May be too little pressure for some users

Get the Lokby handheld shower head on Amazon.

Best for Modern Bathrooms

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: BRIGHT SHOWERS Rain Shower Head with Handheld Spray
Photo: amazon.com

This fixture combo combines the enveloping feel of a rainfall shower head with the versatility of a handheld one. This 8-inch-square shower head features 200 nozzles and mounts above your head, providing a true rainfall experience with a gentle, even spray. The handheld model, also with a square-shaped design, matches the modern styling of the rainfall shower head and can be attached to the wall with an included suction cup.

Each has three spray settings, including massage, saturating, and combination sprays, as well as an on/off switch, making it suitable for bathing pets and children. A three-way diverter control, which is located on the overhead fixture, allows you to direct water flow from the faucet to the handheld shower head, the rain shower head, or both. One thing we appreciated about this model is the performance when using both sprays simultaneously. Unlike other models, we found the shower heads worked just as well together as they did individually.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 1.8 with restrictor and 2.5 without
  • Number of spray settings: 3 on each shower head
  • Finishes available: Chrome, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze

Pros

  • Mounted and handheld shower head included
  • Effective when using overhead and handheld simultaneously
  • Rain-shower experience

Cons

  • Diverter might be out of reach in taller showers
  • Not suitable for mounting on textured tiles, frosted glass, or wood
  • Mount cannot be reattached if removed

Get the Bright Showers shower head on Amazon and Wayfair.

Best Dual Shower Head

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: AquaDance 7" High Pressure 3-Way Rainfall Combo
Photo: amazon.com

Out of the box, this AquaDance fixture looks attractive and installs easily. The setup includes two separate shower heads, 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. We found both sprays to have ample water pressure, even with the regulator in place.

Several flow options allow you to run water through either head or both. The diverter is on the overhead spray, making it difficult to access if mounted out of reach. Each shower head features six effective and comfortable flow settings for massage, rainfall style, or standard. When using both simultaneously, the water pressure drops, especially in the handheld. The fixture is constructed of plastic with a chrome finish.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 2.5
  • Number of spray settings: 6 on each shower head
  • Finishes available: Brushed nickel, chrome, and oil-rubbed bronze

Pros

  • Overhead and handheld combo
  • Multiple setting combinations
  • Good value

Cons

  • Diverter may be out of reach for some users
  • Low water pressure when both sprays are used simultaneously

Get the AquaDance combo shower head on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or on Wayfair.

Best Massaging Shower Head

The Best Handheld Shower Head Option: G Promise HIgh Pressure Shower Head
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to massage, it’s all about a shower head’s spray settings, and this model from G-Promise has plenty of them. Its attractive round face can be rotated to access six spray settings, most of which are devoted to massage, including power massage, rainfall plus power massage, massage, and rainfall plus circular massage. Each mode offers a different spray pattern, but all work equally well and, in our opinion, with the perfect amount of water pressure.

An adjusting lever makes switching between the spray settings with wet hands easy. A long, stretchable 70-inch stainless steel hose gives this fixture plenty of length to massage hard-to-reach muscles and clean shower corners.

The G-Promise feels durable and is easy to install using an included mini wrench tool. It is made from high-grade plastic and comes in a brushed-nickel finish.

Product Specs

  • GPM: 2.5
  • Number of spray settings: 6
  • Finishes available: Brushed nickel

Pros

  • Great water pressure
  • Multiple massage settings
  • Lever allows for easy spray adjustment

Cons

  • Only one finish option available

Get the G-Promise shower head on Amazon.

ALSO TESTED:

PureAction Luxury Filtered Shower Head with Handheld Hose

We also tested the PureAction filtered shower head, and while we loved that the unit filters out chlorine, heavy metals, rust, sand, and sediment, unfortunately, it didn’t meet our functionality standards. We had some trouble adjusting the spray, which includes three settings—rain, massage, and combo. When turned on, the massage mode made a brief whining noise and didn’t produce the spray described in the manual. It also filled the bottom of our shower with water, causing us some concern about water usage.

Our Verdict

We chose the Coruadric Handheld Shower Head as our Best Overall selection because we believe it will please most users. The spray offers great pressure without being too strong or too soft, while six optional settings work well to suit different user preferences.

AquaDance’s 6-Setting Shower Head offers plenty of features at a reasonable price for those looking to upgrade to a handheld fixture without breaking the bank. Users will enjoy five spray options, a lengthy hose, and easy installation.

G-Promise gets a special mention for its excellent water pressure and multiple massage settings. We were reluctant to part with this handheld after trying it.

How We Tested the Best Handheld Shower Heads

We tested all of the handheld shower heads on our awards list by wall-mounting each, taking note of the tools needed for installation and the level of difficulty. Each fixture was examined for its weight, feel, and durability. We tested each shower head a minimum of two times, adjusting spray patterns and shower head direction and taking note of the hose length and flexibility. We observed whether there was any leaking or sputtering, changes in water pressure, unusual sounds, and hot water longevity.

We logged how many spray settings there were and whether they all functioned equally well, taking note of the water pressure, coverage, and ability to distribute water evenly. For dual shower heads, we observed how they functioned while used separately and simultaneously. We considered the features for the price point as well as the shower head’s overall attractiveness and a number of finish options available. Our top picks were chosen for ease of installation, durability, good design, even and ample water pressure, and spray options to suit differing needs.

FAQs 

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 ample pressure for removing soap. A good handheld shower head should also have a hose long enough to facilitate various uses.

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.

Q. What is the best shower head to increase water pressure?

With its narrow nozzles that increase the velocity of water, the Lokby High-Pressure Handheld Shower Head is one of the top models for improving low water pressure.

Q. How much does a water-efficient shower head save?

A water-efficient shower head that uses just 1.6 gallons per minute saves more than 26 liters of water for the average seven-minute shower. That adds up to about 9,000 liters of water per household member per year. On this list, Delta’s H2Okinetic shower combo earned a WaterSense certification, which is an easy way to take note of a fixture’s water efficiency.

Q. What does a shower head filter do?

A shower head filter protects skin and hair from chemicals and minerals that can cause damage and dryness, including chlorine and chloramines.