Buyer's Guide & Information

10 Best Shower Heads For Comfort, Efficiency & Luxury

Enjoying a quality shower with flowing hot water can feel like one of life’s great moments. These brands will help you with that experience.

by PlumberAndy

Buyer's Guide & Information

10 Best Shower Heads For Comfort, Efficiency & Luxury

Enjoying a quality shower with flowing hot water can feel like one of life’s great moments. These brands will help you with that experience.

by PlumberAndy

by PlumberAndy

We at Plumbing Lab know that everyone’s opinion of the perfect shower may be different, there is one thing in common. A shower can be a relaxing escape from the stressors of life. The level of that enjoyment has a great deal to do with the type of shower head you choose.

There are many different types of shower heads available which mean there is at least one that will help to create your perfect shower experience.

Understanding Shower Heads

There are a variety of different shower heads available for purchase. They can be mixed in design, efficiency, and water pressure. A shower head is a crucial part of the shower experience and functions as the part out of which water comes out when turning on the shower.

Depending on the type of shower head chosen, the design will determine how water is distributed over the person taking a shower.

Best Shower Heads

You often get what you pay for when you purchase a new shower head. Spending more on a higher quality, more precious shower head is often worth the investment.

It can help you to waste less water, provide better water pressure and be more user-friendly.


Different Types of Shower Heads

Fixed – Handheld – Dual

There are several variations of dual shower heads. A dual shower head means that there are two shower heads in one unit. The differences are extensive. For example, you might have one fixed shower head and one handheld shower head. Another style includes having both nozzles next to each other in a less flexible fashion.

So, you have one shower head that continues to spray from above while you can move the other shower head independently. With dual shower heads, spray settings are controlled separately on each shower head. They can even offer different spray settings, both in number and type.

High Pressure – Rain - Massage

Rain shower heads offer the experience of standing, or showering, in the rain. These shower heads often provide full coverage in the shower because of their overhead design. You can usually find rain shower heads that offer multiple settings from a full-on rainstorm to a trickle.

A high-pressure rain massage offers a full pressure rain storm type of shower. Some rain massage styles even offer multiple, or randomized settings so that you can experience numerous levels of water pressure. There are many materials in which these shower heads are available including brass, chrome, or steel.

They are also available in different designs and styles.

Shower Head Filters - Low Flow

There have been countless studies performed that show that itchy, dry skin and weak, dry hair can be the direct result of unfiltered tap water. This is the same water that you use to shower.

To combat the issue of unhealthy water, shower head filters can help eliminate many of the harmful elements found in tap water that create these issues for your skin and hair. Low flow shower heads help to control the rate of water, in gallons per minute (GPM), that comes out of your shower head. The EPA governs the maximum amount of GPM that you can use.

This is to help with overall water usage. Additionally, it can help you lower your water bills, as you'll be using less water overall by investing in and using a low flow shower head filter.

RV Shower Head Units

A shower in an RV can feel like a luxury, but you can still have a relaxing shower while camping. An RV showerhead is just a handheld showerhead that you can use while showering in your RV. They permanently connect to a hose that links to a traditional plumbing setting.

Many of these shower heads have spray patterns and adjustable pressures similar to what you would find in a traditional home shower. And they are handheld with hoses that are usually very flexible. This means less space is used up in your likely small shower space. Also, many RV shower head units are built to conserve water use.

LED- Bluetooth Shower Heads

Shower radios have been around for quite some time now. However, Bluetooth shower heads are a new concept. With the help of Bluetooth technology, you can stream music straight from your device into your bathroom. This means getting to listen to your media while showering pretty effortlessly.

There are even some features available that allow you to use light as part of the experience given LED lighting. It can be challenging to find a showerhead that includes both speakers and LED lights at the same time. There are several options on the market that provide one or the other but very few that provide both simultaneously.

That said, you can work to combine shower heads with both lights and speakers to get the desired effect.


Features of the Best Shower Heads

Water Pressure vs Water Flow Rate

low flo shower head

These two phrases are often used interchangeably even though they are not the same thing.

Water pressure is the amount of force that is put on the water to make it move through your shower head. 

The water flow is the amount of water that comes out of the shower head throughout a certain amount of time.


The best shower head will allow for the water flow rate you want. The EPA does govern how much water you can use in your shower.

The EPA guideline is that your shower head must be using no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Low flow shower heads often use even less than that. Some low flow shower heads use just 1.5 gallons per minute.

Water Temperature

There are several possible reasons why your shower water isn’t heating up, and they can relate to your choice in a shower head.

The primary reason is the shower head valve. While many average homeowners do not necessarily understand the valve system in their shower, it is always recommended to use a professional to replace the whole valve system when investing in a new shower head.

This will ultimately prevent the shower head from negatively impacting the water temperature of your showers.

Efficiency

Efficiency levels should a significant factor when purchasing a new shower head. And the best shower heads will help you to conserve your water while also giving you a great shower.

While it is mandated that all new shower heads cannot exceed more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute, some of the best and most highly efficient shower heads offer a flow of 2.0 or less. The EPA has put out a great deal of information related to efficiency in water consumption.

Shower Head Type & Mounting Type

There are several different types of shower heads available. The six most common are rain system, body spray/shower panels, sliding bar, single-spray, handheld, and ceiling mount.

  • Rain system shower:
    Offers light water pressure over a large diameter to even out the water flow, which comes from directly above you.
  • Shower panels:
    Luxurious shower that includes outlets that are fitted that full length of the shower on parallel or adjacent walls.
  • Sliding Bar:
    Unique shower head that allows you to adjust the height of the shower head by sliding it up or down.
  • Single spray:
    Most conventional shower head offering a single spray pattern.
  • A handheld system:
    Detachable shower head that allows you to rinse off by moving the shower head itself. You can stay stationary and just move the showerhead.
  • A ceiling mount:
    Luxury shower head which requires extra installation. It is fixed to the ceiling and provides an even flow of water. This shower head requires installation performed by a plumber.

Spray Patterns/Settings

The best shower heads will provide you with options and various settings when it comes to spray patterns. Many shower heads offer several different options from which you can choose including full body coverage, a pulsing massage, mist, rain or trickle.

If you want the option to change your spray pattern, then you want to ensure you buy a shower head that has several options available so that you can switch back and forth.

Convenience

Convenience relates to how easy it is to install and maintain your new shower head. Keep in mind if you are comfortable installing yourself and also keep in mind the work involved with maintaining the shower head you choose.

Some materials are longer lasting than others, and while those materials may cost more upfront, they will likely cost less to maintain since you won’t need to replace them as often.

User Preference

Similar to most other items on the market, user preference drives the purchasing of shower heads. The shower head you want will be driven by the kind of spray you’d like along with the level of water pressure. You also will want to decide where you’d like the shower head to be fixed.

Quality & Design

When it comes to quality and design, keep in mind your bathroom décor and ensure that the shower head you choose suits your overall bathroom look. That said, you also want to pay attention to the material being used and if it is durable enough for your use.

Cost

Cost is a significant factor when making any purchase, and a shower head is no exception to this. You do get what you pay for, but you want to find the perfect balance between the amount you are spending and the right shower head for your needs.

Here, you’ll find reviewed shower heads that are span a wide range of cost. It is not just the cost of the shower head to consider, but you also need to keep in mind if you need to spend money to maintain your shower head or to have it installed by a professional.

You will find a wide range of cost in our reviewed products. This is to ensure you can find a quality, durable showerhead that comfortably fits within your budget. Our best budget-friendly showerhead is only $8.00 while some of the pricier options on our list are over $175.00. There are also many options that fall within the $20 to $30 range.

Certification & Warranty

When making your purchase, you want to keep in mind how vital warranties are to you. Many manufacturers offer a lifetime or limited warranty. You should be familiar with what is covered under warranty and if it is limited to the original purchaser. In terms of certification, you want to ensure that you find a showerhead that meets the guidelines set by the EPA.

In the following list of reviewed products, you will find a wide range of warranties offered. Many products offer a lifetime warranty, such as the Moen showerhead while others provide a time-restricted warranty. For example, the Hydroluxe, which is our top choice, provides a 10-year warranty.

You will also find three-year warranties below as well as money back guarantees.


10 Best Shower Heads Reviewed

1. Hydroluxe Ultra Luxury 2 in 1 Combo

Best Overall Shower Head

Flow Rate

2.5 gpm

Shower Head Sizes

4 x 4 or 4 x 6 (Inches)

Shower Head Type

Combination - fixed & handheld

Spray Settings/Functions

5 full settings

Material/Finish

Chrome Plated Premium ABS, Stainless Steel

Warranty

Limited - 10 year 

This shower head offers the best of both worlds, with its 2 in 1 combination. You get the fixed shower head with its adjustable angle, but you also get the handheld shower head as well. Enjoy high pressure water flow both simultaneously or separately with the Hydroluxe.

Double heads are fantastic because they allow total body coverage. Never miss an inch! There is a total of 24 full and combined water flow patterns, so you never have to settle on using just one. The five full settings include massage, power rain, stay-warm mist, pause, and water-saving economy, so you never have to feel stuck with only one type of shower.

A shower head boasts an adjustable angle mount which accounts for added comfort, and it's easily installed with no tools required. You likely can install this independently without the help of a plumber. It also comes with a limited 10-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry too much when making your purchase.

There are two options available, with a 4 x 4 ", and a 4 x 6" with the six-inch being the diameter of the lower shower head. Both options offer a vast variety of adjustments which is why this is our #1 choice. On top of that, you can have your dream shower at an affordable price, with easy installation.

A reviewer from Walmart, Kim, calls the Hydroluxe an "Incredible Buy." She goes on to say, "Amazing! I don't want to leave the shower anymore! For the price, it was a great purchase! No regrets!"

Pros
  • Adjustable overhead bracket
  • No tools required for installation
  • Limited 10-year warranty
Cons
  • Lack of water pressure
  • Settings are very similar to each other

2. Delta Faucet 7-Spray 

Best Handheld Shower Head

Flow Rate

2 or 2.5 gpm

Shower Head Size

3.38 (Inches)

Shower Head Type

Handheld

Spray Settings/Functions

7 spray settings

Material/Finish

Multi/Polished Chrome

Warranty

Lifetime Limited 

This Delta handheld shower head boasts a great deal of power for a single system. The massaging jets offer a reprieve for tired muscles, and there are seven different powerful spray options from which to choose. These options include: 

  • Full Body spray 
  • Fast Massage spray 
  • Full Spray with Massage 
  • Drenching spray 
  • Soft Drench with Full spray 
  • Soft Rain spray

Our favorite setting is the drenching spray as it covers the whole body yet still feels light on the skin.

With this many options, you never have to get bored and can customize to your personal preference. With the level of power offered by this shower head, your muscles will be relaxed and rejuvenated after every shower. Alter the water flow to your mood and how your body is feeling. 

Another excellent feature is that you don’t have to use any chemical or harsh cleaners with this showerhead. Delta has made it particularly easy to clean with its soft rubber water nozzles. Just wipe away residue regularly, and this unit will remain clear and safe to use.

With the extended warranty and the different shower experiences offered, this is our choice for the best handheld showerhead.

"My husband & I are extremely pleased with our purchase of this hand spray. It was very easy to install & we love the different spray settings. I also wanted a hand spray to use when cleaning the tile surrounding the shower area & it works great. The shower head is easy to remove after showering to spray down the walls to remove soap scum & then return to the holder. The appearance looks really nice. We are long-time Delta purchasers & didn't hesitate when we found this model. The brand always holds up really well. Happy Campers!" - A Five Star review on the Delta website

Pros
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • 7 powerful spray options
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Hose stiff & inflexible
  • Sprayer very lightweight

3. Speakman S-2005-HB Anystream 

Best High Pressure Shower Head

Flow Rate

1.75 - 2 - 2.5 gPM

Shower Head Size

3.25 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Fixed - Single Spray 

Spray Settings/Functions

58 (customizable) 

Material/Finish

Plastic/Chrome

Warranty

Lifetime Limited 

This high-pressure hotel shower head boasts an incredible 58 customizable water spray options. That is more settings than any other unit and is perfect for users who like variety when showering.

It is easy to use, rotate the handle of the shower head to transition the shower head to another spray pattern. Speakman has developed patented technology in the AnyStream 360, and this unique design combines simple to use with a plethora of options.

This Speakman shower head is the picture of luxury and has been installed in countless hotels and resorts around the world. You may remember using it when staying at a hotel?

Your home will feel like a vacation while using this showerhead as it brings home bathroom décor to another level. Impress any overnight visitors with a sleek, beautiful design that offers an incredible shower. We recommend this product for those who enjoy a high pressured wash. It is available in 1.75, 2 & 2.5 GPM with each providing a speedy and evenly distributed flow.

This showerhead uses patented plungers to optimize water pressure which is self-cleaning and resistant to build-up. You don’t have to spend time cleaning them. Instead, you can enjoy them. This is especially good for areas where people experience low water pressure.

With the sheer number of water spray options and the ease of installation, this is our pick for the best high-pressure shower head.

One pleased customer says, "Best show head EVER! I liked it do much at a hotel we stared at I bought one for home!"

Pros
  • 50 full-coverage water sprays & 8 center massage jets
  • Powerful
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Plastic internal fittings
  • Can drip after a short time of use

4. Moen S6320 Velocity 

Best Rain Shower Head

Flow Rate

2.5 gpm

Shower Head Size

8 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Fixed - Rain

Spray Settings/Functions

2

Material/Finish

Brass & Metal/4 finishes available

Warranty

Lifetime Limited 

This shower head boasts excellent coverage and spray. This is due to its huge 8-inch diameter, making it one of the largest heads on our list and . It has a flow rate of 2.5 GPM and will work well in low water pressure areas.

There are two spray options, which can be changed easily with the flip of a lever. You can choose to use the full spray mode or the concentrated rinse. The full coverage spray mode is incredible as your total body is soaked, washed and cleansed. The concentrated rinse is just that and means you can enjoy a stronger, narrower spray.

The Moen comes in four different finishes available including dark-brown bronze, bright metallic chrome, gold, and brushed nickel. Given the various options, you are likely to find one that will fit with your bathroom décor perfectly. The design is also very sleek and contemporary. This is great for anyone who wants their shower head to perfectly complement their existing décor.

The Moen shower head is easy to clean with rubber spray nozzles, so upkeep is quite simple. Similar to other brands on our list, cleaning is done by lightly squeezing or rubbing the 100 + nozzles. 

"The five stars is for the incredible customer service - no questions asked - and Moen truly does stand by their product! Very rare these days - but keeps us coming back for Moen." - A reviewer from Idaho

It is backed by Moen’s Lifetime Warranty (read more here). This easy cleanup and lifetime warranty mean that you have very little to worry about when investing in this shower head. It is a long lasting device that is perfect for anyone who enjoys rainfall style showering.

For more rain shower head options, visit our full guide here

Pros
  • Hassle-free installation
  • 8-inch diameter for full coverage
  • Customized water flow
Cons
  • Only 2 spray options: Calming rain rinse & self-pressurized spray
  • Finish can collect fingerprints

5. AquaBliss Filter

Best Shower Head Filter

Flow Rate

Works With All

Shower Head Size

N/A

Shower Head Type

Works with All

Spray Settings/Functions

N/A

Material/Finish

Chrome

Warranty

Money Back Guarantee

The Aquabliss shower filter helps aid in the reduction of a variety of unwanted materials in your water. It can reduce bacteria, chlorine, and pesticides, as well as inhibiting the growth of algae, mold, and fungi. All of these things have known relationships to eczema, acne, and dry, itchy skin.

So how does it do this exactly? The Aquabliss uses several filters and combines them to provide cleaner water. Firstly, when taking hot showers, the filtration cartridge inside the metal unit uses Redox media to clear this warmer water.

For lower temperature water, an activated carbon filter is used (again inside the system), and it helps remove chlorine. Lastly, a combination of KDF-55 and calcium sulfite provide extra relief from heavy metals and other unwanted substances.

Another great feature of this product is that it can be installed in a matter of minutes with no tools needed. You unscrew your existing shower head, screw in the shower filter between your current product, and reattach your shower head. So simple!

There is also a money back guarantee if you don’t see the results you expect, though it is argued that you can expect to see and feel effects in just a matter of a couple of weeks.

The filter cartridge should be replaced every 6 to 8 months, or after 10,000-12,000 gallons of water to ensure it continues to work with quality. The Aquabliss is an excellent choice if you want to eliminate nasty substances from water in your home. And given that you can install it yourself, you can reap the benefits quickly and easily.

On the Aquabliss website, one user exclaims, "We already love this on day 2. We have exceptionally hard water. My teens skin was bleeding, my newborns face was so bad she couldn't sleep from scratching all night, and this has changed everything. First use you can see a difference. I wish i had one for my kitchen sink!"

Pros
  • Results in a matter of weeks
  • Value for money
  • Easy, no tool installation
Cons
  • Filter cartridge needs to be replaced every 6-8 months
  • Can get plugged

6. Ana Bath Anti - Clog combo

Best Dual Shower Head

Flow Rate

2.31 gpm

Shower Head Size

5 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Dual - conventional & handheld

Spray Settings/Functions

Material/Finish

Brushed Nickel

Warranty

3 Year Limited 

If you are searching for a double shower head, then the Ana Bath is the one for you. This dual design is simple yet effective and has steady water flow of 2.31 GPM.

One of the most notable aspects of this shower head is its anti-clog nozzles that are particularly easy to clean and keep clean. They make removing unwanted deposits a breeze. By rubbing the small nozzles back and forward or in a circular motion, any residue is removed. The vents are made from a softer plastic and are significantly less rigid than metal.

As for the water flow, you can expect a rainfall type of spray from both units. Each comes with a 5-inch wide shower head, allowing for a full spray diameter. There are five functions available with this shower head (listed below), and you can easily switch between all of them.

  •  Rain Spray
  • Massage Spray
  • Massage and Rain Mix
  • Bubbling Spray
  • Bubbling and Rain Mix

The handheld system is ergonomically designed and is easy to use. It is lightweight and will fit in your hand perfectly for a comfortable shower experience.

There is a brass ball joint and connector which allows one, both or zero shower heads to work at the same time. In keeping with this durability and flexibility, the Ana Bath is made of stainless steel for added longevity.

Installation is easy, and there is no plumber assistance needed. This shower head fits any standard shower arm with more details available here. This is ranked as our best dual shower head and suited to those wanting double spray via fixed and handheld water flow. For even more dual shower head options, click here

"Ana Bath Combo Shower System gives you the easiest way to upgrade your shower system without any tool. No power drill, no screwdrivers, No plumbers, just your hands. With the  LARGE 5 inch SPRAY FACE & 5 function handheld shower and shower head, you can feel a whole new fantastic shower experience with our water saving shower technology which is another way to save your water bill. The sleek design and transitional style fits in any bathroom perfectly." - Ana Bath

Pros
  • Easy installation/fits any shower arm
  • 5 functions for different shower sprays
  • Use as a handheld, stationary shower, or both
Cons
  • Slight drop when both shower heads are on
  • Expect a blast of cold water from the hose when switching to handheld

7. High Sierra’s 1.5 GPM High Efficiency 

Best Low Flow Shower Head

Flow Rate

1.5 gpm

Shower Head Size

1.5 inches

Shower Head Type

Fixed - Single Spray

Spray Settings/Functions

1

Material/Finish

Metal/Chrome Finish

Warranty

Contact Manufacturer

If you are looking for high efficiency and low flow in your shower head, then the High Sierra is the best option on the market. This shower head saves 40% or more water and is WaterSense Certified. It uses 1.5 GPM which is considerably lower than the 2.5 standard more shower heads work on. Huffington Post featured it as one of the key ways that you can reduce water waste in your home.

From the company website: "In 2006, Malcolm saw the startling potential this new spray nozzle technology had to form the basis of a 1.5 gpm* low flow shower head that would provide a pleasing, stimulating shower while saving water, energy, and money." 

You get to enjoy a great, relaxing shower while simultaneously cutting down on your water and energy bills but not losing out on quality water flow. The nozzle is award-winning and provides a full spray of water, so you won’t feel disappointed when showering.

High Sierra is made in the USA and is very durable with solid metal construction and a polished chrome finish. And while it is common for low flow shower heads to get clogged with minerals in the water, this model boasts a clog-free design given its patented nozzle.

By reducing the amount of water use in your home, you will save money. In approximately 6 months it will have paid for itself.

Pros
  • Conserves water and energy
  • WaterSense Certified
  • Saves you money
  • Quality looking design
Cons
  • Single spray
  • One spray setting

8. ETL Standard Oxygenics Sprayer

Best RV Shower Head

Flow Rate

2.0 gpm

Shower Head Size

1.5 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Complete Kit

Spray Settings/Functions

1

Material/Finish

Plastic

Warranty

Full Manufacturer’s Warranty**

If you are looking for a reliable and straightforward RV shower head, then the ETL is a great choice. You can easily control the flow of water with the simple push of a button. This push button feature helps you eliminate water waste which is particularly helpful in an RV.

Despite being small in size, it is still flexible and allows you to control where you spray the water while showering as it is a lightweight, handheld unit.

Most RV's work on restricted tank size and water pressure. Oxygenics has developed this model with functionality in mind. It comes with a flow restrictor rather than a shut-off valve, so the pressure is significantly reduced but not cut out completely.

The small size of this unit is excellent for tight spaces while giving full coverage and control. It is; however, a fixed spray system so do not expect multiple patterns. The one regular spray is strong and sturdy for washing yourself.

Besides, this the ETL works well if you have hard water or are otherwise concerned with build-up. With this RV shower head, you shouldn’t have any issues with clogging, given its non-stick internal parts. This is a great feature given that you’ll be on the go in your RV and won’t want to spend additional time cleaning.

**Please note: the full manufacturers' warranty is only valid if this item is purchased through an authorized dealer.

"Awesome product!" reports user Stefon. He goes on to say, "1st, the gpm is lower,longer shower easy to install ,perfect water flow !!!!"

Pros
  • Easy water flow control
  • Won’t clog
  • Several different finishes available
Cons
  • Hose can get very stiff
  • Adhesive strips are not very strong

9. WantBa Rainfall/Massage 

Best Massage Shower Head

Flow Rate

2.5 gpm

Shower Head Size

6 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Fixed - Single spray

Spray Settings/Functions

1

Material/Finish

High Grade ABS/ Chrome Finish

Warranty

Contact Manufacturer

This is another high-pressured shower head boasting 57 jets in total and providing a superior massage experience when showering.

Buyers should expect an even range of water distribution if you live in low water pressure areas. It is common to see this WantBa shower head in hotels as it provides a luxurious experience.

Having 57 jets gives a full body spray, with the feel of relaxing under a powerful waterfall. This system is designed so that you to feel as if you are receiving an excellent massage on tired or sore muscles in the neck, head, and back.

The flow regulator is removable, and the shower head itself is adjustable. This means you can adjust the angle either for yourself or to change for a taller or shorter family member. This feature is incredibly useful for a large family or any family with small children or pets. Adjust the angle higher for you and then bring it back down to accommodate a small child.

You can detach the nozzles from the base of this shower head. This allows for easy cleaning but also means you aren’t likely to get too much build-up of unwanted minerals.

The WantBa is a value for money shower head that provides a soothing massage experience. It doesn’t come with a broad range of spray options, but it is perfect for those who love a strong flow on their bodies. We have created a full guide on massaging shower heads, found here. 

One Walmart shopper says, "I have very low water pressure, so bad that taking showers was a frustrating experience. I tried 2 different experience shower heads that did nothing. I researched and the WantBa kept popping up. I ordered it. It was ridiculously simple to install. I was so happy to turn it on and see the water pouring out in full stream. I's a very pleasant spray and the wide head makes all the difference."

Pros
  • Very easy to install
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to clean and keep clean
  • Total body coverage
Cons
  • Single spray
  • Only one setting

10. Niagara Earth Massage

Best Budget Shower Head

Flow Rate

1.25 GPM

Shower Head Size

2.5 (inches)

Shower Head Type

Fixed - Single spray

Spray Settings/Functions

(2) Spray & Jet

Material/Finish

Multi/Chrome

Warranty

10 Year Guarantee

If you are searching for a budget showerhead that is also conscious of water usage, this is the top choice. The Niagara Earth boasts the ability to use 75% less water than other low flow shower head models on the market. It is cheap to buy initially and will save you money once installed.

Despite the low flow of this model, you will still find a high and consistent water flow, given the patented pressure technology. This low flow model still offers a 9-jet adjustable turbo massage which can rotate from a gentle spray to a more powerful jet.

This flexibility is an excellent feature as the low flow is often thought as less enjoyable showering experience. That isn’t the case with this model. You can still get a tremendous massaging shower while saving water.

Niagara is available in either white or chrome-plated finish, with both choices having a high-impact ABS thermoplastic body which is resistant to corrosion. While budget-friendly it is also long-lasting and even comes with a 10-year guarantee.

This is our pick for a value for money showerhead. We recommend it given its longstanding guarantee, budget-friendly price tag and water conservation.

“This head uses half the water our old shower did, and adjusts to various generous streams, helping our water bill and the planet!” - Conservation Warehouse reviewer Diana

Pros
  • 75% less water than other low flow models
  • Guaranteed for 10 years
  • Adjustable massage
Cons
  • Limited spray options/settings
  • Single spray

Environmental Considerations

There are several regulations that govern the use of shower heads, many of which come from the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Energy. It is mandated, for example, by federal regulations, that showerhead flow rates cannot exceed 2.5 gallons per minute. It is also required that water pressure cannot exceed 80 pounds per square inch.

It can be quite easy to find a showerhead that very clearly meets the gallon per minute regulations, as they will have a WaterSense label. All showerheads that have this label have to be independently certified to verify they meet EPA performance and water efficiency criteria.


Filtering Hard Water: Chlorine, Chloramine, and other Chemicals

Hard water is water made up of a high concentration of minerals and is formed when water travels through deposits of chalk and limestone. It is estimated that around 85% of homes in the United States have hard water.

The prevalence of hard water
in the United States varies quite significantly depending on where you live in the country. Excess levels of calcium and magnesium as well as other metals can be  detrimental to you and your family's health.

Classification of waters are as follows: 0 to 60 milligrams per liter as calcium carbonate is considered soft; 61 to 120 milligrams per liter is considered moderately hard; 121 to 180 milligrams per liter is considered hard, and more than 180 milligrams per liter is considered very hard water.

The substances found in hard water, such as Chlorine and Chloramine can cause hair to turn brittle and dry. Also, it can have negative impacts on the skin such as dryness and eczema. Hard water has even been shown to contribute to dandruff.

Aside from the effects hard water has on the body, it has an impact on things within your home as well. It can even shorten the life of fabrics and clothes. The
Aquabliss shower filter is our top pick for removing these nasty chemicals from your water flow.

Hard water can also contain lime which can stain surfaces and can even clog showerheads. While these substances can be removed using chemicals, those
chemicals are often toxic to the lungs. There are several non-toxic ways to remove the chemicals found in hard water throughout your home. The simplest way is to purchase a showerhead that is well designed and easy to clean. Many on our list have soft rubber nozzles that reduce build up and clogging.

These nontoxic remedies are great options if you have young children or pets in your home, or if you like to exclude chemical use in your home.


Different Material & Finishes Available

When choosing a shower head, you want to consider the material with which it is built and then also decide on a finish and color that will match the rest of your bathroom décor.

And there are several different materials and finishes from which to choose when selecting your shower head, each of which has its benefits. Solid color finishes are particularly easy to clean, for example, while metallic or mixed tones can be used to match nearly any bathroom color scheme.

Materials can be supplied in a polished, matte, or brushed finish. One of these, for example, is chrome. The three primary categories of finishes are below. Within these, you may find a nickel, chrome, bronze, brass, and stainless steel.

  • Polished Metals
  • Brushed Metals
  • Hammered Metals

Spray Settings

Perhaps the most critical aspect of your shower experience is the spray setting. And it is a very personal choice. That said, there are several options available, and many of the best shower heads on the market provide all of the possibilities within one or two shower heads. You shouldn't have to be fixated on the same single spray setting.

If you've had a particularly hard day, perhaps you want to use a massage setting. If you're going to feel like you're out in the rain and under a waterfall from above, you may want to use the rainfall setting.

The very best shower heads will allow you to choose which spray setting to use on any given day in either a single system or dual unit. Below, you'll find a list of some of the most popular spray settings available.

Rain Shower Head
  • Regular Spray
  • Rainfall - usually larger in size and covers large amounts of the body.
  • Massage - high pressure and more focused flow aimed at relieving stress in the muscles.
  • Jet Spray - similar to massage with nozzles working alone rather than in a group.
  • Full Body - complete coverage of shoulders, head and back. 
  • Aeration - add air into the water flow for a softer experience.
  • Mist - very light and refreshing setting designed for relaxation.

Popular Brands on the Market

There are several top-rated showerhead brands on the market. Moen and Kohler are two of the most well-known and respected. They are known both for their durability and for their warranty with Moen focusing on head-only and single handheld systems. Kohler produces mostly fixed wall systems that look great but are less adjustable.

They are not the only well-known brands, however. Speakman is known for its quality but is also very highly regarded when it comes to water pressure. Another brand known for its incredible water pressure is Waterpik. So, if water pressure is the number, either of those two brands would be a great option.

American Standard has been its fixture in the market for quite some time and is popular for its reliability and durability when compared to some lesser known brands on the market.


Measuring Flow Rate

The flow rate of your shower, also known as GPM, is the number of gallons that flow out of the shower head each minute. The regulation, since 1992, is that the maximum allowable GPM is 2.5. You can measure your flow rate at home quite easily.

You need three supplies to do so: a timer or watch that has a second hand, a household bucket, and a measuring jug with liter gradations.

  • 1
    Run your water and adjust it to your ideal temperature.
  • 2
    Catch the water in your bucket for precisely 20 seconds, ensuring that you catch all of the water.
  • 3
    Pour the bucket contents into the measuring jug.
  • 4
    Multiply the total amount of water collected by 3. This will give you how many liters flow from your shower head within one minute. If you want this number in gallons, the conversion rate is 1 gallon = 3.78541 liters.

If your current shower flow rate is somewhere near 10 liters per minute, you likely have very low pressure in your home.

If that’s the case, you can benefit from getting a showerhead that will help you conserve water and energy. There are some reviewed here on our list. These options will help you to maximize the water pressure you do have. 


Improving Water Pressure

If you find that you have low water pressure, you don’t have to continue to suffer. Instead, there are a few steps you can take to improve your water pressure.

You can try these six steps:

  • 1
    Clear any clogs. Over time, your pipes can collect mineral deposits that form a clog. A quick fix for this is to take a zip-lock bag filled with vinegar and place it over your shower head, being sure to tie it in place. Leave it there to soak overnight. Rinse the fixtures in the morning. If you think you have a buildup and this trick didn’t work, it may be time to call in a plumber.
  • 2
    Check your water valve. You want to make sure your main water valve is completely open.
  • 3
    Check/Replace the Regulator. If you have public water, you likely have a regulator that 'slows' water so it does not gush through your pipes. If that regulator is worn down, the pressure will gradually drop over time. To solve this problem, you should replace the part, which you can either try to do yourself or hire a plumber to do for you.
  • 4
    Check for leaks. This can be an easy task. Just shut off all facets both inside and outside and turn on the water valve in your house. Write down the number on the water meter and then come back two hours later and note that number. If the number is the same, you should be in the clear. If it isn’t, you likely leak somewhere. And a leak will likely require you to call in a professional.
  • 5
    Install a Pressure Booster. If water has to travel uphill to reach your home, you may just be fighting gravity which is a losing battle. If that’s the case, you may want to install a water pressure booster pump.
  • 6
    Lastly, you can also look into removing your water flow restrictor, if you have one.

If you find that you have low water pressure, but still want a high-pressure shower, check out these options.


Changing Shower Heads

Changing your showerhead can be a different process, depending on the kind of shower head you plan to install. Before replacing any showerhead, however, be sure to remove your old one. You can do this in a few quick, universal steps.


Removing your old shower head

Turn the current shower head by hand counter-clockwise. Remove by hand, if possible. If not possible, use an adjustable wrench to loosen and unscrew the old showerhead. This may require some strength depending on the age and damage of your current system.

Once your old shower head is removed, you’ll need to install your new one. Different installation steps are required for different showerheads. Below are some quick guides to help you replace various styles available.


Installing a Fixed Shower Head:

Let's watch this home depot video as it helps explain the process.


Installing a Combination Fixed and Handheld Shower Head

  • 1
    Attache the diverter to the shower arm and tighten with your hands
  • 2
    Screw in the fixed-mount showerhead and turn clockwise. Tighten with your hands
  • 3
    Attach the handheld unit to the shower by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • 4
    Connect the shower house to the diverter and the handheld shower. Tighten the connections with your hands
  • 5
    Put the handheld shower in the mount
  • 6
    Turn on the water and check for leaks.

Installing a Handheld Shower Head:

  • 1
    Screw in the handheld shower mount to the shower arm and tighten with your hands.
  • 2
    Connect the shower house to the mount and to the handheld shower head
  • 3
    Put the shower head in the mount
  • 4
    Check for leaks

Other shower heads, such as shower panels or ceiling mounted shower heads require installation by a plumber.


Cleaning and Maintaining Showers

To keep your shower head working as smoothly as possible, you want to ensure it is clean.

This can also mean reducing the build up of elements within your shower head. To keep your shower and showerhead clean follow these instructions:

  • 1
    Rub the shower head nozzles if possible.
    This can sometimes dislodge any mineral buildup. You can use either your fingers or a toothbrush
  • 2
    Take apart the complete shower system once a year and wash separately to achieve maximum results.
  • 3
    Regularly soak the showerhead only in vinegar.
    Fill a Ziplock bag with vinegar and secure it to the showerhead overnight. In the morning, rinse the fixtures. This can help dislodge larger buildup of minerals.
  • 4
    Clean the filter screen.
    This is specific to your particular shower head. If you find the manual, follow the instructions for cleaning the filter screen. If you don’t have or can’t find the manual. You’ll likely be able to find the instructions on the manufacturer’s website.

Your shower and showerhead aren’t the only bathroom areas that require cleaning and upkeep.

Here you’ll find our review of the best toilet bowl cleaners.


Shower Head Warranties

It is essential when making your purchase, to take into consideration any warranty that might be available on your shower head of choice. Many of the huge companies that you think of when you think of bathroom fixtures have included a Lifetime Warranty as standard practice.

  • What is covered?
    Warranties usually cover any defects in the product or leaks that take place during regular use. Despite the expansiveness of the warranty, there are some exclusions. For example, if the shower head was installed incorrectly, the warranty will likely be voided. Besides, if you have used very abrasive cleaning products that could have damaged the shower head, you also probably voided the warranty.
  • Who is covered?
    Typically, the original owner is covered. And if you are using the shower for commercial use, you may find that it expires much sooner than the “lifetime” of the product. Those shower heads used for commercial use usually have their warranty expire after five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to fix a leaky or dripping shower head?

You can start by removing the faucet handle, and then the cover cap. Once you’ve removed the handle, remove the trim and sleeve. Replace all faucet washers. Then you reverse these procedures to replace the faucet stem. If complicated, you can also reach out to a plumber for assistance.

How often should handheld shower heads be cleaned?

You should clean your showerhead once per month for the best performance. We recommend thorough cleaning such as soaking every 6-12 months.

How to clean a shower head with baking soda?

Yes, place 1/3 cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar in a big plastic bag and secure it over the showerhead. Leave the bag on the showerhead overnight and rinse in the morning. This removes bacteria and build up from your system.

Can you use vinegar to clean a shower head?

Yes, you can use a vinegar-filled Ziplock bag secured to the shower head to clean it. Leave it overnight and remove it in the morning. Then rinse the shower head. As stated above, baking soda can also be added.

How do you remove a flow restrictor from a shower head?

Start by removing the shower head and the shower screen if there is one. Pry up the gasket inside the shower head and remove it. You then remove the flow restrictor. Here is avideo showing how to do this.

How can you clean shower head holes?

You can clean showerhead holes as described above using a bag of vinegar or you can wash with a non-abrasive cleaner. If you wash with detergent, you can use either your fingers or a toothbrush. Many brands on our list have soft rubber nozzles for easy cleaning.

How high should a shower head be?

A showerhead should be as high as needed for the family members using it. That said, you can get adjustable shower heads that will slide up or down. This can be particularly useful in households that have small children or that use their shower head to bathe animals. 

We recommend clearing the tallest family by 5 inches. For example, if a person who is 6 feet tall then make the shower head 6 ft, 5 inches from the ground.

What is the price range of the products on our list?

The price list is quite varied. You can purchase a conventional single sprayer shower head for very little money. However, the list gets more expensive when you account for combination sprayers, rainfall showerheads, or body sprayers. Like with so many other things, you do get what you pay for when it comes to shower heads. Our list covers products from $10 - $200.

Should you consider a plumber to install these systems?

Some systems do require a plumber’s skilled installation. The simple styles, such as a single sprayer, really do not and can easily be installed by a homeowner.

That said, sometimes you must hire a plumber, particularly if installing a showerhead that is ceiling mounted. A plumber is usually required to install these shower head styles.


Conclusion

Choosing the right shower head for you will depend on several factors including the type of water flow and shower spray you want and where you’d like the shower head mounted. You will also need to consider the installation of the shower head you’d like as well as the cost associated with your purchase.

Overall, we find the Hydroluxe to be the best model for most households. With its combination shower head design, you’re able to enjoy two different showers at same time and the flexibility of spray is sure to meet the needs of the whole family..

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