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Many people don't think too much about their showerhead; they just use whichever one comes with the shower. However, switching things up could give you a much more satisfying showering experience.
If you have low water pressure or think you would enjoy a range of spray settings, a new showerhead could be just what need.
But how do you select the right one? The market boasts hundreds of models, and you need to narrow your choice down to one.
At BestReviews, we seek to help you find the ideal products for your individual needs. We pride ourselves on our honest and impartial reviews, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
If you're ready to buy a new showerhead, we invite you to examine our five winning picks at the top of this page. If you'd like to learn more about showerheads and how to select the perfect one, please read on.
Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.
Before you begin your quest for a new showerhead, you might be wondering if it's time to replace yours. The answer is probably “yes."
Of course, if your showerhead is damaged, leaking, has poor water flow, or is otherwise subpar, you might be seeking a replacement for that reason. But did you know that many experts suggest replacing your showerhead every eight to twelve months?
As it turns out, showerheads are the perfect place for dangerous bacteria to grow and thrive. For example, the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) that grow on some showerheads can cause lung infections. Granted, these bacteria shouldn't cause too much of a problem for healthy individuals. But they pose a definite risk to people with weakened immune systems.
In short, it's best to err on the side of caution and replace your showerhead annually.
Between the darkness, heat, and moisture of a shower stall, your showerhead is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. As such, you should change your showerhead at least once a year.
Let's take a look at some of the most common showerhead types on the market:
Single-setting showerheads offer no choice in spray speed or settings; they’re either "on" or "off.” Some people consider these showerheads to be too basic, but others prefer a no-frills showerhead. They simply don't want or need any complicated settings.
Buyers who just want a basic showerhead should look at single-setting models.
Multi-setting showerheads provide a range of spray settings from which to choose. Whether you want a strong, powerful shower or a gentle rain bath, this type of head allows you to tailor your bathing experience. The Culligan Filtered Shower Head in our product matrix offers five different settings, including a massage mode.
Multi-setting showerheads suit people who like to tinker with different shower pressures. They’re also great for households with multiple people, all of whom prefer different settings.
If you suffer from tight or sore muscles, you might benefit from a showerhead with a massage setting like the Culligan Filtered Shower Head.
Rainfall showerheads are large — often eight or nine inches wide. The Moen Velocity on our shortlist is eight inches wide, and the Hansgrohe Raindance Downpour AIR Showerhead is a whopping ten inches wide. This type of head showers water down on you softly, like a gentle rain. It’s ideal if you like to feel the water covering your entire body at once but you're not married to the notion of a powerful flow.
If you like a softer flow in the shower, consider a rainfall showerhead.
Low-flow showerheads use a smaller amount of water than other types, yet they make you feel as though the flow is as strong as any out there. These products are as excellent as they are eco-friendly, and they could save you money on your water bill.
There are two types of low-flow showerheads: aerating showerheads that mix air with water; and laminar-flow showerheads that separate jets of water.
Speaker showerheads like the Kohler Moxie combine a regular showerhead with a wireless speaker. Most of these products work via bluetooth, so they'll pick up any bluetooth-enabled device within a specified radius. You can play music from that device, and it will come out through the shower speaker.
If you like to listen to music in the shower, look for a showerhead with built-in speakers.
Some showerheads fix directly to the wall. Other “handheld” models attach to a flexible hose.
Fixed showerheads may swivel so you can adjust the general direction of the flow.
Some shower nozzles are made from the same metal as the main body of the showerhead. Others are made of plastic, rubber, or silicone.
Showerheads with metal nozzles tend to accrue less bacteria build-up.
The Culligan Filtered Shower Head with Massage comes with a rubber “anti-clog” nozzle that may suit consumers in hard water areas where limescale causes problems.
Presumably, you want whatever showerhead you choose to match the finish of the hardware throughout the rest of the bathroom. The majority of bathroom hardware exudes a chrome finish, so all our top picks have a chrome option.
Notably, however, most of our top picks offer other finish options, too. For instance, in addition to Polished Chrome, the Kohler Moxie can be purchased with a finish of White, Brushed Nickel, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
Most showerheads are easy to install. Even if you have little to no DIY experience, you would probably fare well on your own with any of the showerheads on our shortlist, provided you have standard U.S. plumbing.
However, there are showerheads on today’s market that are tricky to install. In these cases, you may wish to hire a professional plumber.
Some showerheads require no tools for DIY installation; others require an adjustable wrench and some plumber’s tape.
Showerhead prices range from about $10 to several hundred dollars.
It's hard to judge a showerhead on price alone. A higher price tag doesn’t always equal a superior or more durable product. That said, a basic showerhead costing $50 or more is probably worth a look. If you want to enjoy a variety of spray settings or other features from a quality brand, however, you're probably looking at a cost closer to $100+.
Our Best Bang for Your Buck product, the Speakman Icon, currently sells for $62. For the price, you get a beautiful brass fixture in your choice of six hues which include Polished Chrome, Polished Brass, and Matte Black. True, it’s not a basic $10 model, but the owners we surveyed were glad to have spent a little extra on the comfort and convenience of this product.
Go up in price a bit and you can get our Best of the Best product, the Moen Velocity showerhead, for $184. Most owners agree that this head’s water pressure is outstanding. The water rushes down from an eight-inch showerhead with “immersion technology” that makes you feel like your entire body is enveloped in the flow. Many owners love it so much, they say they have a tough time getting out of the shower in the morning.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions by consumers about showerheads:
Q: What does GPM mean?
A: GPM stands for “gallons per minute,” and for our purposes, the measure refers to the output of the showerhead. As a rule, the higher the GPM, the stronger the water flow. However, as a water-saving measure, federal laws restrict the sale of showerheads with an output greater than 2.5 GPM.
Q: Will I need a plumber to install my new showerhead?
A: Showerheads are fairly easy to install if you're keeping the rest of the stall as is. Just follow the directions that come with your product. You’ll probably need an adjustable wrench and some plumber's tape.
Of course, if you don't feel comfortable doing the job yourself, a professional plumber could certainly handle it. It’s a small job that shouldn’t cost too much.
Q: How do I clean my limescale-clogged metal showerhead?
A: If your metal showerhead is clogged with limescale and you’re not inclined to buy a new one, try this DIY treatment. Fill a strong plastic bag with at least one cup of white vinegar and some hot water. Securely attach the bag to the showerhead so the affected nozzle is immersed in the vinegar solution. Leave the bag there for several hours. The vinegar should disintegrate the build-up.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.