Powerful magnetic holder effortlessly draws and secures showerhead. Superior pressure with 6 easy-to-use spray settings. Metal hose is highly durable without sacrificing flexibility. Sleek and modern finish in your choice of chrome or brushed nickel.
Attaches a bit too close to the wall for some. A quality showerhead, but somewhat costly.
Comes with two shower heads that can be used together or independently. Features a wide variety of spray patterns and a convenient pause setting. Affordable and versatile functionality for budget conscious buyers. Hassle-free assembly.
Hose is somewhat short for certain applications. Massage setting could be improved.
Effectively reduces harsh chemicals and other harmful impurities. Great for softer skin and hair. Durable 5-foot hose makes for a convenient reach when cleansing. Relatively easy installation.
Showerhead is a bit heavy and may droop when mounted. Navigating the spray settings can be tricky.
Customizable: choose from 24 water flow patterns and 4 spray patterns. Enjoy the 7-color rotation for an invigorating spa experience. Easy to install and use.
Rare complaints that lights failed to work after several months of use.
Large face plate with 6 adjustable pressure settings. Convenient self-cleaning silicone jet nozzles. Excellent pressure output. Flexible stainless steel hose stretches up to a generous 6.56 ft. Attractive modern design. Quick and easy installation.
Large head may droop or slant when mounted. Massage setting could be stronger.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
When it comes to bathing versatility and convenience, handheld showerheads beat their fixed counterparts any day of the week. Whether you need to reach high, low, or somewhere in between, the flexible hose on a handheld showerhead allows you to take water spray direction into your own hands.
Handheld showerheads can make it easier to bathe children, pets, the elderly, and yourself, but did you know one can also help you save water? By guiding the water spray to where you need it most, you can drastically reduce the amount of time spent rinsing off soap suds, shampoo, or conditioner. Indeed, a handheld showerhead is a worthwhile addition to any bathroom, but with countless models on the market, choosing one can be tough. If you're drowning in the deluge of styles, settings, and features, you’ve come to the right place.
While designs and features can vary greatly from model to model, handheld showerheads can be divided into three basic categories: single, combination/dual, and sliding bar.
Single: For most people, this traditional design is what comes to mind at the mention of handheld showerheads. These typically consist of a showerhead bracket, a flexible hose, and the showerhead itself. Most brackets allow the showerhead to be docked in an upright position for hands-free use. In terms of placement, single handheld showerheads tend offer a bit more versatility than combination showerheads.
Combination/dual: These showerheads are a clever combination of fixed and handheld models. If you're on the fence about choosing a showerhead type, a combination showerhead can offer the best of both worlds. Although combination showerheads connect to the same water source, they come fitted with a diverter that allows them to be used separately or together. While this integrated showerhead design is undeniably convenient, the fixed portion of combination models requires that they be set at a height that's comfortable for both fixed and handheld use.
Sliding bar: The most notable difference between a sliding bar handheld showerhead and others is its mobile docking bracket. Rather than being fixed, this handheld showerhead has a sliding bracket attached to a long bar. By docking the showerhead and sliding it up or down the bar, users of any height can easily choose the best position for hands-free use. These showerheads come as either single or combination models.
Just like fixed showerheads, handheld models have different head shapes, sizes, and functions. Although certain styles might seem more attractive than others, some are designed to serve a specific purpose. With this in mind, try to avoid choosing a showerhead based on aesthetics alone. Common handheld showerhead styles include the following:
Rainfall: Whether round, square, or rectangular, rainfall showerheads have an extra-large head for a wide spray pattern that delivers a gentle, rain-like effect. If you enjoy the sensation of being fully immersed in a steady downpour and don't mind sacrificing a bit of pressure, a rainfall showerhead is a solid choice.
Ionic filtered: Most ionic filtered showerheads have a transparent handle filled with mineral balls, beads, or stones. This not only lends them a unique appearance but also helps purify and soften hard water while nourishing skin and hair.
Cartridge filtered: If you live in an area with hard water but prefer a more traditional look, showerheads that use a replaceable filter cartridge might be a better option. Specialized models have a cartridge compartment built into the showerhead while others have a water filter cartridge fitted to the water source.
Stick: These ultra-modern handheld showerheads feature a straight design that resembles a stick or wand. This eliminates the common mounting problems that can arise with top-heavy handheld showerheads and also offers a sleeker look that many find appealing. Despite the futuristic design, many stick models have limited settings and features. However, most do excel at their primary purpose, which is to deliver a consistent spray in an easy-to-grip shape.
Flow rate and pressure
Flow rate: In an effort to conserve water, the maximum flow rate on most modern showerheads is capped at 2.5 gallons per minute. If you're interested in saving as much water as possible, consider a low-flow showerhead of 2.0 gallons per minute or less.
Pressure: If you’re concerned about the impact that a lower flow rate will have on water pressure, we don't blame you. Many people enjoy the soothing sensation of a powerful stream of water, especially on tired, achy muscles at the end of a long day. Luckily, many low-flow showerheads are designed to provide a high-pressure feel without using more water. Most models achieve this by adding air to the water to produce a volumizing effect without increasing the actual water output or by using a high-pressure chamber and smaller jets to push water out with increased force.
A short hose can be incredibly limiting and frustrating to work with. For superior freedom of movement, we recommend choosing a handheld showerhead with a reasonably long hose. Most users find a hose length of about 60 inches to be more than adequate for personal use. For extra reach and improved flexibility across a broad range of tasks, consider an extended hose length of between 69 and 84 inches.
Materials and finish
Handheld showerheads are typically made of plastic, chrome, stainless steel, bronze, or brushed nickel. Unless you're looking for an ultra-lightweight or budget-priced model for short-term use, we advise against choosing an all-plastic handheld showerhead. Slippery, soapy hands, incorrect docking, knocks, and bumps can easily send a handheld showerhead crashing to the floor, and even the strongest plastic is likely to crack if dropped repeatedly. Metal or metal-plated showerheads offer superior durability and are infinitely easier to match with existing bathroom fixtures.
Whether you're looking for something that's functional or fun, economical or indulgent, modern handheld showerheads come with an array of nifty features for your showering pleasure.
Variable spray settings: Today, all but the most basic handheld showerheads come with at least a few spray settings. Luxury models can boast as many as a dozen. If you like the idea of being able to switch between rain, mist, massage, and water saving, be sure to check the number and type of spray settings on each showerhead as you review your options.
Maintenance: In a bid to reduce bacterial growth and mineral buildup, many showerhead manufacturers have adopted silicone jet nozzles. With a smooth, nonstick texture, silicone nozzles are naturally grime resistant and can be cleaned simply by wiping. Some models can even be “touch cleaned” at the press of a finger. Still others go the extra mile with antimicrobial coatings to make sure that every shower leaves you clean, fresh, and germ-free.
Magnetic bracket: Sometimes getting a handheld showerhead securely docked in its bracket is easier said than done. Aside from being incredibly frustrating, a sliding or tilting showerhead can make hands-free use nearly impossible. It also increases the risk of dropping and potentially damaging the unit. If you're tired of wrestling with your handheld showerhead, a magnetic bracket could be the ideal solution. With ultra-strong built-in magnets, these brackets draw the showerhead handle in and hold it securely for stress-free docking.
LED lights: A multicolored LED light show can be a great incentive when it comes to getting kids to wash up without a fight. However, some LED showerheads go beyond mere fun by using different light colors to indicate water temperature. This is an exceptionally handy feature if you have a tough time getting the water temperature just right and find yourself dreading the thought of stepping into yet another scalding or freezing shower.
Bluetooth speakers: If you enjoy listening to music while you shower, Bluetooth speakers are a fun feature that can enhance your bathing experience. Completely waterproof, these speakers are built into the showerhead, so you can stream some mellow music directly from your device’s downtime playlist. Love singing in the shower? Use your showerhead as a mic and belt out your favorite tunes while you bathe.
Handheld shower heads come with price tags to fit every wallet. Depending on your needs, you can expect to pay as little as $10 for a basic model to over $100 for a luxury combination handheld shower with all the frills.
Whether you're on a tight budget or looking for something temporary, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from that cost $20 or less. Although budget-priced handheld shower heads can offer a decent number of features and admirable performance, they might fall short in terms of durability.
If your budget has a little wiggle room, handheld shower heads that cost from $25 to $40 can deliver a combination of a high-functioning convenience and more durable construction in a wide range of styles.
Handheld shower heads that cost over $40 generally boast sleek designs, high-quality construction materials, and advanced features. While you might have to shell out more for a high-end model, it should be a pleasure to use and will outlive its cheaper cousins by a long stretch.
Think of your handheld showerhead as a handy, multitasking household assistant. Handheld showerheads aren’t just for bath time. To get the most out of your new showerhead, use it to rinse off shower doors, walls, and curtains, fill tall buckets that won't fit under the tub faucet, or give Rover a rinse.
Try removing the showerhead flow restrictor if water pressure is low. If you live in an area with low water pressure and find yourself feeling disappointed by a trickling shower head, don't return it just yet. In accordance with the National Energy Act, all modern showerheads come fitted with a flow restrictor to help conserve water. While it isn't usually recommended by manufacturers, and it might increase your water bill, most showerhead flow restrictors can be removed with a bit of tinkering.
Don’t twist or kink the hose. To extend the usable life of the showerhead hose, try to avoid twisting or stretching it during use, and always make sure that it's free of kinks after docking the showerhead.
Q. What's the best way to clean my showerhead nozzles?
A. Mineral deposits can build up in a showerhead nozzle over time, especially if you live in an area with hard water. For this reason, we recommend opting for a handheld showerhead with easy-to-clean silicone nozzles from the get-go. However, if you're already dealing with dirty or clogged nozzles, your best bet is to try soaking your showerhead in vinegar for a couple of hours before turning it onto the highest possible spray setting. If this method fails, it might be time to consider a replacement.
Q. Do high-pressure showerheads use more water?
A. Not necessarily. As explained above, most modern showerheads use oxygenated water or smaller jets to produce a more forceful flow without increasing water output. However, if you remove the flow restrictor valve or happen to come across an older model with a flow rate that exceeds 2.5 gallons per minute, your showerhead will automatically use more water.
Q. Do LED showerheads require batteries?
A. No. In fact, LED showerheads are fully water powered, so there’s no need to fret about wiring issues or having to constantly replace batteries.