There are a lot of things to like about a handheld shower head. In addition to giving you the option to have a traditional stand-under-the-water-and-rinse bathing experience, you can also detach the wand from the fixture on the wall, using it to wash just part of your body (helpful if you don't want to get your hair wet or just want to wash your feet or legs). Handheld shower heads are also wildly popular options for those who have small children or dogs as they allow you to bring the water to the bather, instead of making the bather stand in just the right spot.
It was a close call, but the Delta 75700 (Est. $25 and up) once again earns our Best Reviewed nod in this category. Owners love this inexpensive handheld shower head's seven spray settings, which seem to offer something for everyone. The massage setting is particularly popular. The settings are changed by turning a simple dial that users find easy to use, even with wet hands. They note that it's also very easy to install, making the process of switching to a handheld shower head from a fixed showerhead a breeze.
Most users say the Delta 75700 produces a strong stream, especially for a handheld. It has a 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) flow rate, and most note that the pressure feels strong whether it's used as a traditional shower head or as a handheld. The 6-foot hose attachment is also a plus. Reviewers are split on durability: Some say the Delta is very sturdy, while others complain that the plastic parts seem flimsy. However, it's backed by a lifetime warranty that covers both the parts and the finish, and Delta customer service gets great reviews for their polite, responsive service. The shower head is available in white, chrome and satin nickel finishes.
The close runner up in this category is the Delta 58471-PK In2ition (Est. $160). It does very well in testing done by editors at TheSweetHome.com, but lags behind the Delta 75700 both in number of user reviews and overall ratings from owners. The 58471-PK also only has four settings, to the 75700's seven, but most people only use the same setting(s) over and over, so that probably doesn't matter much. What most say they appreciate is the proprietary technology that makes this 2.5 gpm shower head feel like it's producing a lot more water with a lot more power than its flow rating would indicate. The Delta In2intion seems to be more popular than most shower heads with those who have low water pressure to begin with, which is something we don't see very often.
Still this Delta In2ition model disappoints in the value category for many people who say it's overpriced for what you get and that, for $160 or so, they certainly expect more power and settings. Also, as with the 75700, there are complaints that the hose on the In2ition is stiff and we saw a few complaints that the handheld shower head can be fiddly to remove and place back into the main unit -- an issue we didn't note with the 75700. The Delta 58471-PK In2ition has five available finish options, some that cost less than the chrome, some that cost more.
For a more water-saving option, the Niagara Handheld Shower Head (Est. $16) earns raves from hundreds of owners who say it has very good water pressure considering its 2.0 gpm flow rate (it also comes in 1.5 and 1.75 flow rates). It has three adjustable spray settings -- massage, pulsating and a combination -- and a long, 72-inch hose that users say is more flexible than on other handhelds they have owned.
If you can't decide whether you want a regular shower head, a rain shower head or a handheld shower head, we have good news -- you may be able to have it all -- and in one unit.
If what you really want is a multi-spray shower system, but there isn't room for it in your budget, the Ana Bath SS5450 Shower System (Est. $60) is a good compromise. This dual-head shower system combines two five-inch shower heads, one fixed and one handheld. Both heads attach to a single shower arm by means of a three-way diverter mount. Each shower head has five functions: saturating spray, massage spray, bubbling spray and two combination settings. The flow rate is 2.33 gpm per head, or 4.66 gpm if you use both at once. However, several users note that the flow of both shower heads feel weaker when used simultaneously than when used one-at-a-time. Because of the 5-inch heads, this combination shower is more like a rain shower than a traditional shower head.
Owners love the versatility of the Ana Bath shower system, and they also find it easy to install. The flexible hose is 60-inches long, a bit shorter than some dedicated handheld showers, but most say it's plenty long enough.
If you prefer a smaller head like a more traditional shower, yet still want a dual system, the Hydroluxe Deluxe 3-way Shower Combo (Est. $17) has two shower heads, one fixed, one handheld, both with 4-inch faces, and 24 flow patterns, including massage, rain, mist and various combinations. The handheld nozzle has a 5-foot hose. Most owners agree that this Hydroluxe is a great shower head for the price, and its 2.5 gpm flow is reported as plenty strong, although, as with the Ana Bath, you'll experience some reduction in power if you're using both shower heads at the same time. Users say this system is very easy to install and, while it's mostly plastic, it feels quite durable.
Elsewhere in this report: