Shower Heads: Ratings of Sources
Editors evaluate around 20 different single setting and multi-setting shower heads. Each is rated and based on the feel of the water flow and the ease of adjustment. Flow rates and water temperatures are also measured. Each shower head earns an overall score, and some rate "Recommended" or Best Buy" status. These products represent a variety of styles of shower heads and flow ratings range from 1.5 to 2.5 gpm; no handheld shower heads are tested.
Tim Heffernan, along with several other site editors, researches and tests shower heads to find the one that has the best overall feel. The top pick is the Toto TS200AL65-CP, but editors note that it is often out-of-stock, so they're currently testing a different model to possibly replace their current choice. Other shower heads of various types are also tested and reviewed.
There are literally thousands of shower heads for sale at Amazon.com, including fixed shower heads, handhelds and shower systems. In each category, we found at least one or two models with high ratings and plenty with hundreds of reviews -- some with thousands. Many of the shower heads that are most popular here are lower-priced models that aren't included in professional tests, and even if they are, this is a great resource to determine the shower heads long term durability.
HomeDepot.com sells hundreds of shower heads through its website, and quite a few of them have hundreds of reviews. It's easy to see the top-rated shower heads from the search page. Clicking on a product not only offers details on the overall rating, but also gives the percentage of buyers who would recommend the product. Furthermore, reviews are helpfully broken down by quality, value and ease of installation. While most reviews are unique to the site, some also include input left at the manufacturer's website.
Like its competitor, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com sells hundreds of shower heads, both fixed and handheld, of all types, and some get hundreds of consumer reviews. At this site, reviews are broken down into features, value, design, quality and ease of use, so you can narrow down your picks by which of those factors is most important. Owners can also say if they would recommend the shower head to a friend.
This plumbing supply site carries an extensive line of shower heads as well as fittings and accessories for installation. You have to click on the specific product to see the total number of reviews and overall rating, and there tend to be fewer review overall. However, reviews are helpfully broken down by pros and cons.
Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute test 20 "new" models and highlight four of them in this roundup. Each earns a brief description. It would be more helpful if testing methods were detailed, and if some information was provided on which products did not make the cut and why. Also, these few that did make this roundup tend to earn poor ratings at retail sites.
The editors of Esquire recommend five fixed shower heads for men with various preferences: a gentle stream, a water-saving shower, and so on. These are all high-end shower heads, ranging from $73 to over $500. The article serves up a paragraph of descriptive prose on the feel and features of each shower head, but there's no information about how they were actually selected or which competitors fell short, and why.
This Huffington Post article starts out with general advice about factors to consider when choosing a new shower head. At the bottom is a slideshow displaying some of the editors' favorite shower heads, with a one-sentence summary of their benefits. There's no indication that these shower heads were tested in any way, but the site does allow readers to rate and rank them, so there's at least some information to back up the picks.
This brief slideshow displays Real Simple's favorite shower heads in four categories: variable spray, rain can, massaging and luxury. There's a short paragraph about each shower head's features, but there's no discussion of methodology, and models that didn't make the cut aren't mentioned. The article isn't dated, either, and two of the four picks are discontinued.
Eco-friendly product expert Anca Novacovici recommends several low-flow shower heads at Tibesti.com. While the individual write-ups describe each model's benefits well, there's no indication of testing -- a common problem with shower head reviews. Several of the recommended shower heads are discontinued, and a couple of others are now sold under different names.