Shower Head Reviews

Editor's note:
There's not much new under the sun for this year's shower head report. Speakman remains in the top spot and, for about $75, is a good value for its durability. The Speakman S-2252 shower head comes in two flow options and is praised by owners for its attractive appearance.
 
Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream
Specs that Matter
Flow rate - 2.5 gpm# of spray settings - 3Jets - 6
Best Reviewed
Best shower head
Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream

Reviewers describe the Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream as "powerful and invigorating." Its three settings -- a gentle rinse, a dense stream and a tingling spray -- offer a mode for every mood. It's easier to adjust than most shower heads, even with wet, soapy hands. Available in five finishes, it earns praise for its sturdy, solid-brass construction and attractive appearance. Two flow rates are available as well, 2.5 gpm and 2.0 gpm.
See our full review »

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Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable Shower Head, Polished Chrome
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New: $59.48   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
American Standard 1660.717 FloWise Water-Saving Shower Head
Specs that Matter
Flow rate - 1.5 and 2.0 gpm# of spray settings - 3Jets - N/A
Runner Up
Low-flow shower head
American Standard 1660.717 FloWise Water-Saving Shower Head

The American Standard 1660.717 FloWise Water-Saving Shower Head is a great choice for those who want a variety of water-saving options. Its three settings offer flow rates that range from 1.5 gpm to 2.0 gpm and it performs well in professional testing. The FloWise is available in two finish options.

Moen Velocity 6320
Specs that Matter
Flow rate - 2.5 gpm# of spray settings - 2Jets - 100
Best Reviewed
Best rain shower head
Moen Velocity 6320

The Moen Velocity S6320 is the top-rated rain shower head in professional tests, with high scores for water feel, temperature control and ease of use. The 8-inch shower head has two settings, a gentle rain shower and a higher-pressure spray, and experts and owners rave about its powerful spray. Owners love that the Velocity can be wall or ceiling mounted. Available in four finishes, the Moen also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
See our full review »

Delta 75700 Handheld Shower Head
Specs that Matter
Flow rate - 2.5 gpm# of spray settings - 7Jets - 72
Best Reviewed
Best handheld shower head
Delta 75700 Handheld Shower Head

Owners say the Delta 75700 Handheld Shower Head offers a spa-like experience without the spa price. With seven spray settings, an extra-long hose and an easy-to-turn control dial, it gets raves for its performance both as a traditional shower and as a handheld shower. The Delta 75700 also draws a lot of praise for being easy to install and for producing a strong, powerful stream of water. It's available in three finishes and has a limited lifetime warranty.
See our full review »

Ana Bath SS5450 Combo Shower System
Specs that Matter
Flow rate - 2.31 gpm, each# of spray settings - 3Jets - N/A
Runner Up
Dual shower head
Ana Bath SS5450 Combo Shower System

The Ana Bath SS5450 Combo Shower System allows you to enjoy the spa experience on a budget. It has two heads, one fixed and one handheld, and each shower features five spray settings. Users say it offers a unique showering experience.

A good shower head can help you prep for the day

If your morning shower is more like a depressing drizzle, a new shower head could be the solution. Not only do today's water-efficient shower heads have improved flow compared to earlier versions, many have variable settings so you can pound those tight muscles with a water massage or be soothed by a gentle fall of rain.

Types of Shower Heads
Fixed

This type of shower head is the most common and can range from extremely basic, with just a single spray setting, to more sophisticated, with a variety of spray choices that you access by turning a knob or dial. Fixed shower heads are generally easy to install. Flow rates for these shower heads generally fall in to the 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) range, which means they are not WaterSense certified (see below).

Low-Flow

In most states, shower heads are required to use no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), which is significantly less than the flow rate of some older shower heads. However, if you want to save even more water, you can choose a shower head bearing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) <a href="http://www.epa.gov/watersense/products/showerheads.html" target="new"><u>WaterSense label</u></a>. Models with this label are guaranteed to use no more than 2 gpm and may be required in some areas, such as California, Colorado and parts of New York. Many of the shower heads we recommend come in both 2.5 gpm and low-flow 2.0 gpm versions. Purchasing a low-flow shower head may qualify for a rebate that will defray much of the cost of the new shower head. You can find out if your shower head qualifies for a rebate by visiting the <a href="http://epa.gov/watersense/rebate_finder_saving_money_water.html" target="new"><u>EPA website</u></a>.

Rain

These are one of the hottest trends in shower heads. These can-shaped shower heads have broad, flat faces that drop water straight down onto the user to simulate rainfall. Many reviewers rave about the luxurious feel of this type of shower, but it's not for everyone. Most rain shower heads use the full 2.5 gpm allowed by law, and some people still find the flow too weak. Rain shower heads tend to be pricier than other shower heads, and installation can be more complicated, as well.

Handheld

This type of shower head is a shower nozzle attached to a flexible hose. Nestled into a wall-mounted cradle, it can function just like a fixed shower head or be removed from its mount and directed onto particular parts of your body. Reviewers say they're also handy for cleaning the shower itself or washing the dog. Installation is straightforward; in most cases the flexible hose is attached in place of a fixed shower head.

Dual

If you can't decide between fixed and handheld, you may like a dual shower head. Some dual shower heads combine a fixed shower head with a handheld one; others combine a regular shower head with a rain-type shower head or have two regular or two rain-type shower heads. The fixed shower head/handheld combination gives you the best of both worlds, while two side-by-side shower heads make it more convenient to shower with a friend. Most dual shower heads can be installed by a handy do-it-yourselfer.

Finding The Best Shower Heads
Our Sources1. ConsumerReports.org
Showerheads2. TheSweethome.com
The Best Shower Head3. Amazon.com
Showerheads & Handheld ShowersSee All

To find the best showerheads of all types, we looked at professional tests and expert reviews, especially those evaluations that include flow rate verification and other specific measurements, as well as hands on testing by more than just one person. From there, we consulted hundreds, sometimes thousands, of user reviews on sites like Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com for feedback on how these shower heads work in real homes, which gives great insight into long-term performance and durability as well. The results of our research is our picks for the best shower heads on the market, including low-flow, handheld and rain shower heads. One is sure to make your morning toilette a bit more refreshing.

The best shower heads

Fixed shower heads are pretty straightforward -- they attach to a pipe that comes out from the wall or ceiling and water comes out. From there, though, things can get more interesting, with spray options that include everything from a gentle, dispersed flow to an invigorating massage. The best of these shower heads offer a flow that is strong enough even to rinse shampoo from long or thick hair, while still meeting the maximum flow rate requirements of 2.0 to 2.5 gpm (check your local or state regulations for specifics).

Among standard fixed shower heads, reviewers have nothing but good things to say about the Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream (Est. $75 and up). Made of solid brass, this shower head features six individual spray jets that offer 48 different spray options and can function in three different patterns, from a gentle rinse to a full-flood stream. To switch between settings, there's a side-mounted lever that's reported as easy to grip even with wet or soapy hands. This shower head is a popular choice with professional reviewers, who describe the spray as "invigorating" and "rewarding." Professionals and owners alike are impressed with the Speakman's heavy-duty construction and stylish looks.

The Speakman Anystream has a 2.5 gpm flow rate, the maximum allowed by law, but users say it feels plenty strong in spite of those limitations. It also comes in a WaterSense certified 2.0 gpm model, the Speakman Icon S-2252-E2 (Est. $80 and up). However, some users say even the 2.5 gpm version doesn't work very well with lower water pressure. The Anystream comes in five finishes: polished brass, polished chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. Many owners rave about its stylish looks, and say it's extremely well-built. Quite a few who felt that the Anystream was rather pricey for a shower head eventually concluded that it is worth every penny.

It's a fraction of the price of the Speakman, but the American Standard 8888.075.002 Easy Clean Showerhead (Est. $30) gets top ratings in one professional roundup, earning Best Buy status as well as a Very Good for shower feel, which measures how powerful the spray feels to testers. What keeps it out of our top spot is that it has only one setting -- most people prefer at least a massage setting -- and that it gets lower ratings from owners and many fewer reviews than the Speakman.

Still, if price is a serious consideration for you, this American Standard deserves serious considering. It has a 2.5 gpm flow, and most users say it feels plenty powerful. There are others, of course, as with any shower head, who beg to differ, but most agree that it has a good, strong stream that feels very refreshing. One other quibble we saw was that the relatively small shower head has a correspondingly narrow stream that some say makes them feel like they have to move around too much. However, if you just want a good, basic shower head, this is a great choice.

If you'd like an even more budget-friendly option, the Delta 75152 Shower Head (Est. $22) earns kudos from both experts and owners for its performance and value. This Delta shower head offers dual flow rate settings, 1.85 and 2.5 gpm, using up to 26 percent less water than a dedicated 2.5 gpm shower. Reviewers say the flow at the lower setting feels plenty strong thanks to Delta's proprietary H2OKinetic technology. Quite a few say they just leave it on the 1.85 gpm setting and they can't tell the difference. We also saw a number of comments from users who have seen a noticeable decrease in their water bills.

The Delta 75152 has only four jets in contrast with the Speakman's six, but reviewers say it offers a steady, consistent stream that offers a good, full shower feel. As with many shower heads, if you already have low water pressure, this one may not work as well, but some say it's fine even with lower water pressure. We did see a few comments from those who felt that the air diffused the spray too much, especially at the higher 2.5 gpm setting, which they found annoying. The 75152 only comes in one finish option -- chrome -- and there are a few complaints that it looks and feels cheap.

Ultra-low-flow shower heads great water savings; are required in some areas

The future of the shower head -- and the toilet and the kitchen faucet and just about everything else that uses water -- is in constantly decreasing flow rates. In California, Colorado and some zip codes in New York, newly installed shower heads must have flow rates of no more than 2.0 gpm.

Fortunately, there are a few shower heads out there that meet these requirements and perform well. A standout in this category is the American Standard 1660.717 FloWise (Est. $45 and up). It has a nice selection of three spray patterns (full spray, turbine massage spray and combination spray) and a stylish flared design. Although it has extreme water saving features -- using between 1.5 and 2 gallons per minute, depending on spray pattern -- reviewers say the stream feels generous and strong. It's also a top performer in professional tests, with high scores for water feel, ease of adjustment and hot water temperature. One feature users don't generally love is the fact that the shower head automatically resets to its lowest-flow setting when you turn it off. The American Standard FloWise 1660.717 is available in polished chrome or in satin nickel (which costs about $20 more).

The Niagara N2915 Earth (Est. $12) is an ultra-low-flow shower head, using just 1.5 gpm, that gets very good reviews for performance from hundreds of reviewers, as well as hundreds of comments that talk about noticeable savings on the water bills. Many say the water flow feels surprisingly strong considering the low flow setting, and it feels like a full flow shower head. Of course, as with any shower head, a lot of the user's satisfaction depends upon the water pressure in the home.

The Niagara has three spray settings and nine jets and reviewers say it's easy to adjust by turning the dial on the nozzle. Although it's an inexpensive and very basic unit, plenty of owners say they like the way it looks. It's available in chrome and white.

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Speakman S-2252 Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable Shower Head, Polished Chrome
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $59.48   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Speakman S-2252-E2 Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable Low Flow Shower Head, Polished Chrome
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from Amazon.com
New: $81.00 $45.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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American Standard 8888.075.002 Easy Clean Showerhead, Polished Chrome
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $28.00 $13.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Delta 75152 3-7/8" Single-Function Shower Head with H2Okinetic Technology, Chrome
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from Amazon.com
New: $20.50 $19.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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American Standard 1660.717.002 Flowise 3 Function Water-Saving Showerhead, Chrome
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from Amazon.com
New: $69.00 $16.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Niagara N2915CH 1.5 GPM Chrome Shower Head
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from Amazon.com
New: $4.85
Average Customer Review: