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Best Handheld Shower Heads

By: Kelly Burgess on September 18, 2017

Handheld shower heads are a versatile option

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 wasn't even close: the Delta 75700 (Est. $25 and up) once again earns our Best Reviewed nod in this category. Although it's not included in any professional tests, 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, and, if you live in a part of the country with stricter flow rate regulations, it's also available in a WaterSense certified, 2.0 gpm option as the Delta 75701 (Est. $25).

The top pick at TheSweethome.com, one of the few places where hands on testing of shower heads is done, is the Delta In2ition 58480 (Est. $100). However, it's much higher price compared to the Delta 75700, along with its lower user satisfaction ratings is enough to keep it out of our top spot. The one good thing about it is that it's rated for 2 gpm, so it could be a good choice for those who live in areas with stricter water flow standards (California, Colorado and some New York communities).

In spite of that lower flow rate, Tim Heffernan at TheSweethome.com says the Delta 58480, "delivers satisfying results on multiple spray settings, from a gentle "rainshower" to a powerful massage." He also notes that it's gentler flow is a plus when bathing children and pets.

Many owners are also pleased with the Delta In2ition 58480, saying it's very attractive (it comes in six finishes) and that it's easy to remove and replace the wand. However, even those who like it otherwise are pretty "meh" about its water pressure. Granted, it is only a 2.0 gpm faucet, but many are turned off by Delta's various claims about how this shower head's technology makes it seem more powerful, when it actually doesn't. All agree, however, that installation is simple.

Handheld shower heads also come in ultra low-flow options

Meanwhile, the top pick in hand showers at ConsumerReports.org, the only other organization that extensively tests shower heads, is the 1.5 gpm American Standard FloWise 1660.502 (Est. $50). Although ratings are based upon a similar shower head that was tested, it earns a Recommended nod, as well as scores of Very Good for shower feel and ease of settings; and Excellent for hot water temperature (which is how well the water maintains its temperature between the faucet and your skin). It has three functions -- a conventional spray, aerated flow and massage -- and comes in two finishes, chrome and satin nickel.

As one would expect from an ultra low-flow shower head, however, users pan it for its wimpy spray and its odd construction: it's just a shower head with a fairly short handle on a stiff hose that fits into a bracket, rather than a shower head on a long wand attached to a hose that fits into a larger shower head. Still, those that like extreme water-saving shower heads say that the FloWise 1660.502 is better than most.  

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