We spent over 40 hours testing and researching handheld shower heads to find the ultimate showering accessory. Our overall favorite, the Speakman Rio VS 1240, provides spa-like coverage and a wide variety of spray modes. We recommend it if you’re looking for a luxurious experience but also want to cut down on your water consumption, as it has an effective pause setting and an eco-friendly, WaterSense-certified option. We also recommend the Waterpik PowerSpray+ Twin Turbo – a great value pick – and the well-designed Moen Engage Six-Function hand shower.
Speakman Rio VS 1240
Between its five distinct spray settings and full-body coverage, the Speakman Rio provides a relaxing showering experience, whether you prefer rain fall or powerful massage.
Waterpik PowerSpray+ Twin Turbo
The Waterpik PowerSpray+ Twin Turbo delivers six distinct spray modes for a lower price than other top picks. It also has the best high-pressure options for massages and for drenching thick hair.
Moen Engage with Magnetix
The Moen Engage’s magnetic bracket is one of our favorite features as it makes this showerhead particularly easy to use. That, paired with its sleek chrome construction, make it the perfect mix of form and function.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Performance||Settings & Design||Help & Support||Water Coverage||Setting Variety||Water Pressure||Overall Shower Efficacy||Usability||Hose and Bracket Included||Water-Saving Spray Setting||WaterSense Option||Color Options||Number of Spray Settings||Warranty||Installation Instructions|
|Speakman Rio VS-1240||View Deal||5/5||9.8||9||10||A+||A+||B+||A||A-||✓||✓||✓||2||5||Lifetime||A|
|Moen Engage||View Deal||4.5/5||10||7.8||10||B+||A||A||A+||A+||✓||-||✓||2||6||Lifetime||A|
|Waterpik Twin Turbo DSL-653||View Deal||4.5/5||9.5||9||8||C+||A+||A||A||B+||✓||✓||✓||1||6||Lifetime||B|
|ShowerMaxx Handheld Spa Head 6 Spray Settings||View Deal||4/5||8.3||8||9.5||B-||B||B+||C+||B+||✓||✓||-||4||5||Lifetime||A|
|Delta 7-Spray 75700||View Deal||4/5||7.3||10||9||C+||C||B||C||B||✓||✓||✓||2||7||Lifetime||B|
|Delta In2ition 75445||View Deal||4/5||8||6.5||9||A||B||C+||C||A-||✓||✓||-||2||4||Lifetime||B|
|YOO.MEE High Pressure||View Deal||4/5||9||3.8||5||B-||B||A+||B-||A||✓||-||-||1||3||1 Year||A|
|Kohler Flipside2||View Deal||3.5/5||8||5.3||9||A||A||B||B-||D||-||-||✓||3||4||Lifetime||B|
|Hydroluxe 24 Function||View Deal||3.5/5||7.3||6.8||5||B+||B||C||C-||C+||✓||✓||-||1||5||10 Years||C|
|Grohe Tempesta Rustic 100||View Deal||2.5/5||6.3||3||5||C-||C||C-||C-||B-||-||-||-||2||4||Lifetime||F|
The Speakman Rio takes our top spot because it provides a satisfying shower with great water coverage and pressure while also (somewhat paradoxically) helping you cut back on your water use. You might think that its larger face and 147 individual sprays would spread the water a bit thin and result in poor water pressure – as was the case with some other products we reviewed – but the Rio put out a consistently luxurious spray across all its five modes.
The spray modes are all distinct to cater to different showering preferences; there’s an intense drenching spray, a massage setting, rainfall, a pulsating spray and a pause. Its pause setting is noteworthy because it was the most effective water-saving function of all the products we tested. For further water-saving, the Rio is also available in a lower flow rate option that meets WaterSense regulations.
Aside from giving a great shower experience, the Speakman Rio is also a breeze to set up and start using. The product comes with everything necessary for installation and use, including plumber’s tape, an adjustable bracket and a five-foot flexible metal hose. Though it’s larger than other showerheads we tested, the Rio is not awkward or unwieldy. The soft grip handle prevents drops and slips when sudsy, and the lever that switches spray modes is easy to flip with your thumb.
The Waterpik PowerSpray+ Twin Turbo hand shower offers a lot of dynamic options and the most relaxing massage for a great price. Its spray modes stood out among the products we tested for their variety and wonderful water pressure. This shower head is definitely for you if you like higher pressure showers, though it should be noted that some of the sprays could be a little too harsh for some people.
Waterpik doesn’t use significantly more water than other models, its OptiFLOW technology helps to maximize the force of the water. You can feel this in its six versatile settings, especially the Twin Massage setting in which two powerful streams of water converge and blast a single point.
Though the shower head itself is easy to use and set up, the hose that comes with it doesn’t actually work well. In our testing, it got stuck in the holder and could be difficult to maneuver. However, this is relatively easy to fix. We recommend replacing the hose with something more flexible because even with the added cost of buying an extra hose, this showerhead is still less expensive than many other products we reviewed, and it gives you a satisfying, powerful shower.
The Moen Engage with Magnetix has a sleek, simple design, and its magnetic holder was our favorite feature of any shower head we reviewed. Apart from the novelty of it, the magnetic mounting makes taking the head on and off the shower arm completely effortless. Plus, it eliminates the possible frustration (and mess) of the shower head falling out of the holder.
Since the attaching magnet sits on the head of the shower itself, this product sits a little lower than other hand showers. It also comes with a kink-free metal hose and extremely straightforward installation instructions. We found that setting up the shower was almost as easy as using it.
This product perfectly marries form and function. The design is great, but its performance also shines. The main shower setting is one of the best we tried with great, drenching pressure but not too much force. Its other five settings deliver a good versatility, including a decent jet massage. The Engage is available in standard and Eco-Performance options with flow rates of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) and 2.0 gpm respectively.
Best for Low Water Pressure
The YOO.MEE high pressure shower head looks basic but jets out an amazing water stream.
It’s the least expensive shower head we tested, and it doesn’t look like anything special with its plastic face and chrome finish. It does, however, give a great shower, even in places with low water pressure. The manufacturer advertises this product’s 2XP Turbo Charging. There’s no explanation of what that is, but it works. In our tests using a water source with 48 psi, many shower heads had lackluster pressure, but the YOO.MEE was powerful enough that one tester even turned the water down because it was too much. The shower head has three spray modes: normal, jet and combo. This is the fewest modes of the products in our tests, but it didn’t feel lacking. The YOO.MEE comes with everything you need to install, including an optional flow regulator, a flexible metal hose, bracket, thread-seal tape and extra gaskets to prevent leaks.
The Delta In2ition 75445 is an impressive-looking two-in-one shower head combo.
Its wide, ovular face splits into two parts: a fixed shower and a handheld wand. These two components work together or individually to create a customizable showering experience. Each part has multiple settings, including a full body spray, fast massage, pause and combination full body with massage. The shower head was easy to install and comes with a flexible metal hose. It has a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, but it put out about 1.6 in our tests. On some settings, our testers noted that the water pressure could be better. Even so, the In2ition was the best two-in-one shower head we tested. It’s easy to use and a great choice if you want the stability of a fixed shower head but the flexibility of a handheld
Why Trust Us
Our team consists of professional product reviewers, DIYers, meticulous researchers and people who love to start a day by standing under a relaxing stream of water for a few minutes too long. We spent 40 hours testing, researching, analyzing data and talking to industry experts and shower enthusiasts to pinpoint the perfect handheld shower head.
David Malcom, founder of High Sierra Showerheads in California, told us, “Every shower is a little different, from the fixture height to the water pressure to the size of the stall…there are a lot of variables.” With this in mind, we put our shower head prospects through a variety of benchmark and performance tests to make sure that our recommendations will give you a wonderful shower, whether you’re looking for drenching rain, a high-pressure massage, the best design or something super eco-friendly.
How We Tested
We started our evaluation process by doing a little online shopping. After compiling a list of shower heads that we might buy for ourselves, we made a really big spreadsheet with a dozen qualifiers to track each shower head’s features and attributes, and that helped us narrow down the selection. We decided to focus on handheld showers with multiple spray settings.
Once we arrived at our top 10 picks, we acquired them for testing. In order to test these shower heads for our side-by-side comparison, we figured that we would need to be able to test them side by side. We built a contraption, affectionately named the Multi-Shower, out of PVC pipe. It has 10 shower arms and flow diverters that lets us install all 10 shower heads simultaneously. A series of volunteer testers showered, using each of the shower heads at least once, rating each on their performance (including water pressure, coverage, ease of use, setting variation and overall effectiveness), as well as noting the best and worst qualities of each. We also tested the showers for their advertised vs. actual flow rates at 48 psi and other metrics.
Our overall evaluations are heavily based on the products’ performance in testing, though we used our prior research to inform our scoring. We included important information such as color and finish options, product warranties and whether or not the shower head was available in a WaterSense-certified option (required for some states).
Choosing a Shower Head
For many people, an invigorating shower is the best way to start the day. Since shower heads see so much use, it is important to find one that not only provides a satisfactory shower but also looks nice, is easy to upkeep and maybe even helps you save some money on your water bill.
The shower heads we tested cost between $30 and $65. Within this price range, we found a variety of features, spray modes and finishes, but most of the products we tested are made of plastic, not metal. If you want more premium materials, expect to pay $100 or more. Nicer accessories such as a flexible metal hose or sliding bar mount cost extra as well.
We found that the combination of water pressure and water coverage was the most important part of a good shower, much more so than the actual amount of water used. In fact, some of our favorite shower heads ended up using a gallon less water per minute than their advertised maximums. The actual amount of water each hand shower used did not seem to affect testers’ opinions on the product’s performance.
The best shower did not necessarily come from the largest shower heads, though our top pick is on that end. Other large products we reviewed scored far lower because of lackluster pressure, even though they had a wide coverage area. These products also tended to be on the high end of water use (though still lower than the advertised maximum).
Low water pressure can be caused by a number of things, including old plumbing or clogged equipment. Sometimes a good cleaning or replacing old pipes can fix your problem, but even with relatively low water pressure, you can still get a good shower. Some of the products we tested, like the YOO.MEE High Pressure Handheld, were designed specifically to work under low-pressure conditions to give you a high-pressure shower.
Shower heads all tend to follow a similar form factor, but there definitely are choices and details that make some shower head designs stand out. Look for beautiful finishes that coordinate with your existing bathroom hardware. All the products we reviewed are available in a chrome finish, with some having one or two additional colors (one product we tested came to us in a bronze finish instead).
Apart from a product’s appearance, the design of the product can also affect its ease of use. You want to look for a shower head that is easy to maneuver, so an adjustable bracket and a long, flexible hose are great additions. Easy-to-clean or anti-clog nozzles can help prevent lime buildup and keep the water flowing. And because nothing ruins your groove like dropping your shower head and accidentally getting water everywhere, hand contouring or grip is important. Also consider the quality of the product’s construction and what it’s made of; it’ll probably get dropped at some point, and you want to make sure it’s durable enough to survive.
WaterSense is an EPA certification that guarantees a shower head is designed to perform well with a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gallons per minute. This is a lower flow rate than the current maximum (2.5 gpm) allowed throughout most of the U.S., but the 2.0 gpm rate is required for some areas like California and Colorado, which have passed stricter statewide regulations.
For consistency, we tested product models with a max flow of 2.5 gpm, but all of our recommendations are available in both flow rates, and since the WaterSense certification process requires that products perform as well or better than non-certified, higher flow rate options, we’re confident you’ll get the same quality shower power we experienced throughout our tests with either option.
“But wait,” you might think, “Won’t low-flow fixtures actually waste water since I’ll have to take longer showers to get clean?” Not necessarily. Low-flow water fixtures got a pretty bad rap in the early days for not being effective or efficient, largely because companies often kept the same product designs and just used less water to comply with regulations. However, these shower heads are now specifically designed to make the best use out of lower flow rates so you still get a satisfactory shower. Jackie Kossoff, a California resident who recently replaced all the bathroom fixtures in her house with WaterSense-compliant ones told us, “I don’t feel a noticeable change. I think my shower head is perfect, and I actually prefer it over my old one. And if a shower is great and you can also say it’s helping the environment, that’s cool.”
We focused our testing on handheld showerheads that cost less than $70. But while conducting our research, we found a big selection of products with fun, innovative features. If you want to impress houseguests with a kitschy and technologically advanced shower accessory, check out some of our favorite unique showerheads:
This showerhead isn’t handheld, and it has only one spray setting. However, it has a built-in Bluetooth speaker capable of good volume for singing in the shower. You sync your phone or tablet with the showerhead and play music, podcasts or audiobooks while you shower from up to 32 feet away. The speaker is removable, enabling you to charge the device and use it as a portable speaker in other rooms in the house. Because the speaker is water-resistant, it's a perfect companion for outdoor barbecues or pool lounging. The 7-hour battery life isn’t great, but it should be sufficient for multiple days of singing in the shower before the device needs to be recharged. It’s available in four finishes to complement other bathroom fixtures.
PowerSpa LED Shower Head Combo
This combo showerhead has four settings: rain, rain massage, massage and a water-saving pause mode. Both 4-inch showerheads also have color-changing LEDs that are powered by running water, so you never have to charge a battery. The colors gradually change every few seconds, and the air-jet design injects oxygen into the water flow to prevent clogs. This fun upgrade for your shower is easy to install, costs less than $40 and comes with a one-year warranty, including live customer support in the United States.