Pros / Its five distinct spray settings are useful, particularly the water-saving pause function.
Cons / The bracket can be hard to adjust.
Verdict / The Speakman Rio delivers excellent coverage for a luxurious showering experience while simultaneously helping you reduce water consumption with it’s low-flow option and pause feature.
The Speakman Rio stood out among the handheld shower heads we reviewed because of its large face plate, luxurious coverage, distinct spray modes and excellent water-saving functions. In our tests, it provided the best all-inclusive shower experience, from drenching rain to massage. Additionally, the Rio is available in a WaterSense-certified option, and it features a pause function to help you conserve even more water. It takes our top spot as the best handheld shower head because of this combination of amazing performance and eco-friendliness.
The Rio performed well in both our user and benchmark tests. The version we tested had a max flow rate of 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute). We tested it at 48 psi (pounds per square inch) and measured its actual flow rate at 1.5 gpm, which was about the same as most other shower heads we tested.
Our testing also revealed the overall effectiveness of the Rio in delivering a satisfactory shower. Everyone who used it liked the shower head’s coverage; our testers noted that it had a spa-like feel and uses enough water to keep all of you warm. The variety of spray settings is better than on other showerheads because each setting is distinct and useful. Other models, like the Delta 7-Spray, have more settings, but less variety because many settings are similar to each other.
The average household water pressure is between 40 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi). We tested at 48 psi, and one tester noted that the water pressure on a few settings could have been better. Because the Rio has a large face plate and 147 spray nozzles, it requires decent water pressure to get the best results. It does perform better than the other large shower heads we tested – the Kohler Flipside 02 and the Delta In2ition, which both put out lackluster water pressure – but it still spreads water a bit thinner than smaller shower heads.
You can tell that Speakman put some thought into the design and packaging of the Rio. Details like the contoured, no-slip handle and easy-to-turn thumb lever make the shower head really effortless to use. Speakman provides thread seal tape for the installation, which some other products called for but did not include.
Settings & Design
The Speakman Rio, like most handheld shower heads, is a simple device. It consists of a bracket that attaches to your shower arm to hold the shower head, the shower head itself and a 5-foot flexible metal hose that connects the two. This model features a classic design and is available in two finishes: polished chrome and brushed nickel. The included bracket and hose are among the nicer ones we saw in our testing.
The shower head features five distinct settings: intense, massage, rain, pulsate and pause. The settings vary enough to cater to any showering preference, whether you prefer higher or lower pressure, a drenching blast or gentle deluge. The pause setting was the best water-saving feature in any of the products we tested. It reduces the flow to a dribble to help conserve water when you don’t need it for a few moments – like if you’re shaving your legs or bathing a pet. You can toggle between settings easily with the thumb lever.
You can purchase the Speakman Rio with a standard flow rate of 2.5 gpm or WaterSense-certified 2.0 gpm flow rate.
Help & Support
Speakman offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Rio against any defects in material or workmanship as long as it is installed and maintained properly. The included instruction manual gives advice on how best to clean your hand shower, depending on the finish. Speakman offers several guides and informational sheets about the Rio on its website as well. Customer service can be reached by phone or email.
Overall, the Speakman Rio is the best handheld shower head for both luxurious water coverage and water-saving performance. We loved its unique and useful spray patterns and the extra little details that made installation and use so easy, like the inclusion of thread seal tape in the packaging and the shower head’s no-slip grip.