When it comes to making your shower as convenient as possible, nothing does it like a handheld shower head. Handheld fixtures offer tons of flexibility when you’re getting clean. While luxurious rain shower heads certainly provide that touch of elegance, they’re not exactly the most practical things to use every day.
The best handheld shower head lets you control what you’re cleaning. Not only does this help to reduce the time you spend washing up, but it can also improve safety and reduce the chances of injury.
With this guide, we’re going to help you find the best handheld fixture to meet your needs. There are many options on the market today, so we’ll provide you with all the information you need to narrow down your options and choose the right one.
The Benefits of a Handheld Shower Head
You may be wondering, “Why should I get a handheld shower head?” These days, massive fixtures that produce a waterfall experience are all the rage! You see them throughout big-box stores and on every home renovation show.
Those shower heads are great, but they’re not very practical. Showers have come a long way since the first one was patented in 1767. However, at the end of the day, they’re still about getting clean. Handheld units offer a ton of benefits that traditional fixtures just can’t give you. Here are the most notable ones.
Convenience and Comfort
Just because handheld units aren’t dousing you in several gallons of water per minute doesn’t mean that they aren’t comfortable to use. In fact, many would argue that they’re more comfortable than large rain heads. That’s because they can be used in a variety of different ways.
Think about the last time you tried to target clean a part of your body. It can be a huge hassle when you have a fixed shower head. Women, in particular, have a hard time shaving their legs in the shower. Having the ability to control where the water goes can make all the difference.
That’s not all.
Handheld units can also double as massagers. There’s nothing better than stepping into a hot shower to ease muscle pain. Handheld fixtures offer an extra touch of comfort by applying light pressure to the affected area. Some units even have pulsating water patterns that mimic the hands of a masseuse.
Did you know that the average person uses up 17.2 gallons of water for every shower. That figure applies to a shower that lasts roughly 8 minutes. If you like you take your time, you could be using up much more! When you consider the fact that the average person takes more than 28,000 showers during their life, we’re talking about an astronomical amount of water being used.
The cool thing about handheld units is that you can achieve the same level of clean while using only a fraction of the water. You see, handheld units don’t need to be on full blast to work. Because you can manipulate where the water goes, you can simply bring the fixture closer to your body. Fixed shower heads don’t have that luxury.
Many manufacturers also take steps to reduce water flow. Low-flow shower heads use 2 gallons of water or less. Oftentimes, a built-in aerator is used to increase water pressure without having to increase the flow.
Do you have to deal with soap scum regularly? If so, a handheld shower may be for you. Soap scum is caused by soap coming into contact with hard water. The minerals in the water don’t interact too well with soap suds, resulting in hard stains that take some elbow grease to remove.
Generally, those with hard water have to rinse their shower clean after every use to reduce the chances of scum forming. Of course, doing this with a fixed shower head is nearly impossible. There’s always going to be some spots that you miss.
With a handheld unit, you can rinse the entire shower in only a few seconds. It’s a great way to keep your space clean and sparkling.
Shower injuries are more common than you’d think. Over 230,000 teens and adults are injured every year from slipping in the bathroom. A large portion of those injured are seniors that require hospital care to recover.
Elderly folks are at the highest risk of injury in the shower. It’s a wet and slippery environment with very little area to grab onto. Many physicians recommend that seniors use a bench or stool in the shower.
However, trying to get clean while staying seated is easier said than done. More often than not, sitting on a bench puts you out of the path of water. Luckily, handheld fixtures can bridge the gap. They let you get clean while staying safe in the shower.
Finally, handheld shower heads are amazing for assisted cleaning. There’s nothing worse than trying to clean a small child or dog with a traditional shower head. It’s messy and chaotic!
Instead of dealing with the mess, just switch to a handheld shower. You can control the water while providing your loved one with the deep clean they need.
How to Choose the Best Handheld Shower Head
Like all household fixtures, not all handheld shower heads are made the same. There’s tons of variety on the market these days. To ensure that you’re choosing something that works for your home and needs, keep the following factors in mind.
Hose Length and Quality
First things first, you’re going to need a fixture with a hose that’s long enough to use comfortably. You can find hoses in many different lengths. To be ADA compliant, hoses have to measure at least 59 inches long. Luckily, most are around 60 inches.
You can get hoses up to 84 inches in length. Those are ideal if you have a large shower.
In addition to length, pay close attention to the build quality of the hose. Is it made out of the same material as the fixture itself or does it use cheap plastic?
Your best bet would be to get a metal hose. They’re easier to take care of and can last for several years without any issues. Whatever material you choose, just make sure that it’s flexible. Multiple flex points throughout the length of the hose is a must.
Material and Finish
Take one stroll through your local hardware store and you’re bound to find a plethora of different material options. The material and finish can affect the product’s longevity and maintenance needs, so choose wisely!
If you’re on a budget, plastic units do just fine. They are very affordable and flexible enough to use comfortably. The downsides? Well, they tend to stain and deteriorate in quality pretty quickly.
Metal options are a dime a dozen. One of the most common finishes you can get is chrome. Sometimes, fixtures are made out of plastic and covered in mirror-chrome paint. Other times, a cheaper material like zinc is used as the base. Whatever the case may be, polished chrome offers a nice accent to the bathroom. Plus, the smooth texture makes it very easy to clean.
Other material options include brass and stainless steel. Brass tends to be on the pricier side. However, it holds up exceptionally well to corrosion and leaking. Meanwhile, steel tends to be very susceptible to rusting. With that said, premium steel fixtures can offer a nice long-lasting finish.
The material you choose is also going to affect its overall weight. Remember, this is something you’re going to be holding onto as you shower. Sometimes, lighter is best. If that’s the case, stick with plastic or zinc alloys. The latter is a cheaper metal used for affordable fixtures. Stainless steel and brass, while durable, can be on the heavier side.
Earlier, we mentioned that you could get shower heads with pulsating massaged and unique water patterns. This is a relatively popular feature in modern handheld fixtures. Many manufacturers offer designs with a few different spray patterns to choose from. You can create that spa-like atmosphere while getting the massage you’re after.
Water Consumption Ratings
When you’re shopping for shower heads, you might see GPM ratings. The GPM figure represents how many gallons per minute can flow through the shower head.
If you’re concerned about water conservation, stick to a lower GPM. Remember, handheld fixtures don’t require as much pressure to be effective. Look out for the WaterSense seal of approval. This indicates that the product uses 2 gallons of water or less every minute.
Finally, you should think about the installation requirements before you commit to a product. Handheld fixtures can be installed in several different ways. Your most basic option will attach to the spigot directly. This is common for plastic shower heads.
Others need their very own water supply. They act independently from the main shower head and usually have separate controls.
The easiest design available will replace your existing shower head. They can be screwed directly into the main shower arm. More often than not, these units come with brackets so that you can keep the handheld device in place and use it like a traditional shower head if you want to.
Check out this installation video to get a better idea of how to install a handheld shower head.
5 of the Best Handheld Shower Heads on the Market
This simple shower head from HO2ME offers a lot of flexibility. First off, the hose is very generous. It measures 79 inches long, providing plenty of room to get clean. Secondly, the shower head itself offers many different spray patterns.
There’s a traditional power spray that uses the tiny nozzles to blast a stream of water at your body. Then, there’s the massage function. It uses the center nozzles to deliver focused pressure. You can also combine the two patterns into one to achieve the ultimate shower experience.
The cool thing about this shower head is that it’s able to spray a lot of water without using a ton of pressure. It only uses 2.5 gallons per minute. While it’s not a water-conserving model, the fixture manages to create the sensation of a rain shower head. The rubber nozzles increase pressure naturally. Because they are so tiny, the shower head produces a spa-like experience without the added waste.
- Performs well with low pressure
- 79-inch hose
- Built-in flow regulator
- Mounting bracket
- Silicone rubber jets
- Three water patterns
- Stainless steel hose
- Mirror-chrome finish
- 2.5 GPM
- Material is prone to rusting
- Can be loud due to spray patterns
- Handheld sprayer is made of plastic
Check out this model from AquaDance. It has a fitting name, as this unit can produce 6 different spray patterns. Changing patterns is quite easy thanks to the click lever on the face. Just push on the thumb piece to move the disk and experience new patterns. Some of the patterns include power mist, pulsating massage, and power rain.
This shower head also has a water-saving mode. This is a nice touch considering that it uses the standard 2.5 gallons per minute. You can switch to the conservation mode and cut back a bit without sacrificing performance.
The host is pretty solid. It’s about 5 feet long and is flexible enough for comfortable use. The shower head comes with an integrated bracket. After you install the end of the hose to the overhead shower arm, you can click the unit into place. Use it as a traditional shower until you need some extra control.
- Available in multiple finishes
- 60-inch hose
- High-pressure rubber jets
- Made of stainless steel
- 6 different spray modes
- Comes with adjustable bracket
- Ergonomic design
- 2.5 GPM
- Click lever prone to breaking
- Susceptible to rust
This handheld shower head combines a couple of different materials. The main handheld unit is made out of molded plastic. Thus, it’s lightweight easy to use. It’s even covered in a mirror-chrome finish for a cohesive look. Unfortunately, plastic isn’t the most durable material option out there.
The hose is made out of flexible stainless steel. It’s quite long at 63 inches. However, you can also stretch the hose to reach a maximum length of 75 inches. At the base of the hose, you’ll find a solid brass fitting. It attaches to the main shower arm and has a built-in bracket.
Like the previous shower head, this one features 6 different spray modes. You can adjust the stream size manually and get some muscle relief with the power massage setting. Switching between modes is as easy as flipping the head plate with your finger.
- Stretchable hose measures 63 inches
- Connection fittings made of brass
- Easy-to-clean design
- Head measures 4.5 inches in diameter
- 6 different spray modes
- Integrated bracket
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Metal hose with chrome finish
- Handheld component is made out of plastic
- Hose can crack if you’re too rough
- No available GPM ratings
Moen is no stranger to shower heads. This handheld model offers a bit of flexibility to your daily routine. One thing we like about this model is the magnetic base.
It can be installed directly onto your existing shower supply arm in minutes. The solid-metal connection point has an integrated magnet rather than a traditional bracket. Thanks to the opposite magnet on the handheld component, you can simply touch the shower head onto the magnet and shower normally. The magnet isn’t the strongest one out there, so exercise some caution when using this feature!
The face of the shower head is beautifully designed. Rubber nozzles make up a spiral pattern that looks good regardless of the spray setting you’re in. Speaking of which, this Moen fixture has 6 different settings. Like some other products in this guide, changing modes is as simple as flipping a manual switch on the face.
- Chrome finish
- Kink-free metal hose measures 59 inches long
- 6 spray patterns
- Magnetic base
- Installs onto shower arm
- Comes with lifetime warranty
- Magnet isn’t that strong
- Handheld fixture is made of plastic
If you’re looking for the ultimate spa experience, consider this two-in-one shower head from HydroLuxe. It features two separate shower heads. One is stationary and installed onto your shower arm like normal. The other is a removable handheld unit you can use to target parts of your body. Water flows through both heads at the same time.
Because you’re getting two heads in one, you’re also getting more spray options! Each head has 5 different patterns to give you a total of 24 combinations.
The hose is made out of flexible metal. Unfortunately, the head is made out of plastic, which could degrade in quality over time. The good news, however, is that the plastic is covered in a chrome finish. It matches the look of the real metal and makes things easier to clean.
- 60-inch metal hose
- Two-in-one fixture
- Has a combined total of 24 spray combinations
- Durable built-in bracket
- Rubber nozzles
- 2.5 GPM
- Chrome finish
- Three-way diverter
- Anti-swivel design
- Heads made of plastic
- Weak water pressure
- Not the most durable option
And The Best Handle Held Shower Head Is
Don’t let a boring old shower head affect your daily routine. Swapping out your shower head is a simple change that can have a huge effect. Give one of these handheld units a shot and see how it can make your bathroom safer and more comfortable.
While we think that all of our recommended picks can serve you well, the winner of this roundup is the model by G-Promise. This handheld shower head has a lot of great things going for it. It beats out the other options from HO2ME and AquaDance for a couple of different reasons.
First, there are more spray options than the HO2ME model. While the hoses are the same length, G-Promise has the added benefit of versatility. The stretchable hose can be anywhere between 63 and 74 inches long. This alone beats out all of the other shower heads.
Also, the fixture is easy to install and works well. The connection point is made out of solid metal and there’s a free-spinning collar to make installation a bit easier.
All in all, G-Promise has made a solid shower head that does everything it’s supposed to. It offers great flexibility, good performance, and tons of convenience. What’s not to like?