If you look at the market offer for hand held shower heads, you might notice that there are over 20 000 different models to choose from. Another interesting fact – about 50% of those cost above $200! That is quite a lot of pricey options, but we get it – with daily showers, the cost per use would be less than a dollar even if the product only lasted for one year. And it is probably going to last much longer than that, not to mention that you will probably be sharing it with at least one other person, all of which reduces the cost per use per person to far below a dollar. Compared to the wonderful feeling of a refreshing, consistent and stimulating shower, most people would find such a price acceptable. But do you really need to pay that much for a great showering experience? What should you look for in a shower head? These are the sort of questions we set out to answer in this article.
We took in consideration several criteria, such as flow, availability of multiple settings, ease of adjustment, material, temperature consistency and water consumption. All of these factors determine the quality of the showering experience the shower head will provide. Through reviews and these criteria, we narrowed down our choices to 4 shower heads that we want to try and test ourselves. Ultimately, the best hand held shower head will be the one that leaves us feeling clean and invigorated, without much hassle in installation, in changing the settings or during any other part of the shower.
Delta 58467 In2ition® Review
The first shower head in our top 4 is the Delta 58467 In2ition®. Both the mounted shower head and the hand held part are made of brass with a chrome finish and they weigh 2.4 pounds in total. The flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute. There is a pause feature on this shower head, which promotes water conservation. In addition, there are multiple flow settings, such as fast massage, full spray with massage and full body sprays. The shower head and hand held shower are switched on and off separately, which makes it easy to get as much water as you want to as well as where you want to. The hose is 82 inches long.
With regards to price, it falls somewhere in the middle compared to the other top 4 contenders. Installing this unit is very easy, we would just recommend using some plumber’s tape to make sure there is no leakage and to be careful not to overtighten things when you are installing it. One of the great things about this Delta Handshower Showerhead is that the handheld part fits the bracket really snuggly and there is virtually no danger that it will get dropped on your head or feet while you are showering. When you are done using it, you can just slide the hand held part into the mounted shower head.
Ana Bath SS5450CCP Shower System
Next on our list of contenders is the Ana Bath SS5450CCP. It is another great shower head system with a hand held component, a chrome finish and a 60-inch long stainless steel hose. Also weighs 2.4 pounds like the Delta. Both the shower head and the hand held shower are stored on a 3-way diverter mount. They are both 5 inches in diameter and come with 5 different flow settings.
The flow rate for this hand held shower head is 2.3 gallons per second, thus lower than the Delta Handshower one. This is an advantage for those of you who are concerned with preserving the environment and willing to sacrifice a bit of shower indulgence for that purpose.
Otherwise, it will probably be a disadvantage since the Delta Handshower Showerhead already has lower flow rates than older showerhead models used to have. This is largely due to state regulations as well as environmental concerns.
Pricewise, this shower head system is in on the lower end of the range, compared to the other 3 we are testing. Installation of this shower head was pretty easy – nothing complicated about it. The 3-way diverter mount means that you have a convenient place where to store the hand held shower when not in use. Also, the diverter mount swivels up and down so that you can set it on the desired height. However, the problem is that the diverter does occasionally drop down from the desired position. Our fear is that if we are already seeing this occasionally after one month of use, what can we expect after a year or two?
American Standard Complete Hand Shower Kit Review
The American Standard Kit is another hand held shower product that sounded impressive enough to warrant a proper trial. This kit does not include a mounted shower head, but it does include a 25-inch standard slide bar, wall supply, a 5-function hand held shower and a 59-inch hose. There are a lot of flow settings for this shower head which does give a lot of variety in what you can get from this shower head. The finish is polished chrome, the flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute, just like the Delta Handshower Showerhead, and the total weight is 4.5 pounds. It is made of brass and is corrosion resistant.
The installation of this kit is not as smooth as the installation of the other ones. Since you need to be drilling to install it, there is no room for mistakes and you will definitely need some tools. Also, the fact that the shower head cannot be tilted down more is quite annoying – it means that, when mounted, the water is spraying right at you instead of from above. Even if you slide the shower head to be mounted higher, the problem still remains as the shower head cannot be tilted downwards. Just like with the Ana Bath, with this one we also had problems keeping the shower head mount at a specific height – as soon as the pressure is changed, the mount has a tendency to drop down. We should also mention that this American Standard Kit is the priciest item among our 4 picks.
Speakman VS-3014 Review
The final contender is the Speakman VS-3014. This product also does not include a mounted shower head in addition to the hand held one, unlike the Delta and the Ana Bath. The package does contain a 5-foot hose and a mounting bracket. Pricewise, it is the cheapest option in our top 4. The material is lightweight Speakman engineered plastic, and it really is the lightest unit we tested at 1.3 pounds. The hose is also made of plastic but dipped in stainless steel – it looks nice and feels light.
The finish on this Speakman is polished chrome and the flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute, just like the one of the Delta and the American Standard Kit. It comes with 3 different spray settings – intense spray, massage jets and intense spray/massage jets combination – as well as Anystream technology which should make it easy to switch through the different spray settings.
All of this increases its potential to become the best choice, but what about the drawbacks of this product? Installation of the unit is pretty simple, with a great instruction manual and plumber’s tape included in the package. The only issue we had was with leakage, due to the fact that the washer fell out of shower head, probably during shipping. Once we fixed that into place, the leakage stopped. The water pressure was decent – we would say that this is the best hand held shower head for low water pressure. However, we found the sprayers kind of far apart and too sparse for our liking.
Another thing about this hand held shower head is that it moves about a lot due to its light weight, unless you leave it in the mounted bracket. However, if it is used for showering a baby or a pet, it can get a bit cumbersome to have to do that every time you need both of your hands. Overall, this is a good product, especially considering the price.
Now that we have finished reviewing our top 4 hand held shower heads, it is time to decide which one is the best contender. Based on considerations of price, versatility, durability, pressure, spray settings, look, and feel we have decided that the Delta 58467 In2ition® is the best shower head for us. As we tried out the different shower heads, it became clear to us that it does make a big difference whether the hand held shower head system also includes a mounted shower head or not. Only 2 of our top 4 picks included both a mounted and a hand held shower head, so the choice for the top spot really came down to the two of them.
Since the Delta and the Ana Bath Shower System are quite similar in many respects, it was not an easy task to determine a clear winner. We had to base our decision on the few differentiating factors between these 2-in-1 shower head systems. The most important deciding factor in our choice of the best was water pressure. With state legislation restricting the pressure in shower heads, every extra gallon per minute counts for a lot. The Delta’s 2.5 gallons per minute flow rate may not seem much higher than Ana Bath’s 2.3 gallons per minute, but for us it does make a big difference. Water pressure is crucial for a proper shower, and in this category, the Delta is the clear winner.
The second difference between these two shower head systems is in the design of the unit. While on the Delta unit the hand held head fits perfectly in the mounted shower head, the same cannot be said for the Ana Bath Shower System. The added convenience that comes with using the Delta was another big reason why we decided it should be the best hand head shower head. When we are in the shower, we want the shower head to be working perfectly from start to finish and the Delta is closer to that perfection than the Ana Bath.
The third differentiating factor between the two systems is the price. The Delta costs about twice as much as the Ana Bath. In this respect, the Ana Bath System is the clear winner. Thus, our final verdict would be that the Delta is our best pick but the Ana Bath Combo is an excellent alternative with similar performance and lower price.