Anyone who has stayed at a not so nice hotel realizes that not all shower heads are created equal. And nowadays, with everyone being extra body conscious, and staying home more than ever before, it’s a no-brainer to upgrade your shower head.
The first step in picking the best shower head for your home is to determine the optimal flow. Are you a fan of rain showers, or do you prefer heavy water pressure directed straight at your sore back muscles? After you’ve determined the right flow, finding a quality shower head that is simple to install, doesn’t leak, looks fantastic, and provides you with an excellent shower is next.
To help you limit alternatives — believe us, there are hundreds available — we spent hours studying the best shower heads on the market and chose 11 to test, retest, and triple-test over the course of many months.
Water flow regulations
Since 1992, the federal government has ordered that all shower heads have a reduced flow rate, namely 2.5 GPM, to conserve water countrywide. The added benefit for customers is reducing their utility bills (excellent!). Some places have taken their rules even farther.
For example, California has implemented a mandated 1.8 GPM standard. In response, manufacturers develop shower heads that meet or exceed government efficiency criteria. The EPA awards WaterSense certification to any product with a flow rate of 2.5 GPM or less.
Let’s now take a look at the best shower heads available in 2022.
Winner: Kohler Forte Shower Head
The highly enjoyable shower and water flow created by the Kohler Forte is primarily responsible for its high ranking. The “full coverage” setting of the shower head is all-encompassing and ideal for everyday usage since it produces a forceful rain stream made of large, complete water droplets. The tremendous pressure facilitates shampooing and conditioning hair, a speedy procedure, and it’s beneficial for rinsing off shampooed children that are much smaller and further away from the shower head.
Due to the full droplets formed by the “Katalyst” air-induction technology, which drives 2 liters of air per minute into the shower head, the water is also mild. We were able to feel each individual droplet emitted by this Kohler product, whereas we could not do so with other brands’ products.
Forte’s other settings are as excellent as well. The pulsing massage can target particular regions, making it ideal for an after-workout shower since it delivers a pounding force of water to tired muscles and other ailments. There is also the “silk spray” setting. Typically, this sort of setting is, at best ineffectual, producing a foggy mist that cannot remove anything. The mist setting on the Forte, on the other hand, provides a thick spray that is ultralight yet powerful enough for all your washing requirements.
The Forte does everything while remaining low flow. At 1.75 GPM (2.5 is the legally mandated maximum for GPM; additional information on GPM is provided below), this shower head is not only WaterSense-certified but also authorized by the California Energy Commission, disproving the idea that low-flow shower heads are associated with low pressure.
Elegant in appearance, Forte is available in six finishes; the French gold color is now widespread in bathroom decor, but it will run you an additional $37. The 5.50-inch-wide shower head is neither the largest nor the smallest on our list. While it won’t be the central focus of your shower (turn to Glacier Bay’s enormous rectangular shower head if you’re looking for a show-stopper), Forte’s graceful slanted design and broad head will mix wonderfully with both luxurious and simple bathrooms.
This shower head was also easy to set up; it required just under two minutes from unwrapping the package to attaching and turning on the fixture. It came supplied with a washer (many of the others needed us to place these manually), so all we did was screw the shower head into the shower arm, although the instructions recommended using a tool to tighten.
And it’s simple to clean: Brush the silicone jets over the head to remove any mineral buildup. This product’s one-year guarantee was the shortest of all the shower heads we evaluated, which generally gave five- to ten-year (and in some instances, lifetime) coverage.
If you’re searching for a shower head that ticks all the boxes and regularly provides a strong water stream, the Forte is a safe pick and well worth the relatively high price.
Best low-flow option: High Sierra Classic Plus Shower Head
The significance of water conservation in the United States and the rest of the globe is undeniable; if this is your concern, take a look at the High Sierra Classic Plus. The Classic Plus has a flow rate of 1.5 GPM, making it the lowest low-flow shower head on our list. It is WaterSense- and California Energy Commission-approved. There is a stigma associated with high-efficiency shower heads, with some feeling that these heads produce little more than an ineffective trickle of water. However, Classic Plus disproves this by delivering a blast of high-pressure water that effortlessly removes soap and grime.
During our testing, the product’s purity is arguably what we appreciated the most. The Classic Plus has a single function and is manufactured entirely of metal, which is not typical in the shower head market. Despite its tiny size, it is a powerhouse. The fixed shower head is 1 inch by 1 inch by 3 inches and weighs just around a half-pound, yet it can create a wide, powerful stream that effortlessly removes shampoo and conditioner from even the longest hair. Additional eco-friendly information: The compact size of the American-made Classic Plus correlates to a reduced carbon footprint since the manufacturer utilizes less energy and materials during production.
The nozzle’s patent-protected design is noteworthy, as it differs from any other shower head we evaluated. The Classic Plus is essentially clog-proof because water is expelled through a single opening instead of a pressure gauge and thousands of small silicone jets. This construction also makes installation simple; screw it into the shower arm, and voila! Similarly, cleaning is accomplished by simply running one’s finger in the hollow hole.
We also appreciated the product’s adaptability. The Classic Plus is offered in four colors (chrome, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and polished brass) and three flow rates (1.5, 1.8, and 2 GPM). If the shower arm height exceeds 6.5 feet, the manufacturer suggests using a 1.8 or 2 GPM, which emits bigger water droplets, to provide adequate washing. And if you want to save even more water, choose the trickle-head model, which features a valve that slows the water flow to a trickle while you lather or shave.
For its tiny size, the High Sierra Classic Plus produces a surprisingly powerful and constant spray, making it ideal for outdoor and smaller showers. If you want something with a little more bells and whistles, this shower head is not for you. The Classic Plus is the ideal option if you’re happy with a straightforward device that provides a continuous stream of water while preserving it.
Best dual head option: Moen Attract Dual Shower Head and Handheld Shower Head
It is immediately obvious that the Moen Attract shower head would be at home in a luxurious hotel. The Attract’s enormous “rain shower” head (measured 6.75 by 3.75 inches) dominated our list due to its opulent appearance and because it provides a powerful shower. It is hardly surprising that the head has approximately 1,900 likes on Home Depot.
For starters, it is a dual shower head that provides a forceful spray via the rain shower head and six effective blasts via the handheld. During testing, we felt spoiled by the three-in-one versatility, whether subjecting ourselves to a downpour from the primary head only, selecting one of the powerful handheld sprays, or mixing both for thorough watering. The shower heads consistently provide a sensation reminiscent of a spa.
In particular, we were captivated by the Attract’s incredibly straightforward design concerning the excellent coverage and regularity of the water pressure. Specifically, we’re referring to the “Magnetix” technology, in which the handheld resides in a magnetized dock and can be readily removed and replaced. In contrast to other dual shower heads on the market, where the handheld must be maneuvered back into a slick, tiny dock adjacent to the main head, the Attract magnetic dock is simply situated immediately beneath the main head. This location is brilliant because when the two heads are combined, they can operate in concert to produce a massive, immersive water stream. More information: We loved the handheld’s “pause/trickle” button, which allows the user to stop water flow midshower while, for example, shaving legs or lathering up, and that the water temperature remained constant once we lifted the pause button.
Speaking of water saving, a prominent selling feature of the Attract is its high-efficiency shower head, generating 1.75 GPM while being utterly luxurious. The WaterSense- and California Energy Commission-approved Attract demonstrates that low flow does not equate to poor quality.
As with other dual shower heads, the Attract includes extra components, which increased our installation time. From opening the box to turning on the shower, the installation took around 10 minutes. The silicone nozzles are easy to clean, and the chrome variant that we tried was genuinely resistant to stains.
The Moen Attract is aesthetically pleasing, intelligently designed, provides an exceptional shower experience, and is environmentally efficient to boot. Because not everyone has the space or the necessity for a dual shower head, it did not make the cut for our best overall shower head.
Best budget option: Wassa High-Pressure Shower Head
The Wassa High-Pressure Shower Head issue is as follows: When we learned that it cost $19 and had over 11,000 good reviews and a 4.8-star score on Amazon, we were nearly convinced to purchase it. In-person testing confirmed what several reviews said, namely, that despite its small, 3-inch-wide head size and affordable price, this shower head produces a forceful rain spray. Reminder, it actually costs less than twenty dollars.
If the water pressure is essential for you, you should strongly explore this shower head. Numerous Amazon reviewers described this product as “heavenly” and “wonderful”; one even dubbed it a “power wash” for your shower. We were excited to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Wassa, unsurprisingly, stood up to the expectations. When 45 silicone jets emitted water, the stream was powerful and focused, and we could practically feel each of those 45 jets bearing down on us. Although some Amazon users claimed that the pressure was too intense for, for instance, washing your face, we disagree; the pressure is powerful, but not to an uncomfortable degree. And if you’re concerned about stream coverage, don’t be because a swivel ball joint makes it simple to direct the stream at the proper angle.
However, there are disadvantages, including the head’s 2.5 GPM flow. But even though it’s WaterSense-certified, this is a no-go for Californians because it’s on the upper end of the GPM values in heads that we tested (more on that below). There is also the issue that this shower head has a single function and no other adjustments. However, the product’s simplistic design is advantageous for setup and cleaning; both were straightforward and quick.
You won’t find a finer shower head at this budget point than the Wassa, even though it lacks some of the fancy features of more expensive rivals, particularly a variety of spray settings. It is sufficient for every bathroom in existence.
After exploring the shower head sector for best-selling, top-rated, trending, and highly acclaimed products, we gathered 11 shower heads that (in theory) meet the most critical criteria for purchasers, including design, construction, and functionality aesthetics, and pricing.
Then, we subjected each unit to a minimum of 3 showers, including a rapid rinse, a lengthy soak, and the ultimate test: bathing four children after a busy summer workday. Our rigorous testing process lasted several months. In addition to evaluating the overall shower sensations, we also assessed:
We recorded how long it took to remove each shower head from its packaging, how many pieces were included in each package, or if the parts were well labeled.
We determined if the instructions were clear and accurate, if any special equipment was needed, how long it took to set up the shower head, and any extra components (if necessary) from start to end.
We evaluated the length of each product’s warranty.
We tested for leakage from the shower head’s attachment to the wall, from the head while switched off, and from the head when moving between settings.
We ranked the shower heads based on evidence of wear and tear over time, construction quality, quality of materials, and the feel of the objects in hand. Moreover, we recorded what material each shower head was made of.
It was important to notice how easy it was to clean the spray jets (and handheld, if present) on each of the shower heads and the surrounding gear.
Water pressure and distribution was unquestionably the largest category. Here, we want a powerful, continuous stream that remains constant throughout settings and when transitioning from a fixed to a handheld shower head.
Stream coverage: We recorded the volume of each stream and whether or not it could saturate the entire body.
While some of the spray heads we examined were single-function, others had up to nine spray settings. We assessed whether the options were understandable and practical and the usability of moving between modes.
In our first evaluation of each shower head, we focused on its design, size, and form and how appealing it seemed on a conventional subway tiled shower wall. We also noted which kind of bathrooms the showerheads were best suited to, ranging from commercial to opulent master suites.
We directly compared the shower head with the several variations commercially available, noting the design advantages and disadvantages of each.
We’ve also checked if the head itself had any color options other than regular chrome color.
Shower heads alternatives
AquaStar Elite functions as both an overhead and a handheld shower, but its main selling feature is the antimicrobial streams that resist microorganisms due to Microban that is permanently included. We found the head’s settings to be forceful and efficient, with the pulsing massage being the most potent of those we examined. The restricted stream coverage prevented it from topping our list, but we’d still recommend it for a guest or children’s bathroom.
With over 10,000 Amazon reviews and a 4.4-star score, this twin shower combination is an excellent buy for those on a budget. This shower head has incredible value with five extremely effective blast modes (everyone should experience “power rain”), a sizeable 4-inch-wide face, rub-clean jets, and a sleek chrome finish. However, if solid water pressure is essential, you should search elsewhere.
This dual shower head has a 6-inch wide fixed rainfall head and a high-powered handheld. With the RainSpa head, you have a massive shoulder-to-shoulder spray, six spray levels (along with a stop option), and jets that are simple to clean for less than $25. Members of Bed Bath & Beyond Beyond+ may get it for $19.99. Although it is an excellent option for people seeking a dual shower head at an affordable price, the device did have some flaws. Its many components, along with the chrome-finished material’s worse feel, resulted in an overall experience that was less pleasing than that of the more expensive Moen. Even if they operate equally, we recommend spending extra on the Moen since it has a higher build quality and is more likely to last longer.
This is a worthy alternative for those seeking a large, fixed shower head. With a width of almost 7 inches, the Spectra+ provides a full-body stream. In contrast to most heads, you may shift between modes by tapping anywhere on the circular head’s outer ring; no levers or pulleys are necessary. We also liked the four beautiful finishes. The final drawbacks for us were Spectra+’s unimpressive water pressure and plastic construction, which gave it a somewhat less expensive appearance and feel than some of the other models in our testing pool.
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