You like the design of your shower head. Why?
January 5, 2017 2:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to get a new shower head as ours is broken. Literally just the head, the kind that screws onto the end of a hose and is clipped to the wall above a bath. But there are so many different kinds I'm kind of losing my mind here.

Round, square, long, ring-shaped, ones that light up like a disco, ones with fourteen different functions, ones that sing lullabies, ones that will make a cup of tea as well. What distinguishes a good shower head from a merely mediocre or - god forbid - downright unpleasant shower head? What do you enjoy about your shower head? Note that the one thing we probably don't need is a design that compensates for low water pressure.

I live in the UK and ideally I'm not looking to spend loads, but I'm open to people recommending something they bought for Money which I can then try to see if there's a cheaper equivalent to. Mostly I just want to know what is good and not good about shower heads.
posted by Acheman to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Mine's an handheld, and I'm ok with it. All it does is cut the flow to the outer holes to slightly increase pressure on the middle ones (for rinsing hair) and cut the water without having to reach the faucet.
posted by lmfsilva at 2:45 AM on January 5, 2017

I like the ones that have little rubber 'nipples' (for want of a better word) around the individual holes. These are handy if you're in a hard water area, because you can just run your thumb over them to break away any limescale.

An adjustable stream (ability to adjust the pressure and width of the stream of water) is an important feature for me. I wouldn't go with anything the lacked that feature.

Ours is one of the Mira shower heads on this page, or an older version of one of them. They're all pretty similar. I can't see that there'd be much benefit in spending more than £25 unless, as you say, you want a disco. 90% of what makes a shower good is the water pressure, and your shower head won't do much to change that.
posted by pipeski at 3:28 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Sweethome does a nice round-up on the best showerheads and the criteria they used to assess them.
posted by fairmettle at 3:46 AM on January 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Mine's our govt-issued water-saving one. I like it because you can adjust the flow to a nice massage-level. Apparently it's also virtuous and water-saving.
posted by pompomtom at 4:30 AM on January 5, 2017

We have two, one hand held and one wall mounted. Both are Grohe. They're 12 years old and pretty bulletproof. They're both low flow, but I took the wall mounted one apart and removed the restrictor gadget, now it has so much pressure it'll strip paint. The finish still looks great, and as someone noted above the 'face' is rubbery plastic and easy to clean.
posted by fixedgear at 4:48 AM on January 5, 2017

The one feature we consider essential is a way to reduce the flow to a trickle when not actively rinsing. It's a great way to save water.
posted by DrGail at 5:20 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Sweethome does a nice round-up on the best showerheads and the criteria they used to assess them.

You know, I have that Delta In2ition (the one they rate the best) and I hate it. The holes are too far apart and I like a more concentrated spray. And the whole thing feels very cheap. (It was a gift, I had no idea it costs $130. If you had asked me I'd have guesstimated about $30)
posted by INFJ at 5:53 AM on January 5, 2017

We bought the Delta that is reviewed by Sweethome as "potentially too much pressure for some*" and removed the restrictor O-ring. Best features: a physical valve on the fixed head that sends water to head, handheld, or both; as well as a pause button on the handheld.

There's enough flow and hose reach for two average-sized people to shower together and still have water if one takes the handheld and the other uses the fixed head. The pause button helps curtail stray water when you're washing a dog or something.

it's the older Intuition model, not the current one
posted by a halcyon day at 5:55 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

We have the Thunderhead .....
Hands down one of the best purchases ever!
posted by JenThePro at 7:12 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't recall the brand of mine, but it's a 'rain' or 'waterfall' shower head: a big flattish disc about 8 inches across that has water holes all over it and is mounted so it rains down on me. (Sort of like JenThePro's Thunderhead.)

The ones I absolutely hate are the ones that put out a hollow cone of water: they spray only from a ring of holes on the outer edge of the shower head. Doesn't matter if they spray soft or hard ("massage"), all you get is that stupid hollow cone.
posted by easily confused at 7:16 AM on January 5, 2017

We got the Delta In2ition, but a lower model than the Sweethome recommendation (looks like without the H2OKinetic feature?). We LOVE it. It's got a nice wide spray pattern, but without any gaps, and the handheld+head option is great for staying warm while rinsing something (or someone) else.

I wan to go home and take a shower now, I love it that much.
posted by natabat at 8:52 AM on January 5, 2017

I'm watching this question with interest, as I have a similar problem (though I am based in the USA.)

I've tried a number of different ones and found them all lacking in various ways, generally cheap lightweight construction and a tendency to quickly develop leaks. I'm willing to pay a bit more if it'll get me a better shower experience but so far I've found little direct correlation between price and the quality of the shower experience and they're not an item one can easily return, so I am a little reluctant to shell out big bucks, only to receive another disappointment.

One thing I have generally found is that with hand showers the quality of the hose that comes with the unit will often give you an idea of the quality of construction of the hand unit itself. Or at least I have never yet encountered a decent hand unit that came with a cheap hose.

I live in an area where our water service isn't even metered (with a population of 12,000 people and 150+ inches of rain per year there's enough water for everyone to take a long shower and then some.) I understand (and agree with) the importance of conserving water elsewhere, but here one can literally catch all of the water a household needs off just the rainfall that lands on your roof. Not to hijack the original poster's question, but would I have more (or anyway better) options if I widened my search outside the USA, with its mandated 2.5 gpm limit?
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:05 AM on January 5, 2017

Check for backflow prevention. Required by code (where I live) for good reason.
posted by slidell at 10:11 AM on January 5, 2017

I recently bought this one, which I've been please with because:
-It was inexpensive
-It has a filter (the water in my city has a lot of chlorine)
-You can use it as a regular shower head or take it off the hook to use it as a handheld
-It has a pause button
-It was easy enough to install, and no leaks so far.
posted by leeloo minai at 11:15 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is the one I use: the rain head is nice and high, the sprayer hose is metal (so it hangs and bends according to gravity rather than how stiffly wound the plastic was) and it switches nicely between modes-much easier than my previous sprayer head (it was just a straight line shower head with a comically stiff pull-out diverter button to feed the sprayer). As it is, the holder slides high enough that you can easily use the sprayer as a normal-height shower head.
posted by Captain l'escalier at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nerd of the North : the flow restrictor on most showerheads can be easily removed:
posted by splicer at 8:26 PM on January 5, 2017

We also have the Thunderhead. It is our favourite thing we have ever bought. We bought one for my in-laws, and bought ANOTHER when we moved. And if this ever breaks, we will buy another one. It is inexpensive, the head is HUGE and this is helpful for family shower time, and those little nipple things can just be squeezed if calcium builds up - and the calcium goes away.
posted by andreapandrea at 10:11 PM on January 5, 2017

We have the budget pick from that Sweethome list; we like it so much that we have installed it in the last three places we've lived, and then bought one for my brother and his wife because they liked ours so much when they visited. I like that it's a low flow one that doesn't feel low flow. Used several years daily by two people with no problems yet.
posted by pitrified at 4:41 PM on January 6, 2017

Thank you all for helping me! I ended up going for a super large shower head that wasn't very expensive. It's working fine, although I'm not sure it's optimising the pressure amazingly and may take a look at the internals later.
posted by Acheman at 7:10 AM on February 1, 2017

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