Help us find the perfect handheld shower.
January 23, 2018 1:11 PM   Subscribe

We don't need a million settings. We don't care about a "massage" in the shower. We just want a shower head that delivers really good pressure for both short and tall users.

We just replaced a decent but suddenly leaky Delta 75700 with a Moen Iso which got good reviews and seemed promising, but none of the settings are good for me. My husband thinks it's fine. I feel like I'm just not getting wet enough.

My husband is a lot less picky than I am, and it's perhaps because he's taller (so he's much closer to the shower head itself) and doesn't have long hair to rinse. His main concern is that it has good pressure. He's been happy with all of the handheld shower heads we've had. I've been much less happy.

What would be perfect for me is a shower head that has good coverage (i.e., isn't just an outer ring of spray in which I have to find the best edge of it to stand under) and doesn't feel like rain (too soft) or needles (too sharp). I want really strong pressure that's in fatter, thicker streams (boy does that sound gross).

Handheld is necessary. I don't need a super-long hose as it's going to be used in a shower stall. As I said previously, I don't need a ton of settings. I'd be happy with just ONE really great setting. We don't really care what it looks like. And we don't want to have to spend hundreds of dollars. Bonus points for not having to order from Amazon.

I feel like I've read hundreds of reviews extolling the virtues of "so many settings!" or complaining about plastic parts, and I just don't care about any of that. I care about how it feels. I want to be drenched by strong streams of water which will make it easy to rinse out my hair. (And, yes, I understand that I can take out the low-flow filter things, which should increase pressure.)

So, any recommendations?
posted by MsVader to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I followed mathowie’s advice here, and have been very satisfied.
posted by mammoth at 1:40 PM on January 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

When I did the bathroom, I installed a height adjustable shower head. Mom's 5'2", I'm 6'2", it worked out great.
posted by Marky at 2:03 PM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

As a short person that lived with a talk person, I fixed this by getting an adjustable shower arm that would easily raise and lower the shower head. This way, I wasn’t stuck using it at the tall person’s height, where the water was dispersed before reaching me.

I used with a hand held showerhead and it worked well.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

i bought a waterpik handheld one from amazon, and the difference was staggering. i live in a shitty apartment, but it was SO NICE to be able to not spend 20 minutes rinsing things off me, because BEHOLD, WATER. i didn't even have to take the limiter off. it was about $30 - i think it was this one. it has different settings but i never use them (i think my bf does, though), and it tilts, so it's tall/short enough for both of us. just make sure you get the plumber's tape stuff to hold it on the threading better. i think it's about $2.
posted by koroshiya at 2:30 PM on January 23, 2018

sorry, i glommed over the amazon thing. but i'm sure it's available at home depot or lowe's or whathaveyou.
posted by koroshiya at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2018

We have a version of the Wirecutter pick and have been very happy with it.
posted by roomwithaview at 2:56 PM on January 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you tried removing the flow restrictor? There are many Youtube how-to videos on "removing showerhead flow restrictor" so I won't go into all the details, but it's easy and worth a try before you plunk down cash on a different showerhead.
posted by cnidaria at 6:06 PM on January 23, 2018

Oops, apologies, failed to read your last sentence. Carry on.
posted by cnidaria at 6:07 PM on January 23, 2018

I purchased the Delta model that was the recommendation from Wirecutter prior to the one roomwithaview linked to. If you are looking for strong streams, this thing basically waterboards you. That being said, I'm tall like your husband (6'2"), and I found the pressure to be a bit much being that close to the showerhead. I ended up switching to this Aquarius handheld since it sits higher. I'm happy with it so far and the perceived pressure is substanial even with the flow restrictor in place.
posted by jason and the garlic knots at 7:28 PM on January 23, 2018

As others have said, the actual water pressure may be improved by removing the restricting washer inside the unit. Not difficult to do at all.

I do have a recommendation though. In my recent bathroom remodel, I wanted a hand held unit in addition to the main one. I bought this Moen unit, which can used as a main shower head as well as hand held. I really like the magnetic docking system, and at least a couple of the available spray patterns provides a nice full shower spray.
posted by The Deej at 8:29 PM on January 23, 2018

I have one of these. It's vigorous, but neither needly nor throbbing. It has no settings. The spray diameter isn't huge, but it's wide enough and it rinses hair quickly and easily (I'm 5' 2"). We've had it for several years and really like it.
posted by magicbus at 5:29 AM on January 24, 2018

We recently installed these Moen units in both our showers and are very pleased. Adjustable arm, a good flow and feel. Only one setting.
posted by ikahime at 8:19 AM on January 24, 2018

I too have the Wirecutter pick, I'm 5'3" and I LOVE IT. I do agree with jason and the garlic knots' assessment, it does have a setting that is akin to waterboarding and that is my favorite setting, especially for getting shampoo/conditioner out of hair.
posted by crankylex at 5:49 PM on January 24, 2018

I'd like to thank you guys for your answers. I agonized for another two weeks or so, reading even more online reviews, and still feeling like I wasn't going to be able to find what I really wanted. Then I realized that the perfect answer was getting the best of both worlds - great pressure (fixed showerhead) and convenience (handheld) - by using a diverter valve.

So, even though I thought the site looked sketchy as hell, I trusted the wisdom of my fellow MeFites, and took a chance. We ended up going with the Supreme fixed model and the Premium Massage handheld model. We followed the instructions for removing the flow restrictors, and I am loving my showers again. I ordered a diverter valve from the same site, mainly for convenience, but the quality of all of the components is top notch.

The Supreme showerhead delivers awesome pressure which makes rinsing out my hair a much easier and shorter process. This showerhead delivers the pressure of the massage setting on most handheld models, but out of all 42 nozzles. It's a mighty powerful drenching! I can't recommend this thing strongly enough.

As far as the handheld goes, it's super lightweight, and serves its auxiliary purpose just fine. I wouldn't be satisfied with it if it were my only showerhead though. It suffers from the problem that almost all handheld showerheads have - the strongest spray is only from an outside ring of nozzles. Using the setting that combines the outside ring with the inner massage nozzles causes the outside ring to lose power. So, while I'm slightly disappointed in this handheld, it pretty much doesn't matter because the main showerhead more than makes up for it.
posted by MsVader at 9:25 AM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

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