The Best Shower Head

Taking a shower should be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience and the key to that is a good shower head. After 50 hours of research and tests (that is, showers) by multiple editors and researchers on our team, the head we keep coming back to is the Delta In2ition.

Last Updated: May 9, 2014
We still like the Delta In2ition as the best showerhead for most people. But if you, like some of us, prefer a handheld-only option that won't overwhelm a small shower or need something that works great for bathing a dog or small children, we now recommend the Delta 9-Spray Shower Mount.

It uses a nozzle design to make water streams seem fuller without mixing in air—and cooling the shower—as many do. Three Sweethome editors independently verified that this showerhead was the best they’ve ever used at home. This shower head is $150 but that’s the only bad thing about it, and we have a budget pick for $25 that’s based on the same technology.

Here’s the kicker: Although the Delta In2uition used a measured 2.5 gallons a minute of water, it felt like it was flowing two to three times more water than a top-rated shower head from legendary shower company Speakman—and even our budget pick felt like it had more volume of water flowing through it despite using a measured 1.8 gallons per minute.

Who is this for?

This article is for people who live in places where the showerhead is not up to par, and isn’t built into the wall. If you’re looking for a shower head for a fancy bathroom remodel, you’ll probably want a permanent fixture that matches your new tub, sink and faucets. We’re focusing on the kind you can hand tighten onto your shower pipe yourself with a little bit of teflon tape to keep it from dripping.

What to look for in a shower head

There are shower heads of all shapes and sizes available online so I made some initial assumptions to help narrow down the field. I didn’t want to pick a winner that required a professional plumber for installation since that would add additional and unknown costs. I put no restrictions on output or water conservation other than the government regulated 2.5gpm. I ruled out the cheap, generic cone head option and set the top of the budget at $250. After that it became hard to tell if you were paying for quality, or for some gimmick like LEDs.

It didn’t seem beneficial to make any more restrictions since there are so many variables that play into the success of a shower head in any given shower. But there were two categories of shower heads that didn’t seem worth exploring: rain can models and single-setting heads.

Rain can models, the large-faced, 100+ jet heads can trick people into thinking more jets are better. In fact, more jets, and a bigger face require more water, and more pressure in order to have a satisfying shower. In most reviewer comments I read people recommended removing parts—flow restrictors—from head in order to increase the water flow but this undermines the 2.5gpm restriction. And a majority of these heads are designed to work angled directly downward so your experience is limited. You can’t easily shower without getting your hair wet, for example. These may work well in a hotel where you stay for a few days, but they are not as practical for everyday use. Plus, you can always get an extension arm adapter for a standard showerhead if you want a downward flow from a regular shower head.

Choosing the best shower head isn’t as simple as looking for the newest, or most eco-friendly models.

The same goes for single-setting heads without detachable wands. Side-by-side comparisons from the New York Times and Real Simple have mostly multi-function heads and the top sellers from online retailers focus on the same. Maybe it’s that single setting heads aren’t popular, or maybe it’s that companies are spending their money on higher end models. But regardless the closest I came to finding a good single setting head was a two-setting head that just had two really similar settings. Plus single-setting heads don’t allow you to adjust for pressure, and don’t help conserve water, so I didn’t bend over backward trying to find a decent one.

Choosing the best shower head isn’t as simple as looking for the newest, or most eco-friendly models. Because of this the market is flooded with knock-offs and that sort of thins out the user review consensus to be almost useless. Reading these comments does, however, reveal that describing what makes a shower head good or bad isn’t a simple thing to communicate. The names of the components are not widely known and standardized measurements are limited to gallons per minute (gpm). In the world of gadgets size, speed, and resolution are measured in consistent ways making them easier to compare. Even if you can perfectly describe the ideal shower, there’s still a lot of subjectivity to get around. The best shower depends on water pressure, the size and plumbing configuration of your shower, and your personal particularities. So with all of that in mind, if you are happy with your current shower head, you probably shouldn’t change it. But if you have that ubiquitous cone shaped fixed head or anything similar—or if just don’t love your shower—it might be time to upgrade.

Water conservation is also kind of something to avoid worrying about when looking for a shower head—not because saving water is bad but because all legal shower heads do it anyhow.

The only surefire way to conserve water is to spend less time in the shower, and turn down the water when you’re sudsing up.
Many shower heads are advertised as “low-flow,” boasting savings on water bills and reduction in consumption. But the Energy Policy Act of 1992 requires that all shower heads sold in the U.S. maintain a flow of 2.5 gpm or less. So really every shower head is low-flow. The question is, how low should you go? If you are exceptionally concerned with saving water and money or if you are installing a head on a boat or R.V. then you can go as low as 1.5gpm. Any lower and the diameter of head has to be so small that the shower stream will feel like a needle. Any bigger and you’re essentially standing under a garden hose. If you go less than 1.5 gpm you’re going to have to spend so much time in the shower rinsing off that you will waste more water than if you didn’t. The only surefire way to conserve water is to spend less time in the shower, and turn down the water when you’re sudsing up. So we set out to find a shower head that promotes these behaviors.

Editorial side-by-side comparisons pointed me towards a few noteworthy brands. The Real Simple review lead me to the Hansgrohe Clubmaster, the head with the most unique self cleaning mechanism. But I was hesitant to take other advice from this review because it wasn’t clear if they actually tested the heads or not. The New York Times comparison, on the other hand, was written in first person and seemed more reliable. They tested a nondescript four jet Delta head which is what lead me to include Delta on the list of contenders. Esquire composed a list of Best Shower Heads for Men categorized by the type of shower you’re looking for. This list includes the Kohler Flipside which I ended up testing twice and the Speakman Anystream, which also appeared in Real Simple. Esquire tested a Delta head and liked it, so it became clear we had to get Delta into the semi finalist list.

I also browsed through Amazon, Home Depot, Overstock, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and a few other online retailers looking for popular brands and found that Delta, Kohler and Moen are the most reviewed. I looked for the models from those companies with the best user reviews and combined them with others I had come across that had a unique concept or technology claim and also threw in the head I had been using in my own shower for about 8 months, the Moen Nature Three Function which I bought without doing extensive or conclusive research as a personal purchase, as a baseline.

Then I took my top ten heads and I got to testing.

I was already someone who showered often and at length so over the course of the last few months I put in close to 50 hours of testing. I first tried each head without actually showering with it and took down some basic notes on ease of install, the range of settings and if there were any glaring issues like leaks. I turned the water on full blast to both extreme hot and cold. (None of the heads popped off with a deluge of water like so many cartoons would have you believe. Don’t trust cartoons!) Then I retested and retested and retested.

Going a full day between showers made it hard to recall specific details so I began changing heads mid-shower. Heads were easier to compare when used back-to-back and that helped eliminate questions lingering about the consistency of the water temperature and pressure in my apartment. So for the next few months my bathroom floor remained covered in shower heads and I switched them in and out regularly depending on what kind of shower I wanted, and what details I was looking to scrutinize at the time.

It’s worth noting that unlike many other of our product categories, it was hard to come up with a scientific protocol for testing. With actual flow not being a part of the equation, it came down to feel. And to take those subjective personal impressions from anecdotal to something resembling actual data, I had three other editors test some finalist showerheads.

The Delta in2ition was a standout pick for all of us.

Our Pick

I knew from editorial and buyer reviews that I wanted to test at least one of Delta’s shower heads. There are hundreds to choose from and there wasn’t particular model that stood out immediately.

Since every model comes in a variety of finishes and slight variations I was overwhelmed again with a useless jumble of user reviews. I had a budget, I knew I wanted a model with the H2OKinetic technology and I wanted something with more than one setting and both a wand and a fixed head. I used the Delta website to narrow my search since Amazon and other online retailers were flooded with old models and inconsistent data. Delta had a few intriguing options but none caught my eye more than the In2ition line with the H2OKinetic tech. I hadn’t seen anything at this point that combined a hand held and a fixed head seamlessly rather than as two pieces so I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try.

While the New York Times and Esquire  didn’t mention this particular model as the one they tested, they liked Delta. Esquire’s description sounds similar to our description of the In2ition, saying “The Delta throws out big, heavy droplets of water: You won’t know you’re using a low-flow showerhead.” User reviews on Amazon are sparse but out of 11 reviews on Amazon the Delta In2ition scored an average of 4.75 stars, so we gave it a try. (Note this is 11 reviews total across 4 finishes—not a ton of data, I admit.)

Water seems to come from everywhere.

The Delta In2ition has both a fixed, and a handheld portion which can be used together, or independently. The In2ition line comes in a few different shapes and sizes. The components inside all of them are the same but model number 58471 has the best combination of features. It’s got a sleek, all chrome design (but some plastic parts on the inside), the handheld and fixed portions fit seamlessly together, and it has a small number of jets (which, after testing, proved to be a positive attribute). A magnet keeps the handheld portion attached to the fixed piece which means no fumbling with a wet handle or that little ring holder thing that most handheld shower heads fit into.

I was skeptical about how the high $150 price corresponded with quality and I was put off by having to use two features to adjusting the settings; an arm on the fixed portion, and a button on the handheld. (Note that we looked for a combo H2OKinetic wand and fixed head unit for less but could not find one.) The face is over 7″ in diameter but only has 25 jets so this seemed like an inefficient use of space. But when I turned the water on high it became clear that the spacing between the jets was very important.

Here’s the immediate thing I noticed: The showerhead feels like a lot more than 2.5 gallons per minute.

To verify my findings, I had three editors, Joel Johnson, Mike Zhao, and Brian Lam, with 30 years of product writing between them and lifetimes of showers verify the head was better than their current showerheads (all of which were relatively low-end heads that had come installed in their apartments and homes), which they did with a resounding yes.

Delta’s channeling method causes water droplets to oscillate as they exit the head to create the sensation of a more volumetric flow.

Brian said, “Words that come to mind are ‘firehose,’ ‘drenching,’ ‘drowning.’ Water seems to come from everywhere, and indeed the high portions of my shower are soaked when before they were not. It’s a subjective judgement call, but it’s so much more of a flood than my last showerhead that I can’t be imagining it.”

Turns out some of the jargon has an explainable technology, or at least a claim that we can explain as a reason for the torrent. The In2ition uses Delta’s H2OKinetic technology. Delta’s channeling method causes water droplets to oscillate as they exit the head to create the sensation of a more volumetric flow.

I spoke with Paul Patton, Senior Product Development Manager at Delta, who explained how they manage to achieve this sensation with such little water. “What we do is: inside the shower head we have different channels and dams and we control how large the droplets are going to get, how fast they are going to oscillate out of the shower head. At the same time we create two vortices just as the water is starting to come out and we get a push/pull, and that’s how we get the oscillation.”

Patton says this oscillation creates a wave pattern, rather than a straight line, which you can see with the naked eye as pretty thick streams that look like they shake back and forth or sputter. This is all done without moving parts so there are fewer components that can break. Since the streams of water are moving back and forth they take up more space in the air than a stream that has a straight trajectory so the jets have to be farther apart, which explains the fact that this shower head felt more full in stream than a typical showerhead, despite fewer jets. Paul Patton says that Delta’s own research shows that “The typical H2O shower head provides 90% coverage on your body.”

More testing to cut through the hype

At first, The Wirecutter’s founder Brian thought this all sounded like bullshit.

He tested the In2ition against the two highest rated shower heads from Speakman that could be found on Amazon, Speakman being one of the most highly regarded shower head makers in the world. Facing off the high-end $100 Speakman against the high-end $150 Delta, the Delta felt like it had about 2x more flow, subjectively. Facing the lower end models against each other, the Delta felt like it had 50% more flow than the cheaper ($50) Speakman.

Brian’s theory was that despite the ratings, the high-end Deltas we liked were using more water to achieve the undoubtedly greater feeling of flow. So he tested water consumption by holding a measurement bucket under the tap at full flood for a minute for all the picks. Surprisingly, the $150 Delta ended up using exactly the same amount as the $100 Speakman, at 2.5 gallons per minute, measured.

Even more surprising was the budget $25 Delta used a little less than 2.5 gallons per minutes measured, yet somehow managed to create a greater sensation of water flow than the budget Speakman did, and a little less flow-feel than the higher end Speakman. (Keep in mind the budget Delta and the Speakman showerheads also don’t have detachable wands.)

Brian said, in his test notes, “I vouch for the Delta’s ability to make the same amount of water flow feel thicker than other highly rated showerheads like those from Speakman.”

And the shower isn’t just fuller by measure of having a more concentrated jet. Brian also took notes on the spread pattern, remarking that the $150 Delta and the $100 Speakman both had the width pattern as it hit his wall of about two feet wide. (The cheaper Delta and Speakman were at around a foot and a half wide.)

He wasn’t alone: the other two editors noticed their showers were better when using this head versus the various cheap heads we replaced it with, despite the low number of jets and the constant water pressure we were very used to in our respective buildings.

More details about our pick

The shower’s wand and settings are adequate. Adjusting the settings using two features (a variable lever and a mode-change button on the wand) was a bit awkward and condensing the button and arm into one feature would improve this aspect—but being able to have 9 combinations of settings (three on the fixed, and three on the handheld) meant that I could adjust the pressure and flow to fit many different shower needs. I used only the handheld portion to rinse the shower after I cleaned it. I used only the fixed portion to reduce the flow while taking a quick shower. Because of its magnetic wand fixture, detaching and attaching the handheld portion is easy with any height fixture and person. (You don’t want to be standing on your tip toes or reaching beyond your means in a slippery shower.) The hose has a metal casing that remains twist free so there’s great range of motion. Between testing other heads I found myself reinstalling the Delta for regular showering. (It goes on in under a minute.)

There’s another benefit that the In2ition has, which it shared with other premium shower heads: it does not mix air into the stream in an attempt to create volume.

Over the last eight months of testing heads I realized some showers were significantly hotter than others. Previously, using only the hot water faucet, the water temperature was never so hot I couldn’t stand it at my apartment. But with some of the better heads, like the In2ition, I have to add cold water in to make the temperature bearable. It would be nearly impossible to test the success of aeration and get reliable results outside of a lab but it’s safe to say that the best shower head isn’t one that depends on unpredictable factors like the ambient air temperature in your bathroom, nor is it one that provides a jet of water over a limited area at any given time.

Budget pick

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $23.
It has fewer jets and no detachable wand, but using the same H2OKinetic water flow technology as our main pick, the 75152 provides a very satisfying shower for under $30.
If you can get by with even fewer nozzles and no wand, Delta’s 75152 is the step down model of the premium model, with only 4 jets, coming in under $25. It has the same H2OKinetic technology inside as the much pricier In2ition line so I knew it would give me a good sense of Delta’s range. The extreme wetness from only 4 jets, its minimal design, and basic function easily makes this the best head for someone on a budget. It bests all other showerheads except the highest-end $100 Speakman and the $150 Delta, which was best feeling of them all. This budget Delta has between 1.8 and 2.5 gallons per minute depending on your water pressure, but we measured our out at 2.2 gallons per minute and still felt very strong. Oh, did I mention it has over 600 reviews on Amazon with a combined rating of 4.5 stars? That’s very good crowd data backing up what we felt in our showers.

A mid-price option for small showers (or if you want a handheld-only showerhead)

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $42.
This is a great choice if you have a very small shower, you use your handheld shower head a lot, or need to wash the dog or small children.
If you’re looking for a mid-price showerhead, you have a very small shower, or you use your handheld showerhead a lot (say, for washing the dog or small children), we recommend the Delta 9-Spray Shower Mount. It’s not as fancy — and, by extension, not as powerful — as our pick, the Delta In2ition, but it offers a wealth of features that our budget pick does not. It’s solidly built with a strong spray and several different options to suit everyone’s in-shower preferences. We tested it against two other top-rated handheld models, the Moen Banbury and the Waterpik SM 653, and it easily beat them both.

As the name might suggest, the 9-Spray offers nine different spray settings, easily accessed using three buttons on the top of the showerhead — no annoying twisting and turning to get the settings you want. Each button controls some of the 67 nozzles, so its easy to turn sections on and off to get the settings you want. None of the settings are wasted on pounding, hail-like “massage” settings. Best yet: There’s a fourth button, which turns the showerhead off without having to turn off the water. It’s great for soaping your hair, taking breaks when washing animals, or conserving water.

Its spray is strong. It’s perhaps not the “firehose,” “drenching,” or “drowning” effect of the In2ition — partly due to its lack of Delta’s expensive H20kinetic technology — but it does more with 2.5 GPM than any of the other similarly rated handheld models we tested. After a week of testing the other showerheads (and a year with a terrible, landlord-provided model), my boyfriend, a veritable shower snob, practically wept with joy when he first tested the 9-Spray. He even asked me if I’d forgotten to install the flow regulator. I hadn’t. It just feels that good.

However, it’s also worth noting that it’s not too strong, which makes it ideal for smaller showers–like my own 3’ x 3’ one. If you’re using the In2ition, you’d ideally have at least a few feet of space separating you from the rather large showerhead to get the full force of the In2ition’s spray. The more compact 9-Spray can easily be redirected to spray downwards.

Like the In2ition, the 9-Spray has a handsome chrome finish and sturdy build quality — it certainly doesn’t feel dinky. This is important for a handheld showerhead because if you’re using it to, say, rinse off an unruly puppy, you need to feel like you have control at all times.

The metal hose expands from 60 to 82 inches without any trouble or kinks, and hangs flat, unlike other plastic hoses, which took several showers before they stopped holding their packaged shape and poking us in the face. As far as using the hose goes, it twisted and turned freely as I manipulated it. And at no point did water spray from anywhere but the nozzles–a common issue on cheaply made showerheads. It also attaches securely to the holder, and can be turned to face any direction without falling back to center (useful if, like me, you have a tiny shower and want to direct the initial blast of cold water elsewhere).

Other options we looked at (and eliminated)

Even without a wand, I thought the Speakman Anystream was going to be the better than the Delta in terms of its feeling. It flows at 2.5gpm which would hopefully provide a drenching feeling, but as our tests showed, it was not as powerful. 

It doesn’t provide an even stream.

Its all chrome minimalist design is beautiful; by far the best looking shower head. It weighs 3 pounds, has solid construction, and boasts a patented self-cleaning method. Coming in at just over $100 the 5 star reviews on Amazon seemed to make this a no-brainer. But testing proved otherwise. There are 8 jets separated into 8 streams each and as you rotate the arm on the side the jets move in and out of the head narrowing and widening the spray. It’s a continuous motion which will accommodate a shower with hard or soft pressure. But it doesn’t provide an even stream. You get those few jets of water that spray wildly and sputter. A self cleaning mechanism will help once hard water begins to build but on the first use there shouldn’t be any clogs. Its all-chrome casing makes for an attractive faucet but on full blast it got really hot—so hot that it was difficult grip the arm firmly enough to adjust the stream. These results left me disappointed. Just to make sure I couldn’t get the Speakman look in a functional head I also tested a knock off, the Giessdorf Original 8 Jet. There are a few small differences like the exposed screws on the face, and a different fitting on the neck, but generally the quality and functionality are the same. It’s $20 less than the Speakman and still not worth it.

Grohe’s Rainshower Next Generation Icon handheld head is a donut-shaped wand with high and low setting options. That would certainly help save water but the switch is hard to slide. The shape makes the wand top heavy so it’s uncomfortable to hold in your hand.

The Kohler Flipside is a thick disk that has a different setting on each side and you rotate the head to switch between settings. This shower head has the best setting I’ve seen on any head; a slim line of about 300 pin holes that spray water in sheet. It’s like being in a body carwash—when it works. But after only a few uses all of the jets on all sides seemed to clog. The water slowed to a trickle as if there were no pressure behind it. But when I removed the head the pressure was fine. Hoping this was just problem with my shower I eagerly passed this head on to someone else but they had the same problem. I didn’t want to believe that this was a fundamentally flawed head so I bought a second one. The installation went much the same as the first time and the first few minutes of use were great. But again the stream slowed to a trickle and I was left with a head full of shampoo and no pressure to rinse. How could such a unique concept, and original jet configuration simply not work? It was a big disappointment. It appears the pin holes clog extremely easily in a shower.

The Kohler Forte is a 3 setting, fixed head and after reading the reviews on Amazon I was intrigued enough to want to try it. The main draw was that it seemed to have a wide spray. I was hoping that this head would have the same feel as a rain can head but without all of the jets and more flexibility. When it arrived I installed it with no problem but the minute I got in the shower I was sorely disappointed. The outer portion of the face turns to switch between settings but it’s hard to do without totally moving the head. I sprayed my floor by accident. This part is also made of plastic and it cheapens the look and feel of the head. One of the settings worked fine, but the massage spray was very intense and the soft spray didn’t seem functional at all (the pressure was so low droplets of water ran down the face and dripped off).

The Hansgrohe Clubmaster handheld has exceptionally small jets, similar to the Flipside that make up the outermost ring of the head. To combat the clogging problem each jet is cleaned by a small plastic pin that pokes through the jet every time you rotate the head to change the setting. This bit of technology is intriguing but the stream felt like soft rain and didn’t seem functional enough for cleaning.

The Moen Nature Three Function head comes in at only 1.75gpm, the lowest of the bunch. The jets have silicone tips so they are easy to clean and resist hard water build up. The head has a good range of motion and the tab on the side of the face allows you to easily switch between the settings.  There aren’t any remarkable features to this head. It’s sort of ugly, and the settings don’t give much variety. But the water consumption intrigued me and that’s why I initially bought it for myself about 8 months ago. So how does Moen achieve such a low flow? This head uses aeration, a process in which ambient air is sucked into the head and pushed out with the water. The goal is to use the air to break up the water droplets creating a spray and making less water feel like more. But what if the air in your bathroom is freezing cold? Then it stands to reason that the cold air would chill the water and you would have to turn up the heat of your shower in order to compensate. This does not make for a more efficient shower.

The Peerless 76950 has the same 2-in-1 functionality as the In2ition. It has 4 settings, which is more than the Moen Nature. And unlike the In2ition it has silicone tipped jets for easy cleaning. It has over 600 Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4 stars but when I tried to make the purchase it was on back order. I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere else online so I called Peerless to order directly from them. To my surprise the automated message thanked me for calling Delta customer support. A brief conversation with a customer representative reveled that Peerless is owned by Delta but does not use the same H2OKinetic technology. It also turns out the the 76950 model was discontinued because it failed to stay below the maximum flow rate of 2.5gppm (even though that’s what it claims to be on Amazon).

We also tested the Vortex Fixed Shower Head from Oxygenics. Although we loved the mist setting and the fact that it offers a full 8 different spray settings, it’s just too cumbersome to recommend. Installation is difficult and awkward, and the water stream is loud—very, very loud, loud enough to drown out any music in the bathroom. And despite the wide variety of stream settings, they’re arranged in no logical order, skipping from massage spray, to trickle, to needle, to mist. It’s not pleasant to run through all of those, getting a surprise each time. And there was no one setting that was good for a generic shower, for both rinsing your hair and washing your face—and switching between settings throughout your shower is the exact opposite of a relaxing experience.

This dual shower head by Speakman was recommended to me by a friend. The shower heads don’t really create a sense of heavy flow like the main Delta pick, even if the total flow rating is 5 gallons per minute (if your water pressure can keep up with it). At $180, with no wand, I’d definitely pass.

We looked at something with a fixed head for $60 called the Delta RP70172, but with a 2.0-gallon-per-minute rating, it felt less powerful than our budget pick, although its spread was wider. I’d just go for the budget pick and skip the wand.

Delta also has a $42 wand-only model with H2OKinetic tech, but it is also limited to 2 gallons per minute.  It also stands very tall on its mount and is made out of a lot of plastic. We didn’t like its feel, spread, or flow nearly as much as the fixed head model, but if you need a wand and this is your budget, you should go with our handheld choice Delta 9-Spray Shower Mount for the same price and better gallons-per-minute flow.

Wrapping it up

The In2ition is a shower head that gives great pressure, has a wide variety of settings, and promotes water conservation. But what puts it head and shoulders above the rest is the feeling of a torrential downpour while using only 2.5gpm. If you want to improve your shower experience while giving yourself the most options for pressure, spray, and where you want the water to go, buying the Delta In2ition is the way to do it.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $125.
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Sources

  1. "The WaterSense specification applies to showerheads that have a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. This represents a 20 percent reduction in showerhead flow rate over the current federal standard of 2.5 gpm, as specified by the Energy Policy Act of 1992."
  2. Stephen Treffinger, Road Test: Saving Water, Staying Clean, New York Times, August, 2009
    "The final shower head brought me full circle, back to Waterpik. The new Waterpik model has five sprays, most of which are impressive, with solid power. My only disappointment was with the mixed massage-spray: the massage sensation gets lost inside the regular spray; they work better separately. My favorite was the “soaker” mode, a wall of water that feels like getting caught in a downpour. It didn’t have the house-shaking force of the original model, but it was creative and satisfying."
  3. A Man and His Showerhead, Esquire, November, 2012
    "The only real problem with the 2.0 gpm is the plasticky feel; it's light, less than half the weight of more expensive metal options. But it looks nice, and once it's installed, you'll never notice again. The Delta throws out big, heavy droplets of water: You won't know you're using a low-flow showerhead."
  • TLibasci

    I have a discontinued Hansgrohe hand-held that I love, but it’s showing its age and leaking a bit at some seams. I’ve tried replacing it, but I have a smallish stall shower and nothing else I’ve found will adjust down far enough to spray straight down from over my head like that Hansgrohe does. The Delta I tried hits the wall behind me at about 5 foot from the floor…something of a problem for my 5’0″ wife.

    Suggestions (anyone? please?) for something more-than-usual bend in the handle? Even the newer Hansgrohes don’t look like they’ll do the job. I can’t be the only person with a small shower and an altitudinally-challenged wife!

    • Oakwine

      Waterpik has a line of flexible neck showerheads (they have an 18″ easily positionable neck). http://www.amazon.com/Waterpik-NML-603-6-Mode-Showerhead-OptiFLOW/dp/B000GLKBFC/ It isn’t a hand-held, however.

      I’m on my second one over a 15 year period, because my wife is also 5’0″. I’m currenlty trying to find a separate flexible neck that I could try with the budget pick Delta model.

      • TLibasci

        Yeah, that’s not gonna do, but I appreciate you taking the time to reply. You’d think this would not be an unusual problem…sigh.

  • R2Dad2

    I’d love to see the KOHLER K-9245-CP Moxie Showerhead / Wireless Speaker combo tested out. How about a group test for the best way to get music in your shower?

    • Taylor O

      How about the Kohler Moxie vs the Knox vs the H2OVibe Bluetooth Showerheads? The reviews even on Amazon don’t have enough content for met to make a decision as of yet.

  • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

    Why is it the 2nd (or 3rd) photo of the Delta doesn’t look like the first?

    • David Rogers

      Looks like that’s a different model of in2uition. I was looking for this head in Canada recently and couldn’t find it; there are a ton of in2uition models, but they’ve reviewed (and recommend) the ‘h2o kinetic’ model for the reasons above, and it can be hard to find and separate from the rest of the line up. Look for the big honking jets spaced out generously as a quick clue or the ‘H2OKinetic’ feature.

  • Brian Ramsay

    I saw this post and thought “OH CRAP, our new showerhead just arrived today. Bad timing!” Fortunately we went with the budget pick, so no buyer’s remorse for me.

  • invinciblegod

    I have the Peerless 76952 which is also made by Delta but apparently doesn’t have the advanced H20Kenetic technology (you searched for the 76950). It is much better than my original head and is readily available on Amazon. Maybe you can look into it sometime.

    • Bryan

      I would like to see this reviewed, as well.

  • fulltext
  • HenkPoley

    So in US showers, water is mixed inside the wall, and the shower head is attached to the wall at a fixed height?

    Just a quick question from a “commie european” ;)

    • embryoconcepts

      Yes. And the water heater is usually located in a utility closet/basement/garage, not in the bathroom.

  • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

    “….I read people recommended removing parts—flow restrictors—from head in
    order to increase the water flow but this undermines the 2.5gpm
    restriction.”

    Why *not* fight the nanny state?

    • Trippie

      Yeah, because wasting water for no reason other than to stick it to the man is so cool!

      • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

        As long as I’m paying for it what’s the problem?

        • Trippie

          Again, wasting water to make a silly point when there are lower-use alternatives that feel just as good is dumb. Water isn’t an unlimited resource in most places, so why flaunt it just because you can? It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face…

          • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

            *Nothing* is an unlimited resource. By your logic we need gov’t to place limits on every single thing we consume. Let market forces handle this.

          • Trippie

            Umm… ok. Terrible logic leap there. “Every single thing” versus water? Water is the single most important resource on the planet, and we do have scarcity problems in many locations. The magical “free market” fairy has nearly zero incentive to innovate/intervene in this case to help the public good. This is just regulation of a public utility on the consumer side. If you want to be wasteful for no reason, why don’t you just leave your garden hose running in your yard 24/7? That’ll show ‘em!

            How about we get back to talking about cool home products, and try to avoid bringing in politically charged obsessions when talking about products even you admit you love.

          • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

            I don’t care for product reviews with politically charged obsessions. And they are filled with them here.

            A free market does provide for the public good. Prices send signals (cheaply, far more cheaply than a gov’t bureacrat can assess) to both producers and consumers and enables them to more efficiently allocate resources.

            There would be no need for TSH in the old USSR. Everything was regulated there pretty tightly. Didn’t work did it?

          • Trippie

            Not biting… Have a good one!

      • Devilbunny

        Rules that are made to fit the problems of California and Colorado make little sense when applied to areas – like mine – where there is ample rain and municipal water supplies are fed by surface water. We haven’t even been on voluntary restriction in a decade.

        • Trippie

          I get what you’re saying, but if we can innovate and provide an equal or better solution while also saving resources, why not do that? My shower head is low flow and has great pressure. It’s a win-win. Subverting that just because you want to stick it to the “nanny state” is stupid.

  • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

    Ok, my In2ition arrived from Amazon today. Installation was pretty quick even if the instructions were a bit on the ambiguous side. Then I tried it out.

    It is a-w-e-s-o-m-e! Don’t think of it as an expensive luxury. Its an investment in your future well-being. After I got out of the shower I beckoned the wife come hither to try her gift out. In the words of the bard (Charlie Sheen): Winner winner chicken dinner.

    Late last week I was beginning to get frantic. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary and I didn’t have any good gift ideas. I read this review and thought “why not?”. I thought if it lives up to the billing I’ll be a hero, even if “shower head” is not generally considered anniversary material. It was a risk.

    Thank you Daria, thank you Brian Lam, thank you Sweethome!

    You know what would really be cool? A *high* flow In2ition. But this In2ition is so good I’m afraid a high flow would turn me into a quivering mass of jelly, something like Woody Allen after he exited the Orgasmatron.

    Yes, that kinda dates me. Deal with it.

  • Chris

    I hated my shower for years, even thinking of replacing my high-end Delta valve. I happened upon the Delta 75152 at Home Depot on sale for $10(!). I took it home, removed the restricting o-ring, and installed it. It simply blew me away! Plenty of invigorating power, and now my showers take half the time. Reminded me of the old Seinfeld episode.

  • Trippie

    Has anyone tried the American Standard 1660.717.002 FloWise? Not even counting the amazing product name, it’s a great shower head that provides very good flow.

  • embryoconcepts

    I found one of these quite by accident, 3+ years ago, and it’s still going strong. My favorite benefits aren’t really mentioned, so here goes. The outer ring sprays a fine, wide spray that helps keep you warm and is soothing. No more 1/2 warm, 1/2 cold body parts when you are trying to shower. The inner handle can be set to a steady firm stream or a more open spray. Setting the outer ring to spray and the inner head to stream means you can rinse out shampoo in no time, but not feel beaten. Turning off the outer ring, you have room to maneuver for shaving or whatnot, and still have water flow for rinsing. Dog washing! See that button on the inner handle? It stops the water flow, completely. If you turn off the outer ring, turn the inner to spray, it’s perfect for washing the dog. Stopping the water with the button, you can soap up the dog, then turn it back on when you need it. Much easier than trying to hold onto a slippery dog while messing with the hot and cold handles.

  • Sunny Talwar

    Speakman’s Anystream mondels are pretty damn solid. I bought an 8-jet and removed the restrictor. Fuck 2.5GPM. Hello happiness.

  • Jon Ziegler

    The top pick is currently 15% off it’s regular $151.90 price at Amazon as part of a general Delta promotion. And free shipping if you have Amazon Prime.

    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009MLXJWY

  • JBritton

    How about some photographs of these in action? Would have been very helpful to illustrate the differences in spray patterns. Otherwise great work guys!

  • Brandon Elmer

    I love this website and buy many of it’s recommendations, but I think this review left out one important issue – what to do if you live in an area with lots of hard water and/or lots of chlorine like I do in west Texas and you don’t have a water softner. I found and bought the WaterWise Deluxe Showerwise Shower Filtration System for $70. It’s awesome! My hair is healthier and I no longer have dry or itchy skin from the chlorine. This showerhead has definitely improved my quality of life.

  • JohnOCFII

    I just installed a similar Delta shower head with H2O technology based on this article. Fantastic water “feel.” I’m very happy. Thanks for the recommendation!

    http://www.deltafaucet.com/bath/details/t14485-h2o.html

  • sandover

    How about a separate review for low flow shower heads? They are pretty much their own category.

  • http://www.good3dprojector.com/ Peter Šmid

    Wow, excellent guide :-)

  • Marc Williams

    Waterpik’s Powerspray+ easyselect handheld showerheads are very water stingy, and the misting spray is AWESOME. all for about $60 bucks

  • John Dough

    The best shower head if you have low water pressure is from takeashower.com. Makes it seem like a normal shower.

  • Supacon

    Call this a nitpick if you will, but repeatedly in this article, H2OKinetic is spelled H20Kinetic – that’s supposed to be a letter ‘Oh’ and not a numeral Zero. You know – because of ‘O’ for Oxygen. I did confirm that that’s how Delta spells it as well. http://www.deltafaucet.ca/smart-solutions/h2okinetic-showers.html

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks for the note!

  • josh dyson

    We (my wife and I) have had the “budget pick” Delta 75152 for almost a year now, in two separate homes (with two different types of showers, just average water pressure in both). We loved it so much that we actually moved it with us when we bought our new house last week.

    In our first house, we had a generic, shower/tub combo. Even though the head produces what feels like a wall of high-pressure water, the “cone” of water was still contained enough that you could step back and mostly get away from it (to lather up, for example – I don’t know what you do when you shower, but I don’t like lathering under a steady spray of water; it feels like I’m wasting soap and not getting as clean). We were both instantly in love with it.

    When we bought the new house, I was a little concerned about using this shower head, because we now had a separate garden tub and a fairly small shower stall. However, the handheld (cheap) wand that came with the house absolutely wasn’t cutting it, so I swapped them out. It seems to almost fill the shower with water, which I find really pleasant. I can’t really get away from it, though, so I have started turning the shower off to lather. I don’t mind, but if you’re very sensitive to ambient temperature, or you want to get out of the flow of water for a moment to soap up, this might be a snag. I imagine the wand variant (expensively) solves this problem by allowing you to direct the flow to the side for a bit.

    Overall, it’s a great shower head. It seems to manufacture water pressure without wasting water, and it provides a larger cone of water than your average fixed head. Aside from the fact that it seems to cover the entire showering area, I can’t think of a downside.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Great feedback! Thank you for sharing!

  • MiguelinaStarnes

    I am feel comfortable when I am using a Shower for Bathing.
    http://actdrimbrazil.com

  • Aronroberts

    There’s one showerhead not yet mentioned here, around since 2009 or so, which uses revolutionary new technology … it has no flow restrictor, not even the pinhole-sized jets that nearly every showerhead’s been dropping or squeezing water through since the late 1800s.

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/High-Sierra-Showerheads-inventor-goes-with-flow-5432278.php

    Rather, it has a single, large opening; it uses turbulence, rather than flow restriction or aeration, to deliver its blast. It spits the water into two streams, then slams them back together to make spray. And because of that large opening, it probably won’t clog up with minerals over time, unlike most competing fixtures.

    Nearly all solid brass and stainless steel, built tank-tough. Manufactured in an artisanal workshop (really!) in California, of nearly all USA-built parts. Under $40. And as for its users’ experiences, see the Amazon reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001W2CEYA

    Or see this in-depth review:

    http://www.tririg.com/articles.php?id=2013_01_High_Sierra_Showerhead

  • NicholHoosier

    I am using a Shower for the Body Relaxing .
    http://prolexinigf-1.com/

  • Maurice Roslin

    I had tried the In2ition and this shower head didn’t clean the soap off my skin. I have low water pressure and have been looking and looking for a solution for a powerful shower head. I came across this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAUkhXX28bI . I ordered the economy shower head ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEnKxhmUHM8 ) from http://www.take-a-shower.com I will write back on my results. I am excited at the prospect to fix my low water pressure in my shower for such short money.

  • FM505

    Delta 9-Spray Shower Mount
    Listed on this page at $42… clicking on the link, the search goes to HomeDepot for $88… What is that about…?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Prices fluctuate from time to time. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Unfortunately, this one doubled. Thanks for the heads up though!

  • Ian Follett

    You guys should check out High Sierra’s 1.5 GPM shower head. I won’t say it’s as good as the best 2.5 GPM shower heads but it uses 40% less water and I think you’ll be impressed with how good it is. It’s by far the best 1.5 GPM shower head.