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Shower Heads

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

A good shower head can mean a lot when it comes to water conservation and an enjoyable or relaxing shower. We find out what to look for in this important bathroom fixture.

   BUYING TIPS

The Basics

  • For maximum durability, look for a metal shower head rather than plastic. Metal is easier to clean and won’t be as susceptible to the effects of chlorine and other chemicals in the water. Chrome is a good choice since it won’t tarnish or chip.

  • Shower heads come in variety of different styles to match your personal needs:

    • Fixed are permanently mounted on the wall of the shower.

    • Handheld are connected to the wall by a flexible hose. They’re useful for kids, dogs, and cleaning the shower area.

    • Slide Bar heads are adjusted on a bar fixture to accommodate people of different heights.

  • Many shower heads come with different settings, including massage and pulsating.

  • Rain shower heads are extremely popular, with oversized round heads that simulate the effects of a drenching downpour for a spa-like experience.

  • Many older shower heads use 5-10 gallons of water per minute. In North America all new shower heads are “low flow” (about 2.5 gallons/minute) for energy savings. To test your shower head, time how long it takes to fill a one-gallon bucket. If it’s under 20 seconds, you should consider purchasing a new, low-flow model.

  • Look for a shower head with little rubber tips on the water spouts for easier cleaning. Often a little push on the rubber tip can remove mineral build-up.

Other Considerations

  • If your notice mineral deposits building up, clean it simply by soaking it overnight in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water.

   TEST CRITERIA

We invited some testers to get dirty and work up a sweat to help us test these shower heads:

  • Brass Craft: $8.49
  • Water Pik Cascadia: $46.50
  • Moen Evolution: $59
  • Hansgrohe Club Master: $186
  • Grohe Retro rain head: $408

Shower Test

Our testers were divided between high pressure and a gentle spray:

  • Some testers insisted massage is a must-have option on a shower head to soothe achy muscles. The Water Pik and the Moen both performed well with this feature.

  • Other testers favoured the gentle rainfall-like feel of the Grohe Retro shower head for its soft, luxurious wash.

  • A more affordable spa-like option was the Hansgrohe Club Master with its different spray features, including a version of the rainfall setting.

   OUR TOP PICK

For those who like an intense massage setting, the Water Pik or Moen is a good choice. For those who prefer a more luxurious, spa-like dousing, the Hansgrohe Club Master offers a rainfall setting, though nothing beats the  gentle summer rainfall of the most expensive product we tested!

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