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You may not realize it, but there are several reasons to consider installing a handheld showerhead. For one thing, it makes it easy to concentrate water on certain parts of the body while avoiding others (talking to you, head of recently blow-dried hair). And if you have kids or pets, bath time just became less of a headache thanks to the maneuverability of a showerhead with a hose. Beyond all that, the best detachable showerheads also make cleaning your tub infinitely easier.

“The most important features I look for when picking a handheld showerhead relate to the function and the general style,” designer Merrill Lyons tells us. “For example, how does the showerhead turn on? Where is it going to be located on the wall in relation to the rest of the fixtures? We tend to go with a simple, modern cylinder shape for our hand showers.” She adds that a lollipop-shaped handheld fixture is also a favorite at her firm: “It’s important to take a look at the entirety of the fixtures to confirm that they will all work together in your shower.” 

We asked experts for their picks for the best handheld showerheads; read on to find out which one fits best for you and your bathroom.

Our Favorites

For the No-Frills Minimalist: Gotonovo Exposed Shower Faucet

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Finish: Antique brass, black, brushed nickel, matte black, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, polished gold | GPM: 1.26 | Functions: Overhead and handheld 

What we like:

  • Resistant to corrosion and tarnishing
  • Classic design
  • Affordable

Worth noting:

  • Tub mount sold separately

Why we chose it: A classic pick for a laid-back outdoor shower.

When it comes to bathing alfresco, keeping your shower fixtures on the simpler side is often the best route. “I chose this faucet because of the classic design,” designer and real-estate agent Shirley Slee says of her recent reno in Oceanside, California. “It went with the coastal California vibe of my project and was a great fit for the outdoor shower.” She picked brass to reduce the risk of corrosion and tarnishing, and reports that the handheld wand works great “for cleaning sand off your feet and surfboard, and washing the dog.” The shower fixture can be installed indoors or outdoors and be mounted in a claw-foot tub (you’ll just need to order the 3 3/8-inch adapter).  

For the Modern Maven: Delta Compel Hand Shower

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Finish: Matte black, black stainless, champagne bronze, chrome, polished nickel, stainless, Venetian bronze | GPM: 1.75 | Functions: Handheld 

What we like:

  • Simple design
  • Modern cylinder shape
  • Lifetime warranty

Worth noting:

  • Wall supply elbows and shower arm diverters not included

Why we chose it: Modern and sleek, this hand shower lends a streamlined look to the bath. 

This Delta handheld shower hose and holder helped Lyons add modernity to a century-old home in Park Slope, Brooklyn. “Since a hand shower is typically utilized in addition to other fixtures in a bath or shower, we tend to favor a simple design, which allows for a less cluttered look,” she tells us. With this in mind, she sourced fixtures from the same brand and collection for the shower. She also adjusted the location of each based on how the shower was going to be used. “Typically we position hand showers on the same wall as the fixed showerhead, but in this bathroom, we put it closer to the controls and entry into the shower because it was going to double as a pet shower.” This hand shower has one spray setting and is designed with soft rubber spray holes, making it easier to clean by simply wiping away mineral residue. 

For the Customization Obsessed: Watermark Gramercy Positioning Bar Shower Kit

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Finish: Custom | GPM: 1.75 | Functions: Handheld 

What we like:

  • Expansive range of finish options
  • Slide bar allows for height variation
  • Handle has a nice grip to it

Worth noting:

Why we chose it: Easily adjusts to various heights (perfect for kids).

Victoria Sass, designer and founder of Prospect Refuge Studio, was tasked with incorporating a “teeny-tiny” tub into her client’s 5-year-old child’s bathroom. The soaking area of the tub-shower combo is designed specifically for little ones, and this Watermark hand sprayer was the perfect addition. “The slide bar allows the handheld nozzle to be mounted at various heights: at traditional showerhead height or a lower ‘kid height’ if desired,” she explains. “The ceramic handle has a nice weight and grip to it for daily use, and Watermark’s variety of finishes allowed us to customize our look.” For this shower kit, you can choose between 29 options for finishes, ranging from pewter to vintage copper, and there’s even an expansive array of custom handle-trim styles to personalize your shower with.

For the Sleek Style Lover: Waterworks Roadster Hand Shower

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Finish: Chrome, nickel, unlacquered brass | GPM: 1.75 to 2 | Functions: Handheld 

What we like:

  • More affordable Waterworks option
  • Design was inspired by vintage sports cars
  • Wider handle for solid grip

Worth noting:

  • Only in stock in nickel

Why we chose it: A geometric hand shower crafted in gorgeous finishes.

Designer Kylie Bass complemented a framed shower in a New York City bathroom renovation with this fixture from Waterworks’s vintage sports car–inspired Roadster collection, one of the more affordable lines from the high-end brand. The client, an on-air reporter who rises at 3 a.m. most days, wanted a rain showerhead but wouldn’t always need it on extra-early mornings, so Bass installed a handheld option as well. “She doesn’t want to wash her hair every single day, so it’s an easier way to wash just your body,” explains Bass. The geometric silhouette of the hand shower with its octagonal indices makes it easy to grip. Plus it has a linear spray pattern, lending even more control over where you rinse. 

For the Texture Lover: Kohler Shift+ Round

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Finish: Polished chrome, vibrant rose gold, brushed nickel, satin nickel, vibrant brushed bronze, vibrant titanium | GPM: 2.5 | Functions: Handheld 

What we like:

  • Button to transition between spray styles
  • Minimalist design
  • Comes in several versatile finishes

Worth noting:

  • Shower hose sold separately

Why we chose it: For a pop of texture and shine, this hand shower delivers.

Re-ad founder Côme Ménage created a peaceful gray tonal bathroom for an NYC home and used the shower fixtures as an opportunity to add contrast to the zen color palette. Shiny hardware from Kohler’s Vibrant Titanium series brings depth to the soft and matte textures like stained concrete floors and a medium-gray painted ceiling. “The sun moves very differently on all those elements,” Ménage explains. On top of adding dimension, this hand shower also offers two spray experiences: full coverage and targeted massage, which is operated with a push button, making it easy to toggle between the two settings. These sprays are enhanced with technology that infuses 2 liters of air per minute, resulting in a powerful shower you’ll have a hard time getting out of.

For the Industrial Inclined: Rejuvenation West Slope Shower and Tub Set

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Finish: Aged brass, brushed nickel, polished chrome, polished nickel, oil-rubbed bronze | GPM: 1.75 | Functions: Overhead and handheld 

What we like:

  • Designed in collaboration with Watermark
  • Solid brass
  • Includes a coordinating shower arm

Worth noting:

  • Showerhead sold separately

Why we chose it: A coordinated set that lends a subtly industrial look.

Designer Anne Sage had the lucky challenge of working with a bathroom arch in a recent Tudor-inspired Los Angeles home. “Bathroom arches are the 1920s equivalent of the subway tile backsplash from 2021,” she explains. “It’s the thing that everyone wanted to have back then.” To accentuate this design detail, Sage installed a freestanding tub and situated the showerhead and hand shower in the center of both the arch and bathtub so the owners wouldn’t have to hunch over. The clean, simple lines give a subtle nod to industrial influences for this durable shower set. It’s crafted from solid brass and was designed in collaboration with Watermark. You can even choose from five different showerheads for a customized look (sold separately).

Runner-up

Our associate design editor, Kate McGregor, loves Hai’s handheld Bluetooth-enabled showerhead. It installs in about five minutes, comes in a rainbow of finishes, and helps conserve water by monitoring usage via app.

How We Chose These Products

First we pored over dozens of Domino home tours that feature handheld showerheads. From there, we narrowed down a list of options that spanned various price points, finishes, and purposes (e.g., designs best for outdoor showers) and incorporated tips from the experts behind these bathrooms. We highlighted how each designer chose each fixture; why it works; and special features, styles, and things to note.

Our Shopping Checklist

Design

The first decision you’ll make when it comes to handheld showerheads: whether you want a single- or dual-purpose design. The latter incorporates both a handheld head and a wall mount; depending on the scenario, dual-purpose often makes the most sense. Also consider whether you need a positioning bar or stationary wall mount. “The stationary mount can feel visually cleaner, so if you don’t need the flexibility of mounting the showerhead at different heights, it can be a tidy option,” says Sass.

The silhouette and finishes of your handheld showerhead will inform the general aesthetic of your bathroom, and both should seamlessly blend in with the other fixtures. “It is critical that the finish of your hand shower matches the other plumbing fixtures in the room,” Lyons notes. “Because of that, we suggest using the same brand and collection of fixtures in your bath or shower.” Polished chrome and matte black are a couple of popular finishes you’ll frequently come across. And hand shower shapes can range from a simple cylinder to more traditional ones like the lollipop Lyons mentioned earlier (this is recognizable by its round spray head and long handle, just like an actual lollipop).

Spray Settings

While some hand showers only offer a single spray option, others—like the Kohler listed above—include other settings, such as a water massage to help target sore muscles. You’ll also want to keep an eye on pressure; around 80 pounds per square inch (PSI) is a good target range. Water pressure is measured in PSI, and water flow is measured in gallons per minute (GPM); the latter is less about determining pressure and more to do with water conservation.

Installation

Lyons recommends tapping an expert to help you with buying and installing your showerhead. “I suggest working with a plumbing-supply specialist so that you’re certain you are purchasing all the correct parts,” she says. “There are multiple components to a hand shower, and all must be compatible. Some are sold as a set, others are sold with each part separately.” Also, she adds, if you plan on using a hand shower as your only showerhead in a bath or shower, “make sure it has sufficient pressure and spray, and that it’s positioned correctly to where you can use it for both purposes, as a showerhead and hand shower.”

Ask Domino

Q. Can certain showerheads increase water pressure?

Depending on which showerhead you choose, some can increase water pressure, not by pumping more water out but with air technology that simulates a more forceful flow. 

Q. So what’s a flow restrictor, and do all showerheads have it?

Flow restrictors are directly correlated to GPN (gallons per minute) and help to conserve water. Laws vary by state, but in most of the U.S., it’s required to install showerheads that have a maximum of 2.5 GPM. If you live somewhere like California, where drought is prevalent, that number will be even lower. 

Q. What does a showerhead filter do?

A shower filter removes chlorine and chloramines from water, which can do unpleasant things to your skin and hair. If you live somewhere that’s known for its harsh water supply, consider installing one. (This Domino editor said her showerhead filter made her hair “as soft as a toddler’s.”)

The Last Word

The best handheld showerheads can enhance your bathing experience by giving you the flexibility to rinse off as needed without getting your entire body wet. You can also effortlessly clean your tub and hose down pets and kids with ease. If this sounds like the kind of upgrade your life has been missing, consult a plumbing-supply specialist to choose the design that’s best for you. 

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