Green Plumbing – Shower Head Test

I know, green/eco friendly products are the rage. Fortunately for the environment the green plumbing movement is here and it’s here to stay. Most plumbing fixture manufacturers have been voluntarily making greener products for the last few years and don’t be surprised if the government doesn’t step in again and make some of these green products like HET (High Efficiency Toilets) toilets and urinals, ultra low consumption faucets and shower heads a requirement.

The one huge obstacle for all plumbing fixture manufacturers when producing high efficiency products is function. After the all the issues consumers had with the 1.6 GPF (Gallons Per Flush) toilets manufacturers have been forced to engineer these new products before they roll out.

So that brings us to shower heads. We know that when we talk about 1.5 to 2.0GPM (Gallons Per Minute) showerheads people run and hide their Speakman Anystream heads. Shower heads in the last 15 years or so up till now have been 2.5 GPM. Most plumbers will also tell you that when 2.5 GPM shower heads were introduced as soon as the head left the box the flow restricter would be popped out and the head was back to between 5 & 8 GPM. So we can appreciate the fear, however like most of the new ECO products, the manufacturers have put in some serious engineering and testing to maximize performance. Most of the major plumbing manufacturers have rolled out their own versions of the ECO shower head and with the wide array of selection choosing the right one can be pretty daunting.

Even Us Plumbers Had No Idea What to Expect

We threw the idea of an article about shower heads and pretty shortly after the ideas started flowing as to how the piece would come together. Believe it or not there were stereotypes which is evident in our mention of the Speakman Anystream, there was also a little fear of the unknown. Even though all of us are plumbers by trade only a fraction of the new shower heads have been examined and even less have been used. So we had to test them and we had to come up with a testing system, one with criteria people could understand despite the subjective nature of the tests.

So where did we go from here? One of the parameters we set was the MSRP of each shower head. All but one of these heads is under $100.00 MSRP. The next thing we wanted to do is have at least two different shower heads from each company, one (1) basic single function and one (1) 3-function. The next criteria is the most obvious, they have to be ECO friendly having flow of no more than 2.0 GPM or at the very least have a function to drop the head at or below 2.0 GPM. Now that we had the basics down we settled on the following criteria to determine the very best ECO friendly shower head:

BUILD QUALITY – Although this criteria isn’t always apparent just by handling the the shower heads what we perceive goes a long way in choosing a product. So rating the weight and feel/build quality was a slam dunk with our testers.

ASCETICS –  This is completely subjective and there will be pictures of every head featured in this blowout. You can make you own decision on what looks good. We will however give you our opinion.

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME –  Because there are so many marketing buzz words regarding these new shower heads many of which are related to how much water you feel is on your skin, how much water you think is coming out of the head is important to the showering experience. H2O Kinetic, Raindance Air, Dream Spray, and Fluidics are several of the manufacturer’s marketing terms.

FUNCTION – On the one (1) function does the shower head work well and on the three (3) function do the features function as advertised. Just because there are fancy feature doesn’t mean they are enjoyable. We’ll let you know what we think.

FUN FACTOR – How enjoyable is the shower experience. Do you see a difference with 20% to 30% less water. Do you want to get out of the shower. I’m sure all of us at one time or another turned on a shower, got in and didn’t want to leave.

VALUE – With the current state of the economy most consumers want to know they are getting the best bang for their buck. This criteria will measure how the shower head functions with how it is built to form a sort of “BEST VALUE” pick.

Each category will be judged on a 10 point scale so with the price and testing criteria settled we had to have shower heads, so we went to the the biggest players in the plumbing industry and told them or our plans. We were humbled and grateful that every single company was eager and enthusiastic to show off their shower heads. So without further ado we present to you our cast of players and what we think of them and they are listed by company in no particular order:

SPEAKMAN – Speakman as a company has been around for well over 100 years and has been synonymous with shower heads for decades. It’s Anystream brand is well known and respected in housing and in the hospitality industry. There have been many a business person that have come home from a trip and make an immediate call to their “plumber” to have them install “one of those Speakman Anystream shower heads”. Suffice to say it has been a professionals favorite but how will it stack up against the others with new parameters and low flow being the biggest?

Anystream S-2253-E15 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $46.00

Speakman S-2253 1.5 GPM Eco-Shower Head

BUILD QUALITY –  This such a well built little shower head. As you can see above the list price is very reasonable. The head is nice and heavy and the control knob moves very smoothly. The nozzles are made with hard plastic so although durable they may be prone to scaling over time. RATING 10

ASCETICS – Although the style is dated it is still tasteful and  looks very much like a smaller version of the other Anystream heads. RATING 6

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – As with all the Speakman Anystream line they crank up the pressure  to deliver a powerful spray. However you won’t mistake this for a 2.5 GPM showerhead. RATING 6

FUNCTION – As I’ve stated a few times already, I’m not a huge backer of the rotating side control. I will say that most 1.5 GPM shower heads give no control options so I have to give credit where credit is due. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – More fun than most 1.5 GPM heads but still a 1.5 GPM. RATING 7

VALUE – With a list price of $46.00 and the build quality Speakman gives you at that price point you cannot go wrong with this head. It is likely you’ll put this shower head in and never have to change it, they are built to take a beating. RATING 10

Anystream S-2252-AF 2.5 GPM Max Flow Adjustable LIST PRICE $75.00 (Not Green)

Speakman S-2252-AF 2.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This shower head is a tank, right on the box they say “Absolutely the Best” and Speakman isn’t exaggerating, it is one of the best built heads we tested. It’s heavy, the finish is thick and the side control moves in a slow well oiled fashion. This shower head will stand the test of time. Too bad it isn’t in our final rankings. RATING 10

ASCETICS – If you like a shower head that hasn’t changed in 30 years then this is the one for you. It is tasteful but pretty boring RATING 6

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Since this is a 2.5 GPM head it is obvious you are getting a bit more water. The head pressure is strong, maybe the strongest of the bunch and the spray pattern is very wide so coverage is not an issue. However none of our tester thought this head performed better than a few of our Eco heads. You can’t go wrong with this shower head but it seems like a few have caught up, it only took 20 years. RATING 7

FUNCTION – I’m going to say it again, I’m not a fan of the side handle control. It’s imprecise and I know some would say that it allows the user to micro adjust to their preferred spray but it was close to the bottom with most of our testers. RATING 5

FUN FACTOR – Some loved the uber powerful spray, some didn’t. The average came out to a respectable RATING 7

VALUE – With this head you’re starting to creep up into the middle of the pack as far as cost goes, however like most Speakman heads this one is a beast. Like it’s 1.5 GPM little brother you won’t have any issues with the way this head is put together. It’s performance was so so which definitely affected it’s value score.  RATING 8

Anystream S-2005-HB-E2 2.0 GPM Max Flow Adjustable Function LIST PRICE $57.00

Speakman S-2005 HB-E2 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is the first Speakman shower head we tested and the build quality is good. Chrome finish is nice, and the build materials look to be chrome plated pop metal and plastic for the spray nozzles. The weight and feel are OK, however because of the way the spray nozzles are configured they cannot be easy to clean so you may get some scale build-up over time. RATING 6

ASCETICS – This is one of the better looking Speakman shower heads, much more modern looking than most of their offerings. However most haven’t been changed in 20 years so something different is a welcome site and this head doesn’t disappoint. It is a medium sized traditional head, starting out narrow at the base and flaring out towards the nozzle face. The face is a light gray and tasteful. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This is another shower head that puts out a powerful spray so you will find yourself asking how they did it on so little water. Cranking up the pressure is not my favorite shower experience however the rest of the testers love it so this shower head scores well. RATING 8

FUNCTION – This head really doesn’t have defined functions. You turn a control knob and that moves the spray face up or back changing the spray pattern as you turn the knob. One defined function is the full spray and it puts out a powerful spray. At the other end of the knob rotation the water is diverted into the center jets. This is also a powerful stream of water and although it’s not true massage function, the water pulsates and it is very enjoyable. We are more in favor of clearly defined functions but the head adjusts well. RATING 7

FUN FACTOR -Regardless of our preference a different way to change functions we liked this shower heads fun factor much more than the others and for that it get better grades RATING 7

VALUE -With a $57.00 list and a better than average performance this head proves it is one heck of a buy and you really can’t go wrong with a Speakman. RATING 8

HANSGROHE – Hansgrohe is also well over a century old and was founded in Schiltach, Germany in 1901. Today they manufacture faucets, shower valves and shower systems and accessories including……you guessed it shower heads. Hansgrohe is considered a premium brand and it’s quality is evident in it’s fit and finish. All of the shower heads below come standard with Hansgrohe’s Quiclean spray nozzles. The jets are a flexible rubber and if there is any scale or mineral build-up simply running your hand over the nozzles will break-up the blockages and you’re good to go.

Croma E75 Eco Air 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $40.00

Hansgrohe Croma EcoAir E-75 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – The fit and finish on this particular head is as you would expect from Hansgrohe. Nozzles are Quiclean for easy cleaning. It’s not a super heavy head but it’s solid. RATING 7

ASCETICS – It’s funny because this style of shower head was once modern now it is very normal. It is a roundish head with green nozzles that spruce up the look. The connector has a corrugated rubber shield that covers the connection and part of the shower arm. The head is very similar to Grohe’s Relaxa line but has a bigger face and body. It is very pleasing to the eye but pretty plain. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Let’s preface this by saying this is a 1.5 GPM single function head. As I’ve said in other sections, I believe this is a real threshold when it comes to shower performance. I am a fan of heads that try to make the water feel fuller and this head is no exception. Hansgrohe’s Eco Air technology aerates the water increasing perceived volume not unlike and aerator on a lav or kitchen faucet. It works but at 1.5 GPM the shower head pressure is fairly weak. Great body coverage not so great pressure. RATING 6

FUNCTION – We’re aren’t going to get into too much depth here. It’s a one function that does an adequate job. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – This is not a head that I would look forward to using time and time again. It’s better than most at this GPM and it has great body coverage so you aren’t going to freeze on a cold morning. RATING 6

VALUE – This little shower head has a list of 40 bucks, it’s meant to get a ton of use and be eco friendly and it does all of the above RATING 7

Croma E100 Eco Air 1.75 GPM Max Flow 3-Function LIST PRICE $70.00

Hansgrohe Croma EcoAir E100 1.75GPM 3-Function Shower Head

BUILD QUALITY – As you would expect from a Hansgrohe product, this head is well built. Flexible rubber nozzles are standard in case scaling is an issue. It is not as heavy as the Hansgrohe C100 shower head featured below but it’s sturdy RATING 7

ASCETICS – This is a modern looking shower head. It is a thin and disk shaped with a corrugated rubber cover to hide part of the shower arm and the connection from the arm to the head. The face is gray and slightly over sized with light green nozzles. Although contemporary in looks it is simple enough not to look out of place in a tradition bathroom. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME –  Just like it’s brother the Croma C100, this is one of those heads that you wonder how they get such a nice spray with 1.75 GPM. Their Eco Air technology works and works well, you can hear the shower head aerating the water and it really does feel like you’re getting more water out of the head and on the turbo function it feels like even more water. Although the spray technology and function are identical with the shower head below this one felt slightly less powerful. RATING 7

FUNCTION – This is a 3-function head. The first is a full spray and it works very well, full body coverage however we felt like it was slightly underpowered. We aren’t sure if this was just a variance in the heads, because the C-100 tested below felt more powerful. We even tested them one after the other just to make sure we weren’t nuts. The second is the body message, this is true message function delivery water at defined intervals, we were not as impressed with this function as we were with the pulsating message of the Speakman and Alsons heads. This function is extremely subjective. The next function is called the turbo function and it diverts the water to cone sprays in the middle. It definitely delivers a powerful spray and the water surprisingly provides full body coverage. RATING 7

FUN FACTOR – This has the identical spray patterns and specifications as the C100 and we prefered the C100. Never the less it’s a wide spray head insuring full body coverage. The water pressure isn’t the best but it just feels like you are getting a lot of water. If you like the other spray functions than you’ll like this head even more. RATING 7

VALUE – I know this may seem like a cop out rating there is just no other way to rate this head. Does it have functions? Check. Do the functions work well? Check. Are you get a nice shower head for the money? Check. On top of all that you are getting Hansgrohe quality and that is worth something RATING 7

Croma C100 Eco Air 1.75 GPM Max Flow 3-Function 4” Can LIST PRICE $77.00

Hansgrohe Croma EcoAir C-100 3-Function 1.75GPM Shower Head

BUILD QUALITY – Very nicely built. As with all Hansgrohe shower heads, the nozzles are flexible rubber so a quick swipe of the spray head and any scale build up is gone. The shower head has a rotating ring with an indicator to show what function is currently being used. This ring rotates silky smooth and clicks firmly into place when going from one function to another. This head is built with a combination of ABS plastic and brass and has a lifetime finish. RATING 8

ASCETICS -We were unanimous in our love for this shower head. It manages to be low profile but remains traditional in the way the face flares. However even though it leans towards traditional it can be used in any shower and not look lost. Its large face is attractive and in style. This is a good looking shower head RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This is one of those heads that you wonder how they get such a nice spray with 1.75 GPM. There Eco Air technology works and works well, you can hear the shower head aerating the water and it really does feel like you’re getting more water out of the head and on the turbo function it feels like even more water. RATING 9

FUNCTION – This is a 3-function head. The first a full spray and it works very well, full body coverage, not too powerful, but you also don’t feel like you aren’t getting enough water. We would say the full spray is just right. The second is the body message, this is true message function delivery water at defined intervals, we were not as impressed with this function as we were with the pulsating message of the Speakman and Alsons heads. This function is extremely subjective. The next function is called the turbo function and it diverts the water to cone sprays in the middle. It definitely delivers a powerful spray and the water surprisingly provides full body coverage. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – This is one shower head that remains in our personal shower. It’s a wide spray head insuring full body coverage. The water pressure isn’t the best but it just feels like you are getting a lot of water. If you like the other spray functions than you’ll like this head even more. RATING 8

VALUE -The list price on this unit is starting to creep up into the upper edge of our tester shower heads however this heads combination style, functionality and Hansgrohe quality and style make it an excellent value RATING 9

ALSONS – Alsons has been a leader in the handheld market since 1958. Alsons makes nothing but shower products, shower heads, hand held showers, body sprays and shower accessories are their specialty. They offer value driven products as well as premium and designer shower products. Their Fluidics technology claims to control size and shape of each water droplet to create the illusion of having more water volume. This technology was developed by Bowles Fluidics a world leader in fluid distribution products. Fluidics was licensed by Alsons and Delta to be used in their shower heads, Here is a link to the manufacturer to find out a little more about  Bowles and Fluidics technology. I’d like to take this time to again give a shout out to Ms. Heidi Farmer, Marketing Manager at Alsons for all of the great information.

www.bowlesfluidics.com/products/advanced/case-study-delta-faucet.

Alsons sent us six (6) of their shower heads to test so here we go.

#634 C 200 PK – 2.0 GPM Max Flow 5-Spray Settings LIST PRICE $33.00

Alsons #634 C 200 PK 5-Function Shower Head 2.0GPM

BUILD QUALITY – From what we can tell this a heavy plastic ABS head but it is well built, the full spray nozzles are made of rubber for easy cleaning. The rotating function ring slides into place with an audible click. It is not as heavy as some of the others but it doesn’t feel cheap either. We did have a problem with the metal screen under the rubber o-ring, it twisted and dislodged upon removing the head. RATING 7

ASCETICS -This is a smallish shower head so it’s not too big as to look out of place in a normal shower. It’s shape is rather nondescript however the spray face is all nozzles and looks rather busy. We liked it’s look but it tool a bit of getting used to. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This particular head cranks up the pressure inside the head and really gives you a powerful full spray and the soft spray is excellent so we don’t think there is any reason not to rank this shower head right up at the top of the list. RATING 8

FUNCTION – This is the only five (5) function shower head in the group. The shower head has a rotating ring that locks into place at each function so there is no guessing. The first function is a trickle spray, we find no real value in it other extreme water conservation but that is where the complaints end. The next function is the the soothing soft spray, its made by five (5) cone sprays it give full coverage and is very comfortable. The next is a full spray with a slight massage spray in the middle, because you are using essentially two functions at once the spray isn’t as powerful as the one function by itself but you get plenty of water. The there is a turbo message spray coming from the middle of the head, which gives you a pulsating and powerful flow and finally a full spray. The final is a powerful full head spray. RATING 9

FUN FACTOR – We liked this shower head. You get plenty of features to choose from at bargain basement price and that makes things very fun in our eyes. RATING 9

VALUE – There are no other 5-function shower heads in the test group and at a $33.00 list price this is a tremendous value. If you want some nice features on the cheap this is the one. RATING 10

#655 C BX – Fluidics 1.6 GPM  LIST PRICE $42.00

Alsons #655 C BX Fluidics 1.6GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – I opened the box and inside was the shower head in a nice cloth bag. Cloth bags usually convey quality kinda like jewelry. Pretty sweet huh? That’s where the sweetness ended. The build quality is just ok. The head is clearly made of mostly plastic which is fine but it doesn’t feel solid. RATING 6

ASCETICS – Ah I don’t know how to put it lightly, this is not a pretty shower head. It looks very institutional and would be best suited for that kind of application. I guess you could say it’s more contemporary in it’s style but I use that description loosely. One of our testers said it looked like one of those fake pictures of a UFO and I agree. RATING 4

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Once again here is where these shower heads shine. This is a unique head in that it is still much lower than 2.0 GPM but just a notch above 1.5 GPM and for all of us it seems to work. The water feels big and the spray pattern is plenty wide enough for full coverage. The spray isn’t as forceful as the 1.5 GPM but it clearly feels better. RATING 8

FUNCTION – Again this is a one function and it functions admirably on 1.6 GPM. RATING 7

FUN FACTOR – This head made the rounds because we all wanted to see a few heads that were more than 1.5 GPM but less than 2.0 GPM our magic number. Almost everyone liked the showering experience when compared to all of the 1.5 GPM heads. I liked the way the shower felt regardless of the GPM and that is a true testament to how most of the Fluidics heads perform. RATING 8

VALUE – This shower head is one of the cheaper ones in our list. You are getting some real performance from 1.6GPM but the build quality is lacking and it’s looks are odd. If we were basing our rating on performance alone it would have scored higher RATING 7

#653 C PK – Fluidics 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $21.00 This particular model is no longer being produced so although you can probably still get this head it won’t be around forever.

**The shower head below has replaced by the one immediately following this review.

Alson 653 PK Fluidics 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – Although the head can be used in residential applications this is a commercial/institutional type shower head. They are built for use and some abuse. This is not a heavy shower head but it is built with heavy ABS plastic and brass. RATING 7

ASCETICS – This is a small shower head and it wasn’t built to move the soul. It’s got a very commercial look. It flares slightly at the face and the face is cut on an angle sporting a black insert with one Fluidics spray nozzle. Nothing special. RATING 5

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – As was said above, it has one large Fluidics nozzle that sprays 1.5 GPM. We all preferred the four spray 1.5 GPM function from the Alsons #660. RATING 6

FUNCTION – It’s got one spray at 1.5 GPM. It is as good as one spray can be. Nothing against Alsons. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – No fun here, get in, soap up, rinse off and out. RATING 6

VALUE – This is a tough one to rate with regard to value. It is very painfully inexpensive and very thrifty on water usage but is does one thing and it sports a very plain design. For less than 20 bucks you can get much better but for less than $21.00 you’d be hard pressed to find any better. RATING 6

#653 C PK – 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $21.00 (Please note Alsons was kind enough to let us take a peak at this model shower head without Fluidics technolgy)

Alsons 653 C PK 1.5 Showerhead (New)

BUILD QUALITY – This new head has virtually the same build quality as it’s predecessor of the same model number. It isn’t heavy like a Speakman or a Grohe but it is less than half the price. Put it this way you won’t have any problem with the way this head is built. RATING 7

ASCETICS – The difference between the old model and the new one here is night and day. The only feature common to both is the black ABS plastic near the base of the head but that is where the similarities end. The new 653 went from a small dated design to a very respectable traditional design with stylish lines and an attractive chrome face. I can’t say enough about how this head has improved. RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – I am a big fan of the Fluidics technology, I think they have done a nice job of delivering a quality showering experience with less water. So I was a bit surprised to see that Alsons had dropped the technology from this particular head. They must have known what they had waiting in the wings because it feels noticeably better. The old had one spray nozzle, this new one has four and they give you a wider spray pattern giving you better body coverage. Without a doubt this is one of the better performing 1.5GPM shower heads. RATING 8

FUNCTION – One function, four sprays that function well. There isn’t much to complain about here. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – Again, this is a 1.5 GPM head, is has significantly less water to use and you’ll notice it for awhile if you are used to head that uses more water. That’s not what we are here for but nevertheless this shower head does a nice job. RATING 7

VALUE – The changes that were made to this head were dramatic and needed. Performance increased as did the design but one thing did not and that’s the price. This is one heck of a bargin for the cost RATING 9

#658 C PK – Fluidics 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $51.00

Alsons #658 C PK 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This shower head has medium weight, it’s not built like a tank but it is more than adequate. All of the Bowles Fluidics heads have nozzles that are made of plastic not flexible rubber so if  your house has scaling issues, these heads may be difficult to clean. RATING 7

ASCETICS – There are several of these heads that look very similar, this is one of those. It is a very traditional looking head with a little more girth. The lines are clean and pleasant and this shower head would fit in almost any bathroom. The finish looks to be good as well. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This is one of the most water thrifty of the bunch coming in at 1.5 GPM.  This is another Fluidics head and although the pressure was nice it just didn’t seem like enough water. One of our tester said “The spray pattern isn’t wide enough” and that echoed our concerns. Its almost like the spray pattern broke too far away from the head. RATING 6

FUNCTION – The head delivers a powerful showering experience on 1.5 GPM. However the performance suffered from the lack of water. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – We had several testers say they were cold in the shower. Now we had some fairly big fellas testing the shower heads so it could be that the shower had a lot of real estate to cover but most still could feel the lack of body coverage. RATING 5

VALUE -At $51.00 I expect more, it’s a nice looking shower head but it’s not the best for the money and the performance is so so RATING 5

#660 C PK – Fluidics 2.0 GPM Max Flow 2-Spray Settings LIST PRICE $65.00

Alsons #660 C PK 2 Function Max 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This shower head is a little on the light side but it feels solid. Its chrome finish is very nice and seems thick. There is an adjustment knob on the side of the head, our suggestion would be to tighten it up. It isn’t loose by any means but there is little resistance when adjusting. If it was a little bit harder to turn and heavy grease was used to make the adjustment smoother, this head would have received a better number.  RATING 8

ASCETICS -This is virtually identical to the #658 reviewed above the only difference being the adjustment knob so the review will be the same. There are several of these heads that look very similar, this is one of those. It is a very traditional looking head with a little more girth. The lines are clean and pleasant and this shower head would fit in almost any bathroom. The finish looks to be good as well. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – We were very pleasantly surprised at the performance head. The Fluidics technology is working and working well. On the 2.0 GPM setting you feel like you are getting plenty of water. I am sticking to my opinion that 2.0 GPM is the magical barrier in shower technology. More about that in a minute. RATING 8

FUNCTION – This head is technically two-function but that is deceiving, it really has the same spray pattern with a 2.0 GPM setting and a 1.5 GPM setting. The difference between the two settings are fairly dramatic. The function lever allows you to switch between the two settings with a simple turn. At first we were trying to compare this head with other multi-function heads but quickly realized it wasn’t a fair comparison. The spirit of this piece is to find a shower head that did the best job conserving water while still maintaining a pleasant showering experience. This head did exactly that and also gave us a side by side comparison between 1.5 and 2.0 GPM. Even though the differences are profound this shower head gives you that choice. You can turn it to 1.5 GPM while soaping up and 2.0 GPM when rinsing off or when you want a good soak. So because of this perspective we gave this head the highest rating RATING 10

FUN FACTOR – The Fluidics technology gives you big drops of water and on the 2.0 setting it’s really a nice showering experience. Also the water comes out with a slight pulse that feels pleasant. It was one of those shower heads that you would put in your shower and keep. RATING 8

VALUE -It is creeping up there in price but the adjustment lever that jacks the water to 2.0GPM makes all the difference. RATING 7

MOEN – This company needs no introduction, Moen is an American leader in plumbing products. Moen first gained fame in the 50s where it’s founder Al Moen invented the single handle lavatory faucet. By 1959 the Moen single handle faucet was voted as one of the “best designed mass produced products in modern times” (www.moen.com). Now Moen makes plumbing products of all kinds, kitchen faucets, lavatory faucets, shower valves, toilet accessories and you guessed it shower heads. Moen is known for their quality and value and has even gone into the the high end consumer market in the last 5 to 7 years. Moen went a little crazy but a good crazy by sending us six (6) shower heads. Two (2) of the six (6) are not green. We will not include them in our final shower head rating but we will give the shower heads the same initial review and it will be a good point of reference. There is one shower head given to us by Moen that has a list price of well over $100.00 however it is an Eco friendly shower head and it is the only 8” rain dome head in the group and the only Moen shower head here using Moen’s Immersion Technology. The Immersion Technology basically increases pressure inside the head to give you a nice feeling shower over the 8” surface area of the head. We will rate it like the others but like the non Green heads it will not be included in our final rankings.

#6300 – 2.5 GPM Max Flow Easy Clean LIST PRICE $26.45

Moen #6300 2.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is a very competitively priced shower head so that should be noted. The build quality is fine, it’s a very light weight shower head made primarily of plastic. It does have rubber nozzles which is a feature that comes on heads at a higher price point RATING 6

ASCETICS – This is as unassuming as you can get. It’s small and shaped like, well a common shower head. It starts out slightly narrow at the base and flares gently towards the spray face. As with all the Moen shower heads the face is a light gray and the nozzles a darker shade of the same for contrast which we like. RATING 6

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – It’s a 2.5 GPM head that makes no effort to feel like you’re getting more than 2.5 GPM. There were 2.0 shower heads that felt like they were putting out more water. RATING 7

FUNCTION – It is a one function shower head, it’s single function works ok. There is really not much more to tell but again we aren’t sure it should at this price point.  RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – This is a utilitarian experience. You jump in the shower, take one than get out. There is no reason to stay in any longer. RATING 6

VALUE -I can’t bring myself to try and explain, it’s a simple shower head that works RATING 6

#6300 EP – 1.75 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $26.45

Moen #6300 EP 1.75GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – If you’ve read the above this is the same review………This is a very competitively priced shower head so that should be noted. The build quality is fine, it’s a very light weight shower head made primarily of plastic. It does have rubber nozzles which is a feature that comes on heads at a higher price point RATING 6

ASCETICS – Again this is the same review as the above…….This is as unassuming as you can get. It’s small and shaped like, well a common shower head. It starts out slightly narrow at the base and flares gently towards the spray face. As with all the Moen shower heads the face is a light gray and the nozzles a darker shade of the same for contrast which we like. RATING 6

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This head is just fair when it is 2.5 GPM, it didn’t get any better with .75 GPM less. RATING 5

FUNCTION – It’s 1.75 and it functions the way you’d expect it to, which is fair    RATING 5

FUN FACTOR – I can’t find it within myself to write any superlatives for this shower head RATING 5

VALUE -Please see above…..RATING 6

#6302 – 2.5 GPM Max Flow (Medium Size Can) LIST PRICE $68.35

Moen #6302 2.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – Very nicely built, most of these shower heads have a medium weight feel and this one is no different. The finish is flawless and the nozzles are all flexible rubber to ward of scaling. RATING 8

ASCETICS – I am partial to traditional looking shower heads and this one is one of the nicest looking. It is proportioned very well starting small at the connection and flaring dramatically at the face. The spray face is a tasteful gray and the nozzles are a darker shade for contrast. It was one of my favorite and since I’m doing the typing I’m rating this one pretty high. RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – It’s 2.5 GPM and you can tell, it’s got a little more umph than most of the others but not as much as one 2.0 huh, I wonder which one? RATING 9

FUNCTION – It’s got a nice full spray and it works really well RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – It’s fun, it’s not Eco friendly but for perspective it’s ok. RATING 8

VALUE – This is a nice fixture, stylish, the finish is great. It is a little on the pricier side but it’s still a value pick. RATING 7

#6302 EP – 1.75 GPM Max Flow (Medium Size Can) LIST PRICE $68.35

Moen #6302 EP 1.75GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is the shower head as the above so here is a reprint…..Very nicely built, most of these shower heads have a medium weight feel and this one is no different. The finish is flawless and the nozzles are all flexible rubber to ward of scaling. RATING 8

ASCETICS – Same as above so here is a reprint……I am partial to traditional looking shower heads and this one is one of the nicest looking. It is proportioned very well starting small at the connection and flaring dramatically at the face. The spray face is a tasteful gray and the nozzles are a darker shade for contrast. It was one of my favorite and since I’m doing the typing I’m rating this one pretty high. RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Well here is where these two shower heads differ drastically and I’m glad. The 6302 and the 6302EP give us a unique perspective being that they are identical shower heads but one is conventional and one is eco friendly at 1.75 GPM. If you’ve read any of the other reviews you should know by now that the below 2.0 GPM haven’t fared very well against the 2.0 GPM and above heads and this is no exception.The coverage is pretty good but the spray is pretty weak. RATING 6

FUNCTION – It’s got a full but weak spray RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – No fun at all, but it looks good RATING 6

VALUE – I can’t in good faith give this a higher value rating than it’s big brother. Even though I love the way it looks it’s a little pricey and there are better showerheads out there. RATING 6

#3233 Envi 1.75 GPM Max Flow 3-Function (Medium Size Can) LIST PRICE $79.15

Moen #3233 Envi 3-Function 1.75GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – The build quality on this shower head is nice. Chrome finish looks to be heavy. The function ring has a short click from one function to the next and the shower head is in the middle when it comes to weight. The nozzles are all made of scale resistant rubber. It feels well built but not exceptional. RATING 7

ASCETICS – All of our testers thought this was a good looking shower head. Not overly big, very traditional with a modern flair. The spray nozzles are two different colors, light gray on the inside and darker gray on the outside and the contrast in colors adds a little something. Again it wasn’t everyone’s favorite but everyone liked it well enough.  RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This is yet another shower head that increases the pressure at the head so the user thinks “well this is a nice hard shower” Bottom line is it feels like you aren’t compromising the showering experience by using this head.   RATING 7

FUNCTION – This is another 3-function shower head and it is similar to the Kohler Purist in that it does not have a message function. The head starts with a concentrated middle spray that is very powerful, the next function moves the spray to the outer ring of spray nozzles and the middle nozzles turn off. The outer group of sprays are equally powerful. The final setting and here is where it differs from the Kohler head, combines the inside and outside sprays to give you a full spray. Due to both sets of spray nozzles being activated the pressure isn’t as great but it is still very pleasant. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – Once again this is a very utilitarian shower head, it does everything pretty well so it’s not a stretch to say it’s a nice shower. Not the best but right under the best, not the most unique features but everything works well. RATING 7

VALUE – With it’s fit, finish and functions this is a shower head worth the price.   RATING 7

#6350 Envi 2.00 GPM Max Flow Adjustable (8” Rain Dome) LIST PRICE $203.40 From all of us at theplumbinginfo.com this head will not be rated in our final numbers. Keep in mind it is almost twice as expensive as the next most expensive head. It is Eco friendly and I wanted to give an example of a raindome shower head at 2.0 GPM.

Moen Envi #6350 2-Function 2.0GPM 8″ Rain Dome Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is one finely built shower head. From the minute you grab a hold of the box you know you’ve got something substantial lurking inside. This head is huge spanning 8”. The head itself is built of chrome plated brass and the finish is beautiful. The nozzles are made of soft rubber which as we’ve said before makes it easy to clean potential scale build-up. The adjustment knob has two positions and it’s movement is smooth but firm. We hate to use the cliche but it fits well here “you get what you pay for”.       RATING 10

ASCETICS – It’s fairly simple with regards to style as are most rain domes. This rain head is short in length meaning it fits very close to the shower arm. To be honest this head should probably be mounted from the ceiling but it works just fine from a normal shower arm. This shower head will fit in either a modern or traditional shower. RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – The spray isn’t super powerful but you feel like you get drenched because of just how much surface area you are blessed with. If you switch it to the center the spray gets powerful easily on par with any of the shower heads here in our test. RATING 10

FUNCTION – This is a two function shower head. The first function fires up all of the spray nozzles and you get deluged with water. The second transfers the water to the center and cranks up the pressure giving you a powerful showering experience.     RATING 9

FUN FACTOR – I can’t dish out enough compliments for this shower head. I didn’t want to get out of the shower and after testing I kept it in my personal bath for just a day or so extra to make sure I liked it as much as I did. 😉 RATING 10

VALUE – It isn’t fair to rate this shower head in the value category……

AMERICAN STANDARD – Originally the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, the company was founded in 1875. By 1929 it was the worlds largest maker of bathroom fixtures it was in the same year the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co. merged with the American Radiator Company but it wasn’t until 1967 that the company came to be known as American Standard. American Standard is a world leader in kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures as well as faucets for a staggering amount of applications. It was a natural choice to have American Standard shower heads in this fight and there will be four (4) tested in this article. Flowise is American Standard’s water saving line of fixtures and faucets and their patented Turbine shower head technology allows the water to flow over a turbine increasing the spray pattern creating a showering experience that feels like a 2.5 GPM head.

FLOWISE #1660.811.002 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $47.00

American Standard #1660.811 Flowise 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is a fairly inexpensive head and the build quality is good. It’s light but solid and with only the turbine middle spray there isn’t much room for malfunction. RATING 7

ASCETICS – Almost all of our testers liked this traditional looking shower head, even the ones who prefer a modern look. The head starts out narrow at the shower arm connection then it flares rather dramatically toward the face in a sort of rounded square. It’s lines are simple and clean. RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – The turbine spray really kicks out the water and spreads the spray pattern making you feel like there is a lot of water coming out. Definitely one of the best performing 1.5 GPM heads we’ve tested. RATING 8

FUNCTION – Obviously this is one function shower head and with this head one is all you really need. The only thing that could turn some off is the turbine spray does feel different than traditional spray nozzles but it functions well. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – Although this head functions well I’m not sure it would be considered fun. It is functional and it’s got pretty good body coverage but I don’t think fun fits. RATING 6

VALUE -In this price range, considering water conservation, style and performance you are getting a pretty good value. RATING 7

FLOWISE #1660.613.002 2.0 GPM Max Flow 3-Function LIST PRICE $72.00

American Standard #1660.613 Flowise 3-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This head feels like it’s the best built of the American Standard shower we’ve tested, and it should because it is the priciest. It’s got medium heft but you can tell there is quite a bit of plastic used. The nozzles are hard plastic so scale could become an issue over time. The function ring feels a bit cheap as it doesn’t always lock into place. Still not enough for a higher score but a nice shower head. RATING 7

ASCETICS – This head feels bigger than it is and it’s probably because there is no taper to the head. It’s round and squared off at it’s edges. It looked a little out of place in my more traditional bathroom but it isn’t unpleasant looking, I think it would look much better in a style appropriate shower. RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – This head really makes you feel like you’re getting more than you think. The center function the combines the middle and outer sprays really gives you a drenching. I personally wasn’t a fan of the last full spray function. Why you ask? Because when you turn off the middle spray you can physically feel the gap in the spray pattern. A full spray should feel full. Regardless people will like this shower head. RATING 8

FUNCTION – So how did the shower function? Fantastically…..This particular head has three functions, the first and it is the default setting is the turbo cone spray. Water is sprayed out of the center jets through a small turbine increasing the middle spray pattern. It is pleasant and powerful. The next is a combination of the turbo and the full spray and it is our favorite of the three. And finally you have the full spray, it is a powerful spray so for those of you who enjoy this kind of full spray you’ll be in heaven. Just to clarify what we mean by default setting, when the shower is off the control sits in its default setting, when the water is turned on you can move the indicator and the water pressure keeps the function engaged. When the water is turned off the function snaps back to the default setting. RATING 9

FUN FACTOR – We obviously liked the way the shower head performed some loved it other liked for the most part it was a winner among testers. RATING 8

VALUE – At $72.00 you are started to get to the upper edge of our price range but this head still offers great performance and build quality for a fairly reasonable price.   RATING 7

FLOWISE #1660.611.002 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $52.00

American Standard #1660.611 Flowise 1.5GPM

BUILD QUALITY – Doesn’t seem to be as well built is the other AS single function. It has the same single turbine spray so durability shouldn’t be an issue. It is a light head and it feel light as well. RATING 6

ASCETICS – I am not a huge fan of the looks but most liked it’s simplicity. It felt to be like a motel shower head, a nice motel shower head but you get the point. It’s got a very small presence when installed on the arm. However, it’s simple modern and clean RATING 6

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – ***The description for this head is identical to that of the other single function shower head above but we will reprint*** The turbine spray really kicks out the water and spreads the spray pattern making you feel like there is a lot of water coming out. Definitely one of the best performing 1.5 GPM heads we’ve tested. RATING 8

FUNCTION – ***The description for this head is identical to that of the other single function shower head above but we will reprint*** Obviously this is one function shower head and with this head one is all you really need. The only thing that could turn some off is the turbine spray does feel different than traditional spray nozzles but it functions well. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – ***The description for this head is identical to that of the other single function shower head above but we will reprint*** Although this head functions well I’m not sure it would be considered fun. It is functional and it’s got pretty good body coverage but I don’t think fun fits. RATING 6

VALUE – Although this shower head works pretty well it’s look isn’t universally liked couple that with the fact that its pretty pricey and the value meter goes down. RATING 6

FLOWISE #1660.717.002 2.0 GPM Max Flow 3-Function (Medium Size Can) LIST PRICE $65.00

American Standard 1660.717 Flowise 3-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – Being one of the more expensive heads in the group can be both a blessing and a curse, expectations are naturally high but if they aren’t met consumers can be disappointed. The first thing you’ll notice is its a very big shower head but once you look at the spray nozzles you’ll wonder why. The overall diameter of the head is 5 1/2” inches but the overall diameter of the is 2 3/4” inches. The shower head is not particularly heavy or sturdy feeling and while installing, the bottom half (the large diameter part that houses the nozzles) of the head turned rather oddly making a clicking sound. We’re not sure if this is supposed to happen however during the function test we found no malfunction. RATING 7

ASCETICS – The head is quite large, and we liken it to a megaphone that gently flares towards the face. It isn’t unpleasant but it feels bigger than it should be. At first glance it seemed too big but it’s look has grown on all of us. If it didn’t have so much dead space on the face of the head it would have received higher scores. It will fit in most showers however it is more traditional than modern or as quite a few companies call it transitional. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – ***The description for this head is identical to the 3-function shower head above but we will reprint***This head really makes you feel like you’re getting more than you think. The center function the combines the middle and outer sprays really gives you a drenching. I personally wasn’t a fan of the last full spray function. Why you ask? Because when you turn off the middle spray you can physically feel the gap in the spray pattern. A full spray should feel full. Regardless people will like this shower head. RATING 8

FUNCTION – ***The description for this head is identical to the 3-Function shower head above but we will reprint*** So how did the shower function? Fantastically…..This particular head has three functions, the first and it is the default setting is the turbo cone spray. Water is sprayed out of the center jets through a small turbine increasing the middle spray pattern. It is pleasant and powerful. The next is a combination of the turbo and the full spray and it is our favorite of the three. And finally you have the full spray, it is a powerful spray so for those of you who enjoy this kind of full spray you’ll be in heaven. Just to clarify what we mean by default setting, when the shower is off the control sits in its default setting, when the water is turned on you can move the indicator and the water pressure keeps the function engaged. When the water is turned off the function snaps back to the default setting. RATING 9

FUN FACTOR – ***The description for this head is identical to the 3-Function shower head above but we will reprint***We obviously liked the way the shower head performed some loved it other liked for the most part it was a winner among testers. RATING 8

VALUE -This shower head consistently received high marks from all of our testers in most of the categories.  So that being said we think it’s a pretty awesome value.    RATING 8

KOHLER – Kohler Co. was founded in 1873 after Michael Kohler and a partner bought a cast iron foundry in Sheboygan Wisconsin. They originally made plows and other farm equipment. After a fire levelled the foundry the company built a new facility and added an enamelling shop and they began making enamelled hog watering troughs which were later sold as bathtubs. If anyone is feeling funny please forward me a joke using the previous sentence, you don’t have to be too clever. The company went through another fire and another complete rebuild of their facility but through it all Kohler was and remains the leading manufacturer of plumbing fixtures in the world. Their MasterClean Technology resists hard scale build up and makes it easy to clean if a build up occurs.

#K10240-CP Forte 1.75 Max Flow 3-Function LIST PRICE $84.95

Kohler K-10240 Forte 3-Function 1.75GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – Kohler shower heads are very well built. One attention to detail we would like to point out is the female connector that threads on to the  shower arm. Most are thinly coated chrome and the slightest torque from a crescent wrench will flake the plating. Not so on the Kohler Forte, it is heavily plated and it shows. It’s those little things. All of the spray nozzles are made of rubber for easy cleaning and the finish is beautiful and flawless. Kohler’s function ring around the outside of the head moves smoothly clicking into place. RATING 9

ASCETICS – This is where this head shines. It is one of the best looking shower heads we tested. It is very traditional in its design. It starts off small at the base and flares pretty severely to the spray face where it flares a bit more. The spray face itself is large but like the Kohler “Purist” the spray pattern takes up only a small portion of the face. However the spray face is concave and the empty space is gently curved and polished to a mirror shine. The right lighting in a custom shower would make this head jump. RATING 10

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – The center spray has got nice pressure and as you change the function the pressure drops off. The water volume seems to be what you would expect, certainly not the best but far from the worst. RATING 7

FUNCTION – This particular Kohler head has three functions. The spray face is set up to spray in concentric rings. The first is the powerful center concentrated spray, the second moves the water to the second ring of spray nozzles giving you a medium spray coverage. The third function moves the water out to the outside ring and this is the full spray. Unfortunately as you change functions the previous function’s spray nozzles turn off so on the full spray function the inner sprays are off so you are never getting full spray coverage. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – None of our testers found it necessary to stay in the shower. They liked the shower head but it wasn’t special. RATING 6

VALUE – Again this has the exact same functionality as the head tested below. The fit and finish is great and we all agreed this was one of the best looking heads tested but it’s just o.k. in its performance. It does a have a list price that is $20.00 less than it’s counterpart so it is a better value. RATING 7

#K997-CP Purist 1.75 Max Flow 3-Function LIST PRICE $105.30 (We’re going to give this one a pass because after discounts it will be below the $100.00 mark.

Kohler K-997 Purist 3-Function 1.75GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – The build quality and attention to detail on this head are excellent. It is a medium weight shower head but is finish is flawless and it has a lifetime guarantee. One attention to detail we would like to point out is the female connector that threads on to the arm. Most are thinly coated chrome and the slightest torque from a crescent wrench will flake the plating. Not so on the Kohler Purist, it is heavily plated and it shows. It’s those little things. The function ring is the entire outside diameter of the shower head and it has a silky smooth rotation. You literally hear the linkage moving inside as you change functions. The spray nozzles are rubber so they resist scale build-up but we would expect that on a shower head with this list price. This head is built to last that’s for sure.  RATING 10

ASCETICS – The face is exactly the same size as the American Standard (AS) 1660.717.002 coming in at 51/2” and the spray pattern is 3”. There is still a lot of dead space on the shower face but it isn’t quite as obvious as the aforementioned AS head. The Kohler head is a a very short head meaning it fits fairly close to the shower arm so it decreases it’s footprint in the shower, which we like. The spay nozzles are set in circle of matte chrome inside a circle of chrome, the contrast in finishes really dresses up the head and makes it unique. RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – The center spray has got nice pressure and as you change the function the pressure drops off. The water volume seems to be what you would expect, certainly not the best but far from the worst. RATING 7

FUNCTION – This particular Kohler head has three functions. The spray face is set up to spray in concentric rings. The first is the powerful center concentrated spray, the second moves the water to the second ring of spray nozzles giving you a medium spray coverage. The third function moves the water out to the outside ring and this is the full spray. Unfortunately as you change functions the previous function’s spray nozzles turn off so on the full spray function the inner sprays are off so you are never getting full spray coverage. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – None of our testers found it necessary to stay in the shower. They liked the shower head but it wasn’t special. RATING 6

VALUE – The only way this shower head could be a serious value pick at it’s price point is if it absolutely blew our testers  away in all of the categories. This head is beautiful but there are better performing heads for less money, it wasn’t a game changer in our eyes. RATING 6

DELTA – And then we have our Delta shower heads to test. Delta as a company was founded in 1954 by Alex Manoogian and he is credited with making the first single handle kitchen sink faucet. In 1960 Delta expanded there product offering to include shower valves, trim and lavatory faucets. The company continues to be a leader and innovator of plumbing products and technology. Delta is under the Masco umbrella and shares quite a bit of it’s showering technology with Alsons another Masco company.

#RP61265 2.0 GPM H20KINETIC Raincan LIST PRICE $86.10

Delta RP61265 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – We can almost cut and paste this description for every one of the Delta shower heads. This head feels cheap, it is almost certainly plastic and is feels like if you press on it hard enough you can bend the plastic. I don’t think that bodes well for the finish but maybe we are all crazy. The nozzles are recessed behind the shower face so I would image if there was ever scale build up it would be difficult to clean. Furthermore every single tester both professional and consumer felt the same way regarding how the head felt. Let me say this, this was the shower head that posed the most difficulty in testing please read on to find out why RATING 5

ASCETICS – Although some liked the size of the head none liked the way the head looked. It is a clam shell design and the design seems dated somehow. Think 80s beach house, a place you’d love to go back to for a day or so, maybe relive some good memories but in the end a place you leave behind. RATING 5

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Here is where this particular review starts to shift. None of us expected this shower to perform this way. It feels like you are getting drenched, one of our testers said “I can’t remember an 8gpm Speakman feeling this good. I’m saving some praise for the next two criteria RATING 10

FUNCTION – As a one function shower head you can’t function any better than this. The box will have a few things explaining the technology behind the head, every bit is true. The Bowles Fluidics partnership was worth every penny. RATING 10

FUN FACTOR – There is simply no better single function shower head that we’ve tested. There wasn’t a single person that used this shower head that didn’t say “wow”. Not only did the water come out with some pressure but it felt full if that makes sense. If any manufacturer thinks they have a better shower head that we didn’t test please contact us. I could have stayed in the shower all day. If this shower head felt beefier and was better looking it would have no equal. DELTA PLEASE MAKE SOME NICER LOOKING SHOWER HEADS!!!!!!! RATING 10

VALUE -What to do, what to do? How do you put a value on on a shower head that is relatively expense, has the looks only a mother could love and has questionable build quality but is one of the best performing shower heads we tested? I’m copping out. RATING 7

#RP51032 1.6 GPM H20KINETIC Contemporary LIST PRICE $59.70

Delta #51032 1.6GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – We aren’t even going to attempt to sugar coat this, for a shower head at this price level we expected more. It feels cheap, the tolerances are off at the seams and the chrome plated plastic on the heads face isn’t perfectly smooth. We were disappointed to say the least, if the build quality matched the performance we would have a real player. RATING 4

ASCETICS – This head is the most contemporary of the bunch and it was also the most controversial. It was an almost even split between testers who loved it and testers who didn’t. I was one of the latter until I installed the shower head. It is proportioned very well, looking neither to big nor too small. It has severe lines but in the right shower it would look great. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – The spray pattern is seemingly identical to it’s Traditional counterpart however this performed much better. In fact this was the second best under 1.75 GPM head we tested. The Fluidics technology worked well in this model. We aren’t sure why, maybe it was the angle of the nozzles but the spray was much fuller. RATING 8

FUNCTION – It’s one function, functioned fantastically. RATING 8

FUN FACTOR – Again if you want to be green and Eco friendly and not compromise performance this shower head will not disappoint. RATING 8

VALUE -The performance was outstanding and the design is right on in the right bathroom but we did not like the way the head was built. However performance and price is huge. RATING 8

#RP54752 1.6 GPM H20KINETIC Traditional LIST PRICE $43.60

Delta #RP54752 1.6GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – It’s a solid head with medium weight. There really isn’t much to it, the outer casing is one piece and the spray face is another piece. It has four Fluidics nozzles made of hard plastic. RATING 7

ASCETICS – As stated in the model number it is a traditional looking shower head. It starts narrow at the connection and gently flares toward the face. The most obvious thing you’ll notice is the shower heads length, it feels longer than it should be but definitely not offensive. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Again this is a pretty frugal shower head coming in at 1.6 GPM. It feels identical to it’s Alson’s brother that uses 1.5 GPM. It’s got a strong spray but the spray pattern doesn’t seem wide enough RATING 6

FUNCTION – It’s one function is functional. However I’m fairly certain no one will mistaken this head for one that uses 2.0 or 2.5 GPM. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – Fun for all of us has been fairly easy to quantify. It is simply “do I want to get out of the shower yet?” If the answer is “yep, I’ve had enough” then it’s not that fun, if the answer is “no I’ll stay for awhile” then you’re having fun. None of us stayed for extra time. RATING 6

VALUE -Not too expensive, so so performance and a fairly attractive design. RATING 6

GROHE – Not to be confused with Hansgrohe. Grohe was founded by Friedrich Grohe when he left Hansgrohe in 1936. Grohe continued to thrive after World War II expanding their line of plumbing products. In 1983 Friedrich Grohe passed away but left the company with a legacy of superior products. Now Grohe AG is Europe’s biggest manufacturer of plumbing sanitary fittings and is a force around the world. Grohe is a premier products brand, their products are mid to high end with regards to cost. The Dream Spray is Grohe’s shower head technology that distributes water equally through every spray nozzle.

Relaxa #28342 00E 1.5 Max Flow Dream Spray LIST PRICE $50.00

Grohe #28342 Dreamspray 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – There are no shower heads in this group that are built any better than this one. It’s small but heavy. This is a heavy piece of brass alloy that is machined into a shower head. It can literally be unscrewed and used as a weapon. It’s spray nozzles are all easy clean rubber and it’s finish is flawless. RATING 10

ASCETICS – This is a plain semi round shower head but it is extremely tasteful. It has a small profile fitting closely to the shower arm and it’s light green spray nozzles look pretty cool. Not super stylish but it would fit in almost any shower. RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Most of these heads try in some way to increase the consumer’s perception of how much water is coming out of the head and hitting your body. Unfortunately this one doesn’t look or feel like there is more water coming out. RATING 6

FUNCTION – This is a full spray only but we have to say the spray isn’t powerful, this is a Dreamspray head that quite frankly doesn’t feel very dreamy. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – This is one of those shower heads that does nothing to stir the soul. I feel like a judge on Dancing with the Stars. RATING 5

VALUE -This is so tough because it has no equal in build quality and it’s relatively cheap. The performance was average at best but if you want a shower head to stand the test of time this is it. RATING 8

SYMMONS – Symmons Industries was founded in 1938 by Paul C. Symmons. While working for a small plumbing manufacturer he came up with the idea of manufacturing a valve that could provide a safe showering experience by handling the fluctuations in water pressure within a buildings potable water system. When Paul Symmons founded the company his goal of producing a reliable pressure balanced shower valve became a reality and little did he know it would revolutionize the industry. Today Symmons is managed by Tim O’Keeffe the third generation of family to do so. In addition to manufacturing some of the finest shower valves in the world, Symmons has expanded their offerings by designing and producing a premium line of kitchen and bath products.

Naru #412SH 2.0 GPM Max Flow 3-Function LIST PRICE $114.00

Symmons Naru #412H 3-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is one of the heavier shower heads we’ve tested, it feels substantial. The chrome finish is very nice. The spray nozzles are soft rubber and the function control rotates the entire spray face and locks securely in to place. However all of these things should be expected from a shower head that lists at $114.00. Not the best in build quality but certainly near the top. RATING 8

ASCETICS – This head is pretty non-offensive, fitting well in both a traditional and contemporary shower  It has a 4” spray face and the nozzles go almost to the edges of the shower head. The spray face is light gray and the nozzles are the same color. There is no contrast in color, nothing to set the head apart. We all liked the head but didn’t love it. RATING 7

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME – Symmons does not do any aeration or asperation to there heads and that is by design. They feel like if you introduce air into the water the temperature change in the water from the time it leaves the spray nozzles to the time it hits your body drops dramatically. We had not noticed this until Symmons pointed it out so we went back and tried all the aerated shower heads and Symmons was correct. We turned the heat up on every aerated shower head to compensate for the temperature lose. Having said that we were not impressed by this heads water volume. There were many in the 2.0 range that performed better. RATING 6

FUNCTION – This is a three function shower head and none of us where impressed by any of it’s functions. The outer ring (it’s full spray) is O.K. and the best of the three. The next function diverts water to the middle ring of jets and I think it’s supposed to be a soft rain but it barely made it to the person taking a shower. Similar in function to the Speakman but not as good. The final function diverts water to the inner most jets and it is the massage function, again the spray wasn’t very powerful. RATING 6

FUN FACTOR – Not very fun, we expected a ton more especially at this price point.. RATING 5

VALUE – Do we need to pile on here? RATING 4

Rain #4-163 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $43.55

Symmons Rain #4-163 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – When you open the box you’ll notice that for a single function shower head you’ve got a pretty solid unit it’s not super heavy but solid nonetheless. The face is flat and polished to a mirror finish. Then you’ll notice the nozzles, they are like nothing else we tested. Each nozzle is solid metal plated in rough chrome and can be removed to clean. The only negative we can see in the build quality is the finish on the shower head body, it is chrome but it’s a bit rough. Not rough on purpose but rough because the chrome finish isn’t perfect. We tend to think this may be just and anomaly but it is noticeable and it’s on our test head so we have to mention it. The connection to the shower arm is heavy chrome plating and really rounds out the overall finish. RATING 8

ASCETICS – OK here is where things heat up, when I first took the head out of the box you can’t help but notice the ¼”  hex head metal nozzles sticking out of the spray face. It’s a bold and industrial look and coupled with the mirror finish on the spray face and it screams contemporary. But wait…..that’s just your initial reaction. After installing you’ll see that the spray body has a 100% traditional bell shape that dramatically softens the look. This is not an over-sized shower head which adds to it’s appeal as some consumers are put off by the size of some of the new “trendy” rain can heads. Suffice to say we liked it a lot. RATING 9

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME –  I will say this again Symmons does not believe in any aeration to add body to the showering experience and for this shower head it is NOT needed. As I’ve said in some of the other sections I’m not a huge fan of cranking up the pressure to compensate for the lack of water volume. There is a reason for that, most Eco shower heads thin out the streams and crank the pressure, the thin powerful streams can become uncomfortable. This shower head manages to increase the pressure but retain the fullness of the sprays. It is simply the finest 1.5 GPM shower head we’ve tested and has no equal at this GPM. In fact it can stand up straight with most of the others as well regardless of GPM or cost. RATING 10

FUNCTION – It’s a one function that functions superbly. I/We can’t say enough good things about this shower head. RATING 10

FUN FACTOR – Can I think of any more adjectives? I’ll save them you won’t be disappointed.   RATING 10

VALUE – At $43.55 list (you’ll get some sort of discount) coupled with it’s outrageous performance this is THE best value of all the heads we’ve tested. RATING 10

Model #4-143 3-Function 1.5 GPM Max Flow LIST PRICE $67.75

Symmons #4-143 3-Function 1.5GPM Showerhead

BUILD QUALITY – This is a medium weight shower head. Finish is very nice. The entire spray face rotates smoothly to change functions however it does not stop or click in to place when the function changes which is annoying. The nozzles are made of soft rubber to ease in cleaning. There is another feature that I want to mention, there is a grip ring near the base of the head that you can grab onto when you want to change the function that is a nice touch.   RATING 7

ASCETICS – The design of this 3-function is very similar to that of many here so it is completely non offensive, more modern but tasteful in a traditional bath. The face is a dark gray with light gray nozzles for some contrast and it’s like an oblong baseball with a ⅓ cut off for the face. RATING 8

PERCEIVED WATER VOLUME –  Once again this is where the Symmons head shines, you don’t feel like you’re compromising because of the decrease in water. RATING 9

FUNCTION – There are three functions, the first is the full spray and it is full but just adequate in power. The second is the inner ring and it would be considered a soft rain or deluge, it is functional but not outstanding and finally the middle massage. The middle massage is powerful and works very well. Once again we will heap on the praise, although the head didn’t blow us away it was the best 1.5 GPM multifunction shower head we tested. RATING 9

FUN FACTOR – 3-functions that work pretty well, 1.5 GPM = Pretty fun   RATING 8

VALUE – What do you get when you cross $67.75 with 3-functions in an Eco friendly package? One pretty good value. RATING 9

TOP VALUE ECO/GREEN SHOWER HEADS

1.) Symmons Rain #4-163 1.5GPM Showerhead LIST PRICE $43.55 RATING 10

2.) Alsons 634 C 200 PK 5-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead LIST PRICE $33.00 RATING 10

3.)Speakman S-2253-E15 Multi Function 1.5GPM Showerhead LIST PRICE $46.00 RATING 10

4.) Alsons 653 C PK 1.5GPM Showerhead LIST PRICE $21.00 RATING 9

5.) Hansgrohe Croma C100 Eco Air 3-Function 1.75 GPM Showerhead                    LIST PRICE $77.00 RATING 9

BEST SHOWERING EXPERIENCE ECO/GREEN SHOWER HEADS

1.) Symmons Rain #4-163 1.5GPM Showerhead RATING 10

2.) Delta #RP61265 2.0 GPM H20KINETIC Raincan RATING 10

3.) Hansgrohe Croma C100 Eco Air 3-Function 1.75 GPM Showerhead RATING 9

4.) Symmons #4-143 3-Function 1.5GPM Showerhead RATING 9

5.) American Standard FLOWISE #1660.717.002 2.0 GPM Max Flow 3-Function RATING 8

 

BEST IN SHOW – TOP RATED SHOWER HEADS

1.) Symmons Rain #4-163 1.5GPM Showerhead OVERALL SCORE 9.5

2.) Hansgrohe Croma C100 Eco Air 3-Function 1.75 GPM Showerhead OVERALL SCORE 8.5

3.) Alsons 634 C 200 PK 5-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead OVERALL SCORE 8.33

4.) Symmons #4-143 3-Function 1.5GPM Showerhead OVERALL SCORE 8.33

5.) Alsons 660 C PK 2-Function 2.0GPM Showerhead OVERALL SCORE 8.0

Conclusion: We hope you’ve enjoyed our massive Eco shower head blow out. We’ve tried to give you the most comprehensive look at how the plumbing manufacturers are developing low flow showering products. There is no question we have learned quite few things along the way. One, every company featured here has done a ton of engineering and testing on their products going to market. Gone are the days of sticking a flow restrictor in a regular shower head and then calling it low flow. Consumers demand more from their products. Another thing we’ve learned is just how tough it is to achieve an adequate showering experience with 1.5 GPM. This is a barrier to be certain and if we have to cross it some day, we as a nation will have to reevaluate how we feel about a luxurious showering experience. Finally it was an eye opening experience to observe how each company handles low flow as a philosophy.

Thanks again to all the manufacturers that participated. We appreciate it very much.

We at theplumbinginfo.com are believers in the water conservation movement, please try to do your part. Changing a shower head is one of the simplest and non intrusive ways to conserve water. Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave comments or contact us with any questions you may have about these products listed above.

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