Help, please! Hand held shower replacement

crl_April 25, 2013

We need to replace the hand held shower in the bathroom we are NOT remodeling. Sigh. And we need to do it ASAP.

Cost is an issue, but I hate to be penny wise and pound foolish. We don't plan to remodel this bathroom for at least ten years (it is at the very bottom of the to-do list for this house) and I don't want to have to replace the shower head again before that.

In addition to durability, pressure is a high priority. The temporary piece of junk our plumber threw up there is pitiful compared to the old, cheap plastic thing that broke.

The house is a 1920s house, but this bathroom is from the 1960s I'd guess. The fixtures are chrome and I'd like to stick with that.

I found this Hansgrohne at pretty much the top our price range.

I think this brand is supposed to be good quality? Anything else I should be looking at at this price point ($125 for the shower head, hose and shower arm mount) or less?

Thank you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Shower head

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Hansgrohe is good overall (and they always look great!), but if you ever need to replace anything, their parts can be a bit expensive compared to some other brands, though this is not as much of an issue for handhelds. Also, Hansgrohe's changed their distribution recently, so make sure that if you're ordering it online, they have it on hand, otherwise they might have difficulty getting it.

I've really not noticed much difference between water pressure without a handheld and with, but then again, all of my showerheads have that 2.5 gpm rating. If your old handheld wasn't 2.5, or had the restrictor removed, that might have been the difference. Some current showerheads/handhelds have removeable restrictors (just a little gaskety thing shoved in there somewhere) while some have it really well built in and just cannot be removed without destroying something. The sellers, unfortunately, can't encourage you to remove it, and so won't (or don't know) what kind of restrictor a given showerhead has. Best bet? Make sure you can return it if it doesn't work out...

Personally, I had a Delta/Alsons In2Ition for years and loved it. I currently have a Sprite filtered handshower and while not the prettiest thing, it does exactly what we wanted it to - filter water and be a handheld!

FYI: Some of the home-store staple brands (Moen, Kohler, Price Pfister) have been transitioning to "rust free" plastics from things that were previously brass (thanks CA low lead laws and rising metal prices)... but what that often means is that connections are plastic, and therefore easier to crack on accident. I saw one recently that came with a plastic shower arm! Plastic has it's place, I just think supporting weight in my shower is not one of them...

You'll find most handhelds to be plastic-bodied regardless of brand, which is usually fine as who really wants to wave around a huge chunk of brass? Not me - I'll do my bicep curls outside of the shower, thank you.

Where I've found the things I like to pay attention to: I want a massage function, a medium sort of spray function, and a trickle function. So that's all I look for as far as spray patterns. Different manufacturers call their spray patterns different things. You'll have to find out what Hansgrohe means by their names - there might be reviews or even images on the Hansgrohe site that shows the spray pattern to help you get a good idea.

Another biggie when I'm looking: The quality of mounting brackets varies wildly and so do the hoses. I would suggest to try to make sure the mounting bracket (the bit that screws onto the shower arm) is brass or stainless steel if at all possible, otherwise you're almost certainly looking at replacing it yearly. Vinyl hoses will have to be replaced after a few years in most homes, too. Double spiral hoses (they look like these have a high end look and last longer. However, if you love everything else about the handheld, both the bracket and hose are easy to replace - most handhelds have 1/2" ips connections on both ends, so you can get a replacement hose or bracket pretty much anywhere you like.

Last thing - if you have hard water and no softener, definitely look for easy-clean nibs on the head, or even reviews by people with hard water to see if it'll just clog up on you after a month (another reason for the Sprite).

So, that's my 2cents, hope it helps!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 3:59PM
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Hansgrohe and Grohe are good products. My BIL is a master plumber and also likes mid-range Kohler and Moen products, but not from the big box stores.

I've spent the last week looking at handshowers online. The Hansgrohe you linked to has a plastic hose. I'm becoming more interested in the Kohler Flipside handshower. It's pretty cool and seems to have mostly positive reviews on several websites. Amazon sells it for about $62, but you have to buy a hose too. You can get a longer hose than the Hansgrohe that is metal for around $50. You also have to buy the wall-mount bracket, and the ones that aren't plastic are pricey.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Hansgrohe just sent me parts when I called.
No charge.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Thank you! I ended up ordering the Hansgrohe showerhead separately so I could order a metal hose. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 6:36PM
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I have a handsgrohle in my guest bath for 9 years now and loved it so much put one in my recent master redo. I like the plastic surface that doesn't collect water spots and is easy to maintain.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:51PM
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