Forty-eight spray jets make the Anystream's three functions feel entirely distinct from one another: One is a gentle rinse, one a dense pour, the last a vigorous spray. And even soapy hands can change settings easily with the large, easy-grip lever.
Delta Lockwood Touch-Clean Rain CanThe Lockwood has a full-swivel head that can be pointed in any direction, so it doesn't require a special shower arm or a ceiling mount. (A 13-inch gooseneck shower arm is available if you prefer the traditional above-the-head position, though do-it-yourself installation will be trickier.) The six-inch-diameter face has 45 spray channels, ensuring a full-body drench with just enough pressure to make it mildly invigorating. A bonus: The jets are rubberized to cut down on mineral deposits.
To buy: $58.25 in chrome, deltafaucet.com for store locations. Also available in polished brass ($104.85), Venetian bronze ($99.75), stainless steel ($87.60), nickel ($104.85), and pewter ($99.75).
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Moen Revolution Massaging Showerhead
Even with repeated use, the Revolution doesn't bore. A spinning disk twirls a pulsating column of water right onto sore muscles with surprising strength; a large dial lets you choose the spinning speed from a wide range of settings. Providing even more variety are small rubberized jet sprays along the edge of the head, which can be activated for a more intense spray.
To buy: $60 in white with pebble accents, moen.com. Also available in chrome with green, blue, or pebble accents ($66) or white with green or blue accents ($60).
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If you venture beyond the $100 range for a standard showerhead, there are hundreds of fixtures to choose from, some costing upwards of $500. “Most people who come into our showroom prefer the sleeker look of metal to plastic, and it tends to last a bit longer,” says Hans Fichtenberg, a design consultant at Blackman New York, a shower-supply store in Manhattan. Fichtenberg has seen just about every kind of fixture. His best bet for a standard showerhead: the Hansgröhe Clubmaster in chrome ($168, plumbersurplus.com), “a well-made, quality showerhead with a simple design” and one of the most popular on the market. It has 72 spray jets that operate on three settings―regular, soft, and massage. It also has a self-cleaning feature: Tiny pins automatically remove mineral deposits from the jets every time you change the setting.