Are All Handheld Showerheads Plastic? [Plastic vs. Metal]

Last updated on September 1, 2021

It is a prevalent trend that the most popular handheld showerheads on the market are made of plastic. But not all. Should you choose metal instead?

While most showerheads are made of plastic (nothing wrong with that), you may still want to get a metal showerhead. If that’s the case, you will want to know their benefits and how they compare. This article will make a case for both of these types of heads. The final choice is yours, which one you want to install.

In case you’re wondering, both plastic and metal showerheads will fit any standard shower.

And yes, you can get a metal handheld showerhead.

What's Inside?

A Case for Metal Showerheads

metal showerhead

Metal is an excellent material that can be used as a shower head because it has many advantages over other materials such as stainless steel or chrome-plated brass. It’s very durable and will last you years of use with proper care. The only downside to this type of shower head is its price tag. You may find yourself paying more than $100 for one. However, they do come at a higher quality level which makes them worth every penny. They also tend to look better too!

Corrosion Resistance

Chrome is an alloy that contains about 20% chromium which makes it resistant to corrosion by most chemicals. It also resists rusting because its surface is covered in tiny microscopic particles called “chromium,” which act like sandpaper on your skin. This means you can use chrome for plumbing fixtures such as faucets or toilets without worrying about them corroding over time. 

Long Lifespan

Chrome can last up to 10 times longer than plastic or other materials commonly found on showers. It’s not just because chrome is harder to corrode either. Chrome actually resists corrosion better by having an oxide coating that protects against most types of corrosion.

Heavier Weight Means You Can Use Less Water

The weight of chrome makes it easier to hold onto while using less water. If you’re looking at buying a new shower head, this could mean saving money on your monthly utility bill.

Decor Value

Chrome can be applied in many ways, but one of the most common methods is using an electroplated process. This method involves applying a minimal amount of electricity directly onto the metal. Once this happens, the electrons flow across the metal, creating a chemical reaction that results in a shiny coating on the metal.

Ease of Maintenance

Chrome showers have a very easy time cleaning themselves. They can easily be wiped down or sprayed off using soap and warm water. You don’t need to worry about getting rid of stubborn stains like those found on plastic showerheads.

Variety

The variety of colors and styles are endless. You can choose between stainless steel, brass, copper, bronze, nickel, gold, silver, pewter, black, white, gray, blue, green, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, brown, tan, etc.

A Case for Plastic Shower Heads

plastic showerhead

Plastic models also have their pros, most notably, they are lightweight and easy to use. They are cheaper as well.

Durability

The plastic materials used in making showerheads today are solid and sturdy. They are made using high-quality plastics, which make them extremely resilient and long-lasting. Plastic shower heads are usually manufactured using polypropylene resin. This type of resin has been around since the 1950s.

Cheaper

The price of a plastic shower head is much lower compared to those made out of stainless steel. This means that they will save you money over time.

Lightweight

Unlike other materials like glass, ceramic, and porcelain, plastic does not weigh down the entire bathroom space. As a result, it allows users to move around freely without feeling weighed down.

Resistant to Outside Influences

Unlike metals, plastics are more resistant to outside influences like moisture, heat, and sunlight. They will remain intact and functional no matter what happens around them.

Easy Maintenance and Cleaning

The only thing you need to worry about maintaining a plastic shower head is keeping it clean. You don’t need to worry about scrubbing away rust since they are made out of nonporous surfaces. All you need to do is wipe them down regularly using soap and warm water.

Recyclable

If you want to save money on waste disposal costs, consider using a recyclable shower head instead of buying a brand new one. Plastic shower heads are made up of polymers or plastics, which can easily be recycled again after being discarded.

This way, you don’t need to worry about wasting resources by throwing out perfectly usable products. You also won’t have to pay extra fees for disposing of trash.

How to Tell a Plastic Showerhead from Metal

Here’s the thing, visually you wouldn’t tell the difference between a metal and plastic showerhead. It’s an easy mistake to make because ABS plastic heads are also chrome plated. The following are a few ways to tell the difference.

Threaded Connection Material

Metal shower heads have a threaded connection made of brass or bronze, and the threads are usually nickel-plated to prevent corrosion from occurring on them over time. On the other hand, the plastic shower head has no such thread at all, but instead, it uses an O-ring type connector which can be easily removed by unscrewing it with your fingers.

Shower Hose

The next thing we want to know about is whether the hose is flexible or rigid. If it’s flexible, then you’ve got yourself a problem. Flexible hoses will stretch over time, causing leaks. Rigid hoses won’t bend as easily, but they do tend to last much longer. The best way to tell is by looking closely at the end where the water comes out.

Shower Holder Bracket

When purchasing your replacement shower bracket, make sure that it’s made of metal. If you don’t know what type of shower holder bracket you need, we recommend checking out our guide. The most common shower holders brackets are the ones that attach directly to the wall.

Showerhead

This is another area where there isn’t really a clear distinction between what type of showerhead material is used. Most manufacturers use either stainless steel or chrome-plated finish for their showerheads. Some even go as far as using nickel plating over the entire surface of the showerhead. This makes them very durable but also adds additional cost to manufacturing.

If your showerhead doesn’t state anything specific regarding the material being used, then you’re going to need to rely upon visual inspection.

FAQ

What is the best material for a showerhead?

There aren’t any hard rules when choosing materials for showerheads. It depends entirely on how often you plan on cleaning the showerhead. For example, if you only wash your hands once every few days, you probably wouldn’t notice any difference between a chrome-plated showerhead and a stainless steel shower head. However, if you were washing your hair every day, you would definitely see a difference between the two types of showerheads.

How long does a showerhead last?

Showerheads generally last anywhere from 5 years up to 10 years, depending on usage frequency. In general, though, showers heads should last around 7 years before needing replacing.

Is plastic shower head bad?

Plastics are great because they are easy to clean and maintain. There are some downsides, however. Plastic tends to get brittle after prolonged exposure to heat so that it may crack under extreme conditions like boiling water. Also, plastics cannot withstand high-pressure levels without leaking.

Are Kohler showerheads metal or plastic?

Kohler showerheads can be found in both metal and plastic varieties. Metal versions have been known to hold up better than their plastic counterparts.

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