Plastic vs Metal Shower Head: Tell The Difference, Without Touching It!

We all love shopping from the comfort of our laptop or smartphone, but sometimes there just isn't enough information to give us that "touch and feel "in-store experience. And it couldn't be any more apparent than when trying to determine if you're looking at a plastic vs metal shower head online.

The vast majority of questions around shower heads, is whether the product is a plastic shower head or an all metal shower head - which is seldom specified.

That's why we've made it a goal at The Shower Head Store to test each product, and document the material composition of each part on the Product Pages. 

But if you're browsing other shower head websites or want to determine the shower head material of a product on a store shelf, I'd like to equip you with information you need to become a pro at pinpointing plastic vs metal shower head parts.

The best part? You'll be able to tell the difference between shower head materials without ever having to feel or touch the products. That's how you'll find the most durable shower head for you!

Want to see the difference between metal vs plastic shower head durability, before we dive in? Check out this AWESOME video below.


Read on and discover the 5 Most Integral Shower Head Parts and how to spot plastic vs metal shower heads.

In a rush and want a quick recap? Check out our All Metal Shower Heads at The Shower Head Store and rest assured that you're getting 100% Metal Components.

Plastic vs Metal Shower Head Parts: Key Ways to Tell The Difference

1. Threaded Connection Material

Whether the product page specifies it or not, this is certainly the easiest part to spot a metal vs plastic shower head fitting. This part is what connects your shower head or shower holder to your shower arm. As a plumber, this is a part that I simply cannot compromise on. That's because the threaded connections get the most wear, and have the highest likelihood of cross threading during installation.

By choosing a metal shower head or shower holder that has metal (typically brass) threads, you'll ensure that you're going to avoid installation woes and have a longer lasting, leak-free shower head.


Plastic Threaded Connection Example

Moen Vitalize Rain Shower Head With Plastic Threads


Take a close look at the shower thread connection for this plastic shower head. Can you see how there are many ridges on it? That's because it is made from plastic, and is designed for hand tightening only. Any time you see multiple ridges, or the threads in a different color than the body of the Shower Head, you can be sure it's a plastic shower head vs metal.


Metal Threaded Connection Example


High Pressure 2 Inch Shower Head Hotel Quality


This HammerHead Shower 2-Inch High Pressure shower head on the other hand does not have those ridges. Instead it has a smooth surface with a deep indent on each side of the shower thread connections. These types of fittings are designed for tightening with an adjustable wrench, which would only ever be recommended if the shower head material was durable enough to withstand such torque - that material being metal.

If you still have any uncertainties, check the Shower Head Specifications section on our product pages and you'll see threaded "Connection Material" stated like so:

HammerHead Showers 2 Inch High Pressure Shower Head

2. Shower Hose

Whether you're buying a Hand Held Shower Head Package or just a Replacement Shower Hose, it's important that you find one with a metal shower hose. Metal just truly is the best shower head material - and the best material or other shower parts. Metal, or stainless steel, shower hoses are much more flexible than Plastic options and they will last much longer.


Plastic Shower Hose Examples


Waterpik Hand Held Shower Head with Plastic HoseDelta In2ition Shower Head with Plastic Hose


Let's start with the hand held shower head on the left. You can see from the image that the chrome shower head has a hose with black and chrome stripes. This striping is a dead giveaway that the shower hose is part of a plastic shower head vs metal. Metal hoses are going to be a solid color, as painting a shower hose is really not feasible - especially with 2 colors.

This Shower Hose on the right, however, is a little bit trickier to pinpoint whether you're looking at a plastic vs metal shower head. What gives its "Plastic-ness" away is (A) the very clean reflection and (B) the tiny but still present striping. Both of these hoses are trying to imitate the coiled look of a metal shower hose, but it's either way to over-emphasized, or too flat in texture. 


Metal Shower Hose Example


HammerHead Hand Held Shower Head with Metal Hose


This is a clear cut, metal hose featured in the HammerHead Shower Hand Held Shower Head Set. The first identifier that it is metal vs plastic is its consistent chrome color in the indentations. These indentations help for the shower hose to coil up or stretch out, and will not be discolored or colored if it's part of a metal hose.

Also, you'll see the small threaded nut. When you see this hexagonal nut on the shower hose, it's typically always part of a metal hose. However, that's not to say that a metal hose has to have this to be identified as a metal hose, but it's just another reassurance.

If you still have any uncertainties, check the Shower Head Specifications section on our product pages and you'll see the shower "Hose Material" stated like so:

Metal Shower Hose Identifier 


3. Shower Holder Bracket

Honestly, those first two shower head parts are easy to tell the difference between plastic vs metal shower head materials. Shower holder brackets...not so much. While we can determine if the threaded connection material on the shower holder is metal, the remaining hook and body presents a much more difficult assessment to identify plastic from metal.


Plastic Shower Holder Bracket Example


Plastic Shower Holder Bracket for Hand Held Shower Heads


You'll see that I've pointed out 3 target areas to identify. The first one, we already covered. You can tell that the threaded connection is plastic, as it has hand-tightening ridges. That information can basically bring you to the determination that the rest of the part is made of plastic. I mean, a company wouldn't make a solid metal shower holder, just to negate its benefits by making the all important threaded connection out of plastic.

The second part is the pivot ball tightening ring, which helps to increase or decrease the tension in the Pivot Ball. If this part is from a metal vs plastic shower head, it is usually smooth all the way around or has some defined indents to apply an adjustable wrench. All the parts that have these intermittent ridges are made from plastic.

The third identifier is spotting any lines of division in the shower holder bracket. When a product is made from plastic, it goes through a plastic injectionmolding, usually in two parts. Once those parts are made, they are attached together, leaving a bump where the parts were attached. A metal shower holder bracket will have a clean, smooth and polished look.


Metal Shower Holder Bracket Example

HH Metal Shower Holder Bracket for Hand Held Shower Heads


Honestly, after thinking about it, it's pretty easy to determine if a shower holder is plastic or metal. That's because 99.9% of shower holders on the market are made from plastic. There are probably less than 10 shower holders made of metal available on the market. So if it's not clearly called-out in the product title, it's probably plastic.

This is HammerHead Showers Solid Brass Hand Held Shower Holder Bracket. It is made from 100% solid brass, and is worth its weight in brass. You'll find that this part is sure to outlast the competition.

In case you had interest in an external diverter to attach multiple shower heads, check out this quality Shower Holder with Diverter by Delta Faucets.

If you still have any uncertainties, check the Shower Head Specifications section on our product pages and you'll see the "Shower Holder Material" stated like so: 

Metal Shower Holder Bracket Indicator

4. Shower Head

And then comes the all important...shower head! Whether you are looking for a Fixed, Hand Held or Rain Shower Head, there really isn't any visible indicator to determine if you're looking at a plastic vs metal shower head body.

You'll find that there are a good variety of rain and fixed shower heads made from metal, but not really hand held shower heads, except for HammerHead Showers All Metal Hand Held Shower Head Set. Since there really isn't a clear indicator, I'm going to let you in on my favorite all metal shower heads in each category I mentioned above.



And of course, since we test all of the products at The Shower Head Store, we list what the shower head is made of in the "Shower Head Material" section here:


Metal Shower Head Material Indicator

Shopping Plastic vs Metal Shower Head Parts

There you have it! You can now consider yourself an expert of identifying plastic vs metal shower heads and parts!

This knowledge means that you'll be sure to buy the shower head that best meets your strict criteria! If you've been convinced that a plastic shower head is not what you want in your shower, then be sure to shop our full collection of all metal shower heads.

And if you run into any issues determining the best shower head material or design for your shower needs, don't hesitate to contact us at The ShowerHead Store. We're always happy to help!

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