I hear your frustration! There’s so many options out there…
Everything seems to contain more and more plastic these days, and it is tough to decipher what you are buying and if the handle or trim is plastic
I think the reviews of the peoples experience are super important and can be quite helpful
Price obviously can be a predictor of what you get.
I personally hate anything plastic with the escutcheon plates and hardware, they tend to look & feel cheap.
I’ve always liked delta. Always a fairly easy installation, the universal valve has pretty much been exactly the same since I started doing bathrooms 18 years ago and they are reasonable on price. Can’t say I’ve ever had an issue with one working properly. The shower heads are where I rely on reviews for the experience with that. They keep coming out with newer models and designs of that.
A site that I use often for browsing through faucets and order a lot off of (actually the only place I order from….)
In the specifications portion of each product, it will have a tab saying “Material” then either plastic or metal. This is in reference what its primarily constructed of.
And Flow rate is another variable to look out. Typically the higher the flow rate the better the showering experience. Most are capped at 2.5 gallons on showerheads though
If budget is not a concern….I really liked the hansgrohe push button shower. It had a great flow rate and was just a fun feature. Hansgrohe has some really nice (even though it was primarily plastic…..)
video on it (shows the faucet function at the 9 minute mark)