A relaxing shower is the most rejuvenating thing after a long day at work. But do you have the right faucet for that calming experience?
If not, maybe you need some help selecting the most appropriate one that’ll make your bath time more enjoyable. Usually, we don’t spare much thought while purchasing a faucet, but a little knowledge can actually make a lot of difference in finding the right variety.
In fact, shower faucets can be categorized based on multiple subsets, including type of valve, configuration, handle, and much more. But don’t worry, this is not a thesis on bathroom fixtures. We’ll keep things precise and relevant, so you have all the information on your fingertips.
Without further ado, let’s get straight to business.
Types of Shower Faucets
Basically, these are the various options you’ll find on the market, and you can purchase something that complements your bathroom space and fits within your budget.
- Shower only faucet
- Shower faucet and tub combo
- Tub Filler
- Shower Head
- Handheld shower
- Body sprayer
- Shower system
Different Faucets Based on Valves
The shower fixture installed on the wall is known as the valve. The faucet alone is of little importance if the valve does not work at optimal capacity. That being said, the durability and performance of a faucet largely depend on the quality of the valve.
Like faucets, there are different types of valves, and they are classified based on their functions. Therefore, it’s essential to learn about their basic features and mechanisms so you can get a customized experience every time you walk into your bathroom. Besides, this information will also come in handy during installation and repairs.
This type of valve comes equipped with a thermostatic system that regulates the temperature of the water. You can customize the temperature by using the dial on the valve faceplate before turning on the shower.
Modern thermostatic valves come equipped with anti-scald technology that prevents a sudden rise in temperature, which could otherwise result in burns. Another key feature of these valves is water flow control. This lets you control the volume of water flowing from individual outlets.
Pressure Balancing Valves
Pressure balancing valves are commonly found in new-age bathrooms. Like thermostatic valves, it controls water pressure from individual outlets and keeps the water from moving from one pipe to another.
In order to do so, the valve relies on a spring gasket, which acts as a stopper to control the flow. Furthermore, they come equipped with a shower cartridge that is connected to the main handle. With a turn of a handle, the cartridge enables the cold and hot water to mix, thereby allowing users to adjust the temperature.
Moreover, the water temperature is regulated by a piece of metal located in the cartridge that also works to prevent scalding. However, the only issue with these valves is the absence of a temperature detector, which could cause the water to get hotter than the set temperature.
The point to be noted here is that the valve works by modifying the amount of pressure and not the temperature itself. As a result, the water flow from the faucet may increase or decrease when water is diverted into other connections.
That being said, pressure balancing valves may not be a suitable option while remodeling an older house, since corrosion in the pipes tends to affect the efficiency of these valves. Therefore, it’s best to get the pipes pressure-tested before purchasing the valve to prevent post-installation issues.
Classification Based on Number of Controls
Single temperature and flow control valve
As the name suggests, this type of valve features one outlet and single temperature control. Hence, you can set the water temperature and the flow rate by adjusting the control.
Separate temperature and flow control valve
Usually, this valve type is often used in a single overhead shower setup. It includes individual temperature and flow controls, and it’s connected with a detachable handheld shower faucet.
Dual outlet single temperature and diverter control valve
This particular shower valve comes with dual controls and outlets. Plus, it includes temperature control and diverter that functions at three positions. Furthermore, the diverter, in this case, works as a switch and not as flow control.
Dual outlet and four flow control valve
This valve variant features a pair of outlets and four controls. Moreover, it comes with dual flow rate control and single temperature control. With this system, users will be able to control the flow rate of individual outlets. This setup is often used in combination with an overhead shower having multiple body jets.
Multi-functional control valve
It features three controls and outlets each. Every control works as a diverter, temperature, and flow regulator. This, too, is used with overhead showers.
Based on Bathtub and Shower Faucet Configuration
Tub/Shower Combo Faucets
The majority of houses and apartments across the globe still operate on the standard tub/shower combo. It features a wall-mounted tub spout and a shower head on the bathtub. These fixtures typically share a common handle and diverter, which is basically the lever or button that switches the water flow from tub to shower.
Shower-Only Trim Kits
The shower-only trim kits usually include different valves that control the shower heads. Also, these kits come equipped with a thermostatic valve to control the temperature as well as the flow.
Depending on the tub you pick, here are the faucet mounting options:
- Deck mount tub faucet
This refers to either a faucet positioned on the rim of the tub or anywhere on the surrounding deck made of tile, marble, etc. Also, the pipes are concealed in this apparatus. This variety includes Roman tub fillers, a popular style which may need a separate valve to function.
- Floor mount or free-standing tub faucet
This is another option for a tub without pre-drilled holes like soaking tubs or those vintage clawfoot tubs. In this case, the water supply is installed on the floor. Plus, the exposed pipes rise above the tub rim and are attached to the tub or wall for support.
- Wall mount faucet
if a free-standing tub is not your style, the wall mount faucet is the ideal alternative. The plumbing brings the water supply up behind the wall so that the pipes are concealed, and your shiny new faucet gets all the attention.
Based on Shower Heads
Shower faucets can also be categorized in terms of different shower head types. Most users recognize and differentiate them based on this particular design element. These include:
Fixed Shower Heads
Fixed shower heads can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. They can turn about 180 degrees for users to adjust the direction and height of the water flow. Depending on your need, you can get a single or multi-function unit.
Handheld Shower Heads
Handheld showers have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. They have become a phenomenon in America and are quite popular in Europe as well. The biggest advantage of a handheld shower over its fixed counterpart is its flexibility and ease of use.
You can aim the spray on any part of your body or bring it down for a child or pet. Also, it’s great for rinsing the bath area after use.
Solo Hand Shower
A solo hand shower can operate as a fixed head when mounted on its slide bar or bracket. Alternatively, you can choose a combination unit (fixed/handheld), either integrated or side by side.
Based on the Number of Handles
Single Handle Shower Faucets
This is undoubtedly the most common shower faucet type sold on the market. This design performs only the essential functions, allowing users to adjust the temperature and water flow.
Double-Handle Shower Faucets
The double handle shower faucet is more of a traditional option. Many of these systems are equipped with diverters that work as the third handle for the shower.
Shower Head Shapes and Sizes
Just like every other fixture, shower heads can be square, circular, or rectangular. Besides, size-wise you can opt for anything from a compact 3-inch circular model for a small bath space to an elaborate 20+ inch ceiling unit. The latter will definitely make you feel like you’re standing out in the rain.
However, don’t go by size alone. Let’s just say that even a small shower head with multiple high-quality spray channels may deliver a better flow than larger fixtures of sub-standard quality.
Shower Head Functions and Spray Patterns
Depending on the design and features, shower heads can offer everything from a basic spray to a range of luxurious functions. In fact, different manufacturers come with a variety of patterns, such as rain shower, aerated spray, fast and slow massage, soft drench, whirl, and more. Some units even include combined functions so you can enjoy two spray patterns simultaneously.
Shower systems may include a combination of shower head(s), valves, volume controls, diverters, body sprays, and hand showers. You’ll also find systems that incorporate a tub filler as well. Depending on the requirement, you can set up a system to accommodate a single bather, or for two users at a time.
However, the real challenge takes place behind the scenes. Meaning, you have to get in touch with your contractor to carefully evaluate the current plumbing system and plan beforehand if you’re going to install a new one. Moreover, you’ll have to ensure adequate water pressure, hot water supply, and proper drainage, among other things.
When it comes to these elaborate systems, the positioning of the various parts is of primary importance. Minor errors, such as measurements taken from the subfloor instead of finished floor height, can lead to less than perfect results when you step inside your newly designed shower.
Lastly, you should also consider the other users’ heights and position the outlets in a way that’s comfortable and relaxing for everyone.
How to Identify a Shower Faucet Brand?
Knowing all about the shower faucet types may not be sufficient to carry out repairs or even minor fixes. In that case, you’ll have to learn the manufacturer’s brand name since their units often have a separate identity.
But it’s relatively simple to figure out, all you need to do is take a look at the central area of the trim plate. You will find the inscription and the brand marking right in the middle of the trim plate. Also, in some units, the manufacturers emboss their logo or put their name on the faucet.
Long story short, shower faucets are undoubtedly some of the most important fixtures in a bathroom. Plus, knowing about the various faucet types will prove beneficial in the long run as it will help you make the right choice during installation and repairs.
Also, it’s not a stretch to say that your comfort and overall experience can be influenced by the type of shower faucet you have. Therefore, make sure that you know all its features and mechanisms before purchasing a system.
On that note, we hope you’ve found all the help and necessary information from this detailed guide. Now, just go and get the most suitable option for a relaxing and enjoyable bath time.
Till next time!