A shower valve (also known as manifold) is an extremely important device that regulates the water flow rate coming from your shower, and keeping both pressure and temperature at a constant, desired level. As a result, this fixture appears to be vital for a safe and comfortable shower experience.
However, as you are reading this article, it means you are either facing some serious shower water temperature control problems or simply doing your research for finding the best shower valve out there to buy. Whatever your motives are, you’re on the right page. We’ve all been there, we’ve all been frustrated with a sudden pressure drop or a splash of ice-cold water in the middle of the taking a shower.
To avoid these annoying problems, as well as leaks, drips, or a crazy level of water consumption, stay with us and learn more on the principle behind shower valves, their main parts, types, as well as some of the top-end products on the market.
Why you should trust us
ToiletsGuide was launched with one moto-- Apexing with the Relentless Sincerity of Sisyphus. The allegory of the Greek Mythological character itself defines our stardom as the most reliable online product reviewers who adopt elaborate research protocols and all the extensive field-test sessions for collecting fact-based data on the reviewing products, and all that for no particular monetary gain. Our team of professional plumbing engineers, interior designers, and innovators aim for climbing the top without expecting anything other than revealing facts about a whole range of bathroom fittings, fixtures, and accessories for our audience to learn before they make a buying decision.
ToiletsGuide is a platform where we share our industry expertise and hard-earned research results with the rest of the world through comprehensive product reviews and how-to blogs. Our professional commitments endowed us with the right knowledge to choose the top deals on the market. You can relax and we'll take you to a tour in the realm of the highest quality bathroom accessories and fixtures that will not only enhance the aesthetics of your bathroom but will walk you through the latest trends of the market as well.
We do not maintain any relation with any particular brand for false-marketing. Instead, we've build our relation with scientific methods for extracting facts on each product that we review, and we make that open for everyone to get informed (please have a glance at the fact-sheet below).
How did we pick these products?
Picking the top deals of shower valves was a painstaking process that required teamwork by the ToiletsGuide members and a group of volunteers. Let me guide you through the different stages of our research process.
First, we did a 28-hour long extensive online research to list down 25 most sophisticated shower valves with the highest number of ratings and features from the most reliable manufacturers. Apart from that, we went through a series of user reviews published on authentic online forums and magazines to widen our scopes for comparisons.
Then, our team members along with the volunteers ran a field-test session over the next 2 weeks. We handpicked each product for testing under a simulated environment where we monitored their performance and effectiveness. We focused on the building material, designs, installation, efficiency, durability and warranty coverage before we narrowed down our list to just 10 choices.
The quest didn't end there. We consulted with the leading industry experts and university professors about the various aspects of our top 10 list. That helped us rank our list according to certain categories that you'll soon find below. Hopefully, this buying guide will help you find the right fixture for your bathroom by letting you know who makes the best shower valve.
Our top 10 product list
So, what is the best shower valve? Let's find out. In the following section, we categorized our top-rated models according to their type. We had first analyzed their key features. Then, we have structured this comprehensive review so that you can easily spot the very top model for yourself. Let’s begin!
A few other products we tested
Since we don't want you to miss out on some other popular brands and their quality models, here some names that you might want to know for better comparisons with our top lists: Mixet, Crosswater, Vado, Peerless, Architeckt, Premie, Symmons, American Standard, German manufacturer Hansgrohe SE (popular lineup- Axor), Glacier Bay, Inc., Gerber, Hudson Reed, Speakman, ROHL, Brizo, Canadian brand Riobel, Eljer, UK based Pura Bathroom Group, Trevi, Dornbracht, Zurn, Stanadyne, UK company Cifial, Acorn, KES, TOTO, Sirrus, Cleveland CFG, ToolStation, Bradley, Triton, Mira (popular model-Agile ERD), Wolverine, and Australian brand VICTORIA FITTINGS & VALVES PTY. LTD.
Here are some products we tested and would certainly there in our list if it could be enhanced to top-20:
What are shower valves used for?
If you are facing a problem with this fixture for the first time in your life, you might not even know why it happened and what they are used for.
First of all, shower valves are essential for regulating the amount of water coming from the showerhead. In other words, it regulates the water flow rate. In addition, they regulate the consistency of the pressure.
As there are several types available on the market, they are responsible for many different functions. For example, thermostatic units are used for regulating the water temperature. A hard-water compatible model will alleviate the negative effects of hard water, etc. Also, based on the location and purpose of use, these fixtures have some outdoor models that are precisely designed for outdoor, public bathing facilities.
As you can see, shower valves are no simple kits and it's important to learn the way they work, their key parts, and different types you can buy. Let’s start with a short overview of the way we picked the top products, and the features to look for before buying one.
Things to consider when buying a shower valve
There are many important things to consider when choosing a shower control. Your proper analysis, access to information, and the right choice will heavily influence your shower.
Those factors include the type of the valve that suits your installations, principle of work, design and style, material, durability, controls, and outlets, handle options, as well as the overall value for the money.
Although you are going to see several types with difficult names, all of them have one common functionality: blending hot and cold water. This is why all of them should be known as Blending Valves. However, let's explore the commonly known types:
- Pressure Balancing or Compensating
- Transfer or Diverter
- Bar mixers
Pressure-balancing shower valves are designed to keep the pressure steady. This is the most common and often seen type in the stores. Moreover, the pressure-balancing type is based on temperature control. It balances the hot/cold water ratio.
Unlike the traditional models, the Thermostatic mixing type controls the temperature of the water. This can be done on the pre-set terms, which is an advantage of this valve type. It allows you to set the required temperature and save it for each next usage. All you have to do is turn the shower on and wait a few seconds for it to reach the desired, pre-set temperature. These can be manual or automatic / operate via a button.
The least common type is the Transfer or Diverter type. It is designed to change the water flow. Diverters change it in one direction, while the transfer types change it in several directions. This allows using a single unit for several outlets, such as sprayers, handheld or showerheads.
The Sequential faucet systems adapt a rather cooking-knob technique of functioning. It starts working when rolled clockwise.
The bar mixers are impressive in design as the whole valve unit is fitted outside. The exposed bar system uses a single bar with two separate inputs for hot and cold water that is mixed inside the bar and the temperature is controlled that way.
The Recess valves are usually concealed units hidden behind the tiles. However, most of these shower manifolds are 3 way, 4 way designs, but you can also get 2 way units. Remember, all of these systems support more than just 2 shower heads.
2. The system of work (Thermostatic vs. Manual)
The performance of a valve also depends on the system of work. There are two key types depending on the working principle. Those include the thermostatic and manual type.
Thermostatic type is designed to switch off the hot water after it reaches the pre-set level. The manual type relies on your maneuvering. It is a good choice because you don’t lose water in case of flushing the toilet, etc.
There are also some non-concussive shower valve models that self-close the water flow upon a certain period of time. This type saves a lot of water and is perfect for public places.
3. Material & durability
Most of these products are made from durable plastic. Better models are made from brass. Some models are made from soldered metal. We recommend brass. It provides leakproof performance and it is durable. It also won’t rust.
4. Design & style
When it comes to design, it depends on the type. However, a general rule says that it must be leakproof and solid. Therefore, the stem must be well-sealed.
When it comes to style, you can find all different kinds of styles on the market today including vintage, modern, elegant, etc. Depending on the color of your bathroom interior, you should choose the color of these fixtures, especially the shower mixer models. They come in a range of colors including chrome, gold, brass, black and metallic. Some models come with an isolation valve for safety and convenience.
5. Number of controls & outlets
Shower valves can be of one, two, or three controls. A large number of controls will provide better control and precision when it comes to temperature settings. Standard shower control models have 3 settings (controls).
The number of outlets can also be one, two, or three. We don’t recommend getting a single-outlet model. It will limit you since it's very simple and basic. You should get a two or three-outlet model. Those are more versatile and functional.
Namely, a two-outlet valve offers output for a showerhead and a handheld output. If you prefer to have a body jet, you can use the second outlet for this purpose too. This is why the 3-outlet models provide extra versatility and options. Pick the number of outlets and controls based on your needs and preferences.
6. Handle options
If you opt for a shower valve kit, it should contain a handle. The handle is considered an accessory. Why is it important? Well, it provides extra comfort and ease of turning the faucet.
Also, many people choose a model based on the design and whether it suits their bathroom or not. This is why the majority of the manufacturers pay lots of attention to the aesthetics of the handle. The one handle models look sleek and modern where the multiple handle designs are equally popular. You can find two handle or single handle models littering the market.
7. Value for money
Now that you know more about important features of different valve types, materials, handle options, etc., you can understand what you get for the price. In general, look for a rust-proof, leak-proof model made from brass that comes with a good warranty.
So, how much does it cost to replace a shower valve? Well, when it comes to the price, there are models you can get for as low as 10 USD, but there are also high-end models (especially the electric ones housing electronic circuits) that cost more than 100 USD. This depends on your budget, needs, as well as your personal preferences.
Also, top brands usually set somewhat higher prices for their products in the competition. A cheap model can also positively surprise you with its performance. However, we strongly recommend making a thorough research before you buy these products.
Shower valve fixing & replacment tips
Replacing and fixing a shower valve is not an easy task. You may need some tools, patience, and skills. The most common problems include leaks, slow response, and temperature adjustment problems. Lime build-up and finish defects are common problems.
However, the new generation models offer more standardized, easy to install, repair, and remove products. Here are some tips and recommendations on fixing and replacing them with ease.
- Clean the valve if there is lime build up as it may cause hot/cold water issues
- Shut off the water supply before fixing the valve
- Remove the trim and handle
- Disconnect the plumbing fittings
- Clean and sand all parts after removing the old valve
- Disassemble all plastic parts
- Reassemble the plastic parts after soldering
- Fit the new valve/parts
- Perform water and pressure tests before completing the installation
- Correct all leaks, if any
- Complete the installation by setting up the trim and finish parts
Finally, we wanted to thoroughly discuss all the required features of the best shower valve models. We hope we have succeeded in our mission and you have learned many new things about picking, installing, maintenance, repair, and replacement of these fixtures.
The goal of our review was to present some of the most advanced, high-quality shower controls on the market according to different categories. We picked the top Budget choice, the ideal choice for Pressure Regulation, the top Diverter choice, etc.
We put our bet on the Delta R10000-UNBXHF as the top thermostatic model. It is a universal valve that will certainly make you satisfied. There are no leaks, nor sudden pressure/temperature changes with this product.
The coolest product for the money is the Delta Faucet R10000 UNBX. It is extremely affordable but features impeccable quality. You will be surprised by the outstanding performance of such an inexpensive model.
Our pick for tap diverter valve is the Delta R11000 model. It is one of the most versatile and convenient valves on the market.
In the end, don’t forget to make additional research if you have specific needs or requirements when it comes to your shower valve. There’s much more to learn and many good products on the market.
Check out our other reviews on different shower accessories.
- Top Shower Pans
- Top Shower Chair
- Top Shower Water Filters