5 best shower valve: reviews and buying tips
Getting the water to the right temperature is never possible without the right components—the showerheads, the trim kits, and of course, the shower valve.
Shower valves are the components in your plumbing that control the temperature of the water. And while you may not think about it, there’s a lot more to shower valves than meets the eye.
A shower valve that controls everything from the temperature to the flow seems too good to be true. But you’ll be surprised to know that many valves are worth the time and money.
We have jotted down the best shower valve reviews. These were all chosen based on their functionality and performance.
If you’ve recently been acquainted with a faulty shower valve, then these are the best choices for you. Have a closer look at our choices.
What is the Best shower valve?
The shower valves featured on this list provide you with full command over your showering options. They let you connect to multiple showerheads and optimize your showering experience.
Personally, we found the KES shower valve to be the best shower valve for small bathrooms. It’s sturdy, durable, and each metal used to make it is rust-free and resilient. Plus, the showering functions are numerous.
If that doesn’t float your boat, then you can always try Grohe’s shower valve. This one is “silk smooth” and is only bested by the KES. Other than that, feel free to choose your own shower valve. And just lay back and relax under the warm stream of freshwater.
- best shower valve for households and gyms: Delta Faucet R10000 Shower Valve
- best shower valve for hard water: Kohler K-GP77759 Shower Valve
- best thermostatic shower valve: KES Bathroom Single Handle Mixing Valve
- best shower pressure-balancing valve: Moen 8371HD Shower Valve
- best shower temperature control valve: Grohe 35015001 – Pressure Rough-In Valve
The 5 best shower valve you can buy right now
1. Best shower valve for households and gyms: delta faucet r10000
- Flexible; works with a variety of trim kits
- Universal connection with PEX, IPS, and CPVC
- Heat-resistant pressure test cap.
- Durable rust-free body
- 90-degree plaster guard
REASONS TO BUY
- Highly flexible applications
- Connects universally
- Does not rock or sway
- Long lifespan
REASONS TO AVOID
- The unit wobbles a bit
Do you want to change your shower’s trim kit but not the plumbing behind it? Then the Delta UNBX MultiChoice may be your best shot. This is the best shower valve for households and gyms.
It’s 100% flexible and can be used with a variety of trim kits. It includes Delta’s special single, dual, and dual-function thermostatic trim kits.
Now you can change the faucet without worrying about the plumbing underneath it.
The Delta Faucet consists of a mounting bracket, universal connection, a square plaster guard, and a test cap. The bracket makes installation more secure, reducing placement to a single screw.
This thermostatic mixing valve shower lets you connect to various inlets. It is compatible with ½ inch copper or iron pipes, PEX, and CPVC. The faucet valve also features a plaster guard that allows the valve to be installed at a right angle. It requires no tools; simply snap it into place, and you’re done.
Aside from that, the MultiChoice features a pressure test cap. With this test cap, you can easily test the water or air pressure before installing the shower cartridge. However, the UNBX isn’t as heavenly as it may seem.
For instance, the valve can be trickier to install and connect if you’re not already involved in the subject. We think that a more elaborate installation guide would benefit the product.
2. best shower valve for hard water: Kohler K-GP77759
- Rite-Temp compatible.
- Temperature stop screw.
- Easy installation.
- Includes O-rings and mixer cap.
REASONS TO BUY
- Easy to install
- Saves gas and electricity
- Controls flow of water
REASONS TO AVOID
- May require a pressure balancing unit
This may look like a simple shower mixing valve, but there’s certainly a lot more to it than meets the eye.
The Kohler K-GP77759 valve performs two functions. It controls the temperature and flow of the water. These two functions are the basic requirements for a shower valve, but they’re not all the Kohler features.
The first unique feature this valve has is a stop screw. Pulling this screw out will allow your water to get hotter. This is to prevent scalding you and to put a limit on how hot the water can get.
The screw comes preset, but you can tighten or loosen it however you wish. This makes showering safer and prevents children from overheating the water. In addition, you will also save up on power consumed by your water heater.
Furthermore, this best shower valve for hard water is compatible with your Rite-Temp thermostat. What’s best is that this Kohler valve comes with O-rings and a mixer cap. It has everything you need to fully switch to a Kohler shower valve.
Unfortunately, the Kohler does not come with a user’s manual. The manufacturers have tried to make installation as trivial as possible. But let’s not forget that in plumbing, you need to know a lot of things beforehand. If you already have experience in the field, then the Kohler won’t be too hard to get around.
Aside from that, depending on your needs, you might not be getting everything you need. You do get the O-rings and mixer cap, but that’s about it. Some people might need a pressure balancing unit too.
3. best thermostatic shower valve: KES Bathroom Single Handle Mixing Valve
- Standard US Threading
- Ceramic cartridge
- Survives 500,000 open/close cycles
- Stainless steel faceplate
- Polished chrome finish
REASONS TO BUY
- Highly durable
- Perfect for a humid atmosphere
- Universal fit
- Comes with a trim
- Easy to maintain
REASONS TO AVOID
- No gradual temperature variation
If you’re tired of trying to find a trim that fits your valve, then take a look at this KES product. It includes both the mixing valve and a trim/handle that fits the valve perfectly.
This combo is a great idea, as many valves aren’t universal and require special types of trims. It pairs the best thermostatic shower valve with the best trim style.
But that’s not all that this KES combo features. To begin with, both the faucet and the valve are made from high-grade brass. Brass is better than steel as it’s resistant to rust and corrosion.
Plus, the high availability of the material ensures a lower price. And let’s not forget about the longevity of the metal, coming in at 40 to 70 years.
To add to that, the KES valve uses the Standard US threading style, with ½ tapered NPT threads.
The benefit you get from this is that the valve becomes compatible with most plumbing. Though if you’re not living in the US, you’ll need to verify its compatibility with your shower system.
The KES mixing valve uses a ceramic disc cartridge, which can survive up to 500,000 rotations. Additionally, the faceplate of the valve is made from the finest quality Type 304 stainless steel.
This type of steel resists both corrosion and rusting. So it’s perfect for use in an environment with a lot of humidity. And that’s what makes it the best shower mixing valve.
4. best shower pressure-balancing valve: Moen 8371HD
- ASSE certified
- Follow all legal codes
- Heavy-duty brass cartridge
- Balances pressure changes
- Temperature screw stop
REASONS TO BUY
- Highly reliable
- Heavy-duty design
- Durable and long-lasting
- Safety compliant
- Smooth handle rotation
REASONS TO AVOID
- Rocks too much during installation
This Moen commercial valve is a pressure-balancing valve. For those of you who don’t know, a pressure balancing valve supplies water of a constant temperature.
It does this despite any pressure changes in the water supply lines. In this way, your shower valve maintains and balances pressure.
That’s not all… The Moen has to offer, though. This is the best shower valve for its reliability. This is the Moen Commercial Shower Valve. It’s designed to be a bit more heavy-duty than their residential products.
It uses a four-port valve that allows the temperature to be adjusted. It’s also equipped with a screw stop to prevent the water from overheating.
The cartridge of the Moen 8371HD is made from heavy-duty brass. Brass is the better alternative here as compared to steel. It does not rust or corrode, and has a longer life expectancy.
As for performance, you can let ASSE do the talking. ASSE is a plumbing standard that certified plumbing products to be in compliance with multiple city codes. So to put it in another way, the Moen 8371HD is 100% legal and follows all safety requirements.
However, if there’s anything that’s not premium on the Moen, it’s the installation. The back of the valve is not entirely flat. So it makes getting level markings for holes a bit harder. The valve rocks until it’s screwed into place. We believe that a simple redesign can fix the issue.
5. best shower temperature control valve: Grohe 35015001 – Pressure Rough-In Valve
- ½ inch inlets and outlets
- Compatible with over 20 trims
- Gradual temperature control
- Anti-scalding protection
- Includes plug and cap for 3-port installment
REASONS TO BUY
- Physically attractive
- Universal in all senses
- Precise temperature control
- Silky smooth movement
- Multiple installation options
REASONS TO AVOID
- No flow control
Tired of those shower valves that look like an eye strain? Then you will love the Grohe. This Grohe pressure balance valve not only has an attractive design, but it’s a universal fit.
You’ll be captivated by the golden metal body and the bright blue cartridge. Grohe’s pressure valve won’t meddle with the interior design of your bathroom.
But that’s not merely it. This shower temperature control valve features ½ inch inlets and outlets. This size is the universal standard. The term “universal” may only refer to US standards, but those are followed in a lot of other countries.
And to add to that universality, this valve is compatible with over 20 brands of trims. So you can confidently choose any design of faucet without worrying about compatibility.
The valve also includes a plug if you want a three-port installation. With that, you also get extreme temperature protection. So you don’t accidentally scald yourself or shock yourself with cold water.
The best part of Grohe’s products is a smooth operation. They describe it as being “silk smooth.” The valve is easy to turn, regardless of your age or stamina. But perhaps the biggest deal sealer is the gradual temperature regulation.
In other valves, it’s hard to find gradual temperature change. Most just go either boiling hot or freezing cold. There’s no in-between. However, one drawback of using the Grohe is that you get zero water flow control.
Things to Look For Before Buying
For a person who has never fixed a leaking tap before, shower valves can be confusing. So here are a few tips to help you pick the best shower valves.
Shower valves use different materials in different parts. Brass, copper, and stainless steel are three of the most common ones.
Brass and copper are great options as they don’t rust or corrode. Which is a good thing considering the valves will be in the humid air of the bathroom.
However, stainless steel is certainly stronger and can take more hits before the surface scratches.
There are a few different control types of shower valves. One-Way twin-valve lets you control both the flow and the temperature suddenly. And it can be hooked to only one shower outlet.
A two-way twin-valve, on the other hand, can be hooked to two shower outlets, but not at the same time.
A triple shower valve allows you to turn on both the outlets at once. It features three controls: a diverter, temperature control, and flow control.
Functions refer to how many shower heads you can connect to your valve. As explained before, there exist single, double, and multi-function shower valves.
A multi-function valve will obviously cost more than a single-function. And it requires diverters to divert water from one shower head to the other. However, not all of the valve types are capable of providing water to all heads simultaneously.
Installing a shower valve is a tricky procedure. It is recommended to get an expert to do this job. If you have a twin shower valve, then it will have two inlets and one outlet.
The inlets will take in the hot and cold supply, and the outlet will connect to your shower. Some may feature a stop screw, pushing down, which will reduce the max temperature of the water.
Similarly, there are special inlets and outlets on each shower valve. Take note, and also note the diameter of the opening. ½ inch is the standard, but check your plumbing just to be safe. You’ll also need to purchase a thermostatic shower faucet for thermostatic shower systems or any other trim kit.
Pressure balance valve vs thermostatic valve
The thermostatic valve tends to control the flowing water temperature, whereas the pressure balance valve is likely to control the ratio of cold to hot water.
In a pressure-balance valve, you can control both temperature and volume with one handle or a dial.
In a thermostatic valve, you get two handles: one to control the temperature and another one to control the volume.
Difference between Concealed and Exposed Shower Valve
The names say it all. Concealed shower valves are hidden away behind the wall of your bathroom. Whereas in an exposed valve, the valve, inlets, and outlets are all exposed.
Choosing one over the other all depends on the aesthetic you’re going for. Functionality is the same in both types of valves.
Concealed valves are the best for minimalistic bathroom designs and smaller bathrooms. However, since they’re concealed, troubleshooting them will be harder. You will need to tear down the entire wall and replace it. Furthermore, if the pipes burst, it can cause a lot of seepage and damage to the paint job. These are recommended for bathrooms with tiles.
Exposed shower valves, on the other hand, can be used in a larger bathroom. If you have a more rustic design, then an exposed valve may complement it. Since these valves are exposed, they are easier to replace and cost less too. However, they become subject to humidity (and sometimes direct water from your shower). Therefore, they need to be made from a stronger material.
If you’re interested in concealed shower valves, then here’s a handy guide on installing and maintaining them:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the different types of shower valves?
Shower valves come in two different types based on their controls: twin and triple. Simply put, twin valves have control for the temperature and the flow of the water. Triple valves have three controls: temperature, flow to one outlet and flow to the other.
In terms of functions, we have single, dual, and multi-function valves. The order of the function tells how many outlets your valve can be connected to. They’re also referred to as one-way, two-way, etc.
In order to get the most out of your shower valve, we also recommend checking the pipe compatibility. Usually, shower valves are made to be compatible with IPS plumbing.
Q. What is a rough-in shower valve?
A rough-in shower valve is the mixer valve that connects with the hot and cold supply lines. This is where the water gets mixed to a comfortable lukewarm temperature. It allows you to change the shower’s function without changing the plumbing behind.
Q. How do I choose a shower valve?
When buying shower valves, focus on the material, the inlet and outlet sizes, and the type. Depending on how many shower heads you have, you may want a valve that turns both of them. ½ inch is the standard diameter for shower inlets.
As for price and warranty, that all depends on the flexibility of your budget. Normally, the best shower diverter valve doesn’t cost more than $200. But if you’re getting it installed by a plumber, then the installation charges can go well beyond $300.
Q. What is a shower valve?
A shower valve is that “junction” where hot and cold water inlets mix. The water is allowed to become just the right temperature and is then supplied to your shower head. If you’ve never seen a shower valve, then that’s because most are hidden inside the walls.
The valve performs two main functions: control the temperature and the flow of water. “Flow” can refer to the volume of water coming, or it can refer to simply being on and off. Some valves have a diverter to divert water from one shower head to the other.
Q. Are shower valves universal?
Most are. A universal shower valve should be able to connect to various types of pipes. This includes PVC, CPVC, PEX, and IPS.
Furthermore, the diameter of the inlets and outlets should be standard, usually ½ inch, although there are some that are 1 inch wide. Aside from that, your valve should be compatible with multiple styles of trim kits.
Q. How long does a shower valve cartridge last?
A shower cartridge consists of an advanced assembly of the faucet-stem valve. A regular shower cartridge is expected to last about 2 years. This is in the absence of monthly servicing. Cleaning the cartridge is important, and it may last you upwards of 13 years. A build-up of scale is the most common cause of reducing the cartridge’s lifespan.