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Shower Buying Guide

by Staff Writer

Large walk-in glass shower with honey tile

There is nothing else quite like a hot shower at home after a tiring day. Having the right shower and shower accessories can make your bathroom a more comforting space. You'll learn more about shower fixtures and tips for bath improvements with this shower buying guide.

Buying a Shower:

  1. Steam showers: An all-in-one steam room is a great way to combine your shower with a luxury steam chamber. With an all-in-one steam shower kit, all of the fixtures are usually included. You may need a steam generator to rapidly heat water into steam. These shower enclosures often include extra features, like massage panels, digital temperature controls and built-in speakers for music or even a hands-free phone.

  2. Custom shower enclosures: Custom showers allow you to select all the shower fixtures and assemble them in a custom-built enclosure. A walled-off, tiled enclosure can remain open or be sealed with a shower door. All that's required is the plumbing fixtures for your shower faucet and shower head.

  3. Prefabricated: Prefabricated shower stalls are usually made from fiberglass or fiberglass-reinforced acrylic and come in an assortment of colors and styles. Some come as single-piece units and some require assembly, such as those with three wall panels and a base pan.

  4. Shower heads: The right shower head can add an element of style and create a more opulent bathing experience. A generous rain-style shower head can wash away the worries of the day while a massaging shower head can soothe aches and pains. Shower heads are the crowning glory for any shower. Since the shower valve does all the real work, you can select a shower head based on design and function.

    Types of Showerheads

    • Rain shower heads: Enjoy a relaxing cascade of water. If you have low water-pressure, look for shower heads that can build up decent water pressure even with low flow. The more holes in your showerhead nozzle, the more enriching your showers will be.

    • Massaging shower heads: There is nothing like a shower head that provides different settings for a pulsing massage. Look for a shower head with three or more massage settings.

    • Hand-held shower heads: An adjustable hand-held shower wand can give you more control. A long hose and a comfortable handle are a bonus with this type of fixture.

    • Size: Water delivery is an important factor. If you want a shower that falls like summer rain, then a larger shower "rose" is the ideal choice. Remember though, this type of shower can send out a large volume of water, and it is smart to make sure your system can handle this output.

    • Finishes: Polished brass, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel finishes can give shower heads a coordinated look with the rest of your bath hardware or set a contrast with your tile surfaces.

  5. Shower faucets: Many shower faucets come in a combination shower kit which includes the shower head, handles and spout. If you're selecting separate shower fixtures, you might want to match faucet styles and finishes with your shower head and other bath hardware.

  6. Shower conversion kits: A simple bath remodel might include repurposing an old tub enclosure with a shower conversion kit. Whether you are remodeling and everything is new or you are freshening up an existing bathroom shower or tub, finding the perfect shower faucet or conversion kit to complement your bathroom is important. Many of these shower kits include a shower head that coordinates with the faucet and knobs. You may even be able to install a new shower and tub shell over the existing tub enclosure.

  7. Shower massage panels: Massaging jets of steamy water can be just what your sore muscles need. Shower massage panels can really change the way you bathe. The panels typically don't require any special plumbing fixtures, so installation can be easy.

  8. Shower care: Shower heads really only need attention when the nozzles become clogged with mineral deposits. Read and follow the care instructions for your finish because certain cleansers can damage bronze or brass shower fixtures.

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