The Best Shower Doors to Overhaul Your Bathroom

Bring a touch of modern luxury to your bathroom with one of the best shower doors.

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The Best Shower Doors Option

Photo: istockphoto.com

Shower curtains might be plenty functional, but when it comes to visual appeal, there’s nothing more modern and elegant than a glass shower door. The doors let in light, make bathrooms feel more spacious, and put the focus on carefully chosen tiles and shower fixtures. A variety of shower doors are available to suit any style and bathroom size.

While choosing a shower door might seem like a simple decision, there are actually a number of considerations to weigh. This guide will explore several important features to look for as you shop and then offer choices by category for some of the best shower doors for your bathroom.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DreamLine Unidoor Frameless Hinged Shower Door
  2. RUNNER-UP: DreamLine Enigma-X Frameless Sliding Shower Door
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Delta Simplicity Semi-Frameless Sliding Shower Door
  4. BEST LUXURY: VIGO Elan Frameless Sliding Shower Door
  5. BEST FOR SMALL SHOWERS: Coastal Shower Doors Legend Framed Hinged Shower Door
  6. BEST FOR EASY INSTALLATION: KOHLER Levity Semi-Frameless Sliding Shower Door
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Aston Cascadia Frameless Hinged Shower Door
The Best Shower Doors Option

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Shower Doors

While it’s easy to assume that all shower doors perform similarly, a number of factors affect their functionality. A shower door should have the correct dimensions for the space in question and a design made with high-quality materials. It should be completely watertight and complement the bathroom’s decor. Keep reading to learn more about several of the most important features to look for when choosing the best shower door.

Sliding vs. Hinged

Shower doors are designed either to slide or open on a hinge.

  • Sliding shower doors, sometimes called bypass doors, are made up of two or three panels of glass that install on tracks to slide back and forth. They are a great choice for small bathrooms because they don’t require any additional space as they open. Sliding doors tend to be the choice for showers with openings of 60 inches or wider.
  • Hinged doors also are called pivoting or swinging doors; they open outward into the bathroom. They’re only compatible with larger spaces because they require the space to swing open. It’s important to ensure there’s plenty of clearance between the door and any other bathroom fixtures. Hinged doors work well for alcove-style showers with narrow openings.

Framed vs. Frameless 

Shower doors have either a framed or frameless design.

  • Frameless shower doors are constructed with tempered glass thick enough to eliminate the need for metal supports. The glass typically measures between ⅜ inch and ½ inch thick. This style results in a streamlined, modern aesthetic and allows shower tiles, stonework, and fixtures to show through. Shower doors with metal framing at the top and bottom edge are sometimes referred to as semi-frameless. Generally speaking, frameless shower doors are more expensive than their framed counterparts.
  • Framed shower doors are made of glass but have solid metal framing to support them. They have a traditional look and are generally affordable. Depending on the model, the framing can come in a number of different metallic finishes to best suit the style of the bathroom.

Dimensions 

Shower doors installation typically occurs near the end of a shower renovation, and taking precise measurements is essential to ensure a perfect, watertight fit. Take measurements after the tile and surround installation are complete.

Shower doors come in a wide variety of sizes and can be custom made to any height and width, but there are two standard sizes most commonly found.

  • 48-inch widths are typically found in hinged doors for a total opening of 26.5 inches.
  • 60-inch-wide doors are typically used as sliding-style doors because that’s the width of a standard bathtub. The walk-through opening of a sliding shower door ranges between 21.25 inches and 25.5 inches wide.

Material and Finish

Most shower doors are constructed using tempered glass with either stainless steel or aluminum framing. The framing typically comes with a chrome finish, though a number of other options might be available, including matte black, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and matte gold.

The glass used for shower doors ranges in thickness with the most common sizes being ¼ inch and ⅜ inch. Clear glass is the most popular because of its modern aesthetic and tendency to make a bathroom feel larger. Clear glass is, however, higher maintenance when it comes to cleaning and provides no privacy in shared bathrooms. Frosted and opaque textured glass are both easier to maintain and provide increased privacy.

Handle and Towel Bars

Shower door handles come in several different styles. They can align vertically or horizontally and can be simple and unobtrusive or designed to make a visual impact. Choose a shower door with a handle or towel bar in a style or finish that matches the other fixtures in the bathroom such as the showerhead, faucets, and drawer pulls.

Some models have built-in towel bars on the door’s exterior, which can be a great space-saving solution in small bathrooms.

Installation

Shower doors may or may not require professional installation, depending on the specific model. While installing some products is a weekend DIY project, others are more complex, and the manufacturer will recommend hiring an expert for the job. When hiring someone, expect the job to take between two and four hours.

Each model also varies in how adjustable it is in terms of width. Some are more forgiving and offer a couple of inches of wiggle room, while others require exact precision. Take note of whether your bathroom has walls that are out of plumb or vertically misaligned. Some products are meant to accommodate these discrepancies, but others are not.

Also, consider how a door opens. Some shower door designs swing or slide in one direction only, and others offer the option of reversible installation for more versatility.

Our Top Picks

Now that you’ve learned more about shower doors, it’s time to start shopping. These recommendations for some of the best shower doors consider dimensions, materials, style, installation options, and overall quality to ensure a stylish and functional overhaul.

Best Overall

The Best Shower Doors Option: DreamLine Unidoor Frameless Hinged Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

Hinged shower doors like this DreamLine Unidoor Frameless door give a bathroom a traditional feeling and are best suited for large bathrooms with plenty of clearance for the door to swing open. This model has a fully frameless design with ⅜-inch-thick tempered glass. The glass has a ClearMax coating that’s designed to repel water and prevent staining. The door is 72 inches tall and 30 inches wide, making it a great choice for alcove showers. DreamLine recommends professional installation for this model because it’s not adjustable for varying widths or out-of-plumb walls. The door is, however, reversible and can open on the left or right. The door’s handle and hinge hardware come in a chrome, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or satin-black finish.

Runner-up

The Best Shower Doors Option: DreamLine Enigma-X Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

A frameless shower door like this sliding Enigma-X door from DreamLine makes a bathroom feel airy and spacious, putting the focus on the tilework and fixtures. This model has brushed stainless steel hardware and slides effortlessly. It’s designed with one fixed panel and one sliding panel that installs to open on the left or right. The door leaves a walk-in opening of between 22 and 26 inches. The ⅜-inch tempered glass is finished with a ClearMax water and stain resistant coating. It’s important to note that this model doesn’t accommodate out-of-plumb adjustments and requires level walls. Therefore, professional installation is required. It’s 76 inches tall and can fit openings between 56 and 60 inches wide.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Shower Doors Option: Delta Simplicity Semi-Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

Shower doors with frameless or semi-frameless designs can be pricey, but this one by Delta sells for an affordable price, yet has many features of more expensive models. The door comes in clear, ¼-inch tempered glass, but it’s also available in a number of frosted and etched patterns for added privacy. The clear glass version pairs with either nickel or bronze hardware.

This door includes a towel bar and two knobs, plus a reversible top track with a simple finish on one side and a more detailed design on the other. The height of the door is 70 inches, and it’s made to fit openings of between 43⅜ inches and 47⅜ inches.

Best Luxury

The Best Shower Doors Option: VIGO Elan Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

A fully frameless shower door looks modern and elegant, allowing the shower’s tile or stonework to be on full display while also making the space feel larger. The VIGO Elan model has thick, ⅜-inch clear tempered glass and is available with chrome, matte black, matte gold, or stainless steel hardware. VIGO coats all finishes in seven layers of material to prevent rust, corrosion, and scratches. The door also comes in a choice of black-tinted glass to provide a unique aesthetic. The round roller disk sliding system ensures a tight fit and allows for adjustments.

The shower door is 74 inches tall and designed to fit wall openings between 68 and 72 inches wide. It can install with either a left or right opening. All mounting hardware and clear installation instructions come with the door, allowing DIY-savvy buyers to install this model without hiring a professional.

Best for Small Showers

The Best Shower Doors Option: Coastal Shower Doors Legend Framed Hinged Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

Even the smallest showers can feel luxurious with a clear shower door to make the space feel more expansive. This model from Coastal Shower Doors is designed to fit shower openings between 23⅝ and 24⅝ inches wide. The total height is 64 inches. It has a framed, hinged design with either chrome, matte black, or brushed nickel hardware. This door is made of tempered glass, and the full-length magnetic edges are designed to ensure a completely watertight seal. Because one edge acts as a full-length handle, there’s no visual obstruction from the interior of the shower. Installation is easy due to the four-piece modular design.

Best for Easy Installation

The Best Shower Doors Option: KOHLER Levity Semi-Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

Many shower door models come with a manufacturer recommendation of professional installation, but others are easy enough for buyers to install themselves. This Levity model from KOHLER is constructed with rollers for simple installation while also providing adjustability. The cushioned center guide ensures a smooth, quiet gliding action. The Levity door has a semi-frameless design and measures 59 inches by 74 inches. The ¼-inch thick tempered glass is finished with CleanCoat glass treatment that repels water and makes cleaning easier. Choose from a nickel, silver, or anodized brushed bronze finish for the framing and vertical blade handles.

Also Consider

The Best Shower Doors Option: Aston Cascadia Frameless Hinged Shower Door
Photo: amazon.com

With a frameless, hinged design and a modern, vertical handle, this Cascadia shower door from Aston provides a contemporary look for a bathroom. The self-centering hinges are made with stainless steel, and the door comes in ⅜-inch clear tempered glass. Full-length clear seals are included to prevent leakage. At 72 inches tall and 34 inches wide, this model is a great pick for an alcove-style shower. Choose from chrome, bronze, stainless steel, or matte black hardware. The door is reversible, and although there is no out-of-plumb adjustability, the width adjusts between 33¾ and 34¼ inches.

FAQs About Shower Doors

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about shower doors.

Q. How do I choose a shower door?

First, measure the size of your space, then choose between a framed and frameless design. Next, consider whether a hinged or sliding door will be the best fit for your shower.

Q. What is the best thickness for shower doors?

Thickness isn’t a primary consideration for framed shower doors, but for frameless doors, a thickness of at least ⅜ inch is required.

Q. Can I install a shower door myself?

The difficulty of installation depends largely on the model. Some can be installed by the buyer as a weekend DIY project, while others require hiring a professional.