A shower faucet is an integral part of any bathroom. It’s easy to settle for the shower faucet that came with your house or a shower faucet style that you don’t really like, especially if you aren’t quite sure what you want. The best shower faucet set should suit your tastes and should complement the way you like to shower. Some people enjoy showering once or twice a day, but only wash their hair twice a week, so they can choose a simpler configuration. Other people use the shower to treat their aching muscles and would benefit from a tower panel shower faucet system with multiple body sprayers.
To find shower faucet sets with these features and more, take a look at the products below, which represent top shower faucet choices available in each category.
- BEST OVERALL: Blue Ocean 52” Aluminum SPA392M Shower Panel Tower
- RUNNER-UP: SR SUN RISE SRSH-F5043 Luxury Rain Mixer Shower Combo
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sumerain Shower Faucet Brushed Nickel
- UPGRADE PICK: STARBATH Shower System With Tub Spout
- BEST SHOWER HEAD ONLY: Delta Faucet Single-Spray Rain Shower Head
- BEST BODY SPRAYER: ELLO&ALLO Stainless Steel Shower Panel Tower System
- BEST HANDHELD SHOWER: GABRYLLY Shower System, Wall Mounted Faucet Set
- BEST SHOWER SYSTEM: HIMK Shower System, Wall Mounted Faucet Set
Types of Shower Faucets
Shower faucet types are separated primarily by their available controls, including a single-tap mixer, traditional two-tap mixer, and panel.
Single-tap mixer shower faucets have become the most commonly installed style in homes and hotels. This style features a single lever that can balance the input of hot and cold water as well as the flow rate. However, an alternate style of single-tap mixer uses separate levers for flow rate control and for temperature mixing. With this second style, the faucet set draws both hot and cold water into the mixer and brings levels up or down to a predetermined temperature before the water flows out of the head.
Traditional Two-Tap Mixer
Traditional two-tap mixers were the only option for shower faucet mixers for many years. This style of shower faucet uses two separate levers for hot and cold water. With this style, the water does not mix until hot and cold water enter the pipe to the shower head.
Panel shower faucets are a relatively new option available for home renovations and they typically cost more than either the two-tap mixer or single-tap mixer types. This style features a vertical panel with plumbing connections that often run to multiple body sprayers, an overhead shower faucet, a handheld shower faucet, and even a bathtub faucet. However, if a home has low water pressure, a demanding water fixture like the panel shower faucet might not work well.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Shower Faucet Set
Before settling on a specific style or selection, take a look at these important product considerations to ensure that you end up with a shower faucet that will best suit your bathroom and lifestyle.
Flow rate is the volume of water that comes out of the faucet and it is commonly measured in gallons per minute, or gpm. Having a low flow rate in the shower can be frustrating when the spray doesn’t adequately reach you or you have to deal with an inconsistent stream while trying to get clean. To avoid reducing household water pressure significantly, most shower faucets have a minimum flow rate of about 1 gpm, but it’s usually worth it to invest in a shower faucet set with a higher flow rate, between 1.5 and 2.5 gpm. Some shower faucets can have flow rates that exceed 2.5 gpm, but this heavier flow is not necessary for most people and can quickly increase a water bill.
Before buying any shower faucet set, a buyer should measure the size of the bathroom and shower, including tub dimensions for bathrooms with a combined shower and bath. Taking these measurements helps to properly plan the required faceplate space on the shower walls, the length of pipe required for the desired layout, and the style of shower faucet set that will fit in the given space. Some smaller showers cannot accommodate large panel shower faucets, and might cause difficulties when installing multiple sprayers or shower heads, such as with a rain and handheld shower head combination.
Number of Handles
Decide how complex you want your shower faucet system to be, or just stick with what you know if you aren’t comfortable learning a new configuration.
- Single-tap mixer shower faucets make the flow rate and temperature adjustable with just one handle. However, this style also might include a dedicated flow rate handle while having a second handle just for temperature control.
- Traditional two-tap mixer shower faucets come with two handles, one for hot and one for cold. This style is the most basic of the three and is common in older homes. If a shower already uses this style, it might be more difficult to switch to a single-handle system if users have to patch the hole left by removing the second handle.
- Panel shower faucets use multiple handles and switches to adequately direct the flow of water to the desired sprayer, tub faucet, or shower heads. While they offer a highly customizable shower system, the complexity of the controls might be too much for someone used to a simpler shower faucet style.
The lever, or shower handle, can install in the center of a shower, off to one side, or more than one handle or lever can go in a variety of configurations. This all depends on the size of the shower, the placement of pipes behind the wall, and the amount of work required to relocate piping.
Most shower faucet kits allow for a shower lever to be installed wherever the purchaser wants. With panel-style shower faucets the user can adjust the position of the panel itself, but all levers, handles, sprayers, faucets, and shower heads come pre-installed on the front of the panel. So if you have a specific place in mind for your shower faucet lever or levers, go with a single-tap mixer or traditional two-tap mixer for optimal control over lever placement.
A shower faucet set’s material can be a big factor in determining or matching the overall design of a bathroom. Although the durability of various metals can vary somewhat, the functional differences between metals used for shower faucet sets are not great enough to factor heavily into what you ultimately buy. Most shower faucet sets are available in a basic stainless steel or chrome finish, which are timeless additions to any bathroom decor. For a more stylish material that can make a bathroom stand out, go with a nickel, brass, or bronze shower faucet. Or, for minimal cleaning, choose a matte black finish that hides dirt and fingerprints.
After selecting the base material, buyers can choose between a polished or brushed finish. Polished is a beautiful look, but fingerprints, water spots, and other common bathroom grime build up quickly, so for a lower-maintenance bathroom, consider a brushed finish.
Ease of Installation
It is best to avoid starting the process of replacing or installing a shower faucet until answering one important question: Are you doing the work or are you hiring someone to do it? The answer to this can be a big factor in determining what shower faucet set to choose. For example, DIYers who know some basic plumbing and have decided to replace a traditional two-tap mixer might have a more limited product selection. When hiring a pro, the current shower configuration would be less of a limiting factor.
Beyond the skill of the installer and the current shower configuration, some shower faucet sets are much easier or more difficult to install. Those with little plumbing experience or who lack confidence in their abilities should look for a shower faucet set that comes with a user guide, possibly an instructional video, and a helpline to call if stuck. Products that require a plumber or plumbing technician to install normally indicate this requirement on the product details or packaging, so that is a consideration for anyone who does not want to spend the money hiring a plumber.
Our Top Picks
This guide showcases some of the best faucet sets available on the market in their respective categories.
The Blue Ocean 52-Inch SPA392M Shower Panel Tower installs easily on wall-mounted brackets with a full panel that measures 52 inches by 10 inches by 3.5 inches and is best for flat shower walls. This is because of the eight body massage nozzles users can adjust to hit the perfect spot at just the right pressure. The unit is made of a high-quality aluminum alloy and has two specific controllers, one to swap between functions and one for water temperature.
Owners can set a desired temperature that will display on a screen, which is powered by AA batteries. The shower faucet set includes a rainfall shower head, handheld shower head, body massage nozzles, and an integrated tub spout, making this an ideal choice for a combined shower and bath. The panel shower faucet set provides a flow of about 1.5 gpm with the handheld shower head and 2.5 gpm with the rainfall shower head, and comes with standard installation accessories.
If a full-panel shower faucet takes up too much space, consider the SR SUN RISE SRSH-F5043 Luxury Rain Mixer Shower Combo Set that includes a 1.5 gpm handheld shower wand, 2.5 gpm rainfall shower head, and two dedicated controls for temperature and flow rate. The set also comes with a solid metal shower arm, stainless steel shower hose, and a shower wand holder to keep the shower set organized and efficient.
The single-tap mixer on this shower faucet set has a pressure-balancing system for flow control so that sudden changes in hot or cold water flow (such as from flushing of a nearby toilet) don’t leave you scalded or frozen in the shower. This shower faucet set comes in standard chrome, or for a higher price, in a brass, nickel, or matte black finish to give a bathroom a unique look.
The affordable Sumerain Shower Faucet Set is a single-tap mixer shower faucet set that includes everything required for a straightforward installation. The set includes a shower head, shower arm, handle, and rough-in valve. The brushed nickel and matte black finishes on the shower faucet are intended to resist corrosion and tarnishing, with Sumerain boasting that the shower faucet can last up to 600,000 uses.
The combined flow and temperature control lever is simple to understand, making it easier to focus on the shower instead of fighting with multiple control settings. For homes with hard water, Sumerain’s Touch Clean showers have soft spray holes that lend themselves to quick and easy wiping away of calcium and limescale build-up. With a flow rate of 1.4 gpm and a fingerprint-resistant finish, this shower faucet is an excellent choice for any budget.
The STARBATH Shower System With Tub Spout produces a flow rate of 2.5 gpm and comes equipped with a shower wand holder that can turn 360-degrees for custom positioning in the shower. The brushed nickel finish resists fingerprints, corrosion, scratches, and tarnishing, ensuring that the shower looks great for years. The brass hardware used for the installation is an ideal choice for the long-term care of the shower faucet system.
This single-tap mixer shower faucet set comes with a square rainfall shower head, handheld shower wand, and bathtub faucet for optimal control over how you bathe. The single lever controls flow and temperature, while a second control allows you to switch between the rainfall shower head or the handheld shower head and bathtub faucet. However, all three cannot function at the same time.
Anyone who doesn’t want to replace their entire shower system can install a new rainfall shower head like the Delta Faucet Single-Spray Rain Shower head in less than 20 minutes with no special tools required. The square shower head can fit an existing shower set with standard 1/2-inch pipe fittings, but isn’t intended to be ceiling mounted. The manufacturer recommends a 16-inch shower arm so that the 8-inch shower head has space for unobstructed water flow.
The Touch Clean spray holes on this Delta Faucet rain shower head make it easy to wipe away calcium and limescale, so this shower head is a great option for locations with hard water. The single-spray setting is designed to release a 1.5 gpm relaxing, gentle fall of water that mimics a soft summer rain, adding to peace and relaxation in the shower.
Overhead shower heads and even handheld shower heads can help you relax after a long day, and the ELLO&ALLO Steel Shower Panel Tower System fits the bill with four adjustable body massage nozzles. It will be hard to believe how you went without this hydrotherapeutic wonder for so long after that first relaxing use. The panel shower faucet set comes in a stainless steel and brushed nickel finish, or a stainless steel with black plating finish for a sleek modern look.
The ELLO&ALLO tower system measures 59 inches by 18 inches by 8.5 inches and has a built-in temperature display and LED lighting that shines down from the rainfall shower head. The panel shower faucet set can be used in six modes, including rainfall, waterfall, handheld sprayer, bathtub faucet, and two horizontal massage spray settings. If the water pressure to the shower can accommodate at least 4.0 gpm, then the set can run more than one mode at the same time for an ideal shower experience.
The single-tap mixer of the GABRYLLY Wall Mounted Shower Faucet System has a rainfall shower head and handheld shower head that users control with a single lever for temperature and flow, and a dial to switch between shower faucet settings. The handheld shower head adjusts for optimal pressure, including rainshower, full spray massage, and fast massage settings.
The GABRYLLY faucet set has a sleek matte black finish that doesn’t show dirt and grime buildup. However, it’s also available in brushed gold, brushed nickel, bronze, and basic chrome to match the shower faucet system to most types of bathroom decor. The 1.8 gpm flow rate of the handheld shower head and 2.5 gpm flow rate of the rainfall shower head ensures that showerers won’t suffer from low water pressure.
For people who want to change the existing shower faucet system in their combined tub and shower, the HIMK Wall Mounted Shower System offers replacements (or new installations) for a rainfall shower head, handheld shower wand, and even the bathtub faucet so that the shower can have a uniform look. The single-tap mixer shower faucet system comes in a matte black finish, but also can be found in a polished chrome or standard chrome finish.
If muscle aches or fatigue are a regular part of your day, the three pressure settings on the handheld shower wand, including rainfall, circular massage, and full pressure massage, are ideal for relaxation. With flow rates like 1.8 gpm for the handheld shower wand, 2.5 gpm for the rainfall showerhead, and an impressive 5 gpm for the tub faucet, showerers can get the most out of this system without worrying about water pressure.
FAQs About Your New Shower Faucet
For some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers, take a look below before shopping for your new shower faucet set.
Q. How long can I expect my shower faucet to last?
The durability of your shower faucet can depend on a lot of factors such as brand, frequency of use, frequency of cleaning and maintenance, and hardness of water. However, a shower faucet should be able to last between 15 and 20 years before needing replacement.
Q. What is hard water buildup?
Hard water occurs with the presence of an excess of heavy minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. These minerals can cause long-term damage to a water system, but signs of hard water are easily recognizable, including a chalky film on dishes, mineral deposits, and scale buildup on water fixtures like faucets and shower heads. Solve hard water issues with a water softener.
Q. Can I install a shower faucet by myself, or do I need a plumber?
This depends heavily on your plumbing experience, the current configuration and quality of your plumbing system, and your desired post-installation shower configuration. Assuming that you have a basic knowledge of plumbing, a relatively new plumbing system, and you want to replace your existing system with a similar style, then you should have everything you need to do the job yourself. However, if you aren’t quite sure what you are doing or you want to make big changes to your shower configuration, it would be a good idea to hire a plumber. Additionally, most shower faucets will indicate whether they are simple to install or if they require a plumber for installation.