Best Shower Valves of 2020

Updated
Sometimes the little things make all the difference.

If you’re like us, the shower valve isn’t the first thing you think about when looking to upgrade your shower or fixing any problems. It can be easy to grab the first product off the shelf and be done with it.

But, did you know that some problems that you’ve come to accept as unfixable (e.g., unwanted pressure drops) could be resolved through fixing the shower valve? Read our buyer’s guide below and review our choice of 7 of the best shower valves to find out more.


Understanding Shower Valves

Getting the lingo down will help you make an informed choice and avoid confusion:

  • Rough-in valve: Every unit is equipped with one of these. This is the part that connects to the lines that provide hot and cold water (1).
  • Mixing valves: Formally known as “thermostatic mixing valves (TMV),” these parts mix hot and cold water to keep the temperature steady and prevent painful scalds (as long as they work correctly) (2).
  • Inlets and outlets: Any fitting that transports water needs to be tight to prevent leaks. That means their inlets and outlets must fit securely into your plumbing. The tapered threads come together to form a watertight seal (3). Ensure the size (e.g., 0.5-inch inlet) matches what you have.

Shower Valve Types

Understanding the various types is the first step towards improving your shower’s performance. Each can address and combat specific issues, with your options being:

Digital Valves

Moen S3102 U by Moen Shower Digital Thermostatic Valve, 2-Outlet
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Digital valves are for those of you who like to use technology in your home wherever possible.

You can manipulate various aspects of your shower using a control panel rather than a handle. That includes pressure, temperature, and multiple water outlets at once.

Be warned that upgrading your shower into a smart model does come at a price. For one, digital valves are typically costlier than other varieties.

Secondly, you may have to conduct bathroom renovations to install the shower panel and be able to access it. Plus, there are certain accessories you may be obliged to buy for it to work, eg. faucets or showerheads by the same manufacturer.

PROS:
  • Appealing for modernists.
  • Convenient to use.
  • Allows you to pre-program your shower.
  • Some digital valves can be controlled remotely.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Must have compatible make and model of shower.

Thermostatic Valves

Moen 2510 Brass Posi-Temp Pressure Balancing Tub and Shower Valve, 1/2-Inch IPS Connections
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Thermostatic valves are double-handled externally. One handle enables you to manipulate the water volume, and the other lets you regulate temperature.

An element (usually wax) inside the valve responds to heat. If the cold or hot water suddenly fails, flow is automatically closed off on the functional side (4).

You can also set a maximum temperature output to prevent scalds. This is an ideal safety precaution for you or for family members with sensory issues.

If you’d describe your current showers as unpredictable regarding heat, you may want a thermostatic unit. Being hit with blasts of frigid and boiling water if you don’t set the knobs just-so is frustrating and unpleasant.

PROS:
  • Eliminates the risk of scalds.
  • Safe for little ones and family members with impaired senses.
  • Ensures consistent water temperature.
CONS:
  • No influence on water volume.

Pressure-Balancing Valves

In-Line Remote Pressure Balance Valve
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Pressure-balancing valves have a single handle for both water volume and temperature. A disc or piston within the unit maintains pressure evenly no matter what’s going on in your home.

If another water-powered appliance is used at the same time as you shower, you won’t get a sudden fluctuation in temperature. Some models come with limiters to ensure that the water flow can’t get dangerously hot (5).

This valve variety is optimal for homes with multiple residents. You won’t need to curse out your living mates every time someone flushes the toilet as you shower.

PROS:
  • Perfect for homes with pressure problems.
  • Practical for full homes with more than one shower.
  • Can be equipped with limiters to prevent scalds.
  • Maintains steady water volume.
CONS:
  • Most can’t regulate temperature.

Diverter Valves

Brass Shower Arm Diverter Valve for Hand Held Showerhead and Fixed Spray Head,G 1/2 3-Way Bathroom Universal Shower System Replacement Part(Polished Chrome)
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Diverter valves are for bathtub-shower combinations and multiple showerheads. They allow water to flow from the tub faucet or showerhead.

If you have more than one showerhead attachment, you can switch between them using a diverter valve. Diverter valves can be either pressure balancing or thermostatic.

PROS:
  • Ideal for multi-attachment showers and shower-baths.
  • Choose between pressure-balancing or thermostatic.
  • Usually lower-priced than other types.
CONS:
  • Some multi-attachment models can lower water flow.

Shut-Off or Stop Valves

KES Shower Shut Off Valve Brass with Handle Lever Water Flow Control Valve Flow Regulator Polished Chrome, K1140B3-CH-KES
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This variation allows you to cut the water flow immediately.

If you’re aiming for less wasteful showers, you can stop water-flow without having to re-adjust volume or temperature.

PROS:
  • Eco-friendly.
  • Simple to use.
  • Ideal for hard-to-adjust showers.
  • Inexpensive.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t regulate temperature or pressure.

What to Look for in a Shower Valve

By now, you’re well-versed on the fundamentals. Before you skip to the online check-out page, don’t forget these points:

Size

Ensure the valve will fit into your existing setup — compare your current model or consult your plumber for help.

Connection

If it doesn’t connect to your existing pipes, it’ll leak and be useless. Make sure the dimensions for the connectors match your plumbing.

Type

Do you need a diverter for your two shower heads? Would pressure balancing or thermostatic suit your needs better?

Manufacturer

Certain trims and faucets won’t fit with valves produced by other manufacturers. Some of you may want to stick with the same brand for all your shower components.

Material

Look for shower valves that are sturdily built to last years. Brass, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze are all hard-wearing metals (6).

Installation

Are you planning to go the DIY route? A model that’s hassle-free to install is preferable to one that’s fiddly and frustrating.

Warranty

Plumbing fixtures can end up costing you a bundle if they malfunction. A warranty is always a reassuring guarantee for an integral component like this.


The Best Shower Valves of 2020

A quick search of shower valves will bring up hundreds of results. We’ve saved you the effort by investigating and comparing what’s on offer. Taking our factors above into account, as well as consumer feedback and industry expert advice, we were able to fine-tune our hot-list.

These are 7 of the best shower valves on the market. Run through our reviews and see which appeals to you the most.

1. Grohe Remote Pressure Balance Valve

Best Shower Valve for Fickle-Pressure Homes

In-Line Remote Pressure Balance Valve
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Does the water in your shower turn blistering hot the moment someone turns on a faucet or flushes a toilet? This pressure balancer model could be a game-changer for people living with unstable pressure.

You shouldn’t cringe in the shower every time you hear the dishwasher is turned on. According to one customer, it also did away with noisy knocking due to pressure imbalances.

Another plus is that this model is built to last: it’s solid brass.

Most US suppliers use pipes between one-eighth to 2 inches in diameter (7). There’s a good chance the 0.5-inch inlet connection on this model will fit with your pipes.

PROS:
  • Heavy-duty build.
  • Adept at pressure regulation.
  • May work to silence loud showers.
CONS:
  • One customer found the manual unsatisfactory.

Additional Specs

Material Brass with chrome finish
Type Pressure balancer
Connection 0.5-inch inlets
Manufacturer Grohe
Warranty Information not available

2. EZ-FLO Self-Closing Shower Valve

Best Shower Valve for Serious Water Conservation

Canplas 73030 Commercial PVC Hub Urinal Flange, 2 inch
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This versatile shower valve has broad appeal. It’s targeted toward outdoor showers, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you indoors.

If you prioritize conservation over comfort, this EZ-FLO model is an excellent choice and operates very easily. Pull the chain to start water flow, and as soon as you let it go, the valve self-closes.

Every minute you shorten your shower can save at least two gallons with this shower valve (8). This unit makes it hard to luxuriate in a lengthy wash: you always need one hand on the chain. That should cut water wastage down to the bare minimum.

Whenever you need to soap up or let your conditioner sit, you release the valve to cut the water. Those of you with RVs or campers may also consider this one. It’s well-suited for making stored water last longer.

PROS:
  • Eco-friendly indoor option.
  • Works for outdoor and RV showers.
  • Easy installation.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t regulate pressure or temperature.

Additional Specs

Material Brass with chrome finish
Type Shut-off
Connection 0.5-inch inlets
Manufacturer EZ-FLO
Warranty Information not available

3. Moen S3102 Thermostatic Shower Valve

Best Digital Shower Valve

Moen S3102 U by Moen Shower Digital Thermostatic Valve, 2-Outlet
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The Moen S3102 U is for homeowners aiming to upgrade to a smart shower. This digital shower valve should make you feel like you’ve been catapulted into the future.

It has plenty of luxuriously convenient features. The LCD control panel is user-friendly, and it can be connected to your mobile with the U app and Amazon’s Alexa. You can also pre-select your perfect temperature for a soothing shower every time.

We like the high level of compatibility with this model. It supports more than one attachment at a time and is available as both a two-outlet and a four-outlet model. That means it’s accessible to homeowners with a range of bathroom designs.

PROS:
  • Packed with innovative features.
  • Wide compatibility.
  • Thermostatic.
CONS:
  • 4-outlet model is much costlier than the 2-outlet one.

Additional Specs

Material Copper inlets and outlets
Type Digital with thermostatic and diverter capabilities
Connection 0.5-inch inlet and outlet
Manufacturer Moen
Warranty Limited lifetime

4. Mingor Polished Chrome Universal Diverter Arm

Most Attractive Diverter

Brass Shower Arm Diverter Valve for Hand Held Showerhead and Fixed Spray Head,G 1/2 3-Way Bathroom Universal Shower System Replacement Part(Polished Chrome)
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Diverter valves are out in the open where everyone can see them. Functionality is the most vital aspect of valves, but a nice aesthetic doesn’t hurt.

This polished chrome shower valve by Mingor should blend in with most fixtures. You may be encouraged to shine up everything else to match the glossy finish.

The Mingor diverter won’t disappoint performance-wise. It’s a three-way: you can connect it to your showerhead and handheld to use them independently or simultaneously.

Note that water flow will be cut in half if you opt for dual usage. Still, it’s a practical feature for bathers who want to profit from both attachments at the same time.

We’re big fans of Mingor’s five-year warranty. This guarantee, combined with the brass interior, should have this diverter working for years to come.

PROS:
  • Lengthy warranty.
  • Three-way diverter.
  • Striking look.
CONS:
  • Some users report reduced water flow after installation.

Additional Specs

Material Brass with polished chrome finish
Type Diverter (three-way)
Connection 0.5-inch inlet and outlet
Manufacturer Mingor
Warranty Five years

5. KES K1140B3 Polished Chrome Valve

Best Shower Valve for Precise Flow Control

KES Shower Shut Off Valve Brass with Handle Lever Water Flow Control Valve Flow Regulator Polished Chrome, K1140B3-CH-KES
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The KES K1140B3 grants you unhindered management of water flow in your shower. It has a large lever handle that’s easy to grip even when your hands are slippery. That’s going to come in handy for difficult situations, like when you’re washing the dog, and you need to stop the flow and let the shampoo sink in.

It’s very easy to use — twist the knob to cut water flow completely or reduce the pressure to your desire. We like that this shut-off valve is powerful when fully closed. Many customers state that all dribbles and drips cease completely.

This unit will probably appeal to environmentally conscious users who want to do more.

If paired with a water-reducing showerhead, it should boost your conservation efforts.

An added advantage is that the chrome finish has near-universal compatibility. It shouldn’t clash or contrast with most bathrooms.

PROS:
  • Secure shut-off.
  • Lever is simple to manipulate.
  • Tough brass construction.
CONS:
  • A few customers experienced leaks.

Additional Specs

Material Brass with polished chrome finish
Type Shut-off
Connection 0.5-inch inlets
Manufacturer KES
Warranty Information not available

6. Kohler K8304 Universal Shower Valve

Best Shower Valve for Adaptability

Kohler K-8304-K-NA Universal Rite-Temp Pressure-Balancing Valve Body and Cartridge Kit
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The Kohler K8304 is a flexible pressure-balancing shower valve. It can be installed with any trim produced by Kohler, so you’re not limited to specific models.

This unit is equally adaptable when it comes to setting it up. The compact build enables it to work with back-to-back, thin-wall, and thick-wall installations.

Before you install it, you or your plumber can test the pressure out. The K8304 has a built-in test cap for this purpose.

As a pressure balancer, this shower valve does what it’s supposed to. The majority of buyers happily report that shocking temperature fluctuations are a thing of the past.

If you’re tired of scheduling your showers to suit whatever else is going on with your plumbing, consider this valve. The flow in your shower will stay as you set it, no matter if your toilets, dishwasher or other appliances are running.

PROS:
  • Versatile.
  • Adept at controlling pressure.
  • Fits any Kohler-made trim.
CONS:
  • Several users had trouble with installation.

Additional Specs

Material Brass body
Type Pressure balancer
Connection 0.5-inch inlets and outlets
Manufacturer Kohler
Warranty Information not available

7. Moen 2510 Brass Posi-Temp Valve

Best Shower Valve for Temperature Safety

Moen 2510 Brass Posi-Temp Pressure Balancing Tub and Shower Valve, 1/2-Inch IPS Connections
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Have you or a family member been burned by your shower before? Are you worried about elderly or handicapped family members getting scalded accidentally? The Moen 2510 Posi-Temp valve could be right for you.

You can set a limit for the maximum water temperature to eliminate the chance of injuries. Even if the knob’s twisted to super-hot, the water will remain at your safe limit.

If the time comes to replace your faucet, you can do so without it being a tedious process. The trim kit can be replaced without interfering with your plumbing.

Because it’s a Moen shower valve, you’ll receive a limited lifetime warranty. The construction is hardy: nonferrous, non-metallic stainless steel. Nonferrous metals are highly rust-resistant, which translates into a longer lifespan for your shower valve (9).

PROS:
  • Made with anti-corrosion metals.
  • Faucet and trim can be changed easily.
  • Reliable temperature control.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t regulate water volume.

Additional Specs

Material Non-ferrous, non-metallic stainless steel materials
Type Thermostatic
Connection 0.5-inch inlets and outlets
Manufacturer Moen
Warranty Limited lifetime

Shower Valve Comparison Chart

Product Best Material Type Connection Warranty
Grohe Pressure Balance Valve Fickle-Pressure Homes Brass with chrome finish Pressure balancer 0.5-inch inlets N/A
EZ-FLO Self-Closing Valve Water Conservation Brass with chrome finish Shut-off 0.5-inch inlets N/A
Moen S3102 Thermostatic Valve Digital Shower Valve Copper inlets & outlets Digital with thermostat and diverter 0.5-inch inlet and outlet Limited lifetime
Mingor Polished Chrome Diverter Arm Attractive Diverter Brass with chrome finish Diverter (three-way) 0.5-inch inlet and outlet Five years
KES K1140B3 Polished Chrome Valve Precise Flow Control Brass with chrome finish Shut-off 0.5-inch inlets N/A
Kohler K8304 Universal Shower Valve Adaptability Brass body Pressure balancer 0.5-inch inlets and outlets N/A
Moen 2510 Brass Posi-Temp Valve Temperature Safety Stainless steel Thermostatic 0.5-inch inlets and outlets Limited lifetime
Jump to the Full Shower Valve Reviews

Soothing Showers Ahead

We hope you’ve found a shower valve to meet your needs. We understand that plumbing fittings like shower valves aren’t an exciting topic for everyone. Nonetheless, they play an essential role in how your shower performs and your overall experience.

Choosing the right shower valve can solve daily frustrations with temperature loss or water wastage. All you need to do is determine what you want to improve upon.

If you’re unsure about choosing a model, give your plumber a call. You’ll get solid advice as to whether or not the valve you’re eager to buy will work for you.

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About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.
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