How-tos & Guides

Shower Valve Types: Finding the Right Type of Shower Valve for You

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5
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November 12, 2022
By
Kallista Design

When it comes to showers, valves work behind the scenes to control water flow, temperature, and pressure. Whether you are replacing valves on an existing shower or designing a new bathroom from scratch, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the right fittings. But with all the different types of shower valves available, it can be tough to determine which one is right for you.

chrome shower handle with hot and cold setting
Featured Product: One™ Pressure Balance Trim With Diverter

With over 40 years of experience designing functional and high-performing shower systems, KALLISTA offers the finest-quality valves and trim kits for every plumbing configuration and style preference. To help you make the best decision, we've put together a comprehensive guide of shower valve types with pictures.

Types of Shower Valves Explained

Pressure Balancing Valves

close up of plumbing pressure balance valve
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Pressure balancing valves are designed to maintain water pressure and temperature consistency, even if someone uses a faucet or toilet in another part of the house. They accomplish this by mixing hot and cold water in the valve cartridge, preventing sudden changes in water temperature.

Thermostatic Valves 

close up of thermostatic plumbing valve with stops
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Like pressure balance valves, thermostatic valves also maintain water temperature consistency. However, they do so by sensing the cold and hot water temperature and adjusting accordingly. Thermostatic valves are generally more expensive than pressure-balancing valves but offer greater precision and temperature stability.

Some thermostatic valves feature a temperature-limit stop to prevent scalding. This can be especially beneficial in homes with small children who may accidentally turn the wrong handle for the shower faucet.

Diverter Valves

3-way transfer diverter shower valve
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Also known as transfer valves, diverter valves control water flow between multiple showerheads. They're typically used in bathrooms with numerous fixtures, like a rain showerhead and handshower. Diverter valves are also often used in steam showers, where they control the flow of steam as well as water.

Naturally, a two-way diverter valve controls water flow between two different showerheads, while a three-way diverter valve controls water flow to three different shower fixtures.

Volume Control

volume control plumbing valve
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Volume control valves allow you to control the flow of hot and cold water. This can be beneficial if you want to save water or have low water pressure and need to increase the flow rate. A volume control valve is often used in conjunction with a diverter.

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Valve Connection Types

One key consideration when buying a showerhead valve is whether it is compatible with your plumbing setup. When it comes time to connect your valve to your pipes, you'll come across three main connection types:

Copper connection

Copper connection (CC) is typically used with copper pipes. These are designed to be attached to a copper pipe using a soldered connection.

Iron Pipe Straight 

Iron Pipe Straight (IPS) uses a threaded port to attach an adapter connected to the soldered copper pipe.

PEX

As a cross-linked polyethylene tubing, PEX is becoming increasingly popular for home plumbing. PEX connections typically use a barbed fitting inserted into the tubing and then secured with a clamp.

Shower Trim Considerations

golden shower trim
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Trim is the visible and operable portion of your shower valve, including the handle and escutcheon plate. Shower trim is available in a wide range of styles from decorative and traditional to sleek and modern. Choose from warm or cool-toned finishes to color-match your fixtures.

chrome shower trim in a gray shower
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It's important to note, however, that trim and valves aren't interchangeable parts. In other words, you can't just buy a trim kit and expect it to fit any valve. Make sure to choose the correct trim that is specifically designed for the valve you have or plan to purchase.

Discover the Perfect Shower Valves for Your Project

A custom showering experience requires exceptional, functional performance. KALLISTA offers shower valves and shower trim kits to complete your installation with guaranteed professional results.

Shower valves come in many different types, each with pros and cons. Whether you're looking to replace an old shower valve or install one for the first time, choosing the right shower valve type for your needs is important to ensure a smooth experience. After all, there's no better way to greet the day than with a refreshing shower or ending a long day with a relaxing, stress-free one.

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