Shower System Buying Guide

Bathroom remodels are admittedly a lot of work, without a lot of safe shortcuts available, but having the ability to design your own shower space makes it all worthwhile. There are a variety of options to customize your bath and shower experience to include exactly what you want and nothing that you don’t or won’t use. The technology is there to make life easier, and with some shower systems, even the installation is easy. Finding the perfect shower fit for your bathroom based on what features you want to use is easier than you might think.

What is a shower system?

A shower system includes the essentials of your showering experience: the shower head or faucet, as well as the diverter or thermostatic controls to determine flow and temperature. Those are pretty standard and expected, but in addition to something like a raincan shower head, a shower system can also include a separate hand shower, body sprays, or individual controls for water volume and temperature for multiple water outlets.

All of these external-facing fixtures, or trims, are what you install in your shower walls and they can be standard or they can be customized. Any additional water faucets, for instance, will require their own plumbing behind the walls, and a remodel is the perfect time to position the pipes to optimize the different outlets’ performance. Shower panels and shower kits are available to create a full shower system experience for any plumbing arrangement, however, with no extensive changes necessary.

Whether you buy the fixtures individually, opt for a shower panel, or buy a fully outfitted shower system package ready to go, the basic pieces will be the same. The variety will be in how you incorporate them into your bathroom design.

Off the Shelf

When you want a new look to your shower without all the work of a remodel, a shower panel is an attractive option. These models have all the familiar functionality of a shower, complete with body sprays and a handshower, and are easy to install. Some models even offer the bonus of allowing you better water pressure and temperature controls without the expense of a updating your home plumbing system.

A shower panel mounts to the shower wall and connects to the usual shower arm and control valve pipes. The water is then directed to the body spray, hand shower, or rain shower outlets from within the panel, rather than through the internal plumbing in the walls. These units also often have an additional water heater to allow for more specific temperature controls. These are usually compact, affordable, and can provide a custom shower system without the work of a full remodel.