Do you find the shower too hot or cold for comfort? Or does the water continue to leak long after turning off the shower? You can fix such problems by upgrading to and installing the best shower valve on the market.
Well, everyone loves a relaxing shower, especially after a long working day. But the experience can be ruined, especially if the water is not at the right temperature and pressure. Lucky for you, a good shower valve will help addresses such problems. It regulates the water temperature and pressure, avoiding sudden fluctuations.
However, not any shower valve you see on the shelf can fix the problem to your expectations. I have prepared a buying guide and a review of the 10 best shower valves to help you. In particular, I consider on-trend, budget-friendly products that satisfy even the most demanding of customers.
10 Best Shower Valve
1. Delta Faucet R10000-UNBX Multi-Choice Tub and Shower Valve
Delta R10000-UNBX is a respected, well-known brand. It has good quality merchandise in a huge variety of looks and styles. Among them are tub and shower valves.
Well, the R10000 series is pretty much the gold-standard of Delta shower valves. And one model that stands out is the UNBX.
Okay, this is valve body only. Hence, you can pair it with your favorite Delta shower trim and cartridge. But how compatible it?
I must say, this shower valve body offers wide-range compatibility. It fits multiple shower styles and trims options. For instance, it fits most Delta dual-function, single-function, and dual-function thermostatic trim kits.
Still, it is compatible with the different connection types. It accepts IPS, Universal, and PEX connections.
Indeed, Delta R10000-UNBX is one rough-in with unlimited possibilities. Such flexibility makes it easy to upgrade the style and functionality of your steam shower.
The heat-resistant pressure test cap is another stand-out feature. It allows you to install and pressure test without the need for a cartridge or finished handle.
Installation is a breeze, thanks to the square-shaped plaster guard and flexible bracket. The plaster guard is pretty much a plastic frame that allows for simple 90 degrees cuts. Thus, with a few tweaks, it sits flush with the face of the tile.
The brackets are flexible enough to fit on surfaces that are not perfectly flat or square. Still, it is strong enough to provide a sturdier anchorage that does not rock.
For your attention, R10000-UNBX accepts ½-inch universal inlets. It works with copper and iron pipes with PEX or CPVC adapters.
The versatility you get in this shower valve is pretty impressive, especially how it accepts single, dual, and dual-thermostatic cartridges. Indeed, it is the best budget shower valve for your soaking tub.
2. Kohler K-GP77759 Mixer Pressure Balance Shower Valve
As far as originality goes, few brands can match Kohler. It is for this reason that Kohler products offer peak performance and longevity.
Well, this shower valve mixer cap is no exception. It promises years of leak-free performance as well as addresses water temperature issues.
The safety stop provides temperature control to prevent scalding. Moreover, it is easy to adjust using an Allen wrench.
Now, this mixer cap is for ½-inch pressure balance valves, specifically Rite-Temp shower valves. It works great, no doubt. However, I recommend using it alongside the GP500520 insert for the best performance. It will save you the frustration of taking it apart twice.
Other than that, this mixer cap comes with everything, including O-rings for a complete swap-out. It is easy to install, and pretty much any DIYer can do it.
Kohler K-GP77759 is not a shower valve, rather a mixer cap. Should you want a replacement cap for your Kohler shower valve, this is one product I recommend.
3. Delta Faucet R11000-UNWS 524894 Shower Valve
Does picking the design style of your trim kit give you a hard time? Well, you can save that for later. In the meantime, you can install this Delta Faucet R11000-UNWS 524894 brass diverter, an excellent choice for rain showerheads.
It is a 3-port diverter comprising one inlet port and three outlet ports. Indeed, it is an excellent option for use with Delta 3- or 6-setting custom shower diverter trim.
Like the Delta R10000-UNBX, this is a valve body rough-in kit. Hence, to complete the unit, you will need to purchase a trim kit.
It shares most of the features of the R10000-UNBX. Among them is the pressure test cap that allows for testing before installation. You can test it with air or water at 200 psi and 300 psi, respectively.
Well, there are only two top mounting ears. It is quite unlike the R10000-UNBX, which has top and bottom mounts for proper attachment. Still, it hooks up easily, and the spacing is great.
I think the Delta R11000 shower valve provides the easiest plumbing ever. It is super-adaptive, accommodating all types of plumbing methods. It is easily the best shower diverter valve on the list.
4. Kohler K-304-K-NA Rite-Temp Pressure-Balancing Valve
Maybe you want more than just the Kohler K-GP77759 mixer cap. If so, shift your attention to the K-304-K-NA Rite-Temperature pressure-balance valve.
Though it requires a valve trim, this pressure-balance valve comes with everything, including the mixer cap. So, you do not need to buy lots of extras.
I like how it cycles between hot and cold modes, always keeping the temperature below 120 degrees. It not only provides temperature regulation but also scald protection.
Noteworthy, it maintains the water temperature within +/-3 degrees Fahrenheit. It is such precision that makes it one of the best pressure-balance valves on the market.
The diaphragm design is quite a handy feature. It virtually eliminates freeze-ups, whether from water debris or contamination. Hence, smooth operation is guaranteed.
Again, the ports are seemingly large. Thus, if you want to fill your soaking tub in the quickest time possible, this valve will suffice.
Kohler 304-K-NA pressure-balance valve is not a pain to install. It comes complete with mounting tabs and accepts Universal NPT and direct sweat connections. Also, it supports back-to-back installation, making it ideal for unique or high-volume jobs.
Kohler K-304-K-NA is a versatile shower valve that balances both the water temperature and pressure. And while it does not have a screwdriver stop, it makes the best choice for high-volume commercial installations.
5. Moen 2510 Brass Posi-Temp Tub and Shower Valve
It is interesting how Moen 2510 Pressure Balancing Tub and Shower Valve is giving global giants, such as Kohler, a run for their money. And as far as high-quality pressure balance valves go, you will pretty much be hard-pressed to find a better one.
Perhaps the first thing that gets your attention is the rugged durability of this pressure-balance valve. It has a seemingly beefier brass construction built to last a lifetime.
Well, Moen 2510 is a 4-port Posi-Temp shower valve. It is not as sophisticated as the Moentrol valve. Still, it offers remarkable performance and is a step ahead of Moen standard valve.
This valve has a handle that cycles between hot and cold. Moreover, I like the accuracy of the safety stop and how it keeps the temperature constant. The valve guarantees that the temperature stays steady within 3 degrees all the time.
Moen 2510 has a ½-inch connection size. Also, it is designed to fit IPS connections.
Okay, this pressure-balance valve is built on the M-PACT common valve system. It provides much-needed versatility, fitting dozens of trim options. It not only accommodates a multitude of styles but also enables you to swap out trim in minutes.
Moen 2510 shower valve does not regulate the water volume. Still, it does a great job of regulating the water temperature, always keeping it steady at a safe limit. It is easily the best thermostatic shower valve for shower safety.
6. Delta Faucet RP1991 Shower Cartridge Repair Kit
Delta RP1991 is a generic product. That pretty much explains the ridiculously low price. After all, similar OEM products cost more than double.
But while a lot easier on your pocket, the performance and quality are worth more. It is pretty much a steal and possibly the best budget shower cartridge out there.
Unlike the original RP1991cartridge, it tends to use a bit more plastic, making it lighter. It, however, works perfectly, providing excellent scald protection. Also, it shuts the water completely in the off position. This shower cartridge is super easy to install. Indeed, you will have a working shower in minutes.
Well, this repair kit is for those with Delta 1600 Series single-handle tub and shower valve. The package includes the scald-guard cartridge and a pair of cartridge seats and springs.
Delta RP1991 is not a shower valve. Instead, it is a cartridge repair kit. Should you have the Delta 1600 Series single-handle valve and need a replacement cartridge, this is the product I recommend.
7. Pfister 00131XA 3-Handle Tub and Shower Rough-In Valve
Pfister is among the most trusted names in the plumbing industry. And for a pioneer of the flow-Matic valve, this is one brand that certainly stands out.
This 3-handle rough-in valve is among its best inventions. Unlike the single-handle design, it allows you to adjust hot and cold water individually.
It does have plastic parts. However, the heavy-duty brass casting pretty much overshadows it. Indeed, the quality is outstanding and designed to last a lifetime. Moreover, it provides an ultra-seal fit.
Pfister rough-in valve does not come with mounting brackets. Still, you can use ½-inch copper C-clamps to secure it in place.
Moreover, the unit comes complete with the stem. Hence, you only need the handle trims. Also included in the package are union nuts.
So, what type of connections does it use? Well, this rough-in valve accepts ½-inch union inlets and ½-inch IP outlets.
Pfister 00131XA gives you an easy time installing mixers in your shower. The brass body, in particular, guarantees excellent quality and durability. I vote it the best 3-handle shower valve on the market.
8. Kohler K-304-KS-NA Rite-Temp Pressure-Balancing Valve
It is easy to mistake this pressure-balance valve for the Kohler K-304-K-NA. Still, there is one difference that sets them apart.
The K-304-KS-NA, unlike the K-304-K-NA, has a screwdriver stop. So, should you need to do maintenance, you do not have to turn off the main water line. Instead, the screwdriver stop allows you to cut off the flow right at the valve itself.
Hence, between the two, the K-304-KS-NA pressure-balance valve gives an easy time during maintenance. Other features, however, remain constant between the two models.
Like the K-304-S-NA, this pressure-balance valve has temperature adjustment for scald protection. Of course, it comes pre-set. Still, you can raise the temperature a bit to get the water slightly hotter.
I like how the valve keeps the water temperature steady at different pressure. It maintains the temperature to within 3 degrees, keeping it below 120 degrees at all times.
Large internal ports make this a high-flow pressure-balance valve. It dramatically cuts the time you need to fill your tub. Also, you can do a back-to-back installation for even higher-volume jobs.
The diaphragm design is another outstanding feature. It eliminates freeze-ups, either from water debris or contamination.
The valve comes complete with mounting tabs, hence making installation a breeze. But like the K-304-K-NA, you need to purchase the trim separately to complete the unit.
As for connection types, this pressure-balance valve accepts Universal NPT and direct sweat connections.
Kohler K-304-KS-NA borrows the features of Kohler K-304-KS-NA. It, however, offers easier maintenance, thanks to the screwdriver stop. For a versatile, fuss-free valve for high-volume commercial use, Kohler K-304-KS-NA is the best.
9. Danze D113000BT Single-Control Pressure-Balance Mixing Valve
Danze is a global leader in product design. Aside from the striking designs, this is a brand that guarantees value, performance, and uncompromising quality. Such are the specs you get in this pressure-balance valve.
It is a single-control mixer valve, complete with a diverter and stops. The screwdriver stop, in particular, eliminates the hassle during maintenance by shutting off the water directly at the valve.
I like the temperature limit adjustment. It keeps the water temperature steady and at a safe level to prevent scalding.
Like Kohler valves, the Danze pressure-balance valve supports the back-to-back installation. As such, it is suitable for unique and high-volume jobs.
The valve comes standard with a plaster-guard and mounting brackets. As such, it is quick and easy to install.
Danze D113000BT supports sweat ½-inch inlet and outlet connections, and IPS 4-port hook up.
Danze D113000BT shower valve pretty much has the versatility of Kohler shower valves. It can regulate both the water temperature and pressure. And while it is slightly expensive, the extra cost is worth it. The quality is remarkable and has the right set of features that make it one of the best shower valves for high-volume flows.
10. Grohe 35015000 Grohsafe Universal Rough-In Valve
Grohe does not have the reputation of world-class brands, such as Kohler. However, it offers above industry-standard products that guarantee peace of mind.
One such product is the Grohe 35015000 pressure-balance rough-in valve. It combines superior technology and a breathtaking design to enhance your bathing space.
Indeed, this is a rough-in valve that puts you in the comfort zone. It provides protection, both from scalding and cold shocks.
The diaphragm cartridge is a stand-out feature. It promotes smooth operation by eliminating freeze-ups. Also, the valve has service stops. Thus, you do not have to shut off the main water line during maintenance.
The package comes complete with a cap and a plug for quick and easy 3-port installation. But as with other rough-in valves, you will have to purchase the trim separately.
I like the heavy-duty built of this pressure-balancing valve. Performance-wise, I consider it one of the best pressure tank regulations and silencing loud showers. If you are looking for the best shower diverter, Grohe 35015000 is among the models I recommend.
Best Shower Valve: Complete Guide
Ensure you choose a shower valve that comes in leak-proof, rust-resistant materials. Also, it should be corrosion-resistant, should you want the best shower valve for hard water.
Brass is a solid bet for shower valves as it is unlikely to leak or corrode. Also, it lasts pretty much a lifetime, making it worth the extra cost.
Stainless steel is another excellent choice. However, ensure you go for high-grade stainless steel. Though a little pricier, the cost is worthwhile.
Type of System
There are three types of shower valves: thermostatic, pressure-balance valves, and diverter valves.
A manual or pressure-balancing valve is the most common type. It is typically for balancing pressure, though it may also vary the water temperature.
Thermostatic valves, though slightly more expensive, control both the water temperature and pressure. Unlike pressure-balancing valves, it allows you to control the temperature accordingly to prevent uneven fluctuations. Also, it has a volume control to adjust the flow rate.
Between the two, thermostatic shower valves provide the most comfortable. As such, it is the best option for the elderly, disabled, and kids. But should you not have the problem of fluctuating water temperature, you will do fine with a manual pressure-balancing valve.
The third option is the diverter valve. Shaped like a T, it joins different water taps and has a lever that shifts the flow from one tap to another.
Control levels determine how best you can set the water temperature and pressure. As far as control levels go, there are three types of shower valves: single-control, double-control, and triple-control shower valves.
A single-control valve only gives you the option to adjust the water temperature. Once it achieves the desired temperature, it maintains that level until you turn it off.
A double-control valve works more like a single-control valve. It does, however, give the option of adjusting both the water temperature and pressure.
A triple-control valve is the most versatile. It has three controls for water pressure, water temperature, and outlet selection. It, however, tends to work best with fancy trim kits comprising multiple outlets.
We have two shower valves based on the installation type: exposed and concealed shower valves.
Concealed shower valves sit in a recess behind the wall. It provides flexible placement of valves and outlets. Also, the invisible working parts make it a stylish choice for modern bathrooms. However, it is pricier and expensive to install.
Exposed shower valves have visible working parts. They are budget-friendly and easy to install. However, the design options are limited.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Is it easy to fix a shower valve?
Answer: Most shower valves allow for easy DIY installation. Hence, you can make it one of your weekend projects.
However, there are instances where professional service is your best. This is especially true when dealing with galvanized steel or installing a shower valve in an old house. Chances are, you may not have the tools or the know-how for such work. So, it is best to leave it to the pros.
Question: What exactly is a rough-in valve?
Answer: A rough-in valve is a component that connects to the cold and hot water lines. Typically, it has four ports comprising two inlets and two outlets.
Question: What does a diverter valve do?
Answer: A diverter valve is a component that directs the water, either to the bathtub spout or the showerhead.
Question: Can all shower valves fit my shower system?
Answer: No, the shower system and the valve need to be compatible. It is a good thing that most shower valves are universal. If not, I recommend pairing a shower system and a shower valve from the same brand.
Question: What are the tell-tale signs of a failing shower valve?
Answer: Most often, you will find the water dripping long after you turn off the shower. Also, the handle gets jammed at some point, making it difficult to twist.
Combating pressure drops and scalding water temperatures does not have to be that hard. It is as easy as buying and fitting the best shower valve to restore the balance. Well, this review pretty much covers all styles of shower valves you will ever need. Even more, each promises peak performance, quality, and near-lifetime durability. So, be the judge and tell us which shower valve you find the best for your shower system.