13 Different Types of Shower Valves (With Pictures and Operations)

Gone are the days when you walked into your bathroom and turned on your fixed shower head, and you had nothing else to think about.

In a place and time like today, the standard showering experience has changed a whole lot. The credit goes mainly to the shower head followed by the shower valves.

A shower valve does what it’s supposed to do, regulating water flow. And it does a lot more; changing temperature, diverting the water flow, turning on music, you name it, and they have it.

Firstly, we are going to look at different types of shower valves. Then we will give you an idea about the installation cost. If you still stay with us, we will tell you about the top brands to go for. Lastly, we will help you determine the shower valve type you have already installed in your bathroom.

Depending on a few perspectives, the types are as stated:

    • Based on Placement
    • Regarding Temperature Control
    • Diverter Shower Valves
    • Transfer Valves
    • Digital Shower Valves

Based on Placement

  • Exposed Shower Valve

An exposed shower head valve is usually installed on your bathroom wall. You can see all the different types of pipes and the controls. Exposed shower head valves are usually really easy to install and don’t take a toll on your moneybag.

  • Concealed Shower Valve

Delta Faucet R10000-UNBXHF MultiChoice Universal Shower Valve Body for Shower Faucet Trim Kits-min

As the name suggests, concealed shower head valves are built inside your bathroom wall. They give your bathroom a fresh and elegant look. You might need to seek help from a plumber as the installation process is a bit complicated.

Recommended reading: Standard Shower Valve Height- Expert Guides.

Temperature Control

  • Manual

It’s safe to say manual shower head valves are one of the most used bathroom apparatuses of all time. Only one lever allows you to control the temperature by moving it sideways or up and down. They are gradually losing popularity because the process is not exactly safe

You can’t see the temperature written anywhere, or you can’t set it by using an application. Intuition is not always the best thing to depend on, especially if you have children using the bathroom.

  • Thermostatic

Kohler K2975KSNA Master Shower Thermostatic Valve - K-2975-KS-NA-min

A thermostatic shower head valve works the same way as pressure-balancing valves but only does it better. Usually, it has two different handles to control the temperature and water pressure as per your comfort.

You can also set a maximum temperature in a shower head valve like this. If the temperature tends to go beyond that, the valve will automatically shut off the water flow. Thermostatic valves are the safest in the market and one of the costliest.

  • Twin Thermostatic

It has two switches. One to control the water flow, another one for the temperature. Twin thermostatic valves can only handle one water source, like a faucet or a handheld shower.

  • Triple Thermostatic

If you want simultaneous water flow from both your handheld and overhead shower head, a triple thermostatic shower valve should be your companion. 

It has three switches, one for the water flow, one for the temperature, and the last one to decide if you want the water to be poured in both outlets or not.

  • Pressure Balancing Shower Valve

Moen Rough-In Brass Posi-Temp Pressure Balancing Cycling 4-Port Tub and Shower Valve with Stops, 0.5-Inch CC, 2570-min

Imagine taking a shower with a pleasant, warm water temperature. Suddenly, you feel the need to wash off your face with cold water. You turn on your basin, rinse your face, and go back under the shower head. But the water is warmer than you set it to before, and it’s not comfortable or safe.

If you are old enough like me, you should have faced this in your lifetime. This happens because most of the cold water is taken away to the basin, and the temperature balance of the water flow from your shower head is ruined. 

A pressure balancing shower head can recognize this problem and block most warm water to keep the balance.

This type of shower head valve requires maintenance more often than manual ones. A pressure-balancing shower valve lacks that you can’t control the water pressure in most of them.

Recommended Reading: Signs of a Bad Shower Valve

Diverter Valve


You need to get a diverter shower head valve when you have multiple shower heads.

It is usually installed beside the main shower valve with a separate control. You need to remember that a diverter shower head valve is not the main valve. Its only necessity is diverting the water flow in different shower heads.

  • Tee Diverter Valve

Shower Arm Diverter Valve for Hand Held Showerhead and Fixed Spray Head-min

It’s the most basic one you will find out there in the market. Usually installed in the faucet, it connects the water flow with the shower head.

  • Two-way Diverter Valve

Unlike the basic one, it can divert water flow into two different outputs. You can install it on the wall if you like. 

A two-way valve diverter will ensure that you can have water from your faucet and the shower head. Unfortunately, most of the standard two-way diverter valves will not allow you to have water flow in both the faucet and shower head simultaneously.

  • Three-way Diverter Valve

A Three-way diverter valve will come in handy if you want water flow from three different outputs. Unlike two-way valves, it will also regulate the water flow between two types of outputs. 

You need to look at this valve if you have a faucet, a mounted shower head, and a handheld shower head at the same time. This type of valve is usually complicated to install.

  • Four-way Diverter Valve

A four-way diverter shower head valve is the best choice if you have four different setups in your bathroom. 

For example, if you have a faucet, a standard shower head, a rainfall shower head, and a handheld shower in your bathroom, a four-way diverter should be your go-to option.

You can regulate the water flow in any two of the four outputs. At the same time, you also have the luxury to transfer the water flow in a single output.

Transfer Valves

Transfer shower head valves do what diverter valves could not do for you. They simply perform by moving the water flow to different outputs as a diverter valve does. But, the newer models allow keeping the water flowing in four different outputs simultaneously if you need.

The modern designed shower valves come with built-in technology like temperature control, water pressure adjustment, etc. They are not cost-friendly, but the features compensate for the price.

Digital Shower Valves

  • Bluetooth Connectivity

If you are a fan of music in the shower, you can purchase shower head valves with Bluetooth connectivity available.

  • LED Lights

Moen Terra Beige Smart Shower 2-Outlet Digital Shower System Controller for Thermostatic Shower Valve-min (1)

Considering that aesthetics is one of your concerns, LED light featured shower head valves will come in handy.

  • Wireless Controllers

Some of the manufacturers built the valves so that you can decide on water flow, water temperature, etc, even before getting into your bathroom. You might have to install their particular application for that. Along with the one-click installation, the whole feature is user-friendly.

  • On/Off Switch

HOMEDEC 3 Way Shower Diverter Valve, Matte Black 3 Function Thermostatic Mixer Brass Valve, Individual On Off Flow Control-min

Just like the shower heads, some of the shower valves in the market have their separate turn on/off buttons for shampooing, shaving, etc.

Cost Breakdown of a Shower Valve Installation

If you want to do it yourself, you will have to pay for the materials only. And so, the labor cost is none. If you hire a licensed plumber, he will charge you from 200 to 250 USD based on how much work he needs to do. The material cost will be added. 

We will add a simple chart to give you an idea of the average price of a shower valve.

Swap left to see the full table…

Brands to Choose From

With the growing popularity of modern shower valves, many companies compete for the top spot. After researching the market, here are our top 3 brands:

  • MOEN

Just like any other bathroom apparatus, Moen’s quality when making shower valves is unrivaled. They use quality materials to ensure the longevity of the shower valves(avg lifespan of 20 years of their shower valve). Their after-sale service is also top-notch.


Kohler is well known for the shower valves with different features and modern technologies. Their products are costlier than the average in the marketplace. But, the quality and options they provide you to choose from are vast.


This is the cheapest option among our top three brands. They don’t have the technology of Kohler or the brand value of Moen, but they have been manufacturing shower valves for users of different budgets for some time. They specialize in simple yet user-friendly products.

How to Determine What Type of Shower Valve You Have

You can quickly determine the brand by looking at your shower valve. Moen and Kohler engrave M and K respectively on their product. Delta engraves the whole form.

To understand what type of shower valve you have, you can check the features, and how much it lets you do. 

It is a manual shower valve if you can control the water flow and temperature using only one lever. Considering you notice that the water temperature is consistent even if you turn on your basin or flush your toilet, it’s a pressure balancing shower valve. 

If you have a thermostatic shower valve, you can set the temperature before turning on your shower by using switches or even typing.

To determine if your shower valve has diverter features installed, you need to determine if you can decide on the water flow. Different kinds of diverter valves allow you to control the flow in two or more outputs simultaneously, which we discussed before.

Digital shower valves come with luxurious features. Look for Bluetooth connectivity, wireless controllers, on/off switch, etc, to determine if your shower valve is a digital one.

Difference Between Shower Cartridge and Shower Valve

A shower valve is an independent device. A cartridge is something that is installed inside the valve. Not every company comes with a cartridge-based shower valve.

It is possible to replace the cartridge if you entirely want to replace your shower valve type.

Let’s make it simpler for you. Your mobile is a cartridge. It can make calls, record voices, capture photos, videos, etc. In the 90s, you would need a lot of different types of products to do all that. 

Just like that, a cartridge-based shower valve can do all the work for the valve while the valve itself controls the water flow only.

P.S. To know more details about this topic read our article on shower valve vs cartridge.

To sum it up, shower valves have gone through a revolution recently. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go with the modern ones. You need to understand what your pre-installed valve is lacking, and if required, you choose the one which will be to your ultimate satisfaction.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *