What Is A Shower Valve? Everything You Need To Know

Here is everything you need to know about shower valves: what they are, why they're important, and the different types you can invest in.

What Is A Shower Valve - Kohler Shower Valves What Is A Shower Valve - Jason Wu Collection from Brizo - T60275-BL
The Hausera Editorial Team

Your shower valve is the most important part of your shower you never see. Valves are decidedly unsexy, but, without them, your gorgeous shower trim won't yield a single drop of water. Shower valves are integral to any shower system, responsible for controlling water temperature and the flow of water.

There are four main shower valve types, and each one has unique capabilities depending on your needs.

  • Twin One-Way Shower Valve — A one-way twin shower valve works for a single shower head, like an overhead shower or one from the side, but it cannot handle both. One of the controls manages the water temperature while the other controls the water flow from full on to full off.
  • Twin Two-Way Shower Valve — Like the previous valve, a twin two-way valve also has two controls; however, it can control two different shower heads, like a shower above and a handheld shower head. It cannot control both at the same time, though. Instead, a bather can switch from one shower head to the other. Rather than precisely control flow, a twin two-way shower valve has a diverter, which allows the switching. The flow is either fully on or fully off.
  • Triple Two-Way Shower Valve — If you have two shower heads in your shower, a triple two-way shower valve allows you to have both on at the same time. This type of valve has three controls. One controls the water temperature, and the other two control the flow for the two shower heads.
  • Triple Three-Way Shower Valve — For large showers that have an overhead shower head, a small side handheld shower head, and jets, a triple three-way shower valve allows you to control the flow to all three. Like the other valves, there is one temperature control, but this valve has the ability to control all three at different times. This valve also has a diverter, which allows you to switch from one head to another, and a third outlet for controlling the third aspect of your shower, like jets in a tub or body sprays. If the diverter was set to the two shower heads and the third outlet to the jets, you could have either the overhead shower or the handheld shower on and the jets, but you could not have both of the shower heads on.

Pressure Shower Valves

Pressure valves are perfect for basic shower-over-tub set-ups. These all-in-one solutions let you turn the shower on and off, as well as control water temperature, all with one handle. Depending on the valve, you can set up diverters for custom showers, and you can also find high-pressure valves for quicker tub fills.

Related: 3 Best Shower Heads For Low Water Pressure

Thermostatic Shower Valves

A thermostatic valve can take any shower to the next level of comfort and customization. This valve allows bathers to set the temperature and the volume separately. Once you’ve found the perfect temperature, your shower will always maintain it.

Plus, thermostatic valves include an anti-scalding feature. If the water reaches a temperature that could harm a human (for example, someone else in the house has the water on (causing the cold water pressure at the shower to drop), the valve will turn off, protecting the bather from any injury.

For more customization, you can install a digital thermostatic valve, such as Moen’s Digital Shower Valve, which controls the temperature but also can incorporate music, lighting, and steam.

Related: Thermostatic vs. Pressure Balance Shower Valves

In order to create the perfect shower experience, you need the perfect valve. Knowing what you need and want from your shower is key when choosing the valve best for your bathroom.