A shower can be both convenient and efficient, as well as a luxurious indulgence. They’re perfect for en suites, over bathtubs, or as part of a modern wet room.
This guide will help you find the perfect shower products for your bathroom, and give you an overview of what you need to think about when choosing.
What do I need to think about when choosing a shower?
When buying a new shower, there are a number of things you need to consider to ensure you know what you’re looking for:
What is your water pressure like?
The water pressure in your home will influence how powerful your shower is, and affect the type of appliance you will need. You can check the water pressure yourself using a pressure gauge, but it may be easier and safer to call in a professional instead.
Once you know your water pressure, you will know which types of shower would suit your home, and what accessories you may need. Our experienced team will also be happy to advise you.
Find out whether you need a shower pump with our handy guide.
What water system do you have?
Different water and heating systems may affect your choice of showers. UK homes are generally built with one of three types of water system, which are:
1. Unvented hot water system
A water cylinder is heated by an immersion heater or boiler under high pressure, allowing large volumes of hot water to be supplied.
Suitable shower types: Thermostatic mixer, manual mixer, high pressure units.
2. Combination boiler
A boiler with no tanks or water cylinders, designed to heat water as and when you use it. Combi boilers generally provide the highest possible water pressure and are compatible with a shower mixer to provide hot water on demand.
Suitable shower types: Thermostatic mixer, manual mixer, high pressure units.
3. Gravity system
Usually a cold water tank in the loft space, and a water cylinder in the airing cupboard. This can result in low water pressure, but you can use a shower pump to boost it. One pump can feed two or three showers simultaneously too, so it’s great option for larger properties with multiple showers.
Use the infographic below to identify your system:
Types of shower
- Manual mixer shower—Mixes hot and cold water supplies together manually. They are easy to fit and simple to use.
- Thermostatic mixer shower—Incorporates a thermostatic valve which keeps your water at a constant temperature. It is particularly suited to families with younger children or the elderly, as it reduces the risk of scalding.
- Electric shower—Quick and easy to fit, electric showers have their own heating element meaning only a cold water supply is required.
- Digital shower—An advanced form of thermostatic mixer, this type of shower uses digital technology to allow you to set an exact water temperature. With some models, you can even switch your shower on and off using a remote control or smart phone.
As well as the technical considerations of choosing a shower for your home, you also have to think about its style and look, to ensure it suits your bathroom and your taste. There are lots of different styles of valve controls, shower rails, and shower heads to choose from, which will fit perfectly with designer bathroom suites. These are the main types of shower:
Manual mixer showers
This type of shower works well in homes that have a good supply of hot water along with high water pressure. It mixes the hot and cold water supplies together so you can set it to your desired temperature each time you shower. Manual mixers are easy to install and very simple to work.
- Requirements: Hot and cold water supplies. Minimum 0.1 bar of water pressure.
- Recommendations: For families with young children, a thermostatic mixer will avoid the risk of scalding.
- Benefits: Easy to install and easy to use.
Our Square manual shower valve is a simple solution to your showering needs
Thermostatic mixer showers
The mixer controls of this shower incorporate a thermostatic valve that keeps water at a constant temperature, which the user can adjust manually. This makes it an excellent option for young children or the elderly, as there is more reliable control over the temperature of the water.
- Requirements: Hot and cold water supply needed. Minimum 0.1 bar of water pressure.
- Recommendations: Use with an electric pump to increase water flow, if needed.
- Benefits: Avoids the risk of scalding, and the temperature is not affected by water use elsewhere in the home.
The popular Tetra shower system contains a thermostatic bar valve
Electric showers are quick and convenient way to install a shower in almost any home. They contain their own heating units and so don’t need to be connected to a hot water feed, making them ideal for installing in en suites or downstairs shower rooms.
- Requirements: Cold water supply. Minimum 0.1 bar of pressure. Must be installed by fully qualified electrician and plumber.
- Recommendations: Use as a simple solution for en suite bathrooms and shower rooms.
- Benefits: Can be more economical. Temperature not affected by other water use in the house.
We work with some of the best electric shower manufacturers such as Aqualisa, Mira and Triton, to bring you a high quality range. Find out more about them with our electric shower buying guide. Please note: Electrical shower installation should always be carried out by an experienced professional.
As well as choosing the right type of shower system, you also need to choose your shower enclosure and accessories. At VictoriaPlum.com you can buy the shower enclosure products you need individually, or as part of a bundle. You can find more detailed information in our shower enclosure buying guide.
You need to start by thinking about the amount of space you have for your shower enclosure, and so what shapes you can choose from. Square, D-shaped, and rectangular shaped shower enclosures are some of the most popular, and fit nicely into most bathrooms. Pentagonal and quadrant enclosures are best suited to corner spaces. Measure the space and make a plan of your room, so you can see how an enclosure would best fit into the space.
If you want to create a freestanding shower enclosure, you’ll also need a shower tray. These can be low or high sided depending on the type of plumbing you have, and whether pipes will be above floor level or inset beneath the flooring. If you have underfloor plumbing or concealed pipes, you can go for slimline trays which sit flat against the floor, or we have elevated trays to disguise exposed pipes. All our enclosures have matching shower trays, so it’s easy to find want you need.
If you just want to install a new shower system over your bath, you won’t need a shower tray, but you will need a bath screen. A bath screen can provide a sleeker and more stylish alternative to a shower curtain, and there are lots of styles to choose from. We have single-screen or folding options, as well as complete over bath screens, and other handy additions such as built-in towel rails.
Choosing a shower head
The shower head is probably the most important component in creating your perfect shower, as different shower heads can create very different experiences. There are three main types of shower head available:
Fixed shower head
Perfect for designer bathrooms, this type of shower head is generally fixed to the ceiling or to the wall, creating a clean, high-end feel. They are great for creating a stylish and elegant look, and are luxurious and enjoyable to use.
However, they may not be the best choice for a busy family bathroom, as the head cannot be detached for more versatile use. There are both contemporary and more traditional styles available, so can be matched to any bathroom look.
With its highly contemporary square design, the Tetra shower head is one of our bestsellers
Riser kit shower head
This type of shower head slots into a bracket fixed to the wall of your shower enclosure, meaning its position can moved according to the height of the person using it, as well as detach for just washing your hair or cleaning the bath or shower. There are also lots of different designs available in this style of shower head, so they can suit a wide range of bathrooms.
The Solar is a great example of a shower riser kit
Combination shower head
A combination, or riser, set allows you to have both a fixed and a detachable shower head for maximum versatility. There are many different designs available in both contemporary and traditional styles, so it’s easy to find what you want to create your perfect look.
The Mode Cubik complete shower set gives you flexibility, with both an overhead shower and handset
Shower fittings & accessories
Whichever option you choose, we have a range of shower fittings and accessories to complement the look and style of your bathroom. If you have the appropriate water system, you could add a bit of luxury to your shower with some body jets, available in both round and square designs to suit your bathroom.
Now you're armed with the knowledge, why not browse our showers?