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What is a mixer shower?
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What is a mixer shower?

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 1 month ago 8 min read

If you’re new to bathroom buying, you may be wondering exactly what a mixer shower is. In this expert article, we explain all…

Hi. I’m Adam, Victoria Plum’s resident bathroom boffin and I’ve been writing about anything and everything to do with bathrooms since 2013. In my line of work, I come across many, many different questions about bathrooms and, my philosophy is, there are no silly questions. In this article, I’ll attempt to answer the frequently asked question “What is a mixer shower?” in a simple and straightforward manner.

We’ve all grown up with bathrooms in some shape or form, so it shouldn’t be hard to recognise the basic elements which make up a suite—a toilet, sink, taps, bath and/or shower. Along with the fixtures, it’s also relatively easy to identify the fittings, like the toilet seat, accessories and wall mounted cabinets. However, when the time comes to buy for your bathroom, whether you’re simply replacing like-for-like or undergoing a complete renovation, you may come across some terms you’re unsure of.

Showers are a great example. We all know what a shower is and what it does, but do you really understand the differences between different types of showers? And what exactly is a mixer shower? Read on for all the answers you need…

What is a mixer shower?

A mixer shower is a type of shower system that blends hot and cold water together to achieve a desired temperature. It typically consists of a valve mechanism that controls the flow of hot and cold water from separate pipes or sources, mixing them together before delivering the water to the shower head.

Orchard Wye thermostatic square shower system

The Wye thermostatic square shower system from Orchard Bathrooms is one of our bestselling modern mixer showers

Why are mixer showers popular?

Mixer showers are popular due to the fact they provide a consistent water temperature and pressure, allowing you to easily adjust the temperature to your desired preference. They’re commonly found in households right around the world and are available in various styles and designs to suit different tastes and plumbing setups.

What are the different types of mixer showers?

Mixer showers come in a range of different designs and styles. However, there are some broad categories which they may fall into.

Manual mixer showers

If, like me, you’re able to cast your mind back to the 1970s or 80s, you’ll possibly recall a shower attachment consisting of a Y-shaped hose with rubber attachments that fitted to the hot and cold taps of a bath or basin. Water flowed from the taps down the hose to the showerhead attachment, where the combined hot and cold water would come out. To regulate the temperature, you’d simply adjust the taps accordingly.

Modern manual mixer showers work, essentially, according to those same principles, where there is some form of adjustable temperature and flow control. These mixer showers are popular due to their cheap price and simplicity. However, one area in which they aren’t so great is the ability to maintain a consistent temperature or provide a highly safe showering experience.

Orchard Square manual shower valve

Manual mixer showers consist of a simple valve that simply mixes the hot and cold water flows

If you’re willing to pay just a little more, a thermostatic mixer shower is a much better investment, which leads us neatly on to our next mixer shower type…

Thermostatic mixer showers

One of the most common types of mixer showers on the market today, thermostatic mixer showers come with a thermostatic valve which maintains a consistent temperature, no matter how your water supply is affected. They should also come with an anti-scald safety feature, which stops the entire flow, should your cold water supply fail for any reason. Thanks to this added safety feature, along with the ability to maintain a consistent temperature, they are ideal for families with young children or elderly people.

Exposed valve mixer showers

Exposed valve mixer showers, as the name suggests, come with an “exposed” or visible shower valve, that is usually mounted to a wall or, less frequently, a surface. Hot and cold water supplies usually enter the exposed valve from the wall, where they are mixed according to the temperature controls. The mixed water then travels out of the valve to the shower outlet.

In some cases, exposed valve mixer showers come with just one shower outlet, which may take the form of a fixed overhead shower or shower handset with hose. However, if it is a dual outlet shower it will contain both. You can switch the flow between the 2 outlets by operating a diverter which is usually located on the valve. However, with some traditional designs, like the Dulwich riser shower system below, the diverter handle is separate to the valve.

Orchard Dulwich riser shower system

A dual outlet exposed valve mixer shower: The Dulwich riser shower system from Orchard Bathrooms features a traditional design that complements vintage decor

Concealed valve mixer showers

Thanks to the descriptive name, we can determine that a concealed valve mixer shower comes with a “concealed” valve. In other words, a valve that sits within a wall cavity, with just the controls and, often, a backplate visible.

Mode Spencer round black twin diverter valve shower set

The Spencer round black twin diverter valve shower set from Mode Bathrooms offers dual outlet showering and an on-trend, designer style

Many people prefer these to exposed mixer showers as they offer a cleaner, minimalist appearance. Again, as with exposed mixer showers, these can come with either a single outlet, in the form of a fixed overhead showerhead or shower handset and hose which comes out of the wall, or both. And, something else which makes exposed mixer showers highly desirable is the ability to add a third outlet, usually in the form of indulgent body jets. Add-ons like these certainly take them into the realm of luxury mixer showers.

Depending on your choice of valve, you can:

  • Switch between 2 outlets
  • Have 2 outlets running at the same time Or
  • Switch between 2 outlets and control a third outlet, independently, at the same time

Mode Spa complete round thermostatic triple shower valve with diverter and ceiling shower set

The Spa complete shower set from Mode Bathrooms, comes with a shower handset, overhead shower and body jets. You can operate 2 out of the 3 outlets simultaneously

For more, in-depth information, read our guide to thermostatic shower valves.

Slider rail mixer showers

As you can see, there is a great deal of overlap between the different types of mixer showers, and a slider rail mixer shower is no different! This type of mixer shower typically contains a shower handset which is attached to a slider rail by an adjustable bracket which can “slide” up and down the rail (hence the name!). this means the shower handset can be adjusted to suit the height of the user, meaning slider rail mixer showers are ideal for shared bathrooms.

Again, these can be single or dual outlet mixer showers, with an exposed or concealed valve, available in a variety styles, designs and colours.

Mode Harrison thermostatic slider rail mixer shower

The Harrison thermostatic slider rail mixer shower from Mode Bathrooms is a little luxury you certainly can afford

What different styles of mixer showers are available?

Like everything in the bathroom, mixer showers fall into broad style categories: Contemporary or traditional.

Contemporary mixer showers

Often known as “modern” mixer showers, contemporary mixer showers follow the latest trends in bathroom design. Sleek, minimalist and uncomplicated, clean lines and simple forms are the hallmarks of today’s contemporary mixer showers. Often designed with angular, square features, but also found with curvaceous, round shapes, these showers are increasingly available in a choice of different metallic finishes including chrome, black, gold, brushed nickel and brushed brass.

Contemporary mixer shower valves are usually very simple, with the focus on easy functionality and minimalist design.

Orchard Derwent round shower riser system

Minimalist design and simple curves are the mainstays of the Derwent round shower riser system from Orchard Bathrooms

Traditional mixer showers

As opposed to contemporary mixer showers, traditional mixer showers feature tried and trusted designs, for a timeless appearance that’ll never go out of fashion. Traditional mixer showers are easy to recognise, thanks to their more elaborate and ornate details, like chunky rain can shower heads, ceramic-appearance handles and concentric cross head valves. While they’re available mainly in chrome, you’ll also find other, more traditional metallic finishes, like brushed brass.

Orchard Winchester concealed thermostatic mixer shower with ceiling arm

Classic detail makes the Winchester mixer shower with ceiling arm perfect for traditional bathrooms

Shop mixer showers

At Victoria Plum, you’ll find one of the largest selections of mixer showers available on the market. With an exceptional choice of brands, plus extended product guarantees, you can be assured that our mixer showers are of the highest quality. Simply click below to begin browsing.

Shop mixer showers

Still need more advice on showers?

Here at Victoria Plum, you’ll find all the help and advice you’ll need, direct from the bathroom experts. For more general guidance, read our shower buying guide, where you’ll discover the differences between all our showers and find out which is right for you.

If you’re unsure which shower will suit your plumbing, check out our article on understanding water pressure, and discover our best showers for low pressure water systems.

Wondering whether electric showers are better than mixer showers? We’ve got an article for that too!

Head to our bathroom advice section or search our site for more expert guidance.

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 1 month ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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