Need a bit of help when choosing your new shower? To get things flowing, we’ll explain everything you’ll need to consider.
There's nothing like a relaxing shower (hot or cold, depending on your preference!) first thing in the morning or after a long day at work. Most obviously, it’s great for keeping clean and hygienic, but it also boosts your mental health by giving you the chance to unwind as part of your daily routine. It’s also the place we do some of our best thinking…although, that’s a blog post for another time!
However, there is one thing fact that is undeniable…you'll never fully relax if your shower experience is anything less than satisfactory. A new shower will not only elevate your bathroom but will also bring ultimate comfort to your life.
We know the shopping process can be tricky—after all, unlike purchasing groceries, buying a shower isn't something you do every day. If you find yourself wondering, “What should I look for when buying a shower?”, look no further than this guide. We’ll take you through all the important factors to consider when remodelling your bathroom. Read through or click on any of the links below to jump to a section which interests you more.
- Size and location
- Shower head
- Tiles or wall panels?
- Shower cabins vs. shower enclosures
- Customising your shower
- More advice and inspiration for your shower
- Shop showers
New metallic finishes like matt black are proving very popular for bathroom buyers
Size and location
If you're building a bathroom from scratch or simply stripping your existing space back to the bare bones, you’ll have plenty of freedom when it comes to choosing the type of shower you want. You can choose to position it pretty much anywhere you want to create a natural flow to your bathroom.
Depending on what else you need in your bathroom, you can go as large as you like—a bigger shower will feel luxurious, whilst a smaller one will feel more homely and leave more floor space. You can then build all your other features around this fixture.
However, if you're just remodelling, both the drain and pipes may limit the location of your new shower. You'll most likely have to put it in the same place as the old one (unless you want to undergo a serious plumbing project)—although, the reassuring thing is, replacing a shower shouldn’t prove too much of a challenge for an experienced plumber.
First things first, it's important to take accurate measurements to ensure any new shower will fit the same space as your old model. Pay particular attention to the height of the shower compared to your available ceiling height—this can be particularly important in rooms with sloping ceilings.
A quadrant shower enclosure will help you make best use of space in a smaller bathroom
This is what you’ll probably get most excited about: choosing the perfect style of shower that fits with your bathroom design.
One of the most popular approaches is to fit a shower bath. This features a shower that spouts water into a bathtub. Going back a few years, most people hung a curtain for privacy and to keep water splashing on to the floor. However, these days, you’re more likely to use a glass screen to do the exact same job.
Another common option is a shower enclosure. For the uninitiated, this features a tray surrounded by 1 or 2 glass walls, designed to keep water inside, diverting it into a waste pipe and down the drain. Many people choose enclosures over baths, as they simply prefer the convenience of a quick shower and the water-saving benefits this can bring.
When we talk about style, there is also a further choice to be made: Contemporary vs. Traditional showers. A contemporary (or modern) shower comes with all the latest, minimalist style features you’d expect, like simple controls and sleek, slimline shower heads. Meanwhile, traditional style showers come with more detailed, elaborate features, like cross head handles, ceramic style levers and rain can shower heads. It’s always best to allow the overall style of your room to dictate your shower design, however mixing and matching is a growing trend, with many homeowners now preferring a Modern Vintage look.
A traditional style shower with shower bath set up—a very popular choice for those who like classic elegance
Which style you pick ultimately boils down to your personal preferences but also the needs of your family. If you or other members of your household are older or have disabilities, it's important to buy a shower that is accessible. It’s also a relevant consideration if you plan on having frequent visitors who may need such adaptations.
The good news is that an accessible bathroom, complete with shower, can also be incredibly stylish. For example, a walk in shower or even wet room set up (where there is no need to step into an enclosure) can look absolutely incredible. Other accessibility factors you should consider include:
- Shower benches/chairs—to take the weight off
- Grab bars—for added stability
- Anti-slip floor coating—to help prevent slips
- Wheelchair accessibility—extra space may be required
Find out more about accessible bathrooms by heading to our Independent Living hub
Choosing the ideal shower head for your needs can be tricky, simply due to the sheer number of styles and designs available. Many mount straight to the wall or ceiling using an “arm”, offering a fixed position that contributes to the overall look of your bathroom.
If you need to account for the different heights of people in your household (especially if you have smaller children), consider a moveable shower head. This style comes with a slider rail that lets you easily adjust both the angle and the height.
Another popular option is a handheld showerhead. This style has many advantages, like giving you more control and making it easier for parents to bathe their children.
Want something a little fancier? Enhance your space with a dual outlet design (usually a fixed shower head and a slider rail kit), an LED shower head (which changes colour once the water is at optimum temperature) or even a Bluetooth speaker design (see below) which allows you to listen to your favourite tunes, even over the roar of the water!
Wired for sound… This waterproof shower head comes complete with Bluetooth speaker. It can simply be detached and recharged when not in use
A conventional manual mixer valve consists of a single handle that controls the temperature and water volume. If you want more control over temperature and pressure, opt for a thermostatic shower valve. This style is best for families who have children or elderly household members as it ensures the water temperature doesn't drastically fluctuate. You can find out all about thermostatic valves and how they work in our handy layman’s guide.
Thermostatic valves offer precise temperature control
One key thing to consider is how good (or bad) the water pressure is in your home. Many older UK homes feature a gravity fed system (with a cold water tank in the loft and a hot water cylinder in an airing cupboard). These are often notorious for producing low water pressure. In this case, an electric shower may be better or else a shower pump can help improve your flow rate. With a combi boiler or unvented system, most types of mixer shower will be suitable. You can identify your home water heating system by looking at the image below.
If you do need something more powerful, a power shower is a great option as it comes with an in-built pump. And if you are unsure exactly what it is, you can find out more about power showers in our guide.
Tiles or wall panels
Looks aren't everything, but if you want your shower enclosure to fit seamlessly with the rest of your space, you’ll need to think carefully about your wall coverings. Tiles are one of the most popular choices; they’re heardwearing and look beautiful with a wide variety of designs to choose from. Metro tiles are incredibly popular, not least due to their versatility, working perfectly with both traditional and contemporary style bathrooms, but you could also opt for larger format stone or wood effect tiles or create a feature wall with Victorian style patterned tiles.
Increasing in popularity are shower wall panels. These also come in a wide range of colours and designs, and have several advantages over tiles:
- Can be fitted faster than tiles
- Easier to maintain—no grout lines where mould can develop
- Seamless style
Watch the video below to see how quick and easy they are to install.
Whatever you end up choosing, go for a design that's easy to accentuate with your bathroom decor.
If you're remodelling your bathroom, “What should I look for when buying a shower?” probably isn't the only question on your mind. There's a good chance you're stretching your budget thin to cover other renovations.
Even if your shower is the only thing you're working on, you’ll still want to keep costs low. One way to stay within your budget is by doing some of the work yourself. However, if you aren't confident installing a shower correctly, it's best to hire a professional—in fact, if it involves plumbing or electrics, we would ALWAYS recommend hiring an experienced tradesperson.
And it’s always worth remembering, even though you want to keep costs down, you should never sacrifice quality results. Do your research, read online reviews, and ask family and friends for recommendations. It should be easy enough to find a local professional who can take on your project for a reasonable rate.
Or, if this feels like a lot of hassle, why not enquire about our bathroom Design and Installation service, complete with your own FREE design, project manager and fully accredited installers. Simply click on the image below.
Shower cabins vs. shower enclosures
How does a shower cabin differ to a shower enclosure, I hear you cry! Well, for those who are looking for a more luxurious option, a shower cabin offers the following:
- A fully integrated design with no need for extra wall coverings
- Built-in shower, often with hydro-massage body jets
- Additional features like lighting, entertainment, seats and even steam options
Discover our wide range of shower cabins and take your experience to a new level entirely!
The Mode quadrant black glass backed hydro massage shower cabin comes complete with 10 hydro-massage body jets and an overhead rain shower
Customising your shower
Instead of purchasing an all-in-one shower, you can easily customise your design, by selecting a separate valve, shower head, arm, slider rail kit and any accessories you desire.
More advice and inspiration for your shower
If you’re searching for further advice on showers, why not check out our comprehensive shower buying guide where you’ll find plenty of in-depth information on each type.
Want to switch up your shower game and swap for something that’s totally on-trend? Discover our latest bathroom shower ideas and be inspired!
Now we’ve answered the question “What should I look for when buying a shower?”, why not browse our full range of showers, including brands such as Mira Showers, Bristan, Mode Bathrooms and The Bath Co. Simply click on the image below to begin shopping.