The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Type of Shower


For a lot of people, a shower isn't just a place to get clean, it's a place you can wash off the day, relax and unwind. To ensure you're able to rejuvenate properly, you need to have the right type of shower for your needs and your water system.

With many types of showers available on the market, it can be an expensive purchase if you don't choose the right one. That's why we have put together this comprehensive guide that explains the different types of showers and shower enclosures to help you make the best decision for your home.

The factors to consider when buying a new shower

No one wants to get caught out when they are making a new purchase for a home, especially when plumbing is involved. Below you will find key things you need to consider when buying a shower for your bathroom.

Shower size

It might seem obvious, but making sure you get a shower that fits into the space that you have available in your bathroom is one of the most important things you need to consider. If you intend to install a shower bath, shower enclosure, or shower tray, you need to be meticulous with all the measurements. A small change in your existing plumbing could end up being expensive and time-consuming.

Ensure the shower you choose fits into the dimensions and style of your current space, and it fits seamlessly into the needs of your household. Since showers come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, you need to determine if the dimensions match the type of shower you intend to purchase.

Your water pressure

Water pressure refers to the measure of force to get water through the mains and into your pipework. Depending on where you live, and other factors, water pressure can vary greatly and will affect the performance of your shower.

So, if there's a combi boiler in your home, the water pressure will usually be high and a mixer shower should work well. On the other hand, if you have low water pressure, an electric shower might be a better option for you.

To get a better understanding of water pressure and how it can affect your new shower, check out our complete guide to water pressure.

What water heating system do you use?

Different houses have different types of water heating systems, sometimes called boilers, depending on the size and age of the property. We've provided a brief outline below of the different types of water heating systems and how they can affect your shower's performance, for an in-depth discussion of different types of boilers, check out our guide.

High-pressure water systems

The most common types of high-pressure water systems are combination boilers which heat water on demand so there is no hot water storage cylinder or cold-water tank. Conversely, unvented high-pressure boilers usually have a hot water tank in an airing cupboard but these can look similar to a low-pressure system, so always check to avoid any confusion.

Low-pressure water systems

An example of a low-pressure water system is a gravity-fed system. This system usually has a cold-water tank in the loft and a hot-water tank in your airing cupboard. The best shower for this type of system is a power shower as they are designed to offer optimum performance within a low-pressure scenario.

Cold mains water supply

If cold water comes into your property through a rising main then you have a cold mains system. Most electric showers can simply be connected to a cold water mains supply, the main choice you will need to make is ensuring the shower style suits your bathroom. However, if your cold mains water supply does not have the required minimum pressure for such showers, a tank-fed, pumped electric shower would be a better choice.

What are the different types of showers?

Now you have an idea of what pressure systems could be in your home, we've outlined the different types of showers you may come across. We've made it easy for you to know the best shower for you, detailing how each shower works, the minimum requirements for use, and who they might be suitable for.

Manual mixer showers

Manual Mixer Showers

A mixer shower combines both hot and cold feeds, allowing you to blend the water to create an optimal showering temperature. Unlike electric alternatives, mixer showers can be installed alongside a shower pump to boost the overall pressure and flow rate meaning you can enjoy a more invigorating shower experience from start to finish. Mixer showers are also ideal solutions for homes with a high-pressure system.

Power showers

Power Showers

An electric power shower is an ideal choice if your property has a gravity-fed system, as the built-in pump provides a welcome boost to the flow rate. Unlike regular electric showers which heat the water via a hot element, power showers feed on a stored hot water system. This makes them best suited to homes with a regular or heat-only boiler. Also, the blending of hot and cold water gives you greater control over the flow rate and the ability to create the optimal temperature for a relaxing shower experience.

Digital showers

With an intelligent digital shower, you can transform the bathroom and your daily washing routines with remote customisation including clock displays, shower timers, and eco-settings. If you're tired of leaving the comfort of your bed to be greeted by a cold blast of water, you can activate your digital shower directly from your smartphone or remote control, while dialing in the perfect temperature to suit. Aside from their incredible functionality, digital showers are also one of the easiest to install. With the digital shower control often located in the loft, you can rest assured that your existing tiles and surfaces will remain undisrupted.

Electric showers

Electric Showers

The electric shower is greatly popular for homeowners as they are highly economical and the installation procedure is quick and easy. By design, electric shower units will only heat the water that is used while showering, meaning there is no unnecessary wastage of excess hot water. They are also fully compatible with all water pressure systems, as they only require a cold-water supply to function. Ideal for the demands of a busy modern home, electric showers combine functionality and efficiency in a stylish exterior to suit any bathroom.

Thermostatic mixer showers

Thermostatic Mixer Showers

Thermostatic mixer showers are great if you want to keep your shower at one constant temperature as you can set the temperature you want and it won't change, even if someone turns on a tap elsewhere in the house.

Choosing the right shower head

Whether your shower will be over the bath, in a wet room, or its own cubicle, there are a few choices when it comes to showerheads. Finding the perfect one can make or break your shower experience so ensuring you choose the right shower head is just as important as your shower choice.

Fixed shower head

A fixed shower head is fixed through the ceiling or on an arm from the wall. Generally, the shower rose (the pattern from which the water comes out) will have one flow pattern and are often found in wetrooms. For versatility, you may pair it with a handheld showerhead, and switch between the two during use for an ultimate shower experience.

Riser kit shower head

Shower riser kits are fixed-height showers that cannot be adjusted to your preference. They connect directly to the taps or shower valves and don't have a flexible hose on the main system. The water runs from the taps up the pipework and down out of the showerhead. If you have a small budget, these types of showerheads are great for you.

Combination shower head

Combination showerheads combine handheld showerheads and fixed showerheads. Enjoy the convenience and flexibility of a shower with the indulgence of dual heads. They allow you to wash your body with increased water flow, lowering the amount of time spent in the shower and giving you greater coverage. Since the system allows for a significant increase in water flow, you wash faster and the two shower heads provided can cover a greater body area.

The different types of shower valve

Shower valves are a trendy choice in modern bathrooms. It's essential to have control over the water flow and the temperature. With the use of a shower mixer valve, depending on the level of control you wish to have, the type of shower valve required can differ.

A single control shower valve allows you to dictate both the flow and temperature together, while a dual control valve offers the superior operation of the two independently. Many of these can be found in exposed, concealed, and bar valve variations. Whether your shower has one, two, or three outlets, our thermostatic shower valves can cater to all needs.

Exposed valves

Exposed mixer shower valves are durable, functional, and easy to use and install. Exposed shower valves mount on the exterior of your shower wall or tiles, not only make them an excellent option for cost-effective installation but also easy cleaning and maintenance.

Hidden valves

Hidden or concealed shower valves are the perfect solution for controlling water flow and temperature while showering. If you enjoy the minimalist look throughout your bathroom, then a concealed shower mixer valve will compliment both modern and traditional styles.

How to choose the perfect shower enclosure

Shower Enclosure

When choosing the perfect shower enclosure for your bathroom, you need to consider the space and style of your bathroom. There are a large variety of shower enclosures for you to choose from including shower cabins, quadrant shower enclosures, wet room screens, and walk-in shower enclosures.

Shower enclosures combine great aesthetics with practicality to suit almost every bathroom or en-suite layout. Whether you've got a small or large bathroom, there is a shower enclosure or shower cubicle perfect for every space and need. Packed with great features including anti-limescale protection, toughened safety glass, and reversible fittings to give you the flexibility to design an enclosure that not only looks the part but adds that all-important functionality to your bathroom.

How much does it cost to install a shower?

Depending on the type of shower you're wanting to install, the cost to have someone install the shower for you can range from £60 to £600 plus labour. At the lower end, you'll usually get an electric shower installed, while paying the premium will help you get a digital shower installed.

How long does it take to install a new shower?

On average it can take around 8 hours to install a new shower, including a couple of hours to replace the shower unit and around 1 hour for the switch as well as tiling. Depending on the shower cubicle that you have chosen, a plumber may be required to amend the water supply which may involve a large amount of labour work depending on the job scale.