8 Different Types of Shower Drains With Pros and Cons (Buying Guide)

Last Updated on December 8, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Shower drains are often ignored or overlooked when designing your bathroom. This can lead to a number of problems down the road, including mold and mildew growth. If these problems scare you then you’re going to have to choose a perfect shower drain for your home.

There are many different shower drains available, depending on what type of bathroom they will use. It will also depend on how much water flow you need for that particular area. While there is no one-size-fits-all drain option, this guide will help you choose the best one for your needs.

Also, before choosing the type of drain for your project, consider the type of shower you’re installing first. Are you installing a traditional shower or one with doors? What material will it be made of, and what will the dimensions be?

Making sure you know all these details in advance will help you choose the right drains for your project. That said, let’s get started with the types of shower drains available.

Related: 21 Types of Bathtub Faucets (Materials and Handles)

types of shower drains buying guide

1. Point Drains

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Point drains are also known as center drains, or pivot shower drains. They are popular in most homes because of their easy-to-clean and space-saving design. The drain comes with a small head that pivots to either side, right or left, depending on your preference.

The great thing about this type of drain is that it can provide the shower floor with a different look from the remainder of the bathroom. You need to make sure that you have ample space on either side of your drain because it pivots at a point in its center.

They are less expensive and more common than other shower drains. They can accommodate a larger range of showerhead sizes and shapes, giving homeowners more options when it comes to choosing their preferred fixtures. This type is not as efficient in getting rid of water efficiently.

Related: 5 Types Of Shower Valves Explained (With Pictures)

2. Linear Drains

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A linear drain is a long steel channel that is fitted between the shower walls. They are usually framed and have a ceramic tile that covers them from the drain to the wall.

There are also those made of plastic which can be molded into different shapes like hearts or flowers or other themes for children’s bathrooms.

You may want to consider this type if you want something with a more classic design. This type of drain is more spacious and allows more water to be collected.

It is also cheaper than other types of drains apart from point drains, ideal for people with a limited budget.

Related: What Are Standard Sizes For Shower Pans?

3. Single Piece Drains

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Single-piece drains are similar to the three-piece types in that there is a drain body, tailpiece, and P-trap. However, instead of having all these parts connected with removable or slip-joints as in the latter type, they’re cast from one mold.

Single-piece drains don’t need to be cleaned as often as three-piece drains because of their simpler design which doesn’t have any removable parts to get clogged.

This makes them very common in bathrooms with tiled showers over concrete floors. You don’t have to worry about concrete getting wet as it surrounds the drain and protects it from corrosion.

Single-piece drains are easy to install because they’re made in one mold, so you don’t have to worry. The drawback of the single-piece design is that they’re more difficult to use in applications where there’s a lot of movement due to floor heaving, which can lead to misalignment of the parts and cause leaks.

4. Three Piece Drain


This type of drain has its outlet and inlet pipes separated. The separation comes about when the inlet pipe does not extend to the end to form a U-shaped pathway for water to go through.

Instead, it forms a T or cross shape that allows water to pass through from one side of the drain.

This kind of design is ideal for people who do not want to be bothered with the maintenance aspect of a three-piece drain. The pipes tend to fill up with dirt faster than other types and may require cleaning more often.

If you’re unsure of installing it yourself, call in a professional because you might not seal all the parts properly. And this can lead to costly damage to your subfloor.

5. Multi-Piece Shower Drains

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Multi-piece drains consist of three-piece for easy maintenance. The first part is the drain cradle that is placed on top of your shower pan. It has an opening or throat that allows water to pass through it into the second pipe, which also has a throat bigger than the first one.

The third and final part is the threaded rubber gaskets tightened to the drain cradle and keep the water from leaking out of your shower.

If you are hoping to earn money by installing a multi-piece drain yourself, it is essential that you get precise measurements for your drainpipe before buying it.

Install the drain components from the strainer to the floor drain. Clean the shower pan. This is a very crucial first step to ensure that the drain works perfectly. The drain needs to be perfectly level with one another, and dirt can make this difficult.

Use a latex-based primer for concrete showers to prepare your shower pan before installing any plumbing fixtures in it so as to make a smooth transition from old tiles.

6. Decorative Drain or Hidden Drain

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After deciding on the type of drain to use, decide what style and color you want to use. Remember, this is a functional component, so there’s no need to go overboard with its aesthetics. Consider making it match your bathroom tiles and floor if possible.

Determine where you want to place the drain in your shower pan based on its location and size. If you can, locate the drain in the corner of the pan. Use the same tile you used on the shower floor for this area.

If you’re using a decorative drain, use the same grout on your shower floor tiles and prepare according to the instructions included with the drain kit.

If you want to tile around it for aesthetic purposes, make sure that the tiles cover up at least 1/2 of the drain to provide proper protection against water damage to the floor.

7. Shower Drain Finish and Style

Shower drains come in many different finishes and styles. Choose a finish and style that matches your tile.

If you’re using tiles on the floor of the shower, also match these with the drain. If possible, select a drain that has recessed edges to help keep water from splashing over the edge during use.

You may want to change your shower drain if it isn’t working. In that case, you’re not limited to options; you can opt for something classic, timeless, or try louder and bolder designs.

Shower drain styles can vary widely, although most are either round or rectangular. Many designs mimic the shape of the sink or tub from which they’re used, and you’ll find them in a rainbow of colors. When shopping for a shower drain, see what’s available, including small decorative faucets that feature one handle instead of two.

8. Tileable Drain Grate

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A tileable grate works well with the material on top of the liners, giving the bathroom a clean and minimal feel. There are different materials used for liners, from plastic or fiberglass to glass and stone.

A tileable grate is a more classic solution, maybe something that you will not change in a few years. You can also use it with an array of styles, from industrial to simple designs. On the downside, a tileable drain grate reduces water drainage speed and is more difficult to clean.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Shower Drain Grate

shower drain buying guide


The first thing to look for in a shower grate is the size of the model that you want to buy. Most models come with multiple size options, making it quite easy to find one that fits your needs and preferences. There are also custom-made models, which give you more freedom to pick the right size.

Drainage speed

The second thing you need to look for is the drainage speed because this can determine how fast water gets into the drain after it has been used. A slow drainage speed means that your shower will take longer to drain, which is not good if you hurry or do not want to wait too long.

Maintenance system

Being that the shower drains are vulnerable to different kinds of problems, it’s important to get one that comes with a good maintenance system. While there are models which can be easily cleaned in the sink, others come with a special cleaning kit, so picking one with the right maintenance system is important.

FAQs On the Types of Shower Drains

Does a shower drain need to be centered? 

Yes, it is recommended by the experts that a shower drain should be lined up in the center of the tub because it can make things easier when cleaning or repairing.

When should you use a linear shower drain?

The experts recommend that you should use a linear shower drain if the tub you are using is very spacious. It also works better with free-standing showers, and it requires less maintenance, which makes it a good choice for some people.

What is the best type of shower drain?

A linear shower drain is the best type of shower drain to have. It is considered the best because it requires less maintenance, allowing you to spend more time relaxing inside your bathtub or taking a warm shower.


And that’s all about types of shower drains. So, it all boils down to your choice when it comes to choosing the right drain for your project. There are many things you have to consider before making a purchase. How much are you willing to spend? Are you going to renovate your entire bathroom floor or part it?

Are you looking for style or function? These are some of the questions you need to answer before deciding on the shower drain type.