5 Types Of Shower Valves Explained (With Pictures)

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Through the years, showers have become symbols of modernity, convenience, and sophistication in homes.

We have witnessed the evolution of showers from simple rain-drop, elongated showerheads to temperature regulating ones. Thus, it is no wonder that we now talk about the different types of shower valves. 

Each type of shower valve has a unique feature although they function the same. If you are on the lookout for the best shower valve type for you, read on. 

What is a shower valve?

modern shower valve

Shower valves are additions to the traditional single rotating knob of showers. These valves have two functions, basically. One is to control the pressure of the water and the second one is to regulate and adjust the temperature of the water from the shower. 

Shower valves have one to three outlets. The outlets we are talking about here would be where the water is directed when rotated. Single outlet shower valves control water pressure through its 180degree knob of cold to hot degrees. Double outlets separate entirely hot and cold knobs. Triple outlets usually involve hot and cold knobs plus a knob for the tap or a separate knob to control water pressure. 

Shower valves could also be exposed or concealed. Concealed ones only have the knobs showing while exposed shower valves have the entire hot and cold system as well as the pipes installed above the showerhead. Nowadays, concealed shower valves are more preferred and are more common in homes and hotels. 

Temperature regulating valves

While showers are part of the general bathroom package, you must know that the water that it spews is part of the same source from which the bathroom faucet, the sink water, and the flush come from.

This is the reason why the shower water can be too hot or too cold at the first twist. To address this, you can install temperature regulating valves like the following. 

Related: 30 Faucet Brands For Your Bathroom and Kitchen (Worst and Reliable)

Pressure balancing valves

71161ZOoWEL. AC SL1500

They are also called anti-scald valves because their built-in system regulates the pressure from temperature changes. These changes in temp happen when the sink is used or when the toilet is flushed. 

Thus, once you twist the shower handle and have chosen your desired temperature, pressure-balancing valves keep the water pressure at that chosen temperature. 

Thermostatic valve

61tpj50zvJL. AC SL1500

This one is more expensive than others because it functions to balance both water pressure and temperature.

One of its major upsides is that you won’t have to wait for a few minutes to wait for the temp regulator to set it to the desired temp and pressure or to mix and adjust to get the right temperature for you. This means that you just automatically hop in the shower and twist that valve. 

Mixing valve

81RvEkQgdQL. AC SL1500
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This one is considered as the predecessor of the pressure valve and the thermostatic valve. This is the old hot and cold shower system in which there are two separate valves to twist and adjust to get the desired temp and water pressure.

It sure had its glory days but it is no longer recommended because it may cause scalding when the water pressure suddenly changes when someone uses the sink or flushes the toilet.  

Diverters and transfer valves

The most recent type of shower valves would be the diverters and the transfer valves. Each has sophisticated features and they are commonly seen in modern home systems. 

Diverter valves

61iOFNspNkL. AC SL1000

This type of shower valve comes in three types: tee valve, two-valve diverter, and three-valve diverter. 

Tee valves are those found in budget hotel rooms where the shower valve is connected to the tap. You can open the tap as the water adjusts to your desired temperature. When it has reached your desired temperature, you can close the tap and the shower head will automatically spew in water. 

The two-valve diverter makes use of two rotating knobs. One adjusts the temperature between hot and cold while the other diverts the water used in the tub’s faucet and in the shower. 

The three-valve diverter would have three rotating knobs. The left knob is usually the hot water knob, the right is the cold water knob and the third knob on the center will divert the water from the shower and to the tap faucet and vice-versa.  

Transfer valves

61KN2ofouRL. AC SL1000

This one is where you could see shower evolution at its finest. It has the ability to direct water to various outlets at once. Thus, you can use a separate handheld shower without switching off your main shower.

In most cases, transfer valves only allow two outlets at the same time but newer models feature more than four outlets at a time. It comes with digital control with many programs and features, saving you the time of twisting knobs and adjusting temp and pressure. 

At the same time, they are also less prone to corrosion because they no longer come with metal shower handles. The best part is that you could precisely set your desired temperature and pressure. You could also pause the water flow if you hear someone calling you out of the bathroom and to run your bath on a timer. 

How to identify shower valve brand

First of all, you need to identify the brand of your shower valve for you to use the warranty card when repair jobs happen. Oftentimes, shower brands have signature features that will differentiate them from others. Hence, the logo or brand name can be embossed in the shower knob or inscribed in the shower’s trim plate. 

How does a shower valve work?

Compared to tubs, showers have been practical options over the years because of its compact size and its water conservation system. Showers only consume a maximum of 30 gallons of water a day in an average home while tubs take up more than 50 gallons. 

Shower valves work to regulate the water pressure coming from the showerhead and to adjust the water temperature every time you take a bath. This feature was not possible with the traditional single knob feature of showers. Through these, you don’t have to be scalded by too hot water or be taken aback when it is too cold. 

Water pressure and temperature are affected by flushing the toilet or using the sink because they have the same source. With the advent of shower valves, you can now control the water pressure without getting shocked when the pressure increases or decreases.  

Shower valves are also handy devices in addressing fluctuations in water temperature. This is beneficial for kids and the elderly who cannot automatically get out of the shower if the water is too hot or too cold. 


Shower valves are functional added features of the ever-evolving showerheads. They come in specific types and each type has specific ways to make showering more convenient. 

Some types of auto-balance water pressure and temperature, some are connected to the tap and the most sophisticated ones have digital controls for greater precision and auto temp and pressure adjustment.  

The fact that shower valves continue to be reinvented through the years is enough manifestation of their importance and the convenience that they give to us and our everyday hygiene and overall bathroom comfort.