Best Shower Faucets

Updated March 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

39 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
401 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best shower faucets

Last Updated March 2020

A shower faucet may not be the first upgrade you think of when you set out to freshen up your bathroom décor, but swapping out an old faucet for a new one can be an easy and relatively inexpensive way to breathe new life into an old bathroom.

Shower faucets (aka tub spouts) may seem fairly simple in both appearance and features, but you have a number of choices when you set out to buy one. Materials and design are two of the more obvious considerations, but you should also keep in mind installation, what, if any, fixture elements, such as a handle or showerhead, ship with the faucet, and how much you should pay for one.

This buying guide covers all these considerations and more. We also offer our own suggestions for what we feel are some of the best shower faucets in terms of quality and value currently on the market.

Handles that work with shower faucets come in a variety of forms, including levers, knobs, and crosses.

Key considerations

Materials

Used on a daily basis and in constant contact with water, a shower faucet can take a fair amount of abuse. As such, it should be able to last a long time in terms of functioning effectively over the years and remaining attractive while doing so.

The materials used to make shower faucets vary considerably in terms of appearance, durability, and price. In addition to the materials listed below, finishes such as chrome, bronze, and nickel are also quite common and can help to protect the faucet and keep it looking good for years. See the FAQ section below for more on finishes. 

Some of the more common materials used to make shower faucets include the following:

Brass: Offering a classic appearance and often coming at a fairly steep price, brass is super durable while also resistant to leaks and corrosion. If you can afford it, brass is the way to go.

Stainless steel: These faucets vary from inexpensive to pricey depending on the quality of the steel. Cheaper stainless steel faucets can wear out quickly.

Zinc/zinc alloy: These faucets are inexpensive and tend to wear out much more quickly than brass or stainless steel. You’ll pay less for one, but plan to replace it more often.

Iron: These shower faucets are less common and more prone to rusting if they aren’t protected by some form of water-resistant coating.

Plastic: While this is the only type of shower faucet that doesn’t contain lead, you still want to avoid plastic because of its lack of durability.

Design

While it isn’t a focal point of the bathroom, a shower faucet still adds a noticeable accent. As such, the appearance of the faucet is one consideration. In addition to the various finishes, shower faucets ship in a variety of types, from classic to contemporary. Before selecting a faucet, consider the other fixtures and décor of your bathroom and choose a shower faucet that coordinates with the rest of the room.

Installation

Shower faucet installation is fairly straightforward as long as the faucet fits your existing pipe. Some of these slip on and install with an Allen wrench or screwdriver, while others thread onto the pipe. Pipes and valves are usually either 1/2 or 3/4 inch. If your faucet doesn’t fit your current setup, you’ll either need to do some additional work yourself or hire a professional plumber. Check any included documentation for installation directions. These should include a list of tools and other materials needed to install the faucet.

DID YOU KNOW?

While shower valves are an important part of a shower faucet setup, when fully installed the valves are hidden from view behind the wall and trim.

Features

Components

Diverter: This is standard on most shower faucets. This device, usually in the shape of a switch or knob, allows you to easily redirect the water flow from the spout to a showerhead. The diverter should be easy to use and remain in whatever position you set it to.

Spout: This is the main body of the faucet. The length of the spout on shower faucets can range from 4 inches to around 7 inches. Spouts come in a variety of shapes, from standard to modern. The end of the spout (opposite the installation end) terminates in an outlet that ranges from the typical rectangular to more stylish shapes such as round or oval.

Extras

Shower faucets either come on their own, if you’re just replacing the spout, or as part of a set that can include a handle, showerhead, and even decorative trim, which may be a better choice if you’re doing a complete bathroom makeover.

Brand

Like most products today, shower faucets run the gamut in terms of quality. One way to ensure that you’re getting a quality product is to buy from a brand name. While it may cost you a little more, buying a brand-name faucet has a few advantages. 

Parts: If you need parts, you can usually find them more easily with a known brand name. 

Service: Name brands tend to offer better service and customer support and are easier to reach if you encounter problems. 

Collections: Particularly when it comes to fixtures such as faucets, known brands frequently offer products in collections, so you can pick up other fixtures or accessories that have the same design or finish.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most new shower faucets use a single-handle design, but you can still find double-handled faucets.

Shower faucet prices

Inexpensive: At the lowest price points, from about $2 to $20, you can find simple shower faucets and lower-quality sets. These are usually constructed from zinc or a similar material. Shower faucets in this range don’t tend to be extremely durable, and you’ll likely have to replace one within several years.

Mid-range: At higher price levels, the quality improves greatly. Faucets and sets that cost about $25 to $50 typically are made from brass or steel and offer a strong finish that helps to protect the faucet and keep it attractive for years. 

Expensive: At the highest price points, as high as $100 and more, you’ll find high-quality faucet sets complete with handles and showerheads. Faucets in this range also usually come with extended or limited lifetime warranties.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If someone in your family has mobility issues, look for a shower faucet or set that complies with Americans with Disabilities Act specifications.

Tips

  • Lift it. One quick way to identify a quality shower faucet is to lift it. A faucet with some heft is made from materials that tend to last longer.
     

  • Pick coordinating handles. When shopping for handles to go with your shower faucet, try to find some that are made of the same material and offer a similar design.
     

  • Keep the paperwork. Take note of the brand of the shower faucet and keep the info handy in case you need to repair it in the future.
     

  • Paint the fixtures. Don’t feel that you’re stuck with the appearance of a specific shower faucet. Many fixtures can often be painted to match your existing fixtures or décor. Just be sure to use a waterproof paint that dries quickly and is formulated for use on metal.
     

  • Spend more for better quality. When shopping for any bathroom fixture, consider spending more if your budget allows it. Pricier fixtures usually last longer, which can save you both effort and money over time.
     

  • Buy in bulk to save money. If you’re replacing several shower faucets at once, seek out sellers or manufacturers that offer them in bulk (for example, in packs of two or four).

Other products we considered

Shower faucets vary considerably in quality, style, and price, and we wanted to offer up a few more in addition to those in our matrix. The American Standard Studio S Tub Spout offers an elegant and durable all-metal design. You have your choice of finishes here, including matte black and brushed nickel, and it matches other fixtures in the American Standard Studio S Collection.

We also like the vintage American Standard Portsmouth Tub Spout, which is crafted from brass and finished with polished chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, or satin nickel. This also is part of a collection that features a variety of fixtures and accessories.

Finally, the chrome-finish Danco Universal Tub Spout is an inexpensive option that can mount to either a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch pipe.

If you want to have a little fun with your bathroom décor, add unusual fixtures for a quirky or more personal touch.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a shower faucet and a showerhead?
A. A shower faucet is generally used to fill the tub, while a showerhead is used to create the rain effect that you shower under. While some tubs offer only a shower faucet or a showerhead, others incorporate both, along with a diverter, usually located in the shower faucet, for switching between the two. Some showers also have a versatile handheld showerhead.

Q. What is the best finish for a shower faucet?
A. The finish on a shower faucet contributes to both aesthetics and durability. There are three primary finishes that manufacturers use on bathroom fixtures: chrome, bronze, and nickel. Some manufacturers offer their shower faucets in more than one finish, so you can choose the one that best fits your décor and budget.

  • Chrome: Chrome is a common finish that tends to be less expensive than others. It is both durable and easy to clean.

  • Bronze: This is an attractive finish that is particularly effective when used in a bathroom with a vintage or classic décor. Bronze is durable and easy to maintain, but it’s more expensive than chrome.

  • Nickel: While more expensive on average than other finishes, nickel is also one of the more durable and long-lasting options for fixtures.
     

Q. What are valves?
A. Valves are the shower components located in the wall. While they aren’t visible, they are vital to the performance of the shower and instrumental in how long the shower will last. There are different types of valves, with some capable of regulating or maintaining consistent shower pressure or temperature.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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