When they work well, showers seem relatively simple. Selecting a temperature and pressure is straightforward, so you never think about all the nuts and bolts that work behind the scenes to give you a great shower. At most, we notice a stellar showerhead–never a valve or faucet assembly. That’s because the best shower valves and faucets give you effortless control without drawing attention to themselves.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of buying a new shower valve and faucet assembly. We’ll help you figure out whether you need a full trim kit or just a rough-in valve, and we’ll explain all the ins and outs of a quality shower mechanism.
Be sure to read through to the end of this guide to find our advice on which specific models to choose, as well as our complete how-to section covering things like flow rates, warranties, and more!
Comparison chart: with columns for model name, cost, finish options, GPM rating (only available for some)
Best Shower Valve & Faucet Reviews (2019)
1. Moen T2663NH Vichy Bathroom Tub Shower Faucet System (without shower head and valve)
This Vichy faucet set is our least expensive recommendation in this category. It offers a complete tub and shower trim kit for a very reasonable price.
This is a very affordable trim kit. You can get it for less money than some rough-in valves cost on their own!
It looks great. All the components have nice, clean lines that work well with most decor, and the chrome finish is stellar.
It’s well-made. This is the least you can pay for a shower faucet and trim set that’ll last for years and years of daily use.
This kit doesn’t come with a shower head or a valve. You’ll need to pair it with the Moen PosiTemp Valve, which we’ve reviewed separately below. Plan on an additional cost of about $100-$150, depending on current prices. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of a shower head, if you’re not happy with your current one. We suggest the High Sierra below:
It’s also available in a handheld version, which you can find here:
2. Moen 2570 Rough-In PosiTemp Pressure Balancing Cycling Shower Valve
This Moen PosiTemp valve is our recommendation to anyone who’s using or wants to use Moen trim components in their shower. It’s reliable, efficient, and works with any standard Moen components.
It’s a combination valve. This one’ll supply both a shower faucet and a shower head. You can also plug up the tub outlet if you’re fitting it to a shower-only installation.
It’s well-made and reliable–the two key things we look for in a rough-in valve. This one will work better and last longer than any of the other shower valves we’ve reviewed!
As with the Delta valve below, this Moen model is only designed to work with components from the same maker.
3. Moen T2153 Brantford Tub & Shower Faucet Set (valve not included)
This Brantford set is quite similar to the Vichy, only it includes a shower head as well. You’ll need to buy a PosiTemp valve separately, but it otherwise includes absolutely everything necessary to get up and running.
As with the Vichy set, all the components are very well-made. They’re covered by a lifetime warranty, too.
It looks excellent with more traditional decor.
It comes in three finish options, making it easy to find something that looks good in your space.
As we mentioned above, it doesn’t include a valve. Be sure to buy a PosiTemp valve to go along with it.
It’s not going to work with contemporary decor.
4. Moen Commercial Classic All-Metal Trim Kits
The Moen Commercial kit (with valve) you’ll find at the link above are our recommendations for most buyers (as long as you have a shower-only setup). Be sure to choose the option that includes a valve, though, since this kit is also sold without one through the same listing.
It’s built like a tank. That’s the key reason we recommend this to anyone who has a shower-only setup to tackle. You can plan to use this daily for twice as long as most residential sets.
It looks a lot classier than most commercial kits.
In includes a first-rate valve, all for a price that’s far cheaper than many trim kits that don’t include a valve at all.
While we think it looks great, it might not suit every taste. It’s very simple and practical.
It’s for shower-only bathrooms, not for folks who have a tub.
The Moen Align shower kit comes in a few different variations. We’re recommending several options:
1. Moen Align Eco Performance Tub And Shower Faucet Set (without valve)
This Eco Performance kit is our shower recommendation to anyone concerned about water usage. The components are well-made and classy, and they also save substantial amounts of water. It needs a PosiTemp valve to work properly, so be sure to add one using the link in our valve review above.
2. Moen Align PosiTemp Shower-Only Kit
This kit includes absolutely everything you need for a shower-only installation. We recommend it to anyone who wants something more striking and contemporary in appearance than the commercial kit.
3. Moen Align Tub And Shower Set (without valve)
This version of the Align is much like the Eco Performance, including a shower/tub combo trim set, only at a normal flow rate. You’ll need a PosiTemp valve to get up and running. The bronze finish is stellar, and suits anyone who wants that look in a relatively contemporary package.
Like the Moen Align, the Voss comes in a few variations. We’ve included all the ones we recommend below:
1. Shower-Only Set
This Voss set includes a PosiTemp valve and shower-only trim. We think it’s the most visually-striking option on the market for folks who don’t have a tub. It’s also as solid as it is stunning. The shower head must be supplied separately, though!
2. Tub And Shower Trim Kit
This version of the Voss kit is our suggestion to anyone who wants a bold look from a tub and shower combo. The PosiTemp valve is sold separately, though!
3. Delta Faucet Cassidy MultiChoice 17T Series Tub And Shower Trim
The Cassidy is our most expensive recommendation, but we think it’s the best on the market if you want a rain shower experience. From the valve to the head, it’s all designed to give you that in buckets. This set includes Delta’s TempAssure valve, too, as well as a tub faucet. Everything’s solid, classy, and should last you a very long time.
4. Delta Faucet R10000-UNBX Universal Valve
This one is our recommendation to anyone who needs a matching valve for a Delta trim set. It’s much less expensive than the comparable Moen component (reviewed above), but is still very well-made and a good deal more reliable than other options at the same price.
Which shower faucet and valve kit should you buy for your bathroom?
If you’re just looking for a plain valve, and want to keep your current trim, choose either the Moen PosiTemp or the Delta MultiChoice. Depending on whether you have Moen or Delta fittings, you’ll want to choose the one that matches.
If your trim kit isn’t from either company, you’ll need to find something suitable. However, as Moen and Delta valves tend to be vastly more reliable than other makes, we suggest simply choosing a trim kit from one of these companies rather than spending a lot of money on a valve that may not necessarily last a decent amount of time. You’ll spend less money in the long run.
The Moen Vichy is our suggestion to anyone shopping for an inexpensive trim kit that comes with a faucet. It’s ideal for anyone who already has a shower head they love, or for those who want to find something different from the matching Vichy model. Remember to grab a Moen PosiTemp valve to go with this one!
The Moen Brantford kit is our recommendation to anyone who wants a trim kit that includes a shower head and faucet all in one package, without spending a fortune. It’s actually less expensive than a single PosiTemp valve! We also think it’s the best kit for folks who want to go for a traditional look (aside from the much pricier Delta Cassidy). Again, be sure to buy a PosiTemp valve along with it.
The Moen Commercial Classic is our recommendation to most buyers. It comes with a valve and a complete shower-only trim kit (sans shower head). We think it offers the best value for money and overall quality, even if it’s not as visually striking as other models. It’s very well-made and we think that the labelled temperature settings are just as convenient at home as in commercial settings. Just remember to find a matching shower head!
The Moen Align kits are the best choice for eco-conscious folks who want to save water. They come with everything you need to get up and running with an efficient, enjoyable shower. Plus, they look great!
The Moen Voss kits are our suggestion to folks who want a distinctive installation that immediately draws eyes. The squared-off fittings are classy but unique, as well as being well-made. These are quite expensive, though, and the PosiTemp valve is sold separately.
The Delta Cassidy kit is our most expensive recommendation, but it’s an excellent choice for those who want the classiest kit that includes absolutely everything (valve, trim, shower head, and faucet).
The Delta MultiChoice Universal valve kit, finally, is what you’ll want to buy if you have Delta trim components you like and only need to upgrade the guts of your shower.
Know What You Need
We’ve included a wide range of plumbing fittings in this guide, because we know that people can be looking for quite a few different things when they’re searching for a shower faucet or valve. So, for the sake of clarity, let’s define a few key terms:
A shower valve is the mechanism that controls the flow of water to the fittings (your shower head and/or tub faucet). The valve has two parts: a handle section referred to as “trim”, which you see, and a hidden section called the “rough-in.” The rough-in portion of the valve forms the guts of your shower. It controls the pressure and temperature of the water that comes out, and responds to your preferences as you adjust the handle.
Shower trim encompasses a range of fittings, depending on the layout of your shower. In any case, the “trim” of your shower means all the bits you can see (the shower head, the tub faucet, and the knobs or handles you’ll use to control the flow). Trim kits are available with and without valves. We’ve included both types of kit in this guide.
A shower faucet is the faucet you’ll find in any shower that’s fitted over a bathtub. We’ve also heard plenty of people refer to the controls of their shower as “faucets,” but this isn’t correct. If you’re buying components for a shower-only installation, you don’t have to worry about buying a kit with a faucet. If you take baths as well as showers, be sure to choose a kit that comes with one.
With all that in mind, figure out what you’re actually shopping for. If all your trim components are in good shape and you just need to replace a leaky/temperamental valve, your job is easy. Check out the rough-in valves we’ve recommended above. However, if you have trim components from lesser-known makers, it’s worth your while to replace everything with a valve and trim kit that you can easily find replacements and service for in future. In most cases, we suggest replacing both a rough-in valve and the trim kit. You may or may not want to choose a kit with a shower head included. Remember that you can often save money by bundling, so it typically makes financial (as well as aesthetic) sense to buy a matching set of everything all at once.
As with any plumbing fitting you buy, be sure to think about how you want your new shower to look. You don’t need to worry about the appearance of the valve components, since they’ll be hidden. However, you’ll want to choose a matching trim kit that suits the look you’re trying to achieve in your bathroom. Consider your overall aesthetic, as well as the different finish options available on your chosen trim kit.
Think About Your Budget
It’s good to consider your budget up front, before you start looking at any specific models. Rough-in valves can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 on their own, depending on the make and model, as well as whether you need a shower-only or a shower/tub combination valve. You can spend $75-$300+ on trim kits that include everything but the valve. So, if you’re planning on replacing everything in your shower, you’ll be looking at a total cost of ~$125-$500. That’s not including installation, remember! Think about how much you can afford to spend in total, and then consider options within that price range.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best shower valves and faucets! Hopefully, you’ve got a clear idea of exactly what you need and have seen at least one kit that’ll get you there. To learn more about any of the components we’ve recommended in this guide, simply click on the links in our reviews.