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How to Choose Bathtub & Shower Faucets

Find the best showerhead and bath faucet for your bathroom. With a variety of configurations, features and styles to choose from, tub and shower faucets can be the perfect finishing touch to your bathroom’s design.

Choosing the Right Bathroom Faucets

If you're replacing an old faucet, consider the configuration of your previous faucet before buying a new one. If you're designing an entirely new bathroom, you may want to consider different bathroom faucet and shower head styles. You’ll also need to make sure that there is a 3/4" supply line available for optimal water flow to the faucet.

Tub & Shower Faucets

  • May have one, two or three handles
  • Three-handle tub and shower faucets have a handle as a diverter rather than a diverter located on the tub spout
  • A 3/4" supply line is encouraged for use with spa filler models
  • Some include a versatile handheld sprayer

Showerheads & Handshowers

  • One-handle faucets are ideal, as temperature adjustments can be easily made with one hand
  • Some single-handle models offer even more precise control with a lever that controls the volume of water and a separate dial that controls temperature
  • Some include a versatile handheld sprayer
  • Can replace a tub and shower faucet by concealing the unused hole with a spout hole cover

Freestanding & Roman Tub Faucets

  • Feature a classic, elongated spout 
  • Some include a hand shower and retractable hose for added flexibility
  • Allow for more sitting room in the tub

Planning Considerations

Bath faucets are designed to have a much higher flow rate than sink faucets and, therefore, are not interchangeable. Also, most jurisdictions require the maximum water flow to be restricted to 2.5 GPM or 9.5 L/Min at 80 psi for all new tub and shower faucet installations, and the faucet to be pressure-balanced to ensure the user is not scalded by a surge of hot water when another device in the house, such as a toilet or dishwasher, is in use.

Deciding On The Faucet Mount

Wall, Tub and Deck-Mounted

Standard Features

  • Pipes are concealed leaving the spouts and handles exposed.
  • Plumbing holes are typically 4" - 8" apart from the centre of one handle to the other.


  • A practical solution when the bath doubles as a shower.
  • Deck-mount faucets, which include Roman tub faucets, allow for more sitting room in the tub.

Installation Requirements

  • Pre-drilled holes in the tub rim, through the tub wall or on the bathroom wall over tubs on platforms or sunken below floor level, are required.


Standard Features

  • Pipes come straight out of the ground.
  • Can be mounted at either end of the tub.


  • A great option for tubs with continuously rolled rims like claw foot tubs or their modern equivalents.
  • Suitable for use on tubs without pre-drilled holes.

Installation Requirements

  • Requires brackets to secure the faucet to either the tub or wall for support.

Choose Your Faucet Style & Finish

What to Consider When Replacing Bathroom Tub & Shower Faucets

If you are replacing an old tub or shower faucet, the style will depend largely on your previous faucet configuration. Select a faucet that complements the other fixtures in your bathroom, and is consistent with the overall theme and design of your home. For low-maintenance living, look for matte finishes and/or faucets with lifetime warranties on the finish. Matte will not show water marks and fingerprints as easily as polished finishes and lifetime warranties will guarantee the finish will not corrode, tarnish or discolour.

Standard Finishes

The finish is the surface coating on the faucet’s spout and handles. You can choose from a variety of options.

Look For The Quality & Features Designed To Suit Your Lifestyle Demands


  • Solid brass faucet bodies are more durable and resist corrosion in areas with hard water.
  • Zinc-alloy faucets are durable and less expensive than solid brass, but must be replaced when the plating wears off.

Hands-On Features

  • Two-handles are useful with spa tubs because they provide more temperature control.
  • Hand-held showers make rinsing off and tub cleaning easier. Depending on your tub's configuration, these models may require an additional hole in the tub for installation.


  • Diverters shift the flow of water in tub and shower combos from the spout to the showerhead.

On the Spout

Pull up the diverter on the tub spout when water is flowing to activate the showerhead.

Third Handle

Turn the middle handle to activate the showerhead.

Single Handle Pull-Up

Pull up on the temperature control handle to activate the showerhead.


  • Pressure-Balancing Valves maintain your preset water temperature when hot or cold water pressure suddenly drops.
  • Thermostatic Valves adjust the flow of hot and cold water to maintain a preset temperature. Some feature digital displays that provide temperature readings.
  • Universal Valves accommodate a wide range of faucet fixtures, eliminating the need to make adjustments and alterations to concealed plumbing.
  • Anti-Scald Valves allow you to set the maximum temperature. Some units feature anti-scald protection built directly into the faucet.

Showerhead Perks

  • Self-Cleaning Showerheads require minimal maintenance because they do not accumulate nor corrode from calcium or lime deposits that often restrict water flow.
  • Adjustable Locking Showerheads ensure a full range of adjustability without arm slippage.

Installation And Maintenance Tips

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, as they may vary from make and model.
  • Be sure to shut off your water. 
  • Remember to clean the surface where the faucet is to be installed.
  • If you are replacing an older faucet, avoid stripping the nuts by using penetrating oil to loosen them.
  • Water conditions and wear may affect the performance of your faucet over time. Changing the faucet cartridge or O-rings could significantly improve performance.
  • Clean your faucet using a damp cloth and a mild soap; avoid using harsh abrasive cleaners.
  • The Home Depot carries a large assortment of the most common replacement parts. Ask an in-store Associate for details.

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