How to choose the right mixer for shower and bath

The need to buy a new shower mixer is rare. The most frequent reasons for this are: repair work in the bathroom or worn-out old crane. In some cases, the desire for owners to install a modern shower mixer model only plays a role in making the decision to replace it, simply because it seems to be more convenient, economical or because of prestige.

Thermostatic mixer device

The device of the thermostatic mixer.

The choice of sanitary ware of this category in the market is so great that it is not possible to determine which shower faucet to choose for your bathroom. This causes a number of problems with the installation and operation of the crane, negative emotions due to inconvenience in use or design. How to choose a bathroom faucet to avoid this? First of all, you need to determine the choice of the model by the following criteria:

  • by the method of installation;
  • by material;
  • with ball valves or faucets;
  • traditional or modern thermostatic.

Mounting method

Joystick Mixer Drawing

Drawing joystick mixer.

The most crucial step in replacing any tap is its installation. If you do not plan a major repair in the bathroom with the replacement of communications, then the way of installation directly depends on how to choose a shower mixer. There are only two installation methods:

  1. Wall mounted means the fastening of the valve body directly to the communication pipes, which can be hidden in the wall. Currently, there are models that only have a decorative panel in sight.
  2. On the sink or bath, with the mixer connected to the water pipes using flexible liner. You can mount them on the side of the tiles.

The choice of the crane according to this criterion occurs depending on the communications in a particular bathroom. Otherwise, the models have similar properties, the choice is made based on the personal preferences of the host.


Большинство смесителей в наше время делают из латуни, применяя этот материал для отливки корпуса крана. Дорогие экологичные модели могут быть выполнены и из хрома, но обычно им покрывают лишь поверхности смесителя. Применение этого металла для покрытия диктуется в первую очередь его бактерицидными свойствами и декоративным внешним видом хромированных деталей. Среди материалов отделки встречаются эмаль, пластик, стекло и поделочные сорта камня. Эксклюзивные модели могут иметь позолоту или платиновое напыление. Materialы, применяемые при изготовлении и декорировании смесителей, влияют на стоимость готового изделия.

Durability and availability to repair determine the mechanisms of water supply of the crane.

Scheme of mixer with slide switch

Scheme mixer with a slide switch.

They can be valve or ball. Classic models, familiar to everyone, are valve models. They are distinguished by the presence of two handles for cold and hot water and a jet switch in the spout or a shower head. Modern 2-valve mixers are equipped with water-retaining devices, called crane-axle. This is the most critical part, the breakdown of which requires urgent repairs. There are crane-axle boxes with a rubber cuff or ceramic discs.

The first option is traditional and has the advantage from the point of view of performing its repair: when the cuff is worn, it is necessary to disassemble the valve and replace the small rubber part-gasket. The cost of such repairs is very low and is accessible to any home craftsman. Another feature is the way to open and close the crane: to increase the flow, you need to make up to 1.5 turns of the handle, and when closing, apply a little effort.

The variant with ceramic faucets is characterized by the fact that for full opening it is necessary to make only a half-turn of the handle. The service life of ceramic plates is much longer than the rubber cuff, but when used in areas with water containing mechanical impurities (sand or other inclusions), wear can be very great. Repair of the crane-axle with ceramic plates is the complete replacement of this part. In comparison with a rubber gasket this is quite a costly exercise, but the installation of a new crane-axle is not difficult.

Ball mixers differ from traditional ones by the presence of only one handle to control the temperature and flow of water and the switch from the spout into the shower head. The mechanism of such a crane is a cartridge of the ball type proper or ceramic. In the first case, inside the cartridge there is a ball with holes, when turning it into holes, hot and cold water enters. Mixing takes place inside the ball and the water supply depends on the degree of coincidence of the ball holes and the spout (or shower). The mechanism is not longevous, the replacement is made only of the entire cartridge, indiscriminately. In contrast, the ceramic cartridge is durable, but precise fitting of the parts makes them vulnerable to mechanical impurities in the water. When using mixers with these cartridges, it is desirable to install a water filter.

Technical novelties

The scheme of the device of the single-lever mixer

Diagram of the device single-lever mixer.

Unlike conventional single-lever or two-valve mixers, thermostatic appliances can maintain a user-defined water temperature, regardless of pressure changes in the pipes. This is very important for multi-storey houses and for settlements with an old water supply system, where pressure jumps occur frequently, resulting in a sharp change in the temperature of the water in the shower, which causes discomfort to adults and can be dangerous for children. Select a mixer with a thermostat will be the best solution for families with preschool children or for pensioners and invalids.

On the body of the mixer there are 2 handles: the right one determines the head and includes the supply of water to the shower, and the left one serves to regulate the temperature of the water. The scale image helps to determine the desired temperature for comfortable showering. It is maintained by the thermoelement installed in the mixer body throughout the procedure. It limits the supply of cold or hot water depending on the change in the set temperature. The user experiences only a change in the water pressure. To protect against sudden burns, there is a button that saves the preset mode. Without pressing it, you can not change the selected temperature.

When installing such a mixer in the shower room, you must carefully consider the connection of communications. If the inputs of hot and cold water supply are interchanged, the temperature controller sensors will not work correctly, leading to an arbitrary change in the temperature regime.

The solution to the question of how to choose a faucet, thus, can be called individual for each. The main requirement for it should be reliability and compliance with the conditions in which the device will operate.

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