Having a tidy, great-looking bathroom is something all family guys admire, and try to achieve.
I’m among them, and I love to see a fine setup, especially with chrome finish, modern tiles...
You know, the type you’ll definitely notice.
Today we compare and pick up the best shower drain on the market in 2019, a piece of bathroom equipment that will make a big difference.
Let’s dive in!
What type of shower drain do I need?
There are three general types of shower drains available at the moment:
- Single-piece - as the name suggests, these are the simplest drains, consisting of two elements screwed together.
- Three-piece - these drains allow for adjustments regarding the shower floor, and adjustability fits them in multi-layered flooring. Tough to install.
- Multipiece shower drains - often used for shower stalls, these complex drains provide the best protection but are very demanding to install.
Since the type of shower drain depends on the type of flooring your shower will have, this is the starting point. Currently, there are several options available:
- Cast floors
- Tiled floors
- Mosaic floors
- Natural stone floors
- Vinyl floors
As a DIY home improvement person, you probably have a preference when it comes to materials & design. Based on that fact, you should pick the type of shower drain.
There’s a best-suitable shower drain for every type of bathroom flooring.
To make it easier for you, let’s combine the first two categories:
- Cast floors: Single piece, multipiece
- Tiled floors: single piece, three-piece
- Mosaic floors: three-piece
- Natural stone floors: - three-piece
- Vinyl floors: multipiece, three-piece
Note: all of the mentioned types could be installed in any of the mentioned floors. The recommendations are for the best & easiest solution.
Top 4 Shower Drains Reviews
From WingTite, we have one of their most successful models on the market, a basic circular shower drain which has won the attention of many people by the ease of use, overall quality, and materials.
It comes in three finishes to pick from:
- Brushed Nickel
- Oil-Rubbed Bronze
First and foremost, this is a one-piece shower drain, and WingTite advertises it as a very-easy-to-install drain. You install it entirely from the top, without removing the shower, which is quite convenient and good for remodeling or replacing leaky drains.
Its patented all-ring sealing design allows vertical shower pan movement, which is the biggest cause of shower drain failure.
But, this also means it’s not suitable for tile shower flooring because these flooring options won’t move under your weight. Overall, with its 3 ¼ inch diameter, this drain is an amazing performer, and its ease of installation brings the best possible solution to old, leaky drains.
Even though the manufacturer provided clean & useful video instructions for installation, it might not be as easy for some drain configurations. Keep that in mind.
- Easy to install
- Great waterproofing
- Have to be careful with waterproofing the gasket & top of shower floor flange
KOHLER is a big brand in the home improvement niche, and products from this brand bring quality & reputation. This shower drain from them comes as a three-piece configuration, making it suitable for various shower flooring, with tiled floors in mind the most.
It comes in various finishes:
- Brushed chrome
- Polished chrome
- Vibrant brushed bronze
- Vibrant brushed nickel
- Vibrant French gold
- Vibrant Moderne brushed gold
- Vibrant polished brass
- Vibrant polished nickel
As you can see, there’s a lot of options for all the bathroom designers out there. With KOHLER’s tile-in shower drain, you won’t be disappointed aesthetically.
What about its installation & performance?
Well, being a three-part shower drain, it will require more than decent expertise in plumbing, and if you’re not 100% sure that you can handle it, I advise you seek out professional service.
Besides this, the drain performs great. A more than generous water flow rate allows for multiple shower heads to operate at the full load. The leaks aren’t possible, presumed that the installation was done correctly. The installation instructions are shoddy, which is a strange move by KOHLER.
On the bad side, you have to be extra careful on the pipe diameters before purchasing this unit, because if it doesn’t fit you’ll have to spend a lot of money for adapters and additional professional service.
- Great looks
- Value for the money
- The water flow rate is good
- Great durability
- Installation can be difficult - very strange manual
- Not fitting to all standard pipes
HANE’s sub-brand HANEBATH brings us the square shower floor drain with tile insert grate, which at first sight - looks fantastic. This modern shower drain will grab the attention and perform great if you have the fitting type drainage.
It comes in three configurations:
- Oil Rubbed Bronze
- Square Hole
- Tile Insert
Regardless of which one you choose, I’m positive you’ll get a great-looking shower drain. The drain is built from high-grade 304 stainless steel, which will look amazing, and the tile that goes in has two different surfaces, so you can experiment with the visual presentation of your shower.
This drain fits only NO HUB drainage systems, which is different from the standard American setup and will require messing with the pipes and flooring, so please be careful when selecting and researching.
When installed properly, this drain will provide you a great waterproofing and long-term value. The water flow rate on these things isn’t best since the tile sacrifices the flow for looks, but when you’re picking this kind of shower drain, you are most likely aware.
- Amazing looks and possibility to change the tile
- Looks way more expensive
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Great durability
- Demanding installation which requires additional parts
For the last product on today review roundup, we have a linear shower drain from HANEBATH.
This is a stylish, very appealing shower drain which won’t suit most of the standard shower drain configurations, and will require significant customizations.
On the other hand, when installed properly, this unit will simply look and perform amazingly. Like on the previous model from HANEBATH, the covering tile has two different surfaces for you to pick and stylize your shower with elegance.
It comes in oil rubber bronze, square hole, and tile insert configurations.
Be aware though, that besides significant customization of your shower floor, you will need a gasket and PVC drain to make it work. Still, with all this combined into a working configuration, this drain will bring a sense & performance of premium class, for the fraction of the price.
- Fantastic premium looks
- Great water flow
- Great build quality
- Premium materials (304 stainless steel)
- Easy to maintain and unclog
- Requires knowledge, customizations & additional parts to work
- Very slow when clogged - beware of that
What to Consider Before Buying a Shower Drain?
There are a plethora of options available at the market today, no doubt about that. The main point is - what to look for when deciding?
I’ve listed out the features you should consider, based on relevance and importance.
First and foremost, you need to pick a drain that matches your shower floor by shape and aesthetics.
There are traditional (standard, or grate) drains out there, coming in round or square shape. Nothing fancy about them.
Finally, we have linear drains, long and narrow drains which fit into the modern shower configurations the most. Highly customizable & very attractive, these can really steal the attention.
There are also more advanced, tile top linear shower drains as well, for the ultimate sophistication and style.
After you’ve decided on the desired style, have a look at the installation manuals, or ask a salesman about the ease of installation. Some drains shouldn’t be installed if you’re not a professional plumber, or have extensive knowledge in this field. So, keep this in mind if you want to have a DIY upgrade.
When picking a linear drain, the length of the drain itself can mess up your tile formation, and require you to make new adjustments which can be quite tiring and costly. Furthermore, the waterproofing of the floor layers is very important, and with different length, this process gets harder.
When choosing for a shower drain, the flow rate is an important feature to consider as well. This regulates the quickness of water flowing out of the shower and should be in sync with your shower head speed.
If you don’t want to end in a flooded shower, you need a shower drain which can drain the water as quickly as shower head is spending.
Finally, you should pay attention to maintenance of the shower drain. Is it hard to clean it, remove the parts, or unclog it? You want a shower drain which won’t be hard to maintain.
Are linear drains better?
Maybe not in most cases. You will realize that many types of shower drain the water away with the same efficiency unless you need an unusually large amount of water in your shower.
Traditional models will cost less than a linear drain.
Where should the drain be placed in a shower?
Traditional models: typically placed in the middle of the shower floor. So the floor is sloped from all directions down to the drain.
Linear models: commonly placed along one wall of the shower. It means that entire shower floor slopes gently and evenly toward the drain.
What is the recommended slope of a shower base?
A proper slope of the shower floor will prevent the standing water on your bathroom floor after the water source turned off. And it will help you solve the issues with mold and mildew. So What is the proper slope of a shower floor?
For the water drains efficiently, the recommended minimum slope for a shower floor is about 4 percent from the shower walls to the drain.
Final Word & My Recommendation
Today we’ve learned together what makes a great shower drain, and reviewed some of the popular products online. As an educated buyer, you know that you need to pick a product that will fit your current setup, or fit in the revamp plans.
As for me, I’ve settled with HANEBATH Square Shower Floor Drain (see full specs), and it looks absolutely amazing. I’ve installed it without much hassle because I was well-prepared, and the quality it brought to my shower is impressive. The water flow is fantastic, and it matched my tiles perfectly.