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5 Different Types of Shower Diverter Valves & Their Differences

Close-up dirty on tap water filter valve_spyarm_shutterstock

One of the most complicated parts of installing a new shower is figuring out the plumbing and the flow of water. The more faucets, nozzles, or showerheads you incorporate into your shower, the more difficult this becomes. Everyone has used a shower diverter valve, but you were probably unaware you were doing so.

Even the metal pull on your tub faucet is a shower diverter valve, but it’s not the only kind you can find. In fact, there are five major types of shower diverter valves to know about. In this article, we will briefly describe each of them so you know which one your shower has or which one your new shower needs.Divider 4

The 5 Different Types of Shower Diverter Valves

1. Tee Diverter

Tee diverter

This is the most basic type of diverter valve, and almost everyone has used one before. It diverts a single stream of water from the tub faucet to the showerhead. It’s located inside the tub faucet and opens and closes by the metal pull on the front of the faucet. When you pull it up, the water is diverted away from the tub faucet to the showerhead.

  • Built into the tub faucet
  • Direct flow by pulling up on the metal tab
  • Only diverts between showerhead and tub faucet

2. Two-Valve Diverter

A two-valve diverter serves the same function as a tee diverter, but it does so in a different way. Instead of being built into the tub faucet, a two-valve diverter is built into the wall.

It’s controlled by a handle that you turn to divert the water to either the tub faucet or the showerhead. This diverter valve will work with a single temperature control handle or a set of individual hot and cold knobs, which would be positioned between.

  • Controlled by a handle
  • Built into the wall
  • Only diverts stream between two outputs

3. Three-way Diverter Valve

The three-way diverter valve allows you to divert the water flow between three outputs. For instance, you could switch between a tub faucet, a showerhead, and a handheld. A three-way diverter valve handle has multiple stop positions, allowing you to divert the flow in many ways.

You can send all the water to a single output, such as the showerhead. Alternatively, you could simultaneously send the water to two different places, such as the showerhead and handheld.

  • Built into the wall
  • Can switch between three outputs
  • More complicated to install

4. Four-way Diverter Valve

With a four-way diverter valve, you can power any two outputs of a four-output setup at the same time. For instance, you could have a shower with a tub faucet, a rain showerhead, a regular showerhead, and a handheld.

Using a four-way diverter, any two of these can run simultaneously, such as the rain showerhead and the handheld. Alternatively, you can divert the entire water flow to a single output for a regular shower experience.

  • Can power two outputs simultaneously
  • Can power up to four total outputs
  • Must get outputs lined up correctly to power simultaneously

5. Thermostatic Valve

Thermostatic valves are a newer type of shower technology designed with safety in mind. Most of us have experienced an immediate and drastic increase in shower water temperature when someone else turned on another faucet in the house. This can be alarming, uncomfortable, and even dangerous.

Luckily, a thermostatic valve will negate this issue by automatically detecting the rise in temperature and stopping the flow of hot water. This prevents you from getting burned and enhances your overall shower experience.

  • Automatically adjusts water for temperature fluctuations
  • More expensive than other diverters

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Shower diverter valves can be a relatively confusing part of the shower build process. Without one, you won’t be able to redirect the water flow. Even if you have a simple setup with a tub faucet and a showerhead, you’ll need a diverter valve to switch between them. We’ve all used them, even if we were unaware of it.

The more outputs you incorporate into your shower, the more valves you will need on your diverter. It can be difficult to properly set up a shower diverter valve, so if you’re having trouble, it’s perfectly alright to call in the help of a professional.

Featured Image Credit: spyarm, Shutterstock


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