1 Handle Vs. 2 Handles Vs. 3 Handles Shower Faucet: Which Is Best For Your New Bathroom?

Last Updated: August 03, 2022 | By JULIAN GILL

When it comes to remodeling your bathroom and the shower area, in particular, you have several options when it comes to choosing the best fixtures for your overall design. One of the most important things when it comes to the shower is the water handle. This controls the flow of the hot and cold water to both the lower water faucet and the upper shower head. The handle also acts as a pressure controller that raises and lowers how fast the water comes out of the shower head or faucet.

Table Of Contents

1 Handle Vs. 2 Handles Vs. 3 Handles Shower Faucet Comparison
1 Handle Vs. 2 Handles Vs. 3 Handles Shower Faucet Comparison

The main differences between 1 handle, 2 handles, and 3 handles shower faucets

1-handle shower faucet the primary difference with a 2-handle or 3-handle shower faucet is that you control the temperature of the water rising and lower the handle. At the same time, you are controlling the water pressure. The other difference is that the pressure valve is built-in; therefore, you do not have to install a separate pressure-balancing shower valve to meet the building code.

The 2-handle shower faucets are still allowed by most building codes. The two handles are used primarily for controlling the amount of hot and cold water. The typical setup has the hot water handle on the left and the cold water handle on the right side. However, to meet the building code, you must have a pressure-balancing valve in the wall.

The 3-handle shower faucet is unique in that it puts the water diverter actuator in the wall instead of on the faucet. By turning this handle, the water will either come out of the shower head or the water faucet. The handle on the lefthand side controls the hot water, and the righthand side handles control the cold water. You will also need a pressure-balancing valve installed in the wall to meet the building code.

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The best overall choice for a shower faucet

Hands down, the 1-handle shower faucet is hands down the number shower faucet. This is for several reasons, starting with most residential building codes requiring using a one-handled model. Depending on the area you live in, a grandfather clause could allow you to use a two- or three-handle model faucet. Below are several reasons to choose a single-handled shower faucet. 

  • Only requires a single hole in the wall for installation
  • One handle controls temperature and water flow
  • Only need one hand to turn the water on and off
  • The single-handled shower faucet is easy to operate for older people.

What consumers say

One of the best ways to get an idea about how good any product is before you make your purchase is to read what other people have said about their experiences with the product. The overwhelming number of consumer reviews of shower faucets says that the 1-handle shower faucet is the best choice for them. The single-handled faucets are inexpensive, easier to install, and much simpler to use. 

One consumer of the single-handle shower faucet we interviewed says, “Recently, I was remodeling my home. I bought a single-handle shower faucet and it worked out well. Because I got the tub spout along with the shower heads and everything was perfectly combined. I had a confusion about the water pressure, but it works like a charm! I’m so happy with this purchase.” 

Expert’s opinions

This is what we found out that plumbers think about the differences between the 1-handle, 2-handle, and 3-handle shower faucets.

According to everything that we have been able to find online, most plumbers agree that 1-handle shower faucets are the best option. It is far easier to adhere to building code without having to add extra work. 

Experts says, “If your consideration is easy to install, one handled shower faucet is the best choice. The two-handle or three-handled shower faucet is better for luxury in your bathroom.”


By far the single-handle shower faucet is preferred by the overwhelming majority of plumbers and other professionals. Most building codes do not allow the use of 2 or 3-handle shower faucets without having special valves installed in line with the water supply lines. Also, some municipalities included a grandfather clause in their building codes to allow other than a 1-handle shower faucet. Based on what we have been able to determine unless you are looking for a specific old-style design for your full bathroom, you should stick with the 1-handle shower faucet.

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author of resisories.com julian gill pictureJulian Gill

Julian Gill is a mechanical engineer and Certified in Plumbing Design (CPD) and worked as a plumbing engineer for ten years. Besides this, he is interested in home improvement and currently works as a writer. @JulianGillPro

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