Last updated: August 9, 2021

Do you want to upgrade your bathroom even further and add a modern and chic device that stands for luxury? A shower panel not only makes your bathroom look more modern and elegant, but also pampers you and your loved ones with various water jets and other additional functions, such as a thermostat or a massage.

Our large shower panel test 2021 will help you find the best shower panel for you. Here we advise you about the different materials and additional functions that are available. In this way, you can easily find out which shower panel complements your bathroom best.

Contents




Summary

  • Shower panels are shower columns that consist of various water jets and offer the user numerous functions, such as a thermostat or a massage.
  • Before you decide on a particular model, you should evaluate a shower panel based on the size of the material and the installation.
  • Shower panels can be purchased in many places. The internet is particularly useful because of the wider choice and more affordable prices.

The Best Shower Panel: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a shower panel

What is a shower panel?

A shower panel, also called a shower column, consists of various water showers and can offer the user a unique shower experience, depending on its function.

For some years now, more and more simple shower heads are being replaced by complex fittings. These include a thermostat, LED or massage showers, among others. Apart from that, a shower panel can serve as an expression of luxury. For example, a shower panel with a showerhead is an indication of a higher hotel category.

What are the advantages of complex shower panels compared to shower systems?

In contrast to shower systems, the individual parts of shower columns are permanently installed in a panel and thus the assembly of the finished product is far less complicated. When moving house, the shower panel can be conveniently taken along. Corner mounting is also possible with the right bracket.

In addition, the design elements of the panel offer many different options, from material to functions. Since these are already predefined, the final purchase decision is probably easier than if you had to select the individual mounting elements. In addition, you will ultimately spend less than if you were to buy all the individual parts (thermostat, shower head, etc.) separately.

Depending on your available budget, you can make your own personal statement in a simple way. In this way, you can offer yourself and others a regular and varied wellness experience in the future.

A shower panel contains various water jets with different functions. The advantage over normal shower systems is that all parts are permanently installed in the panel, which is practical when moving house, for example. (Photo: midascode / Pixabay.com)

What in particular should be considered with shower panels?

First of all, of course, you should choose the right shower panel. Which functions are most important to you? If you are the uncomplicated type, one shower head and several massage showers are probably enough.

However, if you like to spend more time in the bathroom, you should consider a showerhead or waterfall shower and LED lighting.

In any case, the design may be the deciding factor.

Does your bathroom follow a particular design, such as "tropical rainforest"? Then of course you will choose your material according to the circumstances. Ultimately, your bathroom also plays a decisive role.

Is a corner installation more suitable for your bathroom? And who will ultimately use your shower? In particular, the height at which you mount the shower fitting will depend on this.

After you have installed your panel, changing the height can be extremely inconvenient. There may even be traces left over from the previous installation. Exceptions are special adhesives, although new ones will probably have to be obtained.

Which shower panel is most recommended?

There is no such thing as the perfect shower panel. The market offers a diverse selection of products from which you have to filter out the most suitable shower column on your own. Your objectives and budget play a decisive role here. Make sure you are clear about what you want.

On this page, we compare different manufacturers and sales channels to give you a good overview. In short, there is only one perfect shower panel for everyone.

What are the advantages of LED or thermostat shower panels?

Shower panels with LED are becoming increasingly popular, as the various light effects can create a very individual atmosphere. This makes showering an experience for individuals, couples or families. LED light is less costly and wasteful than lighting candles. Thermostats are also a successful innovation.

They prevent the shower from suddenly getting cold - for example, if someone in the house flushes the toilet. High-quality shower panels often already have a shower thermostat or mixer tap built in, which mix hot and cold water so that the desired temperature is constantly maintained.

One of the advantages of this is that you don't have to find the perfect temperature. In short, water can be saved and a cold shock prevented. There is also a child lock so that no one gets scalded if the temperature is too high.

Are shower panels with LED dangerous?

The only dangerous shower panels are those that run on electricity from the socket. But these have fortunately almost completely disappeared from the market these days. A successor are turbine-controlled shower panels, which unfortunately have some disadvantages.

Under certain circumstances, they create an annoying background noise. In addition, they quickly lose their function if the water contains a lot of lime.

Far more recommendable are shower columns that are battery-operated. On average, the batteries only need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years and the battery compartment should be easily accessible.

Why is infrared used for shower columns?

Infrared heaters are a new trend for bathrooms and especially shower columns. This is especially due to the fact that, in contrast to the classic sauna, the heating of the body takes place more gently and the circulation is less stressed.

The heat from the radiators acts directly on the skin, and the beneficial stimulation of sweat production flushes away your pollutants. During this process you can control the temperature and the light according to your needs. In general, your skin breathing is gently improved and muscle pain after exertion is reduced.

It is important to note that the infrared function can only be used without a glass cabin.

What is the purpose of the mixer tap for shower fittings?

The mixer tap is a technical device or fitting in which the mixing of water at different temperatures is regulated. This is done by means of one or more valves operated by handles.

The water flow is metered to achieve the desired temperature by mixing cold and hot water. Additional functions are:

  • The stabilisation of the mixing temperature, even with pressure and temperature fluctuations of the inflows, by means of a thermostat
  • The flow limitation by means of a pressure point within the lever adjustment range

Which shower head is best for you?

There are many types of shower heads:

Showerhead Position of showerhead Nozzle openings Water stream
Rain showerhead Above Wide showerhead with many small openings Comparable to rainwater
Surge showerhead Above Wide, elongated opening Single, wide jet
Side/massage shower Body height, lateral Numerous, small openings Thin jets
Waterfall shower Above Numerous, small openings arranged in an elongated shape Thin jets in an elongated shape

You can choose from these and other shower heads when you buy your shower panel. The high-quality shower columns usually have several shower heads that can be adjusted according to your needs.

What are the most common problems with shower panels?

The most common problems with shower panels include the cleaning process and the malfunction of the temperature control. In some cases, there have been complaints about a lack of hot water in individual glands. In this case, the mixer tap is probably defective. Repairing it yourself can be inconvenient and requires a special hand tool.

Accordingly, a specialist should be consulted. Depending on the model, it may be more worthwhile to purchase a new shower panel. Lime water can also wear out certain raw materials quickly.

Stinky water from the shower is also a recurring issue and the reason is always the same: Cheap supply hoses. You should be aware of all the risks before you buy.

Who will build or install the shower panel for me?

As shower panels are known for their simplified assembly process, you can usually fix your fitting yourself. However, the instructions can be both simple and difficult to follow. A simple procedure is to attach the cross struts of the panel to the wall hooks by their notch.

Four hands can simplify this process, although panels usually weigh no more than a few kilograms. Some manufacturers even use a gluing method that allows you to conveniently attach the shower panel to the wall with secure adhesive. Corner installation requires more intensive preparation, as the fitting must fit perfectly.

Nowadays, a YouTube tutorial can give you a good idea of the necessary installation steps. If you have any questions or complications, you can of course contact the manufacturer directly and, in an emergency, hire an installer.

What is an alternative for shower panels?

A simple overhead shower can in no way replace a shower panel, as the latter is primarily known for its multifunctional properties. But some companies offer their clientele the option of ordering a set of individual parts complete.

As with shower columns, you can also call in a plumber if necessary, who will advise you and install the individual parts. The shower system in a complete package may be a hassle to install, but at least you don't have to select or locate each individual element first.

How much does a simple shower panel cost compared to an exclusive shower panel?

The price range for shower panels goes from affordable to expensive. In figures, this means prices ranging from around 1000 euros to 3000 euros. The difference is not primarily the inner workings, but rather the material of the panel, i.e. the visual aspects. Cheaper raw materials are plastic and aluminium, whereas marble is noble and robust, but expensive.

In addition, the choice of the seller plays a big role. If you are clever, you can save more than half. Wellness products are definitely more expensive in retail stores because there is no direct comparison with the competition.

These prices are not always justified, but top brand manufacturers such as Grohe and Hansgrohe, among others, sell products at fair prices on the Internet. When researching, you should of course look for good quality and, if possible, a guarantee. Furthermore, if you know your way around, you can save the costs of the plumber.

Decision: What types of shower panels are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, a distinction is made between six different shower panels:

  • Shower panel in stainless steel
  • Shower panel in aluminium
  • Glass shower panel
  • Shower panel made of plastic
  • Shower panel in wood or bamboo
  • Shower panel in marble

What distinguishes a shower panel made of stainless steel and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The most conventional material for shower panels has recently become stainless steel. In addition to its attractive appearance, this raw material is durable, low-maintenance, temperature-resistant and hygienic.

Advantages
  • Durable
  • Hygienic
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Visible traces (limescale stains, fingerprints)

One disadvantage is the visible fingerprints, but these are easy to wash off under normal circumstances.

What distinguishes an aluminium shower panel and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Aluminium is a suitable alternative to stainless steel. It is also cheaper and its lightness makes it easier to transport and install. This also makes it suitable for combination with other, heavy raw materials such as glass.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Light weight (for transport / assembly)
  • Easy to care for
Disadvantages
  • Visible traces (lime spots / fingerprints)
  • Short-lived

In addition, it is easy to clean, despite visible traces. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning its increased maintenance requirements.

What distinguishes a glass shower panel and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Another popular material is safety glass. The transparent version fits into every bathroom, so to speak. On the other hand, glass is also available in various shades, but may require more intensive cleaning.

Advantages
  • Visually appealing
  • Available in different colours
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Visible traces (fingerprints)

To avoid excessive weight, glass is usually combined with lightweight aluminium.

What distinguishes a shower panel made of plastic and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The cheaper alternative to glass is plastic. This has the same properties, but is more short-lived.

Advantages
  • No visible marks
  • Available in different colours
  • Little cleaning required
Disadvantages
  • Short-lived

Although there is less need for cleaning, scratches or the like are more quickly visible.

What distinguishes a shower panel made of wood or bamboo and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Shower columns made of wood or bamboo are also visual highlights that can support a tropical feeling. With these raw materials, however, you should always follow the manufacturer's cleaning tips, as special types of wood require individual care.

Advantages
  • Noble appearance
  • No visible traces
  • Light weight (for transport/assembly)
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Requires intensive care

The weight of the raw material is usually low, so that transport and assembly do not pose any major problems. Of course, it depends on the combination with other materials. Scratches are to be avoided above all during treatment. If there are any, you can perhaps sand them off.

What distinguishes a marble shower panel and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

For higher budgets, marble is also a welcome material in the bathroom. It is true that you have to dig relatively deep into your pocket and the transport is somewhat more cumbersome due to the high weight.

Advantages
  • Noble sight
  • No visible marks
  • Durable
Disadvantages
  • ExpensiveHeavy weight (for transport/installation)

But the noble stone also has some advantages, such as its low cleaning requirement. Fingerprints and the like are hardly visible. Marble is also very durable.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate shower panels

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate shower panels. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain model is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Material and design
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Size / dimensions of the panel
  • Shower types
  • Fixing/assembly criteria
  • Extra features and functions

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Material and design

The material plays the most important role in terms of design. It also influences the weight, the quality, the cleaning effort and the price of the shower column. The precise advantages and disadvantages of the individual raw materials can be read in the "Decision" block.

Nevertheless, stainless steel is the most conventional material. Aluminium is considered light and is therefore often combined with safety glass. This is available in different colours, just like plastic. The latter, however, is considered cheaper and more durable.

Various types of wood and bamboo are considered high-maintenance. These nevertheless go well with the "rainforest" décor or similar. Ultimately, marble is sometimes the highest quality and most expensive raw material for shower panels.

Ease of cleaning

A shower panel is an absolute eye-catcher and visual highlight for every bathroom. However, to ensure that the shower panel's appearance remains as beautiful as it is, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The fight against the less beautiful limescale residues already starts with the choice of shower panel. Higher-quality shower panels often have anti-limescale nozzles, which is definitely a good investment and can save a lot of work later on.

If you don't want to deal with dirt, limescale and fingerprints on your shiny new shower panel, consider nano-sealing it before using it for the first time. Especially with stainless steel shower panels, this can save a lot of work and keep your shower panel shining like the first day for a long time.

If you want to clean your shower panel with acid cleaner, make sure you find out beforehand whether the material of the shower panel in question can tolerate it. With good shower panels, you should pay attention to the corresponding instructions in the operating manual. The packaging of the acid cleaner should also explicitly state which materials it is suitable for.

If you are still unsure, it is advisable to first test the cleaner on an inconspicuous part of the shower panel. Certain metals, for example, can become discoloured by acid cleaners, which is often extremely annoying.

You should avoid scouring pads at all costs when cleaning your shower panel! This can cause unsightly scratches on your shower panel, especially if there are limescale deposits. Instead, try removing the dirt with a soft cloth and mild washing-up liquid.

Size / dimensions of the panel

The size of the shower panel is one of the most important factors in the final purchase decision. Before you decide on a stylish new shower panel, you should measure whether your shower cubicle is big enough. This way you can be sure that all functions can be used properly.

With less space, it can happen that the water splashes against the wall or the shower door. And that's not where it's supposed to go.

Different sizes are relevant for the shower panel, because in addition to the actual panel, other fittings (e.g. hand shower) may also have to be installed. The length of the hose also plays a role. Nevertheless, you should first consider the length, width and depth of the shower panel.

Shower types

As you have probably already noticed, there is a very complex selection of shower types. These are defined by three main features: the size, shape and number of nozzles.

So it makes a difference whether you have a shower column with 6 individual massage jets of 10 jets each or a panel with 2 massage panels of 50 jets each. A rain shower and a surge shower can cover the same area. But do you personally prefer one consistent jet or several individual jets?

Here you will find a list of the most common showers:

  • Rain shower
  • Waterfall shower
  • Surge shower
  • Side/massage showers

Fastening/mounting criteria

A decisive purchase criterion for shower fittings is whether you want to mount the panel at the corner. Please note that with some models this is either only possible with special additional tools or not at all. Apart from that, you need to be aware of the necessary connections and the perfect position (e.g. height). A standard wall connection is ½ inch.

Here you will also find an example of the most important steps in the installation instructions:

Prepare connections

The shower panel may be attached to mounting rails (for corners to mounting brackets). Plan exactly at what height you want to attach the wellness fitting: The nozzles should be optimally adjusted to the respective body height and the hand shower should still be easily accessible.

Take the blind plugs out of the water inlets and screw in spacers for them with an Allen key. Wrap the threads with Teflon tape or hemp so that they are absolutely tight.

The main water tap must be turned off.

Connecting the shower panel

You will probably need an external thread (double nipple) for the fitting, which you also wrap with Teflon tape or hemp and then screw into the spacers and tighten.

Seal the cavities between the threaded pieces and the wall with silicone.

The finished wellness shower panel: However, before the fitting is in place and the hoses are connected, let the water run for about three minutes. This cleans the threads and flushes dirt particles out of the pipe network.

When attaching the panel, it is best to work in pairs: while one holds the top, the other screws the hot and cold water inlets onto the water connections at the bottom.

Extra features and functions

Anti-scale nozzles

More and more brand manufacturers, such as the German company Hansgrohe, are offering special shower fittings with modern anti-scale systems.

These shower heads are equipped with silicone nubs on the aerators and jet nozzles. This anti-calc system has the advantage that possible limescale residues can be removed particularly easily. With the anti-scale systems, the limescale deposits can simply be rubbed away without the need for harsh cleaners and time-consuming cleaning.

Thermostat

The shower panel with thermostat offers you safety, comfort and economy.

Your pre-selected water temperature remains constant for the duration of the shower, so there is no risk of burns from a sudden rise in temperature and no cold shock from a drop in temperature.

The thermostatic mixers maintain your pre-selected water temperature so you can enjoy your shower and relax. When you want to turn off the water (e.g. to shampoo your hair), the thermostat will automatically select exactly the same temperature when you turn the water back on.

By installing a thermostatic mixer, you save water and energy at the same time. Because of its efficiency, a thermostatic shower mixer will pay for itself in a short time.

Performance

Although you probably don't consider this aspect directly, the spray strength of your shower panel can have a big impact on your showering experience.

For example, consider getting a shower panel with massage jets. But then you find that the side jets are too weak and the actual massage function is not satisfactory. Or you spend more time than necessary removing shampoo from your hair because the power is very weak.

Besides the loss of time, you also use more electricity. These are negative side effects that should be avoided at all costs. Some shower panels allow you to manually adjust the spray strength. Depending on your budget, it is advisable to consider this first.

Volume

In addition to the individual functions, the constant temperature and the perfect jet strength, the volume also contributes to the perfection of the shower experience.

Customer reviews vary widely on this topic. Accordingly, it is important to inform yourself before buying and, depending on your needs, to make your purchase decision dependent on this criterion. If you like to listen to music in the bathroom, a regulated noise level is the basic requirement for your satisfaction.

Image source: unsplash.com / Tobias Seward

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