UPDATED: Jan 09, 2020.
Whether you’ve designed a new bathroom or you’ve just decided to remodel a shower, you will always have to find the right type of shower pan, aka shower base. You have to understand that a shower pan serves as the foundation of the shower, and failing to make a right decision could cause leaking onto the floor and lead bigger issues. To find the best shower pan on the market, you need to know your needs and check some important features as well.
- 1 Are Shower Pans Better Than Tiles?
- 2 Here Are The Best-Selling Shower Pan in 2020
- 2.1 1. DreamLine SlimLine 32 in
- 2.2 2. DreamLine SlimLine 34-in Shower Base in White
- 2.3 3. Schluter Kerdi Wall Line Drain Shower Tray
- 2.4 4. KOHLER 1938-0 Ballast Shower Base
- 2.5 5. Tile Redi USA WF3648R-RB36-KIT
- 2.6 6. Swan FR03260RM.037
- 2.7 7. Bestbath 30-Inch Shower Pan
- 2.8 8. Proflo PFSB3434 Shower Pan
- 2.9 9. Schluter KERDI-SHOWER-ST – 32″
- 2.10 10. American Standard 3636.NEO.020 Shower Base
- 3 Different Types of Shower Pans
- 4 Important Features of Shower Pans to Check
- 5 The Bottom Line
Are Shower Pans Better Than Tiles?
Yes, they are, especially when you are more concerned about the strength and durability. However, it all depends on the material of the shower pan you have selected. For instance, when you opt for an acrylic shower base, it will serve you for many years, much longer than a tile shower pan can.
A shower pan may also be a more cost-effective option, especially because those tiles would require perfect grout and require replacement after some time. An acrylic or ceramic shower pans are going to last a long time, which is why they offer a good value for the money.
At a Glance: The 10 Models We’ve Chosen as Contenders for The Best Shower Pan:
- Schluter KERDI-SHOWER-ST – 32″ (Top Pick)
- DreamLine SlimLine 32 in (Top Rated)
- DreamLine SlimLine 34-in Shower Base in White (Editor Choice)
- Schluter Kerdi Wall Line Drain Shower Tray
- American Standard 3636.NEO.020 Shower Base
- KOHLER 1938-0 Ballast Shower Base
- Tile Redi USA WF3648R-RB36-KIT
- Swan FR03260RM.037
- Bestbath 30-Inch Shower Pan
- Proflo PFSB3434 Shower Pan
Here Are The Best-Selling Shower Pan in 2020
Shower pans can be of different types and styles, so you have to know what will work for your unique circumstances. Here are some good options to choose from.
1. DreamLine SlimLine 32 in
- Great look because of the high-gloss acrylic supported by fiberglass
- Slip-resistant surface for a better bathing experience
- Available in different dimensions and colors
- Installation is not that easy, and you may need some professional help
This center-drain shower base comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The acrylic layer ensures no scratch or stains for a long time. The unit is very solid and built well. Since it comes in many colors (white, black and biscuit), it is easy to choose the one that goes well with the existing bathroom tiles.
You can easily install a door or put a curtain around. The base comes with integrated tile flanges on three sides. The flange is on the 32″ sides and the back 48″. There are different dimensions available, but the product is not adjustable in size.
Therefore, you have to correctly measure the dimensions and order the one suitable for your bathroom though there is a tolerance of +/_ ½” for the drain. For installation, you can put a layer of mortar and then level the set above it quickly. It is not really a DIY project, which may be a downside.
2. DreamLine SlimLine 34-in Shower Base in White
- Available in white for a classy look
- Highly durable with no issue of flexing of the base
- Low profile and scratch resistant for long-lasting performance
- Professional installation needed
This single threshold shower base looks great in white. You won’t face any issue in terms of durability as well. It works great and never causes issues related to the flexing of the base. It is low profile and uses a scratch resistant surface for an impressive performance.
If you’re concerned about the drain location, it is a good idea to check the technical drawing before ordering. Though it is in the center, you will notice that it is centered on width only. It is a well-manufactured shower base, but keep in mind that it is not really a weekend DIY project and requires professional installation.
3. Schluter Kerdi Wall Line Drain Shower Tray
- Made of polystyrene for improved durability
- Reasonably simple installation
- Highly impressive wall drain system
- Maybe a bit overpriced
This sloped tray comes with a pre-installed waterproofing membrane. The side also has a cut out where the shower drain can fit easily. The item is about 13.7 pounds, can be cut to any size you need and prevents even the smallest of leakage. The slope makes it an easy DIY for the weekend.
The standard size is 55”x55” but if you want a smaller size for your bathroom and yet don’t want to cut the edges you can simply fold them, and this actually provides better protection against leaks. Overall, it is a good product but be sure to pay attention to the installation instructions for good results.
4. KOHLER 1938-0 Ballast Shower Base
- Low threshold design for ease of use
- Made of acrylic for long-lasting performance
- No need of mortar for quick installation
- No slip-resistant bottom
Kohler 1938-0 is a popular option for anyone looking for a good quality shower base. With its low threshold design, it becomes easier to get in and get out of the bathroom. The build quality is reasonably good, as it uses highly durable acrylic as the main material. Durability is not going to be an issue because it also combines resin concrete core construction.
It is easy to install the shower base, and it allows for alcove installation as well because of its single threshold design and integral tile-in flange. You don’t even need to use mortar during installation, which is another nice feature. Overall, it offers a solid feel underfoot and is durable, but the only thing is that it does not come with a slip-resistant bottom.
5. Tile Redi USA WF3648R-RB36-KIT
- Bench shower seat and a shower pan in one set
- No issues related to any leakage
- Installation kits to turn it into a DIY project
- A bit overpriced
If you’re looking for a shower pan that is extremely easy to install, this Tile Redi USA pan is just what you need. It helps you install the shower using impressive shower kits. You can consider buying the shower bench along with the tileable shower pan as a set and make everything simple.
This trench shower pan is leak-proof, so you don’t need to worry about creating any mess after each use. It is also a pre-pitched shower pan coupled with integrated curb for added durability and good looks. It is safe and highly efficient, but it may come with a higher upfront cost as compared to some other models.
6. Swan FR03260RM.037
- Retrofit to suit your existing bathtub
- Integral tile flange for easy installation
- Extremely easy to clean
- Mortar required for installation
This American-made shower base from Swan is one reasonably good choice for anyone looking for an affordable shower pan. It is 60 inches long and 32 inches wide, so you have ample space to stand and use the base.
Another good thing about this model is that it comes equipped with a color matched strainer. It comes with an integral tile flange for easier installation. The shower base is actually retrofit to allow for easy installation on your existing bathtub.
Once installed, it is extremely easy to clean and maintain this shower pan. It serves as an impressive alternative to any tile shower pan, but keep in mind that it requires mortar for installation, which may be a downside for some.
7. Bestbath 30-Inch Shower Pan
- Textured surface for a safer showering experience
- Long-lasting with scratch and stain resistant surface
- Integrated tile flange to make installation easy
- A bit pricey
With an overall width of 30 inches, this shower base from Bestbath will provide you with ample space to have a great bathing experience. To provide you with a total peace of mind, it features a slip-resistant textured surface. You will feel safe entering and coming out of the shower.
Constructed with a combination of fiberglass and reinforced gel coating, the shower pan is going to last a long time. Factor in its stain and scratch resistant surface and you have a shower pan that will continue to serve you for years.
What’s more, you can install it with ease because it allows for 3-wall alcove installation and comes with an integrated tile flange as well. Interestingly, you don’t need mortar for installation. Its high price may be the only thing to consider carefully before making a final choice.
8. Proflo PFSB3434 Shower Pan
- Rectangular shower pan to provide a large surface area
- A slip-resistant bottom for a safer experience
- Easy installation for most people
- The design may not work for everyone
If you want to create a rather unique look in your shower, you may want to put your money on this rectangular shower pan. You can always trust the quality because the pan is factory tested before delivery. It functions flawlessly and is a suitable choice whether you need it for a custom shower project or want to use it for a complete shower installation.
Once installed, it serves you well and performs efficiently. With the drain located in the center, there is no need to worry about any blockage. The base is quite sturdy too, with a durable material used in construction. It has a slip-resistant bottom, which is an added benefit. Overall, it is a reasonably good choice, but be sure to check if its rather ‘unique’ design works for you or not.
9. Schluter KERDI-SHOWER-ST – 32″
- The tray is very light-weight and made of Polystyrene
- Easy to install and comes with step by step manual and CD which can save you a lot of time.
- Excellent drain system, not even a trace of water on the floor or walls
- The cost is a bit on the higher side
Schluter Kerdi Shower tray offers a great drain system and comes with all the information you would need to install the system. The installation is easy, as it comes with important instructions and a video CD included in the kit.
The product is sturdy and lightweight and is a great replacement for bulky bathtubs. It makes the bathrooms look much neater and spacious. The membrane is pre-cut for shower base, and you can simply stick the membrane to the base and then tiles to the membrane using a thin set mortar.
Using this set, you can also extend the base to 32×66 or as per your need. The drain outlet is off the center, which makes it very convenient for the water to be quickly drained from all sides. The only issue is that the price may feel a bit high as compared to other similar show trays from other brands.
10. American Standard 3636.NEO.020 Shower Base
- High quality and durable acrylic supported by fiberglass
- Textured bottom to prevent slipping
- Integral flange for water retention
- Limited warranty for only 1 year
The product comes with Integral water retention and tiling. There is also a water dam at the front threshold to prevent water from flowing out of the shower curtain. The shower base includes drain and stainless steel drain plate. The neo-angle shape adds to the stylish and classy look of the base.
The quality is unmatched, and the product works just as expected upon installation. No leaks, no hassles. The product dimensions are 40.4 x 40.4 x 7.8 inches approximately. The length of each side is about 17 7/8″ and the front is 25 13/16″, so it works for most bathroom spaces. With all the instructions, installation won’t be an issue.
Different Types of Shower Pans
Shower pans are currently available in different materials. You have to consider your budget constraints and personal preferences to make a choice. For instance:
- The most popular option is an acrylic shower base, which is lightweight yet extremely durable. You can maintain it with ease.
- You can also put your money on a shower base made of steel. It is hard to match the strength of these models, but it is difficult to maintain them, as they are likely to get damaged by air, dirt, and moisture.
- Another good option is to buy a shower base made of ceramic. It may be the most expensive type of shower base, but it looks exquisite and performs extremely well too.
You can also choose from a variety of shapes. For instance:
- You can buy a curved acrylic shower pan to create a sleek and contemporary look. It is also a cost-effective way to design your shower.
- You can opt for a solid surface shower pan, available in so many colors.
- You can also opt for a custom-made tile shower pan. Be sure to opt for large format tiles for easy maintenance.
Important Features of Shower Pans to Check
You have to consider numerous factors and check out for various features while buying the perfect shower pan for your bathroom. Some key features are listed here:
Size of the Shower Pan
Size of the shower pan is the key feature that must be taken into consideration while buying a shower pan. The size of the pan must be in accordance with the available space in the bathroom. It must not occupy the whole washroom and make other chores impossible.
Sturdy and Stain Resistant
The material of your shower pan must be sturdy and scratch resistant. Most of the shower pans get scratches while rubbing with any hard material or when something falls on. Make sure your shower pan is durable so that it lasts longer and remain gorgeous like new. Acrylic is a good choice, but steel shower bases are also available.
While buying you shower pan make sure it is easier to maintain and is stain resistant. Some fancy shower pans require a lot of effort and eat up your precious time. Don’t go for fancy stuff, and instead look for easily manageable pans that you can clean with minimum exertions.
You should check out installation options while buying your shower pans. Your shower pan should not require intense labor while installation as it may lead to damage to the bathroom floor or to the shower pan itself. It raises the overall cost too.
The material of the shower pan must be durable so that it may last longer. Metal shower pans are prone to get rusted, so they often need to be replaced in a few years. Acrylic pans perform better in this regard.
An ideal shower pan does not allow water to be accumulated on its surface. This will save you from the inconvenience of standing water during the bath and will also keep your shower pan free from watermarks.
Your shower pan must be versatile and can go well with any shower accessories be it from the manufacturers of the same shower pan or any other brand. Shower pans that you cannot integrate with other systems often cause inconvenience.
Design and Style
The design and style of your shower pan is also a crucial feature. You can choose your shower pan from a variety of styles, like a rectangular, neo-angle, quarter-round, and single threshold. The style of your shower pan must accommodate well with your other bathroom accessories and must fit well in the available space.
Safety Standard Certification
Your shower pan should be certified according to the required safety level and in accordance with the local quality standards. It adds on to the authenticity of the product and indicates that your product is effective and in line with the local construction projects.
The Bottom Line
Shower pans, trays, or bases are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, but you need to take your time, consider your budget, and then select the best one for your space. Determining your unique needs will also help you decide if you need a custom size. So, take your time to make a right decision as it will stay with you for many years to come!