Best Shower Base Buying Guide – Top 5 Reviewed

Shower bases are an indispensable part of your shower. A good shower base will be non-slip, drain easily and fit in with your bathroom style. In fact, when you have a good shower base, you won’t even pay it a second thought. On the other hand, if your shower base is not up to shape it may detract from your bathroom’s style, standing out as a relic of times gone by.

It may no longer drain efficiently leaving you with pools of undrained water that allow harmful bacteria to develop in the warm moist conditions. If it is no longer properly sealed, there may be leaks under or around your existing shower base leading to huge concentrations of mold and mildew inside your wall cavities. Over time they can release spores that are dangerous for your health and that of your family.

Time for a change? Let’s take a look at our selection of shower bases and find out about the different types. We’ll answer your questions and go through the important features to consider so that you can make your purchase with full confidence.

Top 5 Shower Base Product Reviews

Top Pick
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
cUPC Certified
Yes
Yes
Yes
Non-slip Surface
Yes
Yes
Yes
Warranty
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
Top Pick
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
cUPC Certified
Yes
Non-slip Surface
Yes
Warranty
Lifetime
DreamLine SlimLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
cUPC Certified
Yes
Non-slip Surface
Yes
Warranty
Lifetime
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
cUPC Certified
Yes
Non-slip Surface
Yes
Warranty
Lifetime

We’ve reviewed the following shower bases to help you to make a better, more informed decision regarding your shower base purchase.

1. Dreamline SlimLine – Excellent Value for Money

DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
  • Model Size: 36 in. D x 48 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H; Base Type: Single Threshold...
  • Drain Location: Center (Centered on width only; See technical drawing for...
  • Installation: Direct to studs (Unfinished walls: Prior to backerboard,...

This shower base by Dreamline is excellent value for money and perfect for anyone looking for a good solid yet inexpensive shower base. This base is intended to be fitted prior to the wall coverings, in a direct to studs installation. It is available in various sizes for use in an alcove with a single threshold. This means it would not be suitable for those with a corner installation. Featuring a central drain, it is worth pointing out that this shower base only centers the drain widthwise and it is therefore not central to the entire unit. The drain hole fits all standard two-inch compression drains.

Manufactured from a sturdy acrylic capped ABS with fiberglass reinforcement, this popular shower base is treated with an anti-slip coating for your safety and comfort. This product is cUPC certified and comes with a lifetime warranty. Any installation without setting the shower base in a mortar mix bed will automatically void the warranty.

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Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Textured non-slip surface for safety
  • cUPC certified
  • Lifetime warranty

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Cons
  • Central drain is not in the true center of the base


2. DreamLine SlimLine Biscuit – Exceptional Quality at an Affordable Price

DreamLine SlimLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
  • Model Size: 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H; Base Type: Single Threshold...
  • Drain Location: Center (Centered on width only; See technical drawing for...
  • Installation: Direct to studs (Unfinished walls: Prior to backerboard,...

This slimline shower base by Dreamline offers exceptional quality for a low price. It is made from acrylic-capped ABS with fiberglass reinforcement. Designed for direct installation into an alcove with a single threshold, this neutral biscuit colored base is an excellent choice for anyone looking to remodel their shower on a tight budget. You will need stripped back walls to install this unit.

This Dreamline base has a textured non-slip pattern for enhanced safety. The drain is centered width ways and fits all standard two-inch compression drains. It is also cUPC certified. To prevent voiding your lifetime warranty, make sure that you set the shower base in a bed of mortar. This must be perfectly level as this base only offers a very slight slope, so any inaccuracies will lead to standing water.

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Pros
  • cUPC certified
  • Textured non-slip floor pattern
  • Excellent quality at a very low price

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Cons
  • Extra care is needed when leveling during installation


3. DreamLine SlimLine Neo Angle – A space-saving solution

DreamLine SlimLine 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H...
  • Model Size: 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H; Base Type: Neo-Angle (2-Wall...
  • Drain Location: Corner (See technical drawing for exact location); cUPC...
  • Installation: Direct to studs (Unfinished walls: Prior to backerboard,...

This neo-angle shower base from Dreamline is an excellent choice for those looking for a space-saving solution in smaller bath and shower rooms. This base can be installed as part of a custom set up, or there’s a specially designed, fully compatible Dreamline shower enclosure to match. This could save you hours of time searching.

Made from a sturdy ABS acrylic capped construction with fiberglass reinforcement, this corner angle shower base is sturdy and durable. Drainage is situated towards the rear corner and is compatible with all standard two-inch drains. This base must be set in mortar to take advantage of its lifetime warranty and it is designed for a direct to studs installation. A non-slip pattern ensures that you remain safe and secure while showering. cUPC certified. Unfortunately, the poor packaging let this product down.

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Pros
  • cUPC certified
  • Textured non-slip floor pattern
  • Space saver
  • Made to fit enclosure can be purchased separately

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Cons
  • Poorly packaged


4. Kerdi by Schluter – Fully customizable – For a modern seamless look

Kerdi by Schluter is a sloped shower tray made from expanded polystyrene foam. It is designed to provide a shower base that you can trim to size for a made-to-measure fit without the need for mortar. This tray, with its off-center drain, is ideal for those putting in a tub-replacement shower and looking for a tiled, floor-level base. The finished result is a modern, seamless shower that is fully integrated into your bath or shower room.

However, it is only compatible with the Kerdi Drain floor drain kits. Designed for flawless integration with Kerdi shower curbs and ramps, the Kerdi shower tray is an excellent purchase for those looking to tile their shower floor for a barely-there look. This floor-level shower base also saves on weight and installation time.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to install.
  • Can be cut to size ensuring you get a perfect fit.
  • Good choice for floor-level tub-replacement shower bases.
  • Integrates with Kerbi shower curbs and ramps.

Cons:

  • You will also need to purchase and fit the Kerdi Drain floor kit to be able to use this product.

5. Tile Redi – Perfect for the DIY Homeowner

Tile Redi USA 3460C-PVC Base Shower Pan, 60" W x 34" D,...
  • All-in-one shower solution: one-piece, leak-proof, pre-pitched shower pan...
  • Ready to tile: install tile directly on shower pan surface to customize...
  • Easy to install: includes one 9 lb. Package of redi poxy epoxy adhesive for...

This ready-to-tile rigid shower base by Tile Redi is your all-in-one customizable shower base solution. Simply fit and tile for a fast and easy installation. The integrated shower base comes with everything you need to install, including nine pounds of Redi Poxy epoxy adhesive, a round stainless-steel drain plate and an integrated two-inch PVC drain.

This one-piece shower pan has curbs and a splash surround included making it an ideal purchase for anyone looking for a quick and easy install. Can be used with Redi Tile shelves and doors for a complete shower remodel solution. This base is compliant with both national and local plumbing codes and comes with a three-year warranty. Instructions must be followed for a successful installation and a level base will be needed. Some DIY knowledge will be necessary.

Pros:

  • Comes with everything you need for installation.
  • Rapid to fit.
  • Three-year warranty.
  • Ready to tile.

Cons:

  • You will need to carefully follow instructions and to have at least some DIY knowledge to install this shower base.

All you need to know about shower bases

What is a shower base?

Best Shower Base Buying GuidE_1 A shower base is a tray or area directly beneath the shower where the water falls, accumulates and drains into the drainage system. A slight slope is required to allow water to drain effectively, preventing standing water. Shower bases are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your project. Some may also be concealed and covered with tiles for a barely there, floor-level base which integrates with your bathroom floor.

What features should I look for?

When you are considering a new shower base it’s important to make sure that the dimensions will fit. Pay particular attention to the drain’s location. If it is not in the exact place you need it to be to meet your existing pipework you will have to spend time and money on having your plumbing redone to fit.

If you’re purchasing a ready-to-use shower base, make sure that there is a textured pattern or non-slip coating to help avoid showering accidents. If the one that is right for your set up doesn’t have adequate protection, you could always consider a non-slip shower mat.

You should also consider the shower base’s height. In a modern bathroom, lower profile bases tend to be more compatible with today’s sleek, minimalist looks. However, you will need to consider any plumbing that will need to clear under the base if underfloor plumbing is not possible. You could also consider purchasing a riser to ensure that there is enough space beneath a lower shower base, but this will equally detract from a more modern, integrated look.

Lastly, consider what kind of fit you’re going to have and whether you’ll need any additional materials or parts for your new base. For example, it may be a direct-to-studs installation or need a level base or a set-in mortar bed. Consider any compatible or matching accessories and doors. You may find it saves a lot of hassle to get everything together now, rather than trying to match pieces from different places at a later date. Similarly, some bases will come with all you need for installation including a drain, whereas others may be compatible with standard drains, or require their own brand’s drain to be purchased separately.

What are the main brands?

There are a large number of shower base brands, especially some newer ones that offer excellent value for money thanks to the durability and stability offered by acrylic resin bases. Popular brands such as Dreamline offer a wide range of bases and matching doors, so you can be sure you’ll find a well-suited combination.

Other brands such as German manufacturers Schlecter focus upon creating innovative solutions for a more customizable, modern shower. Likewise, Tile Redi is a brand that also allows you to tile your base to your own choice, yet they also offer a range of fully compatible doors and accessories, in line with more traditional brands.

How do I install a shower base?

Shower bases generally come with product-specific recommendations and instructions. They are to be set on a bed of mortar if they are made of ABS plastic. In order to ensure correct drainage, it is essential that your shower base is correctly placed on a level base. If you’re not handy around the house, you would be better getting a professional to fit one for you. If you have any hesitations over your abilities after reading through the instructions, it may be cheaper to get a professional handyman in from the start, rather than later on to undo any mistakes then to refit.

Ready to tile bases often appear to be easier to install, however, they will require a lot of precision and once you have installed the base, you’ll have to have excellent tiling skills as not to ruin the slope of the base. As with any shower base installation if you feel that it may be beyond your capabilities you should call in a professional.
For a good maintenance of the shower base, it’s important to clean regularly your shower head with vinegar, the correct way.

How to choose the right shower base

What different types of shower base are available?

Shower bases are generally available in two types: the standard ready to use on installation and ready to tile. Both will have built-in slopes to enable efficient water drainage. Standard shower bases are already finished and may have a textured flooring or non-slip coating.

Ready-to-tile bases need to be tiled after installation. This gives you a huge range of choice, you can make you shower blend in with the rest of your floor or stand out with a different color. You can choose from a huge number of shower suitable tiles made from different materials with different finishes.

Which materials should I favor?

Traditionally ceramic bases have been extremely popular. However, they can be heavy and crack when transported. New plastics are extremely durable, lightweight and guaranteed to last. With today’s technology and fiberglass reinforcement, it is possible to have a low cost, lightweight, waterproof, plastic-based shower base that is both strong and sturdy. It essentially comes down to a matter of taste and personal preference.

What are the different sizes and shapes of shower bases?

Shower bases are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. If you’re completely remodeling your shower, you may have the option to make your showering space the exact size for your new shower base. Likewise, if you’re just replacing an old with a new you will be able to stick to the standard sizes. Popular sizes range from 32 inches wide to 54 inches. However, there are many different sizes, so you should find one to fit.

Shower bases are typically rectangular or square shaped. There are also space-saving neo-angle shower bases, also known as quadrant shaped shower bases. They may offer three straight edges or a long-curved edge towards the interior of your room. This saves space in small bathrooms, giving you extra maneuverability without compromising too much on showering space. Other readily available shower base shapes include D-shaped, pentagonal and offset-quadrant.

In certain cases, you may prefer to tile your base to match your floor, some systems made from polystyrene foam, such as those manufactured by Schluter can be cut to size or incorporated with other Schluter components such as curbs and ramps for a truly customized shower area.

Does it matter where the drain is located?

To avoid unnecessary extra plumbing connections, it is advisable to match up your shower base with your existing plumbing. This will make installation quicker, easier and cheaper. However, if you really want a shower base that is not available in your exact configuration then it is possible to have your drainage system replumbed or in some cases an extra connector pipe will suffice.

In Conclusion

Purchasing a shower base is an often overlooked, yet essential part of any bathroom remodel. Rather than feeling overwhelmed and putting it off, make the most of the wealth of information out there and choose your new shower base with confidence. If you’ve found your ideal shower base but are hesitating over installation, find a local professional to install it for you. You’ll be surprised the difference it will make to your bathroom.

Also read: Best Pulsating Shower Head for 2018 Buying Guide and Reviews – A Look at the Top 5