Walk in shower enclosures are all the rage in modern bathrooms. Indeed many of us with limited space are actually removing our standard length baths and replacing with walk-in showers.
Walk-in showers offer great aesthetics, convenience and good accessibility especially for elderly persons. We take a look at some of the best options on the market and their key features and benefits. It’s worth noting these reviews are made in an economic climate where value for money for the consumer is paramount.
Scudo i10 Glass Shower Panels
These new 10mm panels from Scudo (now called Shield X on our website) can be configured in a 1, 2 or 3 screen arrangement to suit your space. They share some characteristics with the existing i8 range like the 2000mm high panels, Acqua Shield Glass treatment and lifetime guarantee.
What no wall profile?
What separates these screens from the i8 and come to that any of the others in this review is the exclusion of a wall profile creating a frameless shower space. This is a deliberate design feature to achieve a sleek, more minimalist finish. Although the image above shows the walk in against a subtle rendered wall they look superb partnered with a contrasting Showerwall panel.
Prior to the i10 these kind of products would have cost at least 50% more.
The profile has been exchanged for 2 robust and luxuriously finished chrome brackets. The space is made watertight with the wall by means of a transparent cushioned 10mm seal that runs the length of the glass. For an even more minimalist finish, providing you don’t live in too old a dwelling, this can be swapped for a bead of silicon sealant. The included seal offers a degree of adjustment for out of true walls but with just the silicon bead your walls need to be true.
To add support to the installation the panels are each supplied with a modern style support arm. In configurations of 2 or more panels the arms can be joined by means of a T-piece. The sales person that demonstrated the product to us said that the support arms weren’t actually necessary but can offer customers more confidence in the installation and a little more rigidity.
These i10 glass shower panels range in size from 600-1200mm with option of a 275mm hinged deflector panel to make a 3 screen walk around shower. Retail prices range between £409.20 up to £587.40 (Mar 2017). With retailers perhaps offering up to 20-40% discount you can have a great quality wetroom panel for around £219.99. More well-known brands offer a similar specification for more than double this.
Checkout the latest Scudo i10 / Shield X prices.
Aquatech 8 & 10mm Walk In Showers
If price is the biggest factor in your choice of wetroom shower screens then an Aquatech branded model might be for you. Just because something is available at a price point though doesn’t mean to say you should buy it. After all you get what you pay for and if you buy cheap you may well end up buying twice. With that said we can safely say the Aquatech is affordable but doesn’t cut any corners in terms of safety. The glass is to EN standards and the profiles look half decent.
For walk in showers on the cheap, it’s a good option but they don’t have the refinement of more expensive options.
Not sure what the manufacturers were thinking about the photography on the room set above but if you can imagine it in your own bathroom without the 2 hideous patterns then it’s a worthy consideration. 10mm glass, with an easy clean coating and at 2000mm high just doesn’t come any cheaper, see the latest prices. The slightly cheaper 8mm version (in an equally bad room set) can be seen here.
Aquaglass+ 10mm Tinted or Frosted Glass Shower Panels
For something a little different in your modern urban space why not consider these tinted or frosted glass options from Aquaglass +. Ok so you don’t need to be living in an apartment in London to enjoy the product. Especially given the available sizes you can install in the space that a standard bath would usually take up.
Both tinted and frosted products are good quality 10mm glass. The tinting is also within the glass and not a cheap film like you see applied to the local boy racers windscreen. There are a few manufacturers that offer these kind of finishes but generally not at the price point that Aquaglass does. The tinted screens start at £240 for an 800mm option and £300 for an 800mm frosted option. The frosted option also incorporates a handy chrome towel rail which is a neat feature.
Spare Your Modesty
If you do have an open plan space and share a bathroom with family then to a degree the finish will also spare your modesty. We wouldn’t let this be the main reason for purchasing though.
Phoenix Swing With Floor To Ceiling Post
The Phoenix Swing was one of the first ‘flipper panel’ walk in models to hit the market. Many brands have now tapped into this but Phoenix was one of the first and their particular offering is of a high quality and quite unique.
Of course we’re talking about the adjustable piece of glass that can be hinged around you fitted to the end of the main screen. Most flipper panels on the market are around 300mm long and consist of a flat piece of glass fastened to a hinge. The Phoenix Swing is slightly different in that the glass is 350mm long, it deflects water that little bit better but isn’t so long that it would put too much strain on the hinge.
The glass is also slightly curved. We can’t see that this serves any functional purpose but to look nice. To be fair it does, especially in the flesh. The hinge itself is within the post that fastens to the ceiling.
The post is telescopic and so will fit most ceiling heights adjusting up to 2.4m.
You can install the Swing into a recess or with the optional side panel into a corner. The main screen and flipper are both 6mm glass while the optional side panels are thicker 8mm specification. All the glass is of the easy clean variety.
In summary, it’s a fairly priced unit and if you value the little touches like the curved flipper you may be drawn more to this than the cheaper Aquatech models. But this original product still holds it’s own.
HSK Free Curve Wetroom Shower Screens
Ok, lets get the negative out of the way, this is one expensive option of wetroom room shower screens. Especially since its only 6mm glass, albeit easy clean. However, let’s be right this is one gorgeous piece of glass and that is ultimately what you’re paying for.
Instead of 2 panels, a main screen and a return panel, HSK have combined this with a curved piece of glass. It looks great but the very process of making this and getting it to market costs a fortune and is therefore reflected in the price. If you want one of the best walk in showers going though with showroom looks then this has to be on your shortlist.
HSK is no doubt an expensive brand.
The quality of fittings and the aftermarket service are exemplary though. The screw cover caps and profiles even look ‘designed’ – like someone actually cares. You really do get what you pay for.
Just one thing, most suppliers of HSK don’t actually stock them they’re bought and sent directly to customers from a central warehouse. Furthermore models like the Free Curve that only sell in low numbers are generally shipped in from Germany. The turnaround can be 3-4 weeks so order in plenty of time if you’re planning on organising fitters.
If money is no object then the HSK Free Curve starting at around £900 before retailer discounts, for the main screen only. Add the optional 900mm side panel with towel rail and stabilising bar for a further £450 and you’re well into 4 figures. With discounts though it can be yours for around the 1k mark.
Jun 2017 Update – Unfortunately the Free Curve has now been discontinued by HSK. It had been on the market for a few years. A combination of less demand and the premium price likely ended production.
Final Thoughts On These 5 Walk In Shower Enclosures
We hope to have given some great wet room ideas for your bathroom. These are all current models and some of the best walk in showers around.
What you choose will likely come down to price and what you can realistically install in your property. If money is no object then the Free Curve is an amazing piece of design from one of the most trusted and design orientated manufacturers around. See the update above.
If you’re shopping on a budget then there’s nothing wrong with the 8 and 10mm glass from Aquatech. They’re made to a price without the frills of the HSK or Aquaglass + products. Yet they will achieve the wetroom look on a budget.
If you’re looking for a walk in shower for elderly persons perhaps as a bath replacement then we would probably go for the Phoenix Swing. We say that because Phoenix has a pedigree for producing products for the mobility / accessibility market. A same brand shower seat and grab bar can be purchased from just one manufacturer. The structure of the Swing is also rock solid with the floor to ceiling post.
The other options are also worthy of your consideration. The Scudo (Shield) with its limited adjustment will suit newer more modern properties with perfectly formed walls and floors.
The Aquaglass + 10mm will also find sales in a more niche market from those looking for something a little different in terms of the glass finish. In larger more open plan bathrooms the frosted or tinted glass might just spare your modesty.
Aftermarket Bracket & Support Arms For Walk In Glass
Many people are amazed by the fact that walk in shower enclosures actually stand up at all. Think about it. A tall, heavy lump of glass attached to the wall via a thin metal profile. It just looks a little unnatural.
If you are worried about support and the model you choose doesn’t come with any kind of bracket then fear not, these can be bought separately.
They’re generally of stainless steel construction with chrome plating. Although most are fixed some have a rotating joint so that you can choose which wall you get the support from. Perhaps the same wall the glass is mounted to or the one opposite.
The aftermarket arms tend to be longer too. In fact many people purchase them for this reason alone. The ones that accompany the walk in glass tend to be a maximum of 100cm long, many are shorter. Those available as an addition can go up to 130cm long. Good for wider spaced showers.
Looking To Replace A Bath?
Many people are removing baths from their homes. This can be in an effort to save water, for reasons of cleanliness or more often than not to provide a more accessible washing space. Walk in showers, especially when fitted with a low profile tray are more easy to access than a bath even if you’re elderly or have limited mobility.
If you are installing a walk in shower to replace an existing bath then you’ll typically be looking for models with tray sizes that are in the region of 1600-1700mm long and 700-800mm wide. The majority of baths in the UK fall into these dimensions. Do check prior to ordering though!
All of the models reviewed above can accommodate those sizes. If you’re buying separate glass and a tray rather than in a pack just be sure that you choose options that will provide enough access space. if you have a 1700mm wide tray then we wouldn’t fit glass shower panels on it wider than 1200mm. This will give you 500mm of access space, typically enough for most people to pass through.