10 Best Shower Pan & Base 2021 – Comparison, Review & Ultimate Guide

10 Best Shower Pan & Base 2021 – Comparison, Review & Ultimate Guide

31 Brands Research
68 Products Compared
132 Customer Research

QP Review is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What options are you looking at for your shower setting? If you’re looking at tiles, you’re going at it wrong. The pre-fab shower pieces are now the better, cheaper, and more convenient option. And with the best shower pan, you can forget about those long hours of cleaning and the need of frequent repairing.

Pre-fabricated showers or shower pan/bases as they call it are now gaining popularity mainly because of the lower maintenance cost.

They are one piece units and that makes the installation process a whole lot simpler as well as cheaper. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Although it’s only a small part, as a homeowner you still have to choose a good pan for your bathroom.

Shower equipment we have recommends

Top Rated Best Shower Pan 2021 – Comparison & Review

Here, we’ve looked at our favorite shower pan from the eyes of a builder as well as a consumer. Each has its advantages and disadvantages to look out for.

You don’t need to spend time searching for the right shower base for you, especially when we’re providing you with all the details here. Take a look at this comparison chart below,

Editor's Choice

  • Slip-resistance
  • Durable construction
  • Multilayer construction
Read Our Review
9.6
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value
9.8
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Compact Design

  • Universal fit
  • Well constructed
  • Combo shower pans
Read Our Review
9.6
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Durable

  • Left hand drain
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Made in the USA
Read Our Review
9.6
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value for money

  • Waterproof and ready to tile
  • Prevents mold and mildew growth
  • Features integrated KERDI waterproofing
Read Our Review
9.9
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Expensive
9.0
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Plumber's Choice

  • cUPC certified
  • Slip-resistance
  • Durable construction
Read Our Review
9.7
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
User's Choice

  • Durable
  • Center drain
  • Slip-resistant
Read Our Review
9.8
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value for money
9.8
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Overall

  • Leakproof
  • Barrier Free
  • Durable design
Read Our Review
9.3
QPReviewTM
?
QPReview is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Features
  • Best Suited to: Small Bathrooms
  • Color: Black
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Material: ABS
  • Installation: Direct to studs
  • Model Size: 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 2 3/4 in. H

The first shower base on this list is from DreamLine. You may or may not have heard about this manufacturer, but it’s got a good history of ensuring quality. These shower bases are a single prefab piece best suited for smaller bathrooms where you need to save space.

Now, let’s talk about its quality. Firstly, the material on this one is ABS plastic with an acrylic coating. And ABS plastic, as we all know, is the easiest to fabricate, and it’s quite lightweight as well. Despite that, ABS can withstand hard impact and stay in one piece without experiencing even single chipping.

This shower has its drain at the center with a spot for compression drain, which is not included with the package. It’s a square-sized shower base, so if you want to save space, it’s a good option, although it may feel crowded sometimes.

Thanks to the ABS plastic construction, installing the base is simple and fast. Abs plastic doesn’t flex easily, even with the weight of a person. It’s a cUPS certified base, and you need a professional to install it.

This is an elevated shower base with a height of 2 and a quarter of an inch, so it might not be a good idea for older people. But the floor is anti-slip as it grips to the floor. You have to use a mortar bed under it to have the best outcome.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • ABS plastic
  • SlipGrip surface
  • cUPS certification
  • Suited for smaller bathrooms
Cons
  • Requires a mortar bed
  • Doesn’t come with a drain
  • Not a good fit for older people
Features
  • Color: Orange
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Size: 38"x60" KST965/1525
  • Material: PS40 Polystyrene
  • Best Suited to: Medium to Large Bathrooms

Schulter is a known manufacturer of bathroom fittings and popular with customers. If you have a medium to large bathroom, this shower base from Schluter Systems can be a good fit. The rectangular shape of it has sufficient room to breathe, and it also doesn’t take too much space.

Among the materials generally used in shower bases, this one is made with PS40 polystyrene. It’s a type of polymer that’s lightweight and quite durable. These pre-fabricated one-piece shower bases don’t need mortar beds to sit properly. That’s a plus point.

This shower tray has its drain located at the center, and the surface is a bit tilted to direct the water to the drain hole. But the tilt isn’t noticeable with the naked eye. Install it at a corner of your bathroom, and it’ll sit pretty.

Admittedly, Schulter’s shower trays aren’t the cheapest, but you know you’re getting quality. Easy installation is one of its perks because there’s no requirement for mortar beds, as mentioned before. Even then, it now has a pre-applied membrane at the base, which wasn’t there in the previous models.

It is a bit elevated from the floor, but that is to keep the water in the shower. There might be a concern for older people, but it isn’t a big issue.

Pros
  • Polystyrene
  • Easy installation
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Doesn’t need a mortar bed
  • The rectangular shape is spacious
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Needs regular maintenance
3.

ICON 12893 Combo Shower PanCompact Design

Features
  • Color: Polar white
  • Drain Position: Corner
  • Material: ABS
  • Best Suited to: Small Bathrooms
  • Fit Type: Universal Fit
  • Dimensions: 35" x 21" x 7-1/2"

This one is for the neat and clean crowd with a bit of money to spend. As you’ll see, Icon’s combo shower is a bit different as it also has space for your toilet’s water tank. If you have a plan to put the shower and toilet adjacent to each other, then this is for you.

The pan itself comes in white color and would be a great fit for a small bathroom with a white theme. With 3 feet by 2 feet dimension, it will be enough for a person. But it may seem a bit small sometimes, especially if you need relaxation.

In terms of construction, it has ABS plastic as its material. ABS plastic is known for its absolute durability, even against hard impacts. It’s not that heavy as you might expect from such a robust product. And the heavy acrylic coating makes it even better. That being said, these are on the pricier side.

The drain hole is located on a corner of this shower pan with just enough tilt to guide the water without making you feel it. It’s a universal design that will fit all kinds of bathroom designs.

Here’s something to keep a note of, it has a high elevation of 7 and a half inches. So, we do not recommend it if your shower will be used by older people. It may cause injury if leg placement is wrong.

Pros
  • Strong and durable
  • Space for holding tank
  • Good fit for small bathrooms
Cons
  • Pricey
Features
  • Color: White
  • Drain Position: Offset
  • Material: ABS
  • Best Suited to: Small Bathrooms
  • Position : Left hand drain

Lippert Components is a part of the Better Bath brand. You can guess where the brand’s expertise lies from its name itself. This shower pan is another great buy for those with a small bathroom but still want a clean and bright look. The good news is that it’s not as pricey, even with great material.

And that material is everyone’s favorite ABS plastic. ABS is strong but malleable. It means that it absorbs impact very well and still keeps its original shape without chipping. And that’s the complete opposite to polymers or even stone shower pan.

The coating on the ABS shower pan makes it even more durable and non-porous. That maintains structural integrity. Furthermore, the shower pan is also scratch-resistant, and that’s such a blessing to have in a white shower pan.

It’s lighter than those pan made of Fiberglass with similar durability. And these proved to be better for the environment as well. The drain sits at the side of the pan so that you can attach the drainpipe easier.

The recommendation is to put a mortar bed under it for the best result and do it when renovating. If you want the pan to be level with the floor instead of elevated, you’ll have to install it during a full bathroom construction or renovation. Even with this installation process, the features make it a good option.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy installation
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Durable ABS plastic
Cons
  • Not for larger bathrooms
5.

Schluter Systems KSLT1930/965S Shower TrayBest Value for money

Features
  • Color: Orange
  • Drain Position: Offset
  • Material: PS40 Polystyrene
  • Best Suited to: Large Bathrooms
  • Size: Multiple

We have another shower tray from Schluter systems, and it’s because these deserve to be on here. Unlike the previous Schluter shower tray, this one is a fit for large bathrooms because it has a dimension of 6 feet in length and 3 feet in width. It can fit two people comfortably.

In terms of the build material, this prefab shower tray uses a type of resin called polystyrene (PS40). Resins, as we all know, are sturdy while being light. One worry with polystyrene is compression. But the expanded polystyrene used here is dense enough that it won’t compress down in the long run.

If your drainage system is along the bathroom wall, then this should fit right in without needing to add pipes because of the offset drain location as opposed to the center.

Even though resin-built trays need regular maintenance, this design made it a whole lot easier to clean as the dirt goes directly on to the sides instead of the middle.

As with all Schluter shower trays, easy installation is such a blessing. You can cut and customize it according to your liking and install it without having to use a mortar bed under it. It’s quick and simple.

And you should know that Schluter’s products aren’t cheap. But the prices are justified seeing the quality and durability you’re getting. Why not invest in a good product than having to repair and replace it once in a while?

Pros
  • Large size
  • Offset drain
  • Easy installation
  • Drain on the side
  • Dense Polystyrene resin
Cons
  • Pricey
6.

WOODBRIDGE SBR6036-1000C Shower BaseMost Expensive

Features
  • Color: White
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Material: Solid Surface/ Cultured Granite
  • Best Suited to: Medium to Large Bathrooms
  • Style: 60"x 36" Center
  • Dimension: 60" L x 36 " W x 4" H

This is a product set for its class. Woodbridge’s shower bases are expensive, but they provide quality, elegance, and value. If you have a gorgeous bathroom setup, this one will fit nicely. It might be the best solid shower pan on the market.

Solid surface shower pan are mainly made of tough stain-resistant resin. These are also known as cultured granite. With the top surface polished with buffers, it becomes very easy to clean. These can also be thermoformed if you want to customize their shape.

The drainage comes with a complete package. You’re getting a modern brushed stainless steel drain cover as well as the drain itself. The overall visual of your shower will change. And that makes the high price even more justified.

Due to the cultured granite, you won’t experience any mold or mildew, even with high humidity. If somehow you manage to chip a corner or scratch it, you can always sand it to bring back the original look. The product quality will stay untarnished.

The anti-slip design is a big plus for senior citizens, and the elevation from the floor isn’t too much, just enough to keep the water inside. So, who’s it for? It’s for those with medium to large bathrooms with some space to spare.

Pros
  • Customizable
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Anti-slip coating
  • No formation of mildew
  • Solid surface/ cultured granite
  • Includes a stainless steel drain cover and drain
Cons
  • Expensive
Features
  • Color: Biscuit
  • Material: ABS
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Best Suited to: Small to Medium Bathrooms
  • Style: Center Drain Base
  • Dimensions: 48" W x 36" D

At number 7, we have another shower base from DreamLine. It’s quite similar to the one we reviewed above, with a few fundamental differences. As far as quality is concerned, it has proved itself in the market. But is it for you?

If you want a mild and light color, this can be a great option. The color biscuit is very light on the eyes as it mixes with the surroundings. It’s not only creamy but white also, just in between.

Then, we come to the big question of build material. Is it any good? Well, it should be as this shower base has ABS as its base with acrylic coating on top.

Furthermore, it is reinforced with Fiberglass. The durability can be experienced with a touch. In the construction, there are PVC pipe rings as reinforcements to ensure structural integrity.

Thanks to the acrylic used as a coating, the surface of this shower pan will prevent any mishaps by slipping on the floor. Moreover, the acrylic coating also prevents any formation of mildew and protects the surface from scratches. Your shower pan will have a long-lasting beauty.

The drain hole is in the center, but it doesn’t come with a shower drain. You’ll have to buy one from the market. Other than that, you should be set for years of service from this shower base.

Pros
  • Spacious
  • ABS plastic
  • Anti-slip surface
  • cUPC certification
  • PVC rings reinforcement
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a drain
Features
  • Color: Almond
  • Finish: Almond
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Best Suited to: Medium Bathrooms

Kohler has its branches all over the world, and their products cover everything you might need for your bathrooms. How did they reach such a position? That’s right, by providing quality products to customers. And here we have a shower base from Kohler. What does it have to offer you?

Well, for starters, Kohler didn’t play around with the material. It’s straight up cast iron with enamel over it. It’s the strongest material on this list and also the heaviest. It won’t break or chip even with sharp impacts. So far, it sounds good and performs well too.

The enameled cast iron is then coated with a safeguard anti-slip finish. This finish does two things; first, it prevents mishaps by slipping, and second, it prevents scratches. Even if you see any chipping, it will be on this coating only, which can be readily fixed.

It has a drain hole at the center with no drain in the package. You will have to acquire it separately. The shower pan has an elevated border to keep the water inside, and you should consider this point if you have senior citizens that might use it.

As for the visuals, the almond color is close to white and cream. It may look a bit bland or dull to some, while others will appreciate the simplicity. Which one are you? See the shower pan reviews to see how good it performs.

Pros
  • Almond color
  • Easy installation
  • Anti-slip coating
  • Strong durable cast iron doesn’t chip
  • Not expensive even though it’s high quality
Cons
  • Elevated borders
  • The drain will have to be bought separately
Features
  • Material: Veritek
  • Drain Position: Center
  • Size: 32-in L X 32-in H X 5.5-in H
  • Color: Bisque
  • Best Suited to: Smaller Bathrooms

This is a cute one. Swanstone isn’t a big brand compared to Woodbridge or Kohler, but the products are respectable, to say the least. Take this shower pan; for example, it has a different kind of material that serves the same purpose while reducing the cost. That is how technology should be used.

Swanstone used a material called Veritek to produce these shower bases. It acts just like those made of acrylic material, and it’s on par in terms of durability, impact absorbency. Swanstone claims that it’s better than acrylic, but we won’t go into that.

They didn’t use any surface coating on it, so it’ll be safe from paint chipping and scratching. But is it slip-resistant? Yes, because the texture on the surface is similar to a pebble-bed. You’ll be safe from slipping on it.

The surface is non-porous, meaning there’s not enough space for mold and mildew to grow. And that also means you can swiftly and easily clean it. Easy maintenance means an easy life. Nobody wants to spend much time in the bathroom for cleaning.

It comes in a bisque color similar to almond and fits right in your bathroom and enhances the look. With all these features, you’d expect it to be pricey, but it’s the opposite. This affordable shower base gets our approval.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy cleaning
  • No chance of paint chipping
  • Pebbled texture prevents slipping
  • Veritek material works well, just like acrylic
Cons
  • For smaller bathrooms only
10.

Tile Redi USA RT3060L Shower PanBest Overall

Features
  • Color: Brushed Nickel
  • Drain Position: Offset, Trench design
  • Material: Polyurethane
  • Finish: Brushed nickel
  • Best Suited to: Medium to Large Bathrooms

The prefabricated shower bases have replaced the need for tile. With all the improvement in this sector, Tile Redi is one of those leading companies. As with all prefab shower pieces, this one comes ready to install with very little preparation.

It has polyurethane, a type of polymer in its construction. Polymers come second to ABS plastic when it comes to durability and strength. But they are cheaper too. And the durability isn’t something to scoff at. You can repair it easily if somehow it gets chipped.

Contrary to what you’ve seen on the above shower bases, this Tile Redi doesn’t come with a drain hole. Instead, it has a trench design with a nickel drain grate to prevent any object from being lost into the drainage. The trench is better as the water ejects out faster.

The rectangular shape of this base makes it suitable for medium size bathrooms. It has enough space to move around and relax after a long day. You may want to check if the 4.5 inches of elevation will be alright with you or not.

You or the contractor will need to install a mortar bed under it. It will make the shower more durable. Install your tiles on the shower pan surface without any prior preparation. It’s as simple as that.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Leakproof
  • Trench design
  • Comes with a grate
  • Polyurethane material
Cons
  • Heavy
  • It may chip with heavily concentrated impact

What to Look for Before You Buy?

What do you look for in a great shower base? Material, shape, design, and things like that, right? These things need to be on point if you’re going to get back your investment in a shower base. Below we talked about different types of shower base materials and a few other points.

Shower Base Materials

There are three materials most commonly used by shower pan manufacturers. And there’s a misconception among buyers about the material.

Most people think that Acrylic is a material used to make shower pan, but the reality is that Acrylic is only a coating on the shower base to make it non-porous and more durable. The main three materials are Ceramic, Composite, and Plastic.

Ceramic

Ceramic as a material is made by mixing water and natural clay, and sometimes other organic materials. Then, it’s dried, glazed, and hardened. You’ll see lots of different types of ceramic shower bases such as Porcelain, Terracotta, Stoneware, etc.

Pros

  • Doesn’t get scratched
  • Easy maintenance

Cons

  • Hard impacts will chip it
  • More on the expensive side

Composite

Composites such as Resin and Fiberglass are the two popular options available in the market.

Resin

This material includes rotomolded polymers and polyester resins. Polymers have a more beautiful texture, and polyester resins are more of a reinforced resistant coating. Resin as a material looks like stone but isn’t as heavy or costly.

Pros

  • Durability
  • Easy maintenance
  • Lighter than stone

Cons

  • Costlier than other composites

FiberGlass

This is a type of reinforced acrylic.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight, easy installation
  • Easy repair

Cons

  • Very brittle
  • Porous
  • Color and shine will deteriorate with time

ABS Plastic

This is a type of reinforced plastic that’s easy to fabricate and lighter than most materials. It is recyclable with thermoforming properties.

Pros

  • It has the highest impact resistance
  • Recyclable

Cons

  • Wears out quicker

Shower Base Shape

The shape of your shower base depends on where you want to place it and how much space you have. There are three types in general,

  • Square

A square shower base is a great fit for smaller bathrooms. These do look crowded when you’re in it.

  • Rectangular

If you need more space, you can always opt for rectangular shower bases as they have more room but also require more space for installation.

  • Corner

A corner-style shower base is a balance between the comfort of a spacious shower and saving space. These can have either a rounded corner or a 90-degree corner.

Shower Base Installations

This is a great point for consideration as the durability and longevity of the shower pan highly depend on it. You can install a shower base or pan in three ways,

  • Raised

This is the quickest and easiest way to install a shower base. You install it directly onto the surface of your shower.

  • Recessed

This is a walk-in shower design. It’s almost level with the floor surface suited for newly constructed showers or renovation.

  • Ready to Tile

These shower bases are quite expensive and luxurious. Furthermore, ready to tile units are good for elderly people. The shower base is covered by tiles, so this incurs an extra cost. And you’ll need to use a customized design for it.

FAQ's

Is using a shower base instead of a tile a good idea?

Increasingly, shower pans or pre-fabricated shower units have become the go-to option for most homeowners. That's mostly because shower pans are easily cleaned, and it doesn't crack as easily as tiles. Also, you don’t need to reseal it each time you scrub it. And also, shower bases and pans are cheaper than tiles.

Are shower pans needed for all showers?

It's not a must for a shower to function. But if you want efficiency and convenience over the years of usage, then a shower pan or a base is the best option.

What are the best materials for a shower base?

Among the 4 types of materials used in the shower base, Acrylic is the most popular as they’re extremely durable.

How long does a shower pan last?

If the installation is done properly, including the liner around the shower base, a shower pan should last 10 years or more comfortably.

Do shower pans leak? Why?

Shower pans won't leak through it, but if the liner isn't installed properly or the liner got pierced, then you'll experience leakage.

Do I put mortar under the shower pan?

Most plumbers will recommend you to put a bed of mortar under the shower base.

Final Words

Well, there you have it. You know what makes the best shower pans best at their job. Consider your bathroom’s design and size before going into the market. It’ll make your decision making easier.

9.6/10 Total Score
DreamLine DLT-1132320-88 Single Threshold Shower Base - Editor's Choice