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Shower Handle Rundown

Story and Photos Ally Shirman | ashirman19@dtechhs.org | September 27, 2018 

Imagine you’re staying at a friend’s or relative’s house, or sleeping at a hotel. When it comes time to shower, you don’t give it a second thought. But once in the bathroom, a sense of dread fills your body when you realize you can’t figure out how to control the water.

Do not fear. I am here to give you a first look into the best – and worst – shower handles so that when you encounter a strange shower, you know what to do!

SHOWER 1

  1. Tip bottom handle up to turn on shower.
  2. Turn top knob to switch between hand shower and rain shower.
  3. Move bottom handle to left for hot, and right for cold.

Review: How to turn on the shower isn’t quite clear. Usually there is involvement of turning a handle, but in this case, you need to tip the handle skywards. This could really have someone stumped for a while. The square knob is pretty straightforward; there wouldn’t be any other use for it, and is easy to figure out with a little fidgeting. The use of a red “H” and a blue “C” on either side of the handle make it clear how the temperature is controlled, which is a great plus.

Practicality: 3/3

Straightforwardness: 1/3

Beauty: 2/3

Total: 7/9

 

SHOWER 2

  1. Swivel handle counterclockwise to control pressure
  2. Inside knob controls temperature, the more clockwise, the hotter

Review: Upon first impression, it is clear that the outermost handle, which is much bigger, is the control for turning on the shower. The knob inside that control seems to be the heat control, but is confusing which way is hot or cold, as there is a light silver bar from the top that says “0,” and then counterclockwise gets bigger, despite the fact that the inside knob only goes clockwise, and stops before it reaches that area. Misleading. Also, to not get sprayed with cold water immediately after turning on shower, you must take the shower head off its mount and point it away. Very inconvenient if trying to warm up shower before hopping in.

Practicality: 0/3

Straightforwardness: 1/3

Innovation: 2/3

Total: 3/9

 

SHOWER 3

  1. Swivel handle counterclockwise to start the water, and control the pressure
    1. (left controls shower head, right controls the column of jet streams)
  2. Bottom handle controls temperature

Review: Need to do some guess work as to which handle controls which stream of water, but doesn’t take long to figure it out. Unlike most showers that have multiple faucets, this one does not combine the control for them, which makes it easier to control. The temperature control is very straightforward, with specific numbers and a clear indication of what temperature you are at with the red mark indicator.

Practicality: 3/3

Straightforwardness: 3/3

Innovation: 3/3

Total: 9/9

 

SHOWER 4

  1. Move big handle counterclockwise to control pressure
  2. On the faucet, pull the spout down to transfer water to shower head.
  3. Move small knob left for hot, right for cold

Review: Transferring from faucet to shower is very confusing. It is not straightforward or obvious of what to do. This shower is not similar to other bathtub-shower mixes where there is a little knob to pull up. Temperature is quite clear, with red and blue indicating hot and cold.

Practicality: 3/3

Straightforwardness: 1/3

Innovation: 1/3

Total: 5/9

 

SHOWER 5

  1. If you want to change which faucet or combination (bathtub, rain shower, and regular shower) use top handle control and turn counterclockwise.
  2. Turn bottom control counterclockwise to turn on the stream of water of whichever faucet the top control is set on. Continue turning this handle for more heat.

Review: The combination of the pressure and heat in one control is a controversial design. It makes it impossible to have a low pressure shower with hot water. Additionally, upon first use, it takes some experimenting to understand the top handle, and which placement controls which faucet. Unlike most showers though, I can tell the designer thought carefully about the user by putting the controls on the opposite side of where the water comes from – allowing the person to stay dry until ready to jump in.

Practicality: 3/3

Straightforwardness: 1/3

Innovation: 3/3

Total: 7/9

 

SHOWER 6

  1. To turn on shower, turn top notch to the left for bath, and right for shower.
  2. To change the temperature, turn the handle counterclockwise. The more counterclockwise, the hotter.

Review: The design is quite simple. Because of the “100”  – with a minus sign above it and a plus sign below – seen near the bottom handle, it is clear that that control is for the temperature. That leaves the top handle for turning on the shower. There is a small circle directly above the notch, which is a great indication that that is the neutral “off” position. With a small amount of testing, you can determine which side turns on which faucet. A peculiar part of this shower-control system is a small knob that resides on the temperature control, which can be pushed in, but does not seem to have a specific function.

Practicality: 3/3

Straightforwardness: 2/3

Innovation: 1/3

Total: 6/9

From shower to shower, there are basic standards when it comes to how the controls work: a control for the pressure, temperature, and spout. The differences come into play when the way to control those features is changed. Any shower user wants to feel at home and comfortable in their shower, instead of frustrated and confused, which many of the showers reviewed today did not manage to do for their users. Instead, shower designers should consider design thinking – a user based approach – for that nine out of nine rating.

 

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