Single handle faucets are among the most common installations in U.S. showers. They generally feature one spout and a single handle controlling both hot and cold water. Some find them to be convenient, since setting the water temperature takes only one motion. However, single handle faucets are also easier to bump into, causing accidental changes in water temperature.
Double Handle, Single Faucet
The other most common type of shower faucet is an installation with two handles, but one mixer faucet. These showers have separate controls for hot and cold water, allowing more precise control over the two water temperatures, but increasing the chance of a burn if the cold water is turned off. Most antique and vintage showers and tubs feature this type of faucet.
Double Handle, Double Faucet
This rare type of shower faucet is seen primarily in very old bathtubs with shower attachments and in restorations of these tubs. Like a standard double handle faucet, this shower faucet has one control for hot water and one for cold, but it has no mixer faucet. Instead, each handle has its own water outlet. This setup is also sometimes seen in vintage and antique sinks. Because of the increased risk of a burn from the undiluted hot water faucet, this setup requires the user to adjust the water outside of the tub.
Combined Faucet and Shower Head
Also common on older showers, this style combines the faucet, handles and shower head into one unit. The shower head is usually attached via an exposed pipe or flexible metal tubing. High-end modern fixtures intended to provide the look and feel of antique showers may also feature this design. This single unit is easier to install, but reduces the available space at one end of the tub since all the piping is exposed.