If you are looking to install a small shower stall, one of the easiest ways to do so is to purchase a shower base and a shower enclosure. You could spend a considerable amount of time and money installing a fully tiled shower floor, but why waste that time and money when simple, affordable and visually attractive options are actually available to you?

Shower bases (also known as shower pans and shower floors) have come a long way over the years. I understand that many people may be turned off of the idea of using them after seeing some of the horrific options that were available when these first came onto the market. I have seen my fair share of ugly, cracked, and stained shower bases over the years. It is for that reason that I truly understand if you are wary about this option. However, you are here now, so let’s take a moment to learn about the newer, much more impressive shower bases on today’s market.

Unlike the cheap plastic shower bases of the past, today’s shower bases have been built with care. That is, at least the ones I have selected for this list. These ones have been built to be strong and crack resistant. They will not stain, so long as you clean them regularly (like most other things in the world.) Many are even insulated. To top it all off, they look and feel much nicer than they once did. They do not feature hard, sandpaper-like grit which tears at your feet and collects dirt (a definite upgrade in my books.)

Best with Drain Cover
Kohler Archer FRP Shower Receptor

Some people prefer a shower base with a specially-fitted drain cover because they like to collect a little water in the bottom of their shower for special cleaning purposes (such as cleaning the shower itself or washing a dog.) Some people like drain covers because they keep things from getting into the drain (such as the tiny fingers of curious children). Many fans of drain covers became fans when they realized that the cover hides away the ugly interior of their drain when guests come to visit. Essentially, the drain cover offers a polished, finished look to the shower stall.

Whatever reason you find yourself in search of a shower base with a drain cover, this Kohler appears to be one of the best options available. Its popularity is unrivaled by any other shower base with matching drain cover. This tells me that it must be something rather special.

As someone who works hard to create visual themes in bathroom spaces when I renovate, I am very pleased with the many color options for this particular pan. Upon purchase, you can select among the following: almond, biscuit, black, cashmere, dune, ice grey, sandbar, thunder grey, and white. This total of nine color options means that you will inevitably find one which matches your interior design preferences.

Best Base with Lefthand Drain
Kohler Bellwether Single-Threshold Shower Base

This very interesting rectangular shower base is slightly sloped to the left side. It is on this side that a special trough has been built in to collect water and dirt as you shower. The slight slope of this base siphons water toward the drain so that you never have to stand in dirty water, even with a partially plugged drain hole. As long as you are paying proper attention, you will see water begin to build up long before it reaches the level of your shower door.

What I believe makes this one of the best shower bases on this list is the fact that it is made completely of cast iron. Though cast iron may be a little cooler to the touch than some of the other options on this list, it is the most durable option, meaning that it will last a lifetime – if not longer.

You can choose between two size options for this shower base – 60 inches by 32 inches or 60 inches by 34 inches. Both of these options are designed to create a rather large shower stall. If color is of concern to you, you will be happy to know that you can choose among white, sandbar, ice grey, dune, biscuit, and almond. All models include a tile flange on three sides so that the tile from your walls can seamlessly flow down the wall right to the base.

Best with Curb
Proflo Single Curb Rectangular Shower Pan

A very deep six-inch curb on the front facing side of this shower base helps to trap all water inside. Even if your drain becomes plugged, you will always have ample time to turn off your showerhead before the base can fill up and water spill out onto your floor.

This shower pan is available in two different sizes. Measuring 34 inches by 34 inches, the smaller option is perfect for a small, yet spacious shower stall. The larger option, measuring 54 inches by 34 inches, will give you ample space for a comfortable shower. The center drain will work well in most shower-friendly spaces. Of course, if you are retrofitting an old bathtub alcove some plumbing work may be required to move the plumbing to the center of the pan.

A slip resistant texture has been added to the composite material on the bottom of this base to keep you safely in place as you shower. If you plan to cover your walls in tile you will be pleased to hear about the tile flange built into three sides of this base. A tile flange is a small lip of material which protrudes upward just enough for you to set your tiles on top of it. It is thin enough that it will not cause the tile to slope outward. The sides of the base which reach up toward the flange stick out slightly further so that a typical tile will blend in seamlessly.

Best For Corner Shower
DreamLine SlimLine Neo-Angle Shower Base

So far, all of the shower pans on this list are built for alcoves. They feature tile flanges on three sides and are all either square or rectangular. This one, on the other hand, features only two tile flanges; it has been built specifically for use in the corner of a room. It features two flat sides and one large curve which sweeps between them. By curving this side, instead of creating a square shape, the company created a shower much better fitted to a small bathroom than any of the other options listed thus far.

Oftentimes, a corner shower is an addition to a room. It is built into a small bathroom which has been added to a basement in-law suite or added to a bathroom which already has a bathtub. Corner showers are created when there are no alcoves in which to place a shower. For this reason, it is important that the shower not protrude too far into the room. I’ve been in bathrooms where people added square showers. Let me tell you something – those bathrooms were very cramped and I have hit my elbows, hips, and shoulders off the squared edges of such shower stalls many times. In fact, I have ripped square stalls completely out of small bathrooms and replaced them with rounded ones like the type for which this pan is suited.

An interesting honeycomb-shaped texture has been added to the bottom of this white shower base to stop you from slipping while the shower is in use. This pattern is also rather fashionable and will be very easy to clean as it doesn’t feature any tiny grooves where dirt can get caught. It features built-in structure in the form of small sections of PVC piping dispersed across the underside of the pan.

Best with Drain Location Options
DreamLine SlimLine Single Threshold Shower Pan

This line of shower bases offers you a lot in terms of options. You can choose between multiple sizes as well as multiple drain locations. Most of the available sizes can be purchased with center drains, left drains, or right drains. This means that it doesn’t matter where your plumbing is located – there will be an option which suits your needs.

Around the exterior of each of these shower pans there is a ledge. Personally, I find this very helpful inside a shower. I am someone who shares a bathroom with many other people, and although I must admit that our family uses a bathtub/shower combination, if we did have to use just a shower I would want one with a ledge such as this.

“Why a ledge?” you ask. Even if we were to install shelving or a shower caddy of some sort inside the short stall, I know that there couldn’t possibly be enough room to fit everything we would need inside our busy shower without making the space so crowded by shelves and caddies that we wouldn’t be able to move inside of it. This ledge would offer three lengths of space upon which we could place some of those items.

The base has been pressed with a fine honeycomb-shaped texture which will help you stay in place as your shower base becomes slick and slippery with soap suds. This design will also be very easy to clean. Reinforcements have been added to the underside of this pan in the form of PVC rings which help to keep weight evenly distributed. An even distribution of weight keeps weight from putting too much pressure on any one point and, thus, reduces the likelihood of cracking or warping.

Shower Base with Most Size Options
Swanstone Single Threshold Shower Floor

If you have been searching for that difficult-to-find shower base size or simply need many different shower bases for the many projects on which you are working, this may be a great place to begin that search. Available in four different rectangular sizes, this beautiful Swanstone shower base is a step above any traditional shower base on the market.

My absolutely favorite feature of this shower base is its pebbled bottom. It is very important for a shower base to be textured in some way to prevent you slipping. Many traditional shower bases/pans have a sandpaper-like grit which has been scratched into or adhered onto its surface. Though this will definitely help stop you from slipping, it will not be easy to clean and isn’t very comfortable on the feet.

This particular shower pan, on the other hand, features a nice pebbled finish. The soft, round edges will not hurt your feet and the large gaps between the pebbles will make them easy to clean. At the same time, they will prevent you from slipping much better than any flat, smooth bottom.

The Veritek composite material this base is made from is very chip and crack resistant. It has been designed to handle the wear and tear of a full-sized family for years to come. A flange built onto the two wall sides of the base will allow you to seamlessly work your wall tile right down to the base.

A 5.5-inch tall lip helps to keep water inside the shower stall at all times, even if your drain becomes partially plugged. All size options feature a center drain and most are available in a variety of colors, including white, bone, and bisque (off-white.)