Built-in showers vs external elements: the advantages and why to choose them

Why opt for concealed showers, external elements or built-in taps? Discover the advantages and differences of these systems.

Taking on a bathroom renovation brings with it a series of doubts. The first of these is whether to opt for a shower or bathtub and, in the case of a shower, what type of shower to install. This choice will depend on various aspects, including: functionality, aesthetics, preferred technology used in the shower and the cost.

In order to choose the best type of shower for your bathroom, you need to know about the two main options: installing a concealed shower leaving just the essentials on show, or using external elements that leave the shower body exposed, such as shower columns.

In addition, built-in taps are one of the biggest recent trends recommended by interior design experts, as they offer modern design, greater convenience and less noise.

In this post, we will show you the pros and cons of these types of shower installation, so you can choose the one that best suits your room and needs.

Concealed showers: what do they consist of?

Concealed showers are showers that are installed inside the wall. This means that only the essentials are left on show, such as the shower taps (mixer or thermostatic); the water jets, the shower handset and shower head.

This type of installation is best for bathrooms with a more discreet or minimalist design, as they offer a greater sense of spaciousness and lightness.

Concealed showers: Smartbox and Smartbox Slim tap installation systems 

At Noken, we have various series of internal bodies for your concealed shower, with different installation systems. For single-lever or mixer taps you can find concealed bodies in the Round Inox, Project Line or Smartbox series. And for thermostatic taps, we have a Smartbox Slim version or the OXO series, which has several models for any number of outlets, from one to five, depending on the needs of your bathroom.

In terms of the installation systems we offer, the Smartbox and Smartbox Slim concealed shower bodies stand out. In addition to maximising the space in the shower, they offer many advantages, such as greater comfort and less noise. With the tap system being apart in a box, it reduces the sound which is made by the water running through the shower hose.

Another benefit of Smartbox is that it is easy to install, significantly reducing the time it takes to complete the bathroom. It also adapts to any surface: solid walls, plasterboard, etc. and it is compatible with any of our taps. Freedom of design and easy installation.

The latest in shower technology with Touch&Feel

In order to enhance the shower experience to the maximum and turn it into a wellness space, at Noken we have the Touch&Feel technology. This highly usable and functional shower system allows you to easily and intuitively activate the desired shower experience at any time. A gentle touch is all it takes to change functions, such as rain, waterfall or jets, or to select several at once. 

Touch & Feel is available for concealed showers and shower columns, mixer or thermostatic taps, and for the Project Line and Smartbox systems, making it easy for the professional in charge of bathroom design to install and combine all the elements to achieve maximum comfort and style.


Touch&Feel shower column in matt black


Tocuh&Feel concealed shower in matt black

In addition to this new technology, our taps include the Noken Safe Stop mechanism and Noken Thermotrust temperature control for added comfort as you shower.

Advantages of concealed showers

Apart from the advantages of our own Smartbox tap installation system, concealed showers offer a number of additional benefits, which must be taken into account when choosing the installation type:

  1. Customising the shower. The built-in shower systems offer users the possibility of setting up a custom-made shower, thanks to the different available options in the our catalogue. From jets for an enveloping sensation of water all over the body, to shower heads with multiple functions to maximise wellness in the shower (hydrotherapy, chromotherapy and aromatherapy).
  2. Matching the set. We offer the comprehensive solution where all the shower elements follow the design of the rest of the pieces in the bathroom, such as: the basin taps, the furniture, the mirror, the accessories, etc; which create a special and unique atmosphere in perfect harmony. Aesthetic beauty which is increased with the different available finishes, namely: black matt, copper and titanium.
  3. Optimising the space. Because of the built-in box structure, the taps take up less space in the shower.
  4. Quick cleaning. In addition to having a cleaner appearance, concealed showers are easier and quicker to clean because there are fewer visible elements.


Square concealed shower in chrome

The problem with concealed showers

One of the downsides of concealed showers is that they require some building work because some of the elements are installed in the wall. This is not a problem for bathrooms that are being designed new, but it could be an issue when it comes to bathroom renovations. 

In terms of installation, there is a tendency to think that concealed showers are more difficult to install. As you can see in the video "Smart Box slim termostática de encastre" (Smart Box slim built-in thermostatic tap) showing different shapes and surfaces to install these built-in taps, SmartBox is an advanced technical solution that houses the mixer system in a small box, resulting in silent shower taps and quick and easy installation, which dispels this misconception. 

It should be noted that, although the installation of this type of concealed shower fitting is simple and quick thanks to our system, it is important to have the help of an expert to determine where each element will be installed. This will help avoid any setbacks and ensure everything works properly.

External elements. Shower columns

The external elements are shower elements which leave a part of the installation visible, with the shower column being a perfect example of this. Different column designs are available, simple and minimal designs, which come with the shower head and hand shower, and the column panels which have jets for those relaxing back massages.

Advantages of shower columns

Among the advantages of the shower columns over the built-in showers, we have:

  1. The shower column’s versatility when carrying out refurbishments, with changing the bath for a shower being a perfect example. Normally, the bath tap connection adapts perfectly to the shower columns, in such a way that it will be possible to carry out the change without having to resort to any plumbing work.
  2. Easy maintenance because most of the elements installed are visible and accessible.In the event of a problem, not having to open up the wall (as would be the case with a concealed shower), is certainly a factor to be taken into account and a practical advantage.

While this is a major bonus of external elements compared to concealed showers, our Smartbox system guarantees easy access. An option which is highly sought after by architects and interior designers because of its numerous design options, which do not affect maintenance or reparation in any way.

Drawbacks of shower columns

One feature of exposed showers that can be considered a drawback compared to concealed showers is the aesthetics.

The minimalism that characterizes concealed showers is a trend because it streamlines and simplifies spaces. However, shower columns have evolved towards more attractive and modern designs, which feature technology, different shapes and finishes that can play an important role in the decoration of your bathroom. This is the case of the Vitae shower column, designed by Zaha Hadid, or the shower columns with square shower heads in matt black, chrome, gold or brushed copper finishes.


Touch&Feel shower column in matt black with square shower head

Built-in taps: more space without sacrificing design

Built in bathroom taps have become one of the most influential trends in the design and interiors world in recent years.

Advantages of built-in taps

As well as the more obvious benefits in terms of aesthetics, opting for built-in taps for your shower or bathtub has a number of advantages:

  • Less is more: built in tap solutions exude modern design - the ideal finishing touch for minimalist spaces. The perfect balance between aesthetics and function.
  • Versatility and design freedom: built in taps have been designed to suit installation on any type of surface, from solid walls to plasterboard, etc.
  • Have more space: being able to move around more in the shower will give you an improved customer experience. This is without a doubt one of the main advantages of having built in shower taps. They free up more room, making it feel more spacious, and of course improve the aesthetic.
  • Easy cleaning and maintenance: one example would be the Smartbox series, which features a minimalist design, resulting in an incredibly streamlined aesthetic that is also easier to clean and repair than other more conventional installations.
  • Improved comfort. Less noise: built in taps are housed inside a box, meaning they're insulated, so the amount of noise generated by water coming through the pipes is greatly reduced.

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