6 Types of Shower Drain Covers Explained

Sometimes, even the smallest items in the household can be of great importance.

However, we usually only notice how much they matter when there’s some sort of problem.

A great example of this is the shower drain cover.

They are rarely given a second thought until the shower drain gets clogged and you face a potentially costly and time-consuming plumbing repair.

Because of this, it’s very important to have a shower drain cover that can properly serve its purpose and be perfectly compatible.

Therefore, before shopping for cover, you’ll need to accurately identify the type of drain and shower you have in your bathroom.

This will narrow down the search, but you should still get familiar with the different types of shower drain covers available on the market.

To help out, I compiled a list of the most common types you may find in your local plumbing store.

Different Types of Shower Drain Covers

Different shower drains feature different openings, so, logically, they will need specifically designed covers.

To securely fit various shower pipes, covers are available in varying dimensions and feature different kinds of the installation process.

Plus, there’s a difference in the materials they’re made of. This affects their durability, but also their price.

Plastic shower drain covers are the cheapest, but they won’t serve you as long as those made of more durable materials.

On the other hand, stainless steel, brass, or aluminum covers, and those plated in copper, silver, or gold will last longer periods of time but are much more expensive.

You should carefully consider which cover type will suit your drain, as the improper fit may lead to leakage and significant damage to your bathroom.

Below is an overview of different types of shower drain covers that should help you find the perfect one for your needs.

Screw-In Shower Drain Covers

Screw-In Shower Drain Covers are the most common option for protecting the drain against various debris.

They also feature the simplest design and the easiest installation process.

You’re very likely familiar with how they look, as you’ve probably seen them countless times.

Screw-in covers are basically round pieces with numerous holes in them, most of them of the same size, with a screw hole in the center.

The size of the holes is set in a way that they’re large enough to let through water, soap, and most of the dirt, but stop hair, larger debris, and other stuff that can clog the drawing.

The material and finishes vary, so you’ll have a pretty wide choice available. The most typical finishes are stainless steel, chrome, bronze, polished brass, or antique brass.

Installing Screw-In Shower Drain Covers

The installation process is a simple DIY job and most likely won’t require any professional help.

This type of cover is installed by simply placing it over the drain and screwing it in with the screw placed at the top.

The only thing to pay attention to is that it fits the size of the drain to ensure that the hole is completely covered.

Still, most drains follow a similar standard and come in 3-3/8″ sizes. In addition, the measurement of the screw hole of the cover is commonly 2-7/8″.

Snap-In Shower Drain Covers

Another type of shower drain cover frequently in use is the snap-in cover. Next to the screw-in covers, this is the one that is most frequently found in traditional showers.

The basic concept is rather similar to screw-in covers, except in the way they’re installed.

Snap-in covers also often feature holes across the surface, allowing water to drain through, but stopping hair and other debris.

However, they can also have different kinds of patterns, such as surface square cutouts. Besides different patterns, snap-in shower drains are available in a variety of colors and finishes.

You’ll probably have no trouble finding the one that will match the rest of your bathroom’s interior design.

The available finishes range from chrome, brass, and copper to nickel, silver gold, and many more.

Installing Snap-In Shower Drain Covers

Installing these covers is simple and you’ll be able to do it by yourself.

Snap-in covers come with prongs underneath that are placed into the top of the drain and simply snap into place.

Even though the process is so simple, the prongs will hold the cover tightly in its place.

The process of removing these covers is not much harder, but you’ll likely have to use a flathead screwdriver or a similar tool to pry them up.

The typical snap-in cover will have a 2-7/8″ screw hole and fit a 4-1/4″ drain.

Snap-In Replacement Shower Drain Strainers

These shower drain covers are mostly the same as the typical snap-in cover and feature the same types of finishes, patterns, and installation process.

The only significant difference is their versatility. As long as they fit the pipe size, you can use them anywhere you may need a shower drain cover.

When shopping for these, you’ll be able to choose between three different sizes: 3-1/4″, 4″, and 5-1/8″.

Heavy Duty Screw-In Cast Drain Covers

Heavy duty screw-in cast drain covers are similar to classic screw-in covers, with one difference being that they’ve gone through a sand-casting process.

They usually feature slotted patterns and often have manufacturer’s logs stamped on them.

Heavy duty covers are available in a fairly limited range of finishes. These include polished and antique brass and cast nickel.

Often, they may have slight surface imperfections due to the casting process they’ve been exposed to.

Still, these imperfections don’t impact their strength and performance in any way and they’re probably the best solution if you’re looking for an extremely durable cover for your shower drain.

Installing Heavy Duty Screw-In Cast Drain Covers

The installation process is more or less the same as with the ordinary screw-in covers.

They are made in various sizes so they can fit different drain sizes, most commonly 4”, 4 1/4″, 4-3/4″, and 5-1/2″.

Three Piece Shower Drain Covers

Unlike other shower drain cover types, this one is a bit more complex. Besides being only a cover, it also performs the function of a floor drain.

Three piece cover, as its name says features extra pieces creating an extension of the cover itself and forming an additional barrier.

The construction is solid and resembles the classic floor drains.

The extra barrier is useful mainly for situations when there’s a subflooring beneath the shower that also needs to be protected.

The three-piece construction offers some flexibility, so these covers can be adjusted to fit the thickness of the shower floor.

The material used for these three pieces is usually PVC, while the cover itself commonly features a stainless steel finish.

Installing Three Piece Shower Drain Covers

Unlike shower drain covers mentioned above, the installation of a three-piece model is rather challenging.

Therefore it’s best done by a professional plumber. If they’re not installed and sealed properly, the leakage will probably occur sooner or later.

The bottom piece is placed into the lower part of the shower drain. The middle piece goes through the shower pan and further into the floor.

This part is then connected to a built-in cover with slotted holes. This top piece is screwed into the other two and holds them in place.

Removable Shower Drain Covers

If you don’t want the hassle of installing a permanent shower drain cover, you can opt for one of the removable types available on the market.

They’re generally cheaper than those that have to be screwed or snapped in and bring flexibility to try out more options until you find the one that suits your needs.

They’re available in a variety of different sizes, materials, hole patterns, and designs, so you’re more than likely to find the right one for you.

The advantage of this type of cover is that it can be easily removed, picked up, cleaned, and then put back in place.

Similar to other covers, they’re designed to let the water, soap, and dirt through while stopping hair and larger debris.

However, you might have an issue with them falling out of place, especially when using a stronger water flow from the shower.


Shopping for a shower drain cover and choosing the right one is not something that you should take lightly, no matter how insignificant this bathroom accessory may seem.

Each of the different cover types described above will serve its purpose in certain situations.

It’s up to you to make sure that the one you purchase will securely fit your shower drain and protect it from clogging.

If you’re unsure what type of shower drain you have, don’t be afraid to ask someone more experienced to clear that up for you.

In addition, it’s always a good idea to take measurements of your drain and make a simple sketch of it before going to the plugin store.

Of course, the range of different models and designs available also provides an opportunity to find the one that will match your personal taste and the overall bathroom setup.

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