While the choice between a single handle or two-handle shower faucet is largely a matter of preference, there are certain advantages to the two-handled version. Having two handles, one for hot water and one for cold, gives you increased control over both the water temperature and the total volume of water that is released from the faucet. In addition, having two faucets that are clearly marked as hot and cold decreases the chances that someone will accidentally turn on the hot water and get scalded. For this reason, households with school-aged children may want to go with a two-handle shower faucet.
Attractive two-handle faucets are available at all price points, beginning around $58 and ranging up to about $1,000. The price difference depends on the material used, to create the faucet, the finish, and the features included. Two-handle shower fixtures are typically made of chrome, though some models are available in nickel, brass, stainless steel, and other materials. You can also choose a finish that matches the aesthetic of your existing bathroom, or pick a design that gives the room a new, updated style. Reputable manufacturers for these products include Moen, Danze, Hansgrohe, Delta, Pfister, Grohe, and American Standard.
In order to install a new two-handle shower, you must first remove the old fixture. It will typically come off with an Allen wrench after you remove the screws; you must also remove the valve, since a two-handle fixture uses a different type of valve. If there is already a double faucet valve, however, you can go ahead and install the new fixture. If you don't have plumbing experience, this job is best done by a professional, since you must cut and redirect the water supply, then solder the valves. The staff at your local plumbing supply should be able to recommend a reliable contractor.
Installing a new shower fixture is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to update the look of your bathroom. If you're looking for an option with control and safety built in, a double-handle shower faucet is an excellent choice.