Pivot Vs. Hinged Shower Door: What Are The Major Differences?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

The question is less about pivot vs. hinged shower doors and more about the preference of each type of shower door hinge. Those preferences are also going to be determined by considerations such as the shower layout, the shower design, and other practical and aesthetic aspects.

Both pivot and hinged shower doors offer equally reliable and effective service. Pivot shower doors offer more in the way of decorum value but do have some potential leak issues. Hinged shower doors are considered less aesthetically appealing but also provide better protection against water leaks.

So what are the major differences between a pivot-hinged shower door and a hinged (or side-hinged) shower door? What type of shower door hinge works best in scenarios A, B, or C? And what should we know before purchasing the right shower door of our shower?

Like virtually everything, there are positives and negatives to the different kinds of shower door hinges too. Here is a look at the pros to consider and the cons to be concerned about regarding pivot and hinged shower doors.

Related Guide: What Is A Pivot Shower Door?

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The Pros of Pivot Shower Doors

There are several useful, cool, and stylish points to consider when looking at pivot shower doors. Here are a few of the highlights and reasons why a pivot shower door might be your best option.

180 Degrees

No, this isn’t referring to the temperature but the very cool fact that pivot-hinged shower doors have the ability to swing 180 degrees either way, in or out. This can also be a useful benefit either coming or going depending on what is being carried into or out of the shower.

Frameless Appeal

One of the most admired aspects of pivot shower doors is their frameless appeal. Because of where the hinges are located, one at the top and one at the bottom corner, pivot shower doors can present a frameless and seamless look. This can be a big deal for those who are bathroom decorum aficionados.

Provide Alternative Hinge Options

Depending on the layout and location of the shower, in some cases, pivot hinge options provide the best or most practical option. This might be in a situation where there is a lack of studs in the wall, and where attaching the hinge to the shower wall isn’t viable.

Every shower and every setup and design will be a little different, and pivot shower doors are flexible and reliable enough to be used in many circumstances. They are not, however, without their drawbacks either.

The Cons of Using Pivot-Hinged Shower Doors

Despite the many positive aspects of pivot shower doors, that doesn’t mean that it is without its cons. Here is a look at the cons of using pivot-hinged shower doors versus hinged shower doors.

Water Leaks

The greatest and essentially only real argument against pivot shower doors is that they are known to be prone to leak at the hinges. This is because the hinges on pivot shower doors neither seal nor have seals to prevent water from getting in or out.

Slightly More Expensive?

Although this is debatable, historically and traditionally speaking, pivot shower doors as part of frameless shower structures tend to be slightly more expensive. While some of this subtle difference in expense is material related, much of it will also be allotted to installation costs.

It isn’t always the case that pivot-hinged shower doors are going to be more expensive, but is worth noting when comparing a pivot vs. a hinged shower door.

Requires Necessary Existing Structures

Pivot-hinged shower doors are designed to be seamless, and intended to project a frameless image. If there is the need for anchoring points and a header is required, it can detract from that design and image. This will also end up requiring additional expenses to add the header to the shower frame.

The Pros of Hinged Shower Doors

Like their counterpart, hinged shower doors are durable and solid choices for any shower. Here is a look at some of the pros of using hinged shower doors.


If you like to follow the crowd, then you want a hinged shower door. These reliable shower door options are easily the most popular type of hinged shower door today. That popularity should speak to the quality of these types of shower doors too.

There are also many reasons for the popularity of side-hinged shower doors, and many reasons why they have found a place in so many homes and showers.


Unlike pivot-hinged shower doors, side-hinged shower doors seal when they close, also sealing out water. This helps to keep the water inside the shower, and to keep the floor outside the shower dry and also safer.

Additionally, hinged shower doors can add seals to help prevent water leaks too. These are a few of the pros, but there are always the cons to consider as well.

The Cons of Using Side-Hinged Shower Doors

There isn’t much to complain about when it comes to hinged shower doors, but here are a couple of potential cons that may be encountered when using side-hinged shower doors.

Not Always The Most Practical Or Simple Option

In situations where the shower setup dictates that the hinge must be attached to the shower wall, additional costs may be encountered. In rare cases, where a header isn’t present and mounting to the shower wall isn’t optional, installing a header may be necessary.

Although side-hinged shower doors are most often the more simple option, that isn’t always the case. Always confirm that the shower doors being considered will work for your shower setup, or what will be required to install those doors.

Less Aesthetically Pleasing

In the same way decorum lovers rave about the frameless look and feel of pivot-hinged shower doors, the complaint is that side-hinged doors can interrupt the decorum or seamless feel. Although these aren’t typically considered the preferred choice for style and looks, in some setup circumstances, side-hinged shower doors can be the more appealing choice.

How much weight the decorum of your bathroom and shower carries will be up to each individual as beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. Simply translated, that means that the aesthetics of the shower door might not be big issues for some, but for others, image is everything!

The Other Ones

In addition to pivot-hinged and side-hinged shower doors, there are a few other good choices too. Two of those more popular choices are bi-fold shower doors and sliding shower doors. Like pivot and hinged shower doors, they also come with their own set of pros and cons.

Bi-Fold Shower Doors

These types of shower doors offer a couple of helpful benefits, such as being affordable and space-saving. Bi-fold shower doors are great options for those who have limited space, small showers, or small budgets.

Bi-fold doors may not be the most ideal option for showers that are heavily used as these door designs can weaken and falter over time and extensive use.

Sliding Shower Doors

Not only are these shower doors also an affordable option, they also can be practical when it comes to saving space. These stylish shower door options also aren’t prone to leak, and that also saves water, cleanup, and time.

These are a few of the many choices people have when it comes to shower doors and the types of hinge and door systems for their showers. When installing a new shower, remodeling a shower, or looking for the right shower door, it inevitably leads to other common questions. Here is a look at some of those frequently asked questions regarding shower doors.

Related Questions

From installation, to designs, to practical purposes, many questions might arise when choosing a shower door.

Can Pivot Shower Doors Be Sealed

Even though it is a known issue and a problem that has caused some considerable grumbling, there is still no answer to the seal dilemma with pivot-hinged shower doors. Unfortunately, that means that if your pivot shower door is leaking, there may not be a simple solution.

That also means that there is no option or method available currently to seal pivot-hinged shower doors.

Can I Install Shower Doors Myself?

This is a question that should be approached with caution. That means, if you are a skilled tradesman or carpenter, then it is likely a manageable project for you. On the other hand, if you have zero construction experience or aren’t familiar with a measuring tape and power tools, than having it installed might be a worthwhile call.

It is also mindful to understand what the type of door you are installing will require. That includes what tools you will need, and any other supplies before beginning. Some doors won’t require a great deal of effort, others may require some minor construction work.

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To Pivot or Hinge?

It is a question that every shower, every shower design, every bathroom decorum, and everyone must answer. To pivot, or to hinge? As we have learned, the answer will be defined by several factors, and those will ultimately narrow our choices.

To pivot or hinge? Only you and your shower know the answer.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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