Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- LiBa/Business Insider
- The first thing you see when you enter your bathroom is probably the shower curtain, so why not buy a good one that complements your bathroom’s design?
- Of all the shower curtains we researched, the LiBa Mildew Resistant Fabric Shower Curtain is the best one with its simple look and sturdy construction.
Your shower curtain may seem like a thoughtless purchase, but it’s actually something that deserves some consideration. Your bathroom is one of the most intimate places in your home and the shower curtain tends to be the highlight of it.
The two main purposes of shower curtains are to keep water off the bathroom floor and to instill a sense of privacy, but they also set the tone for the style of your bathroom. Having a shower curtain that goes well with the rest of your bathroom aesthetics while still giving you privacy while you shower.
The basic components of your shower curtain system are comprised of the shower curtain (which is primarily decorative), an optional curtain liner (which is primarily functional), the shower curtain rod, and the shower curtain rings. The liner is unseen by most visitors, and you can pick rods and rings that based on the design of your bathroom or curtain, so at the end of the day, the most important part of your shower curtain system is the curtain itself.
And for the record, no, a liner on its own is not a suitable curtain despite how little you care about your bathroom style. That is, unless it specifically says that the liner can double as a curtain on the packaging.
Good shower curtains typically cost anywhere from $10 to $100. What makes a “good” curtain is dependent upon how your shower is structured along with the materials and the design of the curtain. Before we dive into design, there are some things to keep in mind when searching for any shower curtain:
Shower curtain sizes and how to measure
A standard shower curtain runs 72-by-72-inches, but not all showers are the same. If you have a standing stall shower, free standing or “clawfoot” bathtub shower, or any other kind of custom-made or unique sized shower you may need to purchase either a stall curtain (usually 54-by-78-inches), an extra-long curtain (72-by-84-inches or 72-by-96-inches) for bathrooms with high ceilings or, an extra wide curtain (108-by-72-inches), which is usually for those with a clawfoot bathtub shower.
To measure out the best curtain size, first, determine the width and height. To get the curtain width, measure the entire length of the curtain rod and add 12 inches. Height depends on if you have a built-in tub, a clawfoot tub, or no tub at all.
If you have a built in tub, measure from the bottom of the curtain rod (or curtain rings if you are using them) to the top of the tub, and add up an inch or two to account for the tub, which is usually about 10 inches in height at the most. Unless you have a clawfoot bathtub with a shower, you want the shower curtain to fall an inch or two inside the tub to prevent water leakage.
If you have a clawfoot bathtub shower, you’ll have to be a little more crafty. Shower curtain measurements for these oval-shaped bathtub shower combos can vary greatly, but the main thing you want to focus on is getting a curtain that does not gather too much, which is an awkward look, but instead appears to be resting comfortably. You’ll also need a track (if you don’t have one already) that goes completely around the tub.
In this case, it’s best to prioritize getting the correct track size by measuring the width and length of the tub and purchasing a track that fits these dimensions. From there purchase an extra wide shower curtain (so it wraps all the way around the tub) and adjust the track height to accommodate the height of your curtain. SFGate has a handy guide of this with step by step instructions.
Shower Curtain Materials
The materials of the curtain are just as important as the design. The main things to think about are how the curtain can be cleaned based on what it’s made of and how long you expect it to last. The most common materials of shower curtains are polyester, nylon, cotton, linen, and sometimes a mix of a few of these materials.
- Synthetic shower curtains are the usually the most affordable, low maintenance, surprisingly durable, and have some water repellent properties which helps to fight mildew buildup. They are crafted out of man-made materials such as polyester, nylon, or sometimes a nylon/cotton mix.
- Polyester shower curtains are the most common. They also resist shrinking and creasing, are not flammable, and dry quickly. On the downside, they’re not as luxurious as curtains made of other materials.
- Natural fabric shower curtains are usually made of cotton or linen and come in various weaves and thicknesses. They’re more expensive and generally look and feel that way. They’re much less water-resistant, although most are treated with some type of waterproofing, so they take longer to dry and require you also purchase a liner. Natural fabric curtains are more flammable and usually don’t provide any defense against mildew and other buildup. But they are washable, usually in a basic washing machine, although some will require dry cleaning.
- Shower curtain liners: On the subject on liners, if you have a fabric curtain or any curtain that comes with instructions that even suggests a liner then, yes, you need one. It’s really not a debate. There’s no point in buying a high quality, not to mention, more expensive shower curtain if you don’t buy a liner to protect it. One trick to minimize disposal and recurring costs of your shower curtain liners is to find ones that are made from fabric, which you’ve probably seen in hotels, such as this Croscill Fabric Shower Curtain Liner, ranked number 14 in shower curtain liners on Amazon. Fabric liners are easy to wash, maintain, and will last you longer. If you don’t go with fabric, at least indulge an extra few dollars in a liner that is mold and mildew resistant, so it won’t need to be replaced as frequently.
The following Insider Picks are based on a combination of outside expert designer recommendations, Amazon customer reviews, and personal experience. Shower curtains come in so many designs we strived to take all shower curtain aspects, such as functionality and longevity, into consideration, as well, of course, as looks and style. Read on to discover our top picks in shower curtains.
Here are the best shower curtains you can buy:
- Best shower curtain overall: LiBa Mildew Resistant Fabric Shower Curtain
- Best shower curtain with pockets: Maytex Mesh Pockets PEVA Shower Curtain in Clear
- Best shower curtain for a hookless look: Goodbath Fabric Hookless Shower Curtain
- Best shower curtain for a classic or modern design scheme: InterDesign Chevron Shower Curtain
Updated on 5/20/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best shower curtain overall
Chemical free, hygiene considerate, and with a design that matches any bathroom, the LiBa Mildew Resistant Fabric Shower Curtain is our go-to shower curtain.
The LiBa Mildew Resistant Fabric Shower Curtain simply has it all, and then some, although it might not look like it at first glance. The 100% polyester fabric curtain is water repellent and mildew resistant, keeping your shower and those showering in it cleaner than your average curtain. It goes overboard in the hygiene department to ensure you get an unpolluted, refreshing experience with every time you shower.
The antibacterial curtain is nontoxic so it won’t emit the harmful chemicals that often come with vinyl or plastic curtains. Also, the antibacterial part means it resists unsightly, not to mention unhealthy, mold and mildew buildup and can be easily rinsed clean after use. It’s also machine washable, so you don’t have to invest in a new one every time you do a deep clean of your bathroom.
It’s the number one best-seller in shower curtains on Amazon with more than 400 5-star reviews to back it up.
As for design, this is a case where we have to give in to the concept that sometimes the classiest things are the most simplistic. It’s a no-nonsense pure white color that will match any bathroom. The fabric is smooth but highly textured to promote water bead formation and prevent the curtain from soaking.
Plus, the curtain has some little well-thought-out extras that make it stand out, including reinforced hole hooks and a weighted hem that ensures water stays in the shower, where it belongs.
Reviewers consistently applaud the durability of the curtain. Others cite the convenience of the curtain, with one reviewer going as far as to say, “(I’m) never going back to vinyl/plastic curtains again!”
While the majority are in love with it, certain reviewers say the mildew-resistant claim from the manufacturer isn’t exactly true. This reviewer who explains their curtain has accrued a solid amount of mildew after a few months of use.
Although it may not be 100% mildew resistant, we still see this curtain as one of the most sanitary options out there. Also, mold and mildew are bound to grow in certain room environments and, if you want to get technical, the mold-resistant claim does not guarantee the curtain to be mold-proof. (Insider Picks’ Guides Editor Les Shu, whose bathroom has no windows, maintains his mildew-free shower curtain by spraying a mix of vinegar and baking soda on a weekly basis.)
Overall, with so many positive reviews, high rankings, and detailed attention from the manufacturer to make sure it’s a healthy and safe product, the LiBa Mildew Resistant Fabric Shower Curtain is more than worthy of being our top pick.
Pros: Antibacterial and mold and mildew resistant, blends into any bathroom design, textured fabric that plays a design and water-preventing role, low price
Cons: May not be 100% resistant to mildew and mold in certain environments
The best shower curtain with pockets
The Maytex Mesh Pockets PEVA Shower Curtain has lots of pockets to hold your shampoo and body wash while you shower.
If storage space is limited in your bathroom, you probably have to keep some of your bathroom necessities in other rooms, which just makes showering more of a hassle. You can’t change the size of your bathroom, but you can make showering easier with this Maytex Mesh Pockets PEVA Shower Curtain that comes with built-in pouches to hold all your typical bathroom items.
Acting as an organizational piece as much as one that controls shower water, the clear vinyl curtain has nine mesh pockets that each support up to two pounds of personal care items. To wash away any concerns about hygiene, the materials are clear PEVA with no chlorides, so you shouldn’t have to worry about excess chemicals getting smoked into the air as you shower.
The Maytex Mesh Pockets PEVA Shower Curtain Clear is rated number 14 on Amazon in the Shower Curtains category, where it has more than 400 5-star reviews and holds an average review rating of 4.5 stars. It’s also featured, once again, in Wisebread’s roundup.
Reviewers tend to generally like the organizational aspect and see the shower curtain as a clutter-free bathroom necessity, especially if you have a bathroom with heavy traffic. One reviewer called it “literally the most useful thing I’ve bought for my tiny home.” However, some reviewers complain that it gets moldy. This reviewer explained that when the pockets faced outside, the curtain stayed clean but upon turning the curtain inside mold began to develop.
Reviewers go back and forth about how durable the pockets are, with some saying the pockets don’t meet their needs and others, like this reviewer, suggesting you limit the weight of objects in the pockets to one pound.
From a decor standpoint, there’s not much to say. It’s really as much an organizational item as it is one to keep water in the shower. Your personal care items will be on display, so that’s something to think about as is the fact that it’s clear, so it doesn’t provide as much privacy as colored curtains.
Overall this shower curtain has one of those I-wish-I-would-have-thought-of-that-first designs that are undeniably innovative and original.
Pros: Practical space saver, doubles as an organizational item, non-chloride materials, technically two-sided as you can face the pockets inside or outside the shower
Cons: It’s unclear how much weight pockets can hold, no magnets and probably needs them, mold buildup may occur
The best shower curtain for a hookless look
The Goodbath Fabric Hookless Shower Curtain adds an undeniably unique accent to your shower with its fun colors and hookless design.
If you’re just so not about getting hooks for your shower, this Goodbath Fabric Hookless Shower Curtain has you covered.
Whether or not you like hookless shower curtains is a matter of personal preference. I personally can’t stand the sound of metal on metal – it makes me quiver like nails on a chalkboard – so I had always bought hookless shower curtains until I got an apartment that finally had a sliding glass door shower.
Other people simply like the look of their shower curtain threaded through the rod because the hooks or hanging space it creates matches other areas of their bathroom or adds that something special to the room design. Whatever the case, hookless shower curtains are a little rarer, but having one is certainly not unheard of.
This particular curtain comes in several, surprisingly detailed, mural-like patterns, but we like the Palm Leaves pattern the best because it has ads a subtle Hotel California effect, which is highly relatable, plus it’s not gender-specific.
Other design options include a nautical theme, a “French Quartet” as one reviewer so eloquently put it, a city garden as the manufacturer calls it, and a funkier oceanic blue octopus theme.
The design is placed on the curtain using a pretty cool heat dye sublimation printing technique that helps ensure the design holds up a long time without fading. It’s mold, mildew, and soap resistant. The 100% polyester fiber makes it soft to the touch.
The manufacturer claims you don’t need a liner, but if you want to be on the safe side, it really can’t hurt to just go ahead and buy one. This Hookless RBH40BBS01 Snap-In Fabric Liner is a good solution for many hookless curtains because it literally snaps into place.
The Goodbath Fabric Hookless Shower Curtain has an average of 4.2 stars based on 52 Amazon reviews. Reviewers across the board are very pleased with the design of the curtain, with one reviewer saying, “It just made everything pop. I get many compliments on it.” However, critics said the length wasn’t what was advertised and think a liner should be included in the price. Beyond that, the reviews are mainly 5 stars.
Pros: Eliminates the need to purchase hooks, extremely detailed designs and variety of pattern options, durable, mold, mildew, and soap resistant
Cons: Price is on the higher end, installation may be a bit tricky
Buy the Goodbath Fabric Hookless Shower Curtain on Amazon for $21.99 to $29.99 (price varies based on the print)
The best shower curtain for a classic or modern design scheme
The InterDesign Chevron Shower Curtain has a fun, subtle pattern that will add a touch of class to your bathroom.
If you don’t want your shower curtain to visually scream at you with crazy colors and patterns, but you still want one with a little more edge than plain white, this InterDesign Chevron Shower Curtain does the trick. It gives your bathroom that extra pop without being overwhelming and, besides the single colored stripe, it has a nice neutral gray-on-white color scheme.
The curtain is made of 100% soft polyester fabric and has reinforced bullet holes to ensure the rings you hang it with stay neatly in place. Because of the material, you should get the InterDesign Mildew-Resistant PEVA 3 Gauge Shower Liner for this curtain. The Chevron curtain is machine washable, which makes maintenance easy and extends the life of your purchase. It’s also available in various sizes.
If you’re re-doing your entire bathroom, InterDesign conveniently offers a line of products that perfectly match the curtain including rugs, toilet brushes, and tote and suction baskets. The curtain itself is highly rated in the simple, gender-neutral yellow, gray, and white pattern, but is also available in violet Orchard, teal green Aruba, or coral Aruba.
The InterDesign Chevron Shower Curtain holds a 4.5-star rating based on more than 300 customer reviews. One reviewer said, “Very nice shower curtain. Colors are great. Very quick shipment.” Another reviewer said, “Looks as expected from photo. No issues. Simple as that.” There are some complaints that the curtain is thin or as this reviewer put it, “has no body,” but beyond that, the reviews are mainly positive.
Pros: Simplistic design and color, extremely affordable price point, variety of color options, matching bathroom products, matching bathroom accessories available
Cons: Possibly thin curtain material may reduce the quality and longevity, colors in product pictures may not be the same in person