While not covered below, many options offer brushed (R) vs. polished (L) hardware finishes. This comparison image highlights the difference between the two.
Some shower enclosures require a top header for stability – they do not spoil the look of the shower.
Headers are generally used when a glass panel is attached to an adjoining glass door. As the door moves, the glass panel is being asked to carry the weight of the shower door.
A header helps relieve tension to prevent weakening of the panel, door, and connection over time.
Traditional hinges act like a door in your home – two or three separate hinges spread out. Continuous hinges run the length of the door with a self-centering mechanism to return to a closed position. Hinges are a frequent component of heavy glass shower enclosures.
Hinges can have stops removed to swing in and out; most customers elect for the door to swing out only. One advantage to a double swing is that you can open the door in the inward position to drip dry. Doors that only swing inward are not up to national building codes.
Knobs offer a small, unobtrusive way to open and close a shower. They are a traditional option offering both simplicity and enough leverage to move the door.
Pulls are quite modern and tend to be used with a recessed finger: you put your finger inside the pull and use it to move the door. Pulls can be combined with a towel bar.
Pull handles are more overt and there are lot of varieties of handles in styles, shapes, and colors. You can get handles in metal or even glass.
Towel bars are most traditionally placed on the exterior shower door but in some instances, interior bars are possible. Towel bars can also be integrated with pulls and pull handles to reduce the amount of separate hardware on the shower door.
Towel bars are not a necessity – you can have an alternate solution, whether hooks or a mounted bar on an exterior wall, shower wall, or shower door. Keep in mind the towel bar – and towels that will go on that bar – matter in aesthetics.