There are a lot of great shower control valve types out there. You don’t need to settle for the old-fashioned way of wrestling with hot and cold faucets where the slightest adjustment turns it from cold to scalding hot.
These days we have many innovative technologies that can make our shower experience more pleasant and safer.
Two of the most popular shower faucet around at the Positemp and Moentrol are designed and manufactured by the Moen company. While they both help to control and moderate the temperature of your shower, the way they work is quite different, and many potential buyers are left confused about which one is the best option for them.
The main difference between Moentrol and Positemp is that Moentrol works with a knob that you can pull out and adjust the temperature by twisting.
This knob can then be depressed in the same position, effectively ‘saving’ your ideal shower temperature when you turn it on next time. It’s back to your ideal temperature within seconds.
The Positemp valve works differently because it has a rotated counterclockwise handle. This then cycles through cold and will get progressively hotter the further you turn it. While far easier than trying to deal with individual hot/cold controls from taps, you will need to set the temperature to how you like it each time you use the shower.
What is a Moentrol shower valve?
From a usability standpoint, the main thing that makes the Moen shower valve unique is that it operates using a knob that first needs to be pulled out to start the flow of water. Then that knob can be rocked left or right to adjust the temperature to be hotter (left) or colder (right).
When you first turn the main shower valve on, there is already a comfortable balance between hot and cold, meaning you don’t need to awkwardly avoid the water while it’s too cold and wait for it to warm up.
Moen originally introduced this in the 1970s with the intention of having a shower valve that could compensate for unexpected changes in hot and cold temperatures.
What is a Positemp shower valve?
The Positemp valve is the kind of shower valve you are most likely used to seeing in the gym or swimming pool showers as they are quick and convenient but perhaps lacks some of the usability features of the Moentrol shower valve.
It works with just a single handle that you rotate to start the water flow, and then as you turn it further counterclockwise, the water will become progressively hotter.
However, to turn the water off, you must rotate it all the way back to the off position, which then cycles it back to cold again.
This is a slightly newer model that Moen originally introduced in 1985.
What are the differences between Moentrol and Positemp?
Both the Positemp and the Moentrol valve share several features. The most significant selling point of this is that they will both maintain your chosen temperature to within a few degrees, which helps protect you against sudden temperature changes, such as when someone else turns on a faucet downstairs, and you suddenly get blasted with hot water; not very fun!
In addition to ‘maintaining’ the temperature you pick, they also have inbuilt temperature limit stops, giving you control over the maximum hot and cold temperatures the shower can reach. This feature prevents you from being exposed to unreasonably hot or cold temperatures.
They’re both available in several connection types, including the common ½” CC/Sweat, the ½” IPS-threaded, and ½” PEX or CPVC connectors meaning you can install both in most common shows.
That’s about where their similarities end: their usability and the way they function are considerably different. So let’s take a deeper look into these differences to make a more informed decision about which one is best for you.
As the Positemp is the newer valve type, Moen is making moves to try, and transition to a newer design called the M-Core valve.
However, many people are still users of the Moentrol valve and don’t want to change a bunch of plumping to update a shower valve they are already happy with. Moen has continued production of the Moentrol to keep homeowners happy.
The Positemp is under continued production as usual. So you’ll probably find the Positemp is a little bit more readily available than the older Moentrol, but if you shop around a bit, you should still be able to find it.
2. How it’s controlled
The Moentrol works by pulling out the central knob, which starts the water flow. By default, this is already a nice balance between hot and cold, but you can further adjust it by turning the knob left and right.
Once you are finished, you can press the knob in, and you’re done.
The Positemp works in a more linear fashion where you turn the handle counterclockwise to start the water flow, which, by default, will be cold. Then as you continue to turn it further, it will become progressively hotter until you reach your desired temperature.
To turn it off, you rotate the handle back around, so the next time you need a shower, you have to start from the beginning again.
3. Flow protection
The Moentrol features flow protection or ‘volume control,’ which essentially manages the flow of water to supply the water pressure consistently at a specified rate.
The Positemp does not have this feature and will supply the water pressure based on your home, which can still be affected by other faucets in the house.
4. Temperature ‘memory’
Additionally, because of how the Moentrol knob works, once you have set the temperature to how you like and depressed the knob to turn the water flow off, that temperature setting is saved as there is no left/right movement involved in turning the water off.
This means next time you come to use the shower, you pull on the knob, and within a few seconds, it will be at the same temperature you originally left it off.
The Positemp, on the other hand, works quite differently in that the temperature is controlled linearly, meaning the handle has to return to cold to turn off. This means the temperature needs to be set each time you turn the shower on.
5. Temperature change protection
Both shower faucet types can protect against sudden temperature changes, and the Moentrol keeps this within 2 degrees of your desired temperature. At the same time, the Positemp will maintain this to within just 1 degree (3F).
There’s not a huge difference here, but the newer Positemp nevertheless takes the edge.
The Moentrol, due to its additional temperature-saving features, is a little bit more expensive than the Positemp.
So depending on your budget and whether you care about temperature saving, you may find the Positemp to be a more desirable option. However, if temperature saving is essential, we recommend paying extra for this feature.
Moentrol vs Positemp: Are they the same?
Both the Moentrol and Positemp are great shower valves and far easier to use than regular individual hot/cold faucets. Despite them sharing many similar features, a few key differences may make one more appropriate than the other for your preferences.
- The Moentrol is a slightly older valve and is only really kept in production to appease homeowners who don’t want to change. And as such might be a little harder to source than the Positemp, which is still in full production.
- The Positemp is controlled in a rotary motion using a handle turned counterclockwise. Whereas the Moentrol is controlled using a push/pull knob.
- Flow protection is a feature that keeps the water pressure consistent, so you’re not suddenly hit with sudden high/low-pressure fluctuations if someone else turns a faucet on. The Moentrol has this feature, but unfortunately, the Positemp does not.
- Another benefit of the Moentrol is that it will remember the temperature you used previously and return you to that point within seconds of turning the shower on. The Positemp, on the other hand, works linearly, so the temperature needs to be set each time you use it.
- Both valve types have temperature change protection and can maintain the water temperature to 1 degree for the Positemp and 2 degrees for the Moentrol. This protects you against sudden pressure changes making your shower experience more comfortable.
- The Moentrol is a bit more advanced system due to its temperature-saving feature, and the fact it’s not in full production makes it a bit more expensive than the Positemp.