Are Kohler Shower Valves Universal? (3 Reasons Explained!)

Kohler shower valves are popularly known for their high flow rate and consistent water temperature. So, it’s normal to want to install them in your showers. But are Kohler shower valves universal?

Sadly, no! Kohler shower valves are not universal as they come in different designs and body connections and are not compatible with all Kohler trims. The exception is the Kohler Rite-Temp universal valves which are interchangeable with Kohler valves with deep rough-ins.

So, again, even though Kohler Rite-Temp has the word universal on it, it doesn’t accept every trim, and so it’s not as universal as its name sounds.   

It’s also worth noting that most people assume Kohler shower valves to be universal because most allow on-site configuration and customization by expert plumbers. But still, you’ll have to make some compromises.

Let’s get into the details!

are Kohler shower valves universal

3 Reasons Why Kohler Shower Valves Are Not Universal

Kohler shower valves are generally non-universal because of the following three reasons:

1. Kohler Shower Valves Come in Different Designs

If you check out Kohler shower valves, you’ll notice that even though they look alike, their designs differ. That explains why each of them comes with a model number.

The work of the model number is to differentiate the different Kohler shower valve designs. So, you cannot interchange Kohler shower valves within the brand mainly because of this.

2. Kohler Shower Valves Are Not Compatible with All Kohler Trims

The reason why shower valves are not interchangeable is that the trims themselves are not universal. So, Kohler shower valves are no different. Since the trims are not universal themselves, they make the valves non-universal.

Generally, you must pair Kohler shower valves with compatible trims for them to work.

3. Kohler Valves Come with Different Body Connections

A Kohler’s valve body has to fit onto the cartridge and pair well with the trim for compatibility purposes. The problem is that the valves come with different body connection designs.

The most popular is National Pipe Thread Tapered (NPT). In the United States, NPT is assumed to be the American National Standard Pipe.

NPT connections generally allow direct installation of NPT valves and sweat-only (another popular valve connection). Other than the two, there is a PEX connection. So, for you to interchange a Kohler valve, the body connection must match the trim.    

The Exception – Kohler Rite-Temp Universal Valve

Kohler refers Rite-Temp as the ‘next-generation shower valve,’ and it’s hard to argue with that. The Rite-Temp valves are designed to be interchanged with Kohler shower valves with deep rough-in, earning the title ‘universal.’

According to Kohler, these universal valves are about quality, reliability, and outstanding performance. Those attributes are what you want from Kohler shower valve systems, and Rite-Temp promises that.

Overall, Rite-Temp is easy to install and pretty versatile. You can count on its forged brass construction for long-term use and pressure-balancing technology for consistent water flow.

It also comes in a seize-resistant build to withstand aggressive conditions. That is the case of Kohler 10350-NA Universal Rite-Temp Valve.

Note, however, that you’ll first need to install a Kohler cartridge and compatible trim to fit Rite-Temp.

Kohler shower valve compatibility

Are Kohler Shower Valves Interchangeable with Other Brands?

Since Kohler shower valves are not interchangeable within the brand, they are also non-interchangeable with other brands.

All shower valves come in different designs and sizes and are compatible with different cartridges and trims. So, you cannot swap them.

That goes for Kohler shower valves. You cannot interchange them with other brands!

Why Do People Assume That Kohler Valves Are Universal?

Though Kohler shower valves are not interchangeable, people assume they are because they allow on-site configuration and customization. Overall, expert plumbers can modify them to match the specifications they want.

Yes, the plumbers cannot do anything about the Kohler shower valve and trim or cartridge compatibility but can change their water flow configuration.

For example, Kohler K-728-K-NA comes with a three-way configuration, which they can configure to two-way if you want more flow rate. That, however, doesn’t make them universal.

How to Install a Kohler Shower Valve

How to Ensure You Get the Right Kohler Shower Valve Replacement (Kohler Shower Valve Compatibility)

Given that Kohler shower valves are not universal; how do you ensure you buy a suitable replacement?

Well, you’ve to look at the following:

  • Design – If you have a picture of what you are looking for, visit Kohler or Amazon and search for it.
  • Connection Type – While the design may match, it doesn’t guarantee that the valve will fit. To be sure, check the valve connection type to ensure it’s what you are looking for.
  • Cartridge and Trim Compatibility – You also have to check your valve trim and cartridge to ensure they are compatible with the replacement you’ll be getting.

The Easier Route – Check The Model Number

You can save much time by checking your shower valve’s model number online. Just do a Google-Search or call the manufacturer to inquire about its availability.

Like every other brand, all Kohler shower valves come with a model number, which you can use to get a fitting replacement.

How to Install a Kohler Shower Valve

You need three things to install a Kohler shower valve; the valve, cartridge, and a compatible trim. Once you have the three, you can go ahead and install the valve.

Consider Kohler 8304-PX-NA Rite-Temp here. Not only are you getting a universal Rite-Temp, but it also comes with a compatible pressure-balance cartridge plus a rough-in guide.

So, the only thing which you’ve to get separately is the trim, which, as I mentioned, should be compatible with the valve and cartridge.

Overall, the installation involves these simple steps:

  • Valve body installation – Start by first fitting the Kohler valve into your shower system.
  • Cartridge installation – Fit the cartridge into the valve body as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Trim installation – Complete the installation by fitting a compatible trim.

Note that if you upgrade your Kohler shower system in the future, you don’t have to remove the valve. Just unscrew the trim and replace it with whatever design you prefer, and that’s it.   

Are Kohler Shower Handles Interchangeable

People Also Ask

1. Are All Kohler Shower Valves the Same?

Kohler shower valves come in different designs, connection types, and sizes. Plus, they are compatible with different trims and cartridges. So, no, all Kohler shower valves are not the same.

Besides, they all have different model numbers, proving they are not the same.

2. Are Kohler Shower Heads Interchangeable?

You can easily interchange Kohler showerheads because nearly all shower heads are swappable. It’s essential, however, that you ensure you coordinate and harmonize the style across all your shower fixtures.

3. Are Kohler Shower Handles Interchangeable?

You can only interchange Kohler shower handles with similar brands and designs. You cannot swap them with other brands as they have different trim kits.

Likewise, you cannot swap them with just any Kohler shower handle unless they have the same handle design.

4. Can You Rough in A Kohler Shower Valve?

Yes, it is possible to rough in a Kohler shower valve if you get the Kohler Rite-Temp shower valve. This universal shower valve is interchangeable with valves with deep rough-ins.

5. Is Rite-Temp Compatible with Kohler Shower?

The Rite-Temp shower valves are compatible with Kohler shower valves and trims with a deep rough-in. They are, however, not compatible with every Kohler shower.

Are Kohler Shower Valves Universal? Closing Remarks!

Kohler shower valves are generally not universal, thus not interchangeable with other brands, and only interchangeable with the same brand as long as the trim and cartridges are compatible.

So, the next time you want to replace a Kohler shower valve, check its design and model number first before getting the replacement.

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