Shower Curtain Vs Liner (9 Clear Differences Explained!)

If you do not have a glass-enclosed shower, you really need a shower curtain or shower liner, or even both. So, the question is, what sets a shower curtain vs liner apart?

Shower liners go down your shower tub to prevent water from spilling or splashing from your tub to the floor. On the other hand, shower curtains give you the utmost privacy when taking a shower and make your tub area look elegant. 

So, while a shower liner is primarily functional, a shower liner is first decorative then secondarily functional. That explains why some people opt to buy only a shower liner when using a shower curtain alone is unideal.

But before you can make the conclusion and decide to settle for a liner, check out the other differences as shown in the table below.

Is shower liner the same as shower curtain

Shower Curtain Vs Liner Table Summary

 Shower CurtainShower Liner
1.PurposeOffer privacy when showering and decorates your showerKeeps water in the tub to avoid splashes
2.Hanging  Hangs outside your bathtubHangs inside your bathtub
3.Independence  It does not work without a shower linerCan work without a shower curtain
4.Material TypeThick fabric (cotton, hemp, linen, satin, and silk)Thin fabric, polyester, and vinyl
5.VisibilityIt doesn’t allow visibilityMainly clear to allow visibility
6.WaterproofnessMostly not waterproofMostly waterproof
7.AppealMore appealing (aesthetic)Less appealing
8.Best ForShared bathroomsUnshared bathrooms
9.CostCost more than linersCheaper

What Is a Shower Liner?

A shower liner is a piece of thin fabric, polyester, or vinyl that hangs inside your bathtub to prevent water from splashing outside. So, essentially, their role is to prevent spillages and splashes onto your bathroom floor.

Since their job is to keep water inside the tub, you can use them without a shower curtain. Unfortunately, they don’t offer any privacy as they mostly come in transparent and frosted options.

Do you need a shower curtain and liner

Check out the Best Shower Liners on Amazon!

What Is a Shower Curtain?

A shower curtain is a piece of fabric that hangs on the outside of your tub. Its job is primarily decorative; to give your shower a pretty appearance. Additionally, it offers privacy when taking a shower, thus best for shared showers.

Shower curtains usually come in thick cotton, hemp, polyester, satin, and silk fabrics. They come in colorful shades, prints, and designs to compliment your bath area. So, they generally add a feeling of elegance to your shower space.

shower curtain or liner

Check out the Best Shower Curtains on Amazon!

Difference Between Shower Curtain and Shower Curtain Liner

Having seen what a shower curtain and a shower liner are, here are the things that set them apart:

1. Shower Liner Vs Shower Curtain Purpose

A shower liner generally has one purpose: to keep water inside the bathtub. As a result, they prevent spillages and splashes onto your floor.

A shower curtain, in contrast, has two purposes. First, it decorates your bathtub, thus suitable when you want to inject elegance and charm into your bathroom. Secondly, a curtain offers privacy, especially when sharing the bathroom.

2. Hanging

A shower liner hangs inside the tub to ensure that water stays inside the tub. A shower curtain, in contrast, hangs outside to offer privacy and decoration.

3. Independence

Since shower liners are primarily waterproof, you can use them without a shower curtain. That’s unless privacy is an issue as they don’t offer any.

You, however, cannot use shower curtains without liners as you may expose them to water attack and mold.

4. Shower Curtain Vs Curtain Liner Material Type

Shower liners mostly come in polyester and vinyl and sometimes in thin fabric.

Polyester and vinyl are cheap, water-resistant, and machine washable. Plus, they are somehow opaque, which means they can offer you some form of privacy, though not much. That proves the point that you can use shower liners without a curtain. 

On the other hand, shower curtains come in fabric choices like cotton, hemp, silk, satin, linen, or polyester.

While cotton and hemp are pretty thick and decorative, they soak up water quickly, which means you cannot use them without liners. If you do, then they’ll attract mold, which damages them.

Silk, satin, and linen, on the other hand, are expensive but are among the most elegant options on the market.

However, the cheaper overall is polyester, which may not be as high-quality as the others but is affordable and offers some water resistance, and is generally easy to clean.

What is the purpose of shower liner

5. Visibility

Curtains come in thicker fabrics, and the materials are generally not clear or transparent. As a result, they are better at offering privacy.

Shower liners, in contrast, mostly come in thin clear, or transparent materials, which don’t offer any privacy at all. The advantage of that is that you can keep an eye on your kids as you take a shower.

6. Shower Curtain Vs Shower Curtain Liner Waterproofness

These two shower add-ons differ in their level of waterproofness. Curtain liners usually come in waterproof materials like polyester and vinyl, which run down the tub to keep water away from the floor.

As for shower curtains, only a few feature waterproof materials, and even so, they only run outside the tub, which means they cannot stop water splashes and spillages onto the floor.

So, a curtain is likely to soak up and attract mold, and that’s why you shouldn’t use it alone. Their job is privacy and decoration. So, you should use them for just that.

7. Appeal

Shower curtains usually come in attractive patterns, shades, colors, and designs as they are decorative. Liners often come in frosted and transparent options.

8. Shower Curtain Vs Curtain Liner Suitability

Since liners allow visibility, they are not the best for shared bathrooms. If you share the bathroom, you should go for curtains if you’ve to choose between the two. Curtains are thick and don’t allow visibility, thus great for shared bathrooms.  

9. Cost

Because of the work that goes into the material selection, design, and printing, shower curtains cost more than shower liners. That, however, doesn’t mean that all shower curtains are expensive as there are cheap options.

Nonetheless, the problem with such options is that they are more prone to mold.

Similarly, there are costly liners, which almost resemble shower curtains. In most cases, you can use expensive liners without shower curtains.

What kind of shower curtain does not need a liner

Shower Curtain Vs Liner: Pros and Cons

Shower Curtains


  • Offers privacy
  • Pretty decorative and elegant
  • Best for shared bathrooms
  • Come in a variety of material choices


  • Prone to water damage
  • You cannot use them alone
  • Costlier

Shower Liners


  • Affordable 
  • Prevents water spillage onto the floor
  • Easier to clean
  • Works without a curtain
  • Let’s you keep an eye on your kids while showering


  • No privacy as most are transparent
  • Not appealing
  • Fewer material options

People Also Ask

1. Is Shower Liner the Same as Shower Curtain?

No! Shower liners and shower curtains are different, and they differ primarily in purpose. Shower curtains offer you privacy and add elegance and style to your bathroom. Liners, in contrast, prevent water spillages onto the floor when taking a shower.

2. Do You Need a Shower Curtain and Liner?

Most likely, you need a shower curtain if your shower liner is transparent and if you need privacy when taking a shower. This is usually the case if you share a room with a friend or a family member.

But if you live alone, a shower liner is enough. Again, you cannot use a shower curtain without a shower liner as it can soak in water and attract mold and mildew buildup.

3. What Is the Purpose of Shower Liner?

The purpose of shower liners is to prevent water from splashing onto the floor.  They go inside the tub to ensure that is the case. And since they are mostly waterproof, you can count on them to keep the shower water inside the tub.

4. What Kind of Shower Curtain Does Not Need a Liner?

Two curtain material types that don’t need a liner are vinyl and thick polyester. That’s because the two are waterproof. What’s more, they often come in opaque choices to offer you some level of privacy when showering.

5. Is A Shower Liner Placed Inside a Tub?

YES! Shower liners go inside the tub to keep water inside. Thus, they effectively prevent spillages onto the floor when taking a shower.

6. After How Long Should I Replace My Shower Curtain?

Shower curtains made from fabrics like cotton and polyester used alongside a shower liner may last you years before replacing them.   

But if you are using a plastic curtain with waterproof properties without a liner, you should replace them after identifying mold or mildew.

7. How Can I Protect My Shower Curtain from Getting Mold and Mildew?

Keeping your shower curtain dry at all times helps prevent mold and mildew buildup. You can also prevent mold by washing your shower curtains once a week.

Additionally, you can open your shower window or use a fan to aid in letting in the fresh air in your shower. Just a bonus, also do this to your shower liner. 

Final Remarks On Shower Curtain Vs Liner

Though shower curtains and liners are typically used together, they play different functions.  While a liner goes inside a tub to prevent water from splashing, a shower curtain hangs on the outside to give you privacy when taking a shower and adds elegance to your bath area.

Remember, however, that even though you can use a shower liner on its own, you can still choose a curtain that compliments it.

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