Rain Glass (Frosted) vs Clear Glass Shower Doors – What to Pick?

Updated: | Author: Brad Javernick | Affiliate links may be present.

Any bathroom renovation will add value and function to your home. In fact, a bathroom remodel is a project with a very high return on investment (ROI). The shower door is a part of the overall design of the bathroom.

What are the different types of shower doors? What are the pros and cons of each? Which type is best for your bathroom?

Shower doors come in privacy glass, or with clear glass. Frosted glass, rain glass, or other opaque glass allows light through the shower doors but distorts the view of the person in the shower for privacy. Clear or tinted glass is like a window. It allows light into the shower and creates a clean, open look in the bathroom. Both privacy glass and clear glass shower doors are available in tempered glass for additional safety and durability.

What Are the Different Types of Shower Doors?

Pick a door that fits your bathroom and your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many options available for showers.

Privacy Glass Shower Doors

Privacy glass is glass that is etched on one side with a pattern or frosting that distorts the image of the person in the shower while still allowing light into the bathroom. There are several different types of privacy glass.

Opaque/Textured Shower Doors

This type of shower door is sandblasted or etched on one side so that it still allows light through, but there is privacy for the person in the shower. If you are installing a shower door in a shared bathroom space, this is a great option.

Rain Glass Shower Doors

Rain glass shower doors are a type of opaque shower door that is etched with a pattern that looks like raindrops.

Frosted Glass Shower Doors

Frosted glass is just another version of opaque, or etched glass. Instead of a pattern, the glass is uniformly etched to make a frosted look.


This option offers the most privacy for the person in the shower. It also allows some light into the shower. The etched glass will hide water spots and fingerprints.  In a large bathroom, a rain glass door can make the space feel more cozy.


The rough side of the etched glass can catch dirt and soap scum. It can be hard to keep clean. A textured glass door can also make a small bathroom feel and look small.

Clear Glass Shower Doors

Shower doors made of transparent glass are very popular. There is no texture to the glass, though sometimes it may have a slightly colored tint to the glass. In general, clear glass shower doors are the most popular choice for homeowners.


Clear doors allow lots of light, making the space feel bright and open. It creates a simple look that goes with almost any design scheme or decor. A clear glass door will make a small bathroom look larger.


Clear shower doors will show every water spot and drip. They can be difficult to clean and maintain, especially with hard water.

There is no privacy with a clear glass shower door. A shared or busy bathroom may not be the ideal place for a clear door.

Tinted Glass Shower Doors

Low iron glass has a greenish tint and extra glass clarity. A low-iron shower door will allow more light into the shower.

Glass with a blue or green tint can give a unique, natural look to the bathroom. On the other hand, a smoked glass look can look modern and chic. The darker the glass, the more privacy it may offer, but it will also allow less light into the shower.


Low-iron glass gives a clear, almost high-definition look to the shower enclosure. Tinted glass adds a bold design element that makes the shower a statement piece.


Tinted glass, depending on the color, is a bold design choice. If you want to change the look of the bathroom, it may no longer match the new design.

Tinted glass does not allow for much privacy for the person using the shower. Low-iron glass is especially not the choice for you if you are looking for privacy.

Also, you will have the same cleaning issues with tinted glass as you would with clear glass. It will show water spots and smudges easily.

Tempered Glass Shower Doors

Tempered glass is very durable and resistant to breakage. When it does break, it breaks into tiny pieces that are less likely to cause damage and injury. It is a good choice for a bathroom with high usage, or a large, frameless shower enclosure.

The downside is that tempered glass is more expensive than regular glass. It may be worth it, however, if you are concerned about breakage.

Tempered glass is available in clear, etched, frosted, rain, or tinted doors. It is particularly popular for frameless showers, because of its durability.

Which Shower Door is Best?

Different bathrooms and different people prefer different shower doors. If privacy is important, look for a privacy glass door, such as a frosted door or rain glass. If you want a bright, open look to your bathroom, low iron or clear glass will deliver that look.

Tinted glass is always another option for some level of privacy, or to create a bold, designer look in the bathroom.

Think about cleaning, too. Clear and low-iron glass may be difficult to keep looking clean. If you have hard water, a textured door may be easier to clean, though you need to give the textured side some extra scrubbing.

Finally, in a high-traffic bathroom, tempered glass is a great choice for safety and durability. It may be worth the extra dollars to install a tempered glass shower door if you are concerned about broken glass.

Final Thoughts

In order to pick the right shower door, think about your bathroom, your lifestyle, and your needs. There is a shower door that will fit your bathroom and your budget. No matter what you choose, enjoy your remodeled bathroom with a brand-new shower door.

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About Brad Javernick

Brad is a licensed home inspector and the editor of Home Oomph. He's a massive DIYer, and loves to take on new home renovation projects!

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