How to Choose a Bathroom Faucet

Know your bath faucet type, then let the finish make a statement

How to Choose a Bathroom Faucet - Buying Guide

If you are replacing an old faucet or installing one in a new bathroom, you will have no trouble finding one to complement your décor. With an array of styles and finishes to choose from, you will find the bath faucet that best expresses your home's look without sacrificing performance. 

This guide will help you understand your faucet options.

Tips Before You Shop


Are you replacing a faucet on an existing sink, or starting from scratch? 

Your faucet needs to be compatible with the number and spacing of the holes on either your countertop or sink. If you are replacing the sink or countertop where your sink holes are located, choose a faucet and then shop for a sink or countertop with compatible hole spacing, or vice versa. If you plan to mount your faucet on a countertop, find out whether or not your new top will have pre-drilled holes. If not, you can drill custom holes to fit any faucet. 
 
What kind of space do you have? 

Consider the size of the space that the sink and faucet are located. Very large vanities may look great with a faucet that takes up more space, like a 3-piece faucet with the handles spread 8 inches apart, whereas tighter spaces may be better suited for smaller, more compact fixtures like a one piece, or “centerset” faucet or a single hole faucet. Also, ensure that the plumbing for the faucet you choose will fit in the space you have. 

Think about the kind of sink you’re getting and how big it is. For example, a vessel sink needs a spout that is high enough to reach over the bowl, whereas using a very tall faucet for a smaller, or under mount sink could leave your countertop drenched. Make sure the faucet won’t extend too far over the sink after it’s installed. Water from the faucet should hit close to the middle or slightly behind the middle of the sink.


Choose Your Perfect Sink: Faucet Holes and Faucet Styles

Where are the faucet holes located? 

Bathroom sink faucets can either be mounted on the wall, into a countertop or on the sink itself. 

How many faucet holes are there? 

If there is only one hole for the faucet, a single-hole faucet will work best. If there are three holes, there are more options. You can still use a single hole faucet if you have three holes, because you can cover the extra holes with a deckplate.

Faucets are generally available in four types: single hole, centerset, widespread and wall mount. If you are replacing an old faucet, your new faucet may need to be the same type as the old one, depending on the installation setup.

The design of your sink plays a large part in determining which type of faucet you’ll install.


ONE FAUCET HOLE REQUIRED

Single-Handle Faucets without Deck Plate

• Fit on sinks with just one hole, no deck plate needed
• Simple to install and maintain
• Compact and easy to use
• Often used on smaller sinks and may have an optional cover plate
• Usually have one handle connected to the spout
• Some models feature separate hot and cold handles

Vessel Sink Faucets

• Tall enough to fit over a vessel sink
• Feature unique looks ranging from rustic to modern


THREE FAUCET HOLES REQUIRED

One Piece/Centerset Faucets

• Countertop or sink mounted
• Ideal for smaller, predrilled or pre-existing basins
• Combine the handles and spout on a 4-inch base unit
• The most commonly used faucet
• Least expensive and easiest to install

Three Piece/Widespread Faucets

• Standard spread of at least 8 inches
• Feature hot- and cold-water valves separate from the spout
• Often more expensive than other types
• Allow for a wide range of placement options
• Mini-widespread faucets (minispreads) have a spread of 4 inches

Single Handle with Deck Plate

• Fits on sinks with one or three holes
• Comes with a deck plate to cover the unused holes

Wall-Mounted Faucets

• Reduce clutter on the sink
• Make cleanup easier
• Simple, modern look


Faucet Finishes

One way to choose a faucet finish is to match it to the other finishes in your bathroom. You could choose to match your showerhead, tub faucet or cabinet hardware. Think about the styles you like and the décor of your space. You might like a more modern bathroom faucet or an antique brass bathroom faucet. Brushed nickel is a popular choice, or you can make a statement with a black bathroom faucet. Your new faucet can set a mood for your bathroom, too. Get the feeling of nature with a waterfall spout. You have so many options.

Design

Spouts may be aerated or nonaerated. Handles come in a wide range of styles including ring-type cylinder, round, cross and lever, and may be a single unit or separate for customized hot- and cold-water control.

Finish

Many manufacturers offer lifetime finishes that won’t tarnish over time to ensure that your faucet looks great for years. Commonly used finishes include chrome, brass, colored, gold plate, nickel, stainless steel and PVD.

  • Chrome may have a polished, brushed or matte finish and is durable and economical.
  • Brass is ideal for traditional styles, and faucets with lifetime finishes resist fading, scratches and corrosion.
  • Black and other colored finishes may be coated with epoxy or baked-on enamel and are easy to clean.
  • High-quality gold plate won’t tarnish, though it is more expensive.
  • Nickel may be brushed or satin and is stylish, durable and easy to clean.
  • Stainless steel is stylish and won’t show water spots, though it is often more expensive.
  • PVD, or physical vapor deposition, is highly durable and resists abrasion and discoloration.
  • Oil-rubbed bronze offers a classic look that blends with almost any home decor style.


Faucet Features

When choosing faucet functionalities, consider who will be using the faucet and how often. Touchless or touch-on faucets are great options for ease of use, whereas faucets with handles allow for more precise pressure and temperature controls. For water conservation, choose faucets with lower flow rates (gallons per minute).

  • Anti-Scald Protection: If you have young children or elderly parents in your house, you may want to consider installing a faucet with built-in anti-scald protection so they won’t accidentally burn themselves.
  • Filtering: Sinks with filtration systems provide high-quality drinking water, helping you save money on bottled water.
  • Common-Valve Set Up: Some newer sinks feature common-valve architecture that fits a number of different faucet types, allowing you to remodel or upgrade your existing faucet simply by unscrewing the handle and spout from the top.
  • Adjustable Flow-Rate Restrictor: If you are concerned about conserving water or live in an area where your water supply is limited, an adjustable flow-rate restrictor will give you complete control over how much water you use.