How To Choose The Right Bathroom Faucet: Ultimate Guide

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If you have decided that your bathroom needs renovating or simply want a new look, then the best way to get that new style is to change your faucets. But where do you look for new faucets? And what sort of faucet should you buy? There are so many different choices that knowing how to choose the right bathroom faucet can be a real challenge. 

So, we have decided to help you. We are going to talk about the different types of faucets and how they can fit nicely into your bathroom. From single hole faucets to frequently asked questions, we’ve got it all covered here. So, let’s begin with faucet holes.

Table of Contents


There are three different types of faucet hole setups, single hole, widespread, and center set. Depending on how many holes your sink has will depend on the type of faucet you need to buy. These holes are already drilled into your sink or countertop, so unless you want to buy a new sink, you should choose a faucet that has the same hole setup. 

Single-Hole Faucet Sets

You will be able to tell a single hole faucet by the fact that the handle is built into the faucet itself. The lever at the top regulates both the water temperature and the pressure that it comes out from. In order to have this faucet, you will need a single pre-drilled hole. 

People choose single hole faucets because they are compact, easy to use, and simply designed for smaller bathrooms and powder rooms. They are also straightforward to install. 

Of course, there are additional options for installation if you don’t have a single hole setup. For example, you can buy a deck plate that covers the other holes and centralizes your new faucet. These might be at an additional cost, but it will be worth it for the look you want. 

Widespread Faucet Sets

A widespread faucet set has 3 separate parts, two handles, and a waterspout. They come separately and don’t have a base unit that they are attached to, making it easier for those who have different measurements between their holes. The handles operate the hot water and the cold water separately, and the water comes from the waterspout. 

In order to install a widespread faucet, you will need a three-hole sink or countertop. 

These faucets fit very nicely into bathrooms where the measurements don’t quite add up or where you have a unique space. With the addition of deck plates, you should be able to fit a widespread faucet into many more sinks and faucet styles, therefore opening up your opportunities. 

With most faucets, the width between the hot and the cold handle is 8 inches. However, with a widespread faucet, you can be much more flexible with this and can have anywhere from 6 to 16 inches. This flexibility makes it a really popular style of faucet. 

Centerset Faucet Set

When you install a centerset faucet, you should make sure that you accurately measure the distance between the two outer holes and the center hole on your sink or countertop.

As with the widespread faucets, a centerset faucet set will need three installation holes in the sink or the countertop. This is to hold the hot water, the cold water, and the waterspout. 

There is less flexibility with the spacing of these three components with a centerset faucet. Hence, you need to make sure that the holes are accurately measured; this is usually 4 inches between the center hole and the handles. 

It is always worth double-checking your hole positioning before you order your faucet unless you plan to buy a new sink or countertop. If this is the case, then you should check that the new faucet works well with the new sink. 

Vessel Faucet Sets

Vessel faucets are both attractive and stylish, making them really stand out in a bathroom. These faucets have a super tall spout, allowing them to reach over any sized vessel sink or bath. These faucets usually come as a single-hole setup and use a single lever to control both the hot and cold water. 

Of course, with these super tall faucets comes the issue of how tall your sink is. If you buy one that isn’t tall enough, then the water won’t reach the bowl. Too tall, and your whole setup will look odd.

Most commonly, these faucets are mounted at 6 ½ inches above the sink. Make sure that you check this measurement when you are buying your vessel faucet; otherwise, you may be disappointed when it doesn’t fit. 

It’s also worth checking out what exactly you are purchasing. Most vessel faucets come with a pop-up waste and supply lines, but check this before deciding whether you are getting a good deal or not. 

Wall Mounted Faucet Sets

If you are tight on space or want a dramatic look, then a wall-mounted faucet will do the trick nicely. Protruding from the wall rather than from your countertop or sink, these wall suspended faucets look great with freestanding basins and with vessel sinks too. 

It is important to remember to measure and check before you install a wall-mounted faucet in order to get the right angle of water into the sink. Also, make sure that you give enough clearance between the faucet and the sink, so you don’t hit your head when washing your face.

Speaking of installation, wall-mounted faucets are not simple to install. In fact, getting to those pipes behind the walls can cause more problems than it solves, so think about hiring a professional or at least getting some great advice beforehand. 

While wall-mounted faucets look great, they do come at a cost too. It might be worth thinking about whether this cost is worth it when you could choose from any number of lovely style faucets to replace with these instead. 

Types of Faucet Controls

Let’s move on to the types of faucet controls that you will find on different faucets, from lever handles to motion-activated sensors, you’ll find so much variety! 

Hands-Free Controls

Hands-free faucets are a thing of the future, making hygiene leap into the present rather than being stuck in the past. These sensors controlled faucets work by turning the water on when you wave your hand through the sensor and staying on for a set period of time. 

The hands free operation means you are much less likely to get germs on your faucet as you aren’t touching it before you wash your hands. They not only hinder the spread of germs, but they also help you save water as well. 

But saving water and being more hygienic are just a few of the perks of these faucets. Here are some others. 

  • Timed shut off to the water stream 
  • Sensor programming so you can adjust it to your sink size and temperature 
  • Add on the option of an “occasional flush” function, which flushes the pipes through from stagnant water every 12 hours. 

One-Touch Controls 

Like the hands-free faucets, the one-touch control faucets use a single touch of the fingertip to activate the water stream, with another simple touch to turn it off. 

There is an adjustable handle on the edge of the tap that allows you to set it to the perfect temperature, so you don’t need to fiddle with that when you have dirty hands. All you need to do is to push one button, which will allow the stream to pour for a set time at a set temperature until you push the button again to turn it off. 

Cross Handle Controls

Traditional yet functional, the cross handle faucets can be found in plenty of homes across America. These cross designed handles allow you to grasp and twist the hot and the cold water independently. 

Not only do they have a timeless appeal, but they also function as effectively as any other standard faucet, making them great for family bathrooms and for people with limited mobility. 

Knob Handle Controls

Similar in functionality to the cross handle controls, these knobs come in a variety of designs and styles. Allowing you to monitor the pressure of the hot water and the cold water separately, many faucets have the one water outlet, so your water is blended to the perfect temperature within the spout and is controlled by the knobs. 

Lever Handle Controls

From a classic knob to a more contemporary lever design, these levers come in many different shapes and sizes. They work by allowing you to control the water pressure and the hot and cold water by lifting the lever. 

These lever handle faucets are perfect for a family bathroom or for those who have members in the household with limited mobility. They are able to simply lift up the lever without having to grasp or wrap their fingers around any complicated shapes.

Materials and Valve Types

So as you have probably guessed by now, choosing the perfect faucet for your bathroom is not as simple as you might think. There are different sizes, different colors, and different finishes to choose from. Picking the ideal faucet for your home is an important decision! 

In addition to picking a style and function that is going to work with your bathroom, you also need to consider how well the product is made and whether it is going to last the test of time in your bathroom. This is where the material and valve types come in. 

Many cheaper models are made from plastic moldings, which can warp and taint over time. We recommend staying clear of these. Brass is a much more durable material to have as a faucet because it can withstand heat and humidity. They can also be coated in an attractive protective layer, which can help it tie into your room scheme. 

The amount of technology that is put into a faucet is also important. Older designs will simply have hot and cold supply lines running through them with some diverters. Newer designs have specially designed cartridge valves with diamond-encrusted edges for optimal water performance. 

So if you want to know how a faucet actually works then, you are in luck. We are going to talk about the valves and inner workings of a faucet so that you can judge for yourself which is best for your bathroom. 

Compression Valves

Compression valve faucets are generally found in utility rooms and laundry sinks and have two separate handles. It works by a mechanism that controls the pressure of the water by moving up and down in the faucet as the handle is turned. This then limits the water or allows more in. 

This is a very cheap faucet, but it doesn’t come in many different styles, which can be off-putting. It also needs a lot of maintenance as the seals perish over time. 

Ball Valves

Ball valves work by moving a ball inside the faucet that, when moved, let’s in more or less water. Faucets with metal ball valves tend to last longer, whereas the plastic, the cheaper alternative, doesn’t last for very long at all. 

Usually, a single lever control, the ball is able to move up and down to allow in different levels of hot and cold water, thereby enabling you to achieve your optimum temperature with just the raise of a lever. 

Unfortunately, while the ball valves sound great, they do have one drawback: they are susceptible to leaks, particularly as the O rings start to wear out. 

Cartridge Valves

Cartridge valve faucets are much more reliable than the ball and compression valves as they very rarely leak. The best bit is that if they do, you just replace the cartridge rather than the whole faucet. Generally made from brass, a lever operates the cartridge to go up and down inside the faucet and therefore limiting how much water passes through the spout. 

Ceramic Disc Valve Faucets

If quality is what you are after, then a ceramic disc valve faucet is it. While they might be more expensive, they are very hard wearing and last a lifetime, so you won’t have to pay out to replace them any time soon. 

Similar to a cartridge valve, the disc moves up and down, limiting the amount of water that comes through the waterspout. This valve also moves side to side, which allows in more or less hot or cold water so you can adjust the temperature AND the pressure at the same time. 

Colors and Finish Options

As if picking the most functional faucet wasn’t enough, now you have to choose one that fits in with your color scheme as well. Luckily there are lots of different colors and designs to choose from with faucets, so no matter whether you are going for an industrial look or you want a classic design. There is something for everyone. 

You will find that all faucets come in either stainless steel or chrome, but you can also find faucets that come in colors such as nickel, brass, matte black and matte grey. It might cost you a little extra to get a unique color faucet, but when you install it into your bathroom, you will see that it was worthwhile. 


As with colors, the finishes on these colors can vary greatly. With stainless steel, you normally get a glossy finish. This looks really nice in a bathroom, especially if you look after it properly and polish it every week. However, if you want something that is a bit more manageable, then you could consider a brushed or matte finish. 

These finishes give the color a bit more texture, and some say that brushed nickel or chrome looks like it has been lightly covered with a wire brush. This finish is much easier to keep clean and won’t show every speck of dirt or soap scum. The matte finishes are a bit more high maintenance, but they do look stunning in a modern bathroom. 


Depending on the brand you go for, your faucet may have a protective coating over the top of its color finish. In addition to the more robust brushed effect, you’ll also find that certain brands cover their faucets with an anti-tarnish and anti-rust coating. 

These coatings act as another protective barrier that stops water from rusting or damaging the faucet. They are well worth paying out and can protect your faucet for a lifetime. 

Features You Should Consider


Not everyone is blessed with the perfect water quality, and because of this, your faucet might suffer. Hard water areas are a real problem for faucets, with them becoming clogged up by limescale and calcium deposits. Luckily there are plenty of faucets for hard water out there that have filters built-in, or that can be bought in addition. 

These filters help to remove the debris and additives before they clog up your faucet and therefore help you to stay cleaner too. If you want to check the quality of your water, then you can invest in a water testing kit for a few bucks at your local hardware store. 

Water Sense

If you have been browsing faucets lately, then you will have seen that some have a Water Sense Certification. This certification is given by the EPA and means that they comply with their strict water consumption guidelines. If you’d like to learn more about these guidelines, then click here.  

Not every faucet receives this certification because they consume too much water per gallon. Water is becoming a scarce commodity in today’s society, and we need to conserve it where possible. Installing a Water Sense Certified faucet will help you to do just this. 

Waste Options

Some, but not all, faucets come with the waste included. But there are two different types of waste options for you to choose from. The first is a pop-up waste. This waste is controlled from a lever at the back of the faucet, which can be popped up or down, depending on whether you want to drain the sink or not. This will need to be connected underneath the sink and is an additional installation consideration. 

The other type of waste is a push-down waste. This is where you use your fingers to push down the waste where it clicks into place and seals the sink. Then, when you are ready, you just push it again, and it unclicks and pops back up. 


“Can I fit a faucet myself?”

Fitting most of the faucets listed here are pretty simple. As we mentioned, wall hung faucets are a bit trickier, but if you do your research beforehand, you should be able to manage it. As for a standard widespread or centerset faucet? Any keen DIYer can fit one! 

“My sink already has holes drilled”

That’s great! This means that some of the decisions are already made for you! Just look at the faucets that you CAN fit with the number of holes you already have drilled into your sink or countertop, and you should be able to find one that’s right for you. 

“My old faucet is fine…right?”

I’m sorry to say that if your faucet is over 10 years old, then we really recommend replacing it (less in some states where the laws say your faucets should be water-efficient). Not only will an old faucet consume more water, but it might also have a lot of debris and limescale build up inside it. This build-up can mean that bacteria lurks in your faucet and comes out with your water—gross right. 

“How much money will a new faucet save me on my water bill?”

You’d be amazed how much your water bill can go down by having a water-saving faucet. For example, an old faucet will easily use over 3 gallons of water per minute. A new water-saving faucet will only use 1.28 gallons. You are literally halving (and then some) your water bill!! So how much will it save you? A LOT! 

“I live in California; do I need to look for a certain faucet?”

Yes, in some States, you can only install faucets that comply with the Plumbing Code in that area, so for example, in California, you can only install a faucet that uses 1.2 gallons of water per minute. To be on the safe side, check your local planning department for the Plumbing Code Regulations in your area. 

“What sort of faucet would you recommend with my arthritis?”

We know that arthritis can be a miserable disease to live with and that it can be hard to grasp handles or wrap your fingers around intricate knobs. So we recommend using a single lever handled faucet for your bathroom. You can use your fist or your wrist to operate this style of the faucet, and you won’t need to worry about flexing your fingers. 

Now that you know how to choose a faucet, we hope you pick the right one for your bathroom. Remember that the number of holes you have pre-drilled is important and to always measure before you buy. Also, think about how much water your new faucet is going to use and how much it could save you by choosing a Water Sense Certified faucet. Good luck in your search for the best bathroom faucet. 

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