How to Choose a Bathroom Faucet
A bathroom faucet may seem like a simple piece of plumbing hardware, but it is a functional element of room design that family and friends will use frequently. When choosing a faucet for your bathroom, it's best to make sure you're finding the one that best fits your home's aesthetic and budget. You may be drawn to a certain look, but it's important to also consider how the bathroom faucet will work with the sink, the materials underlying the beautiful finish, which handle type will best meet your needs, and more.
If your goal is simply to replace a corroded or leaking faucet in an existing bathroom, you're limited by what you have. If you're remodeling or building a bathroom, you're faced with seemingly limitless options when it comes to choosing bathroom faucets. Below we'll take a look at the different faucet configurations, installation types, styles, budgets, finishes, constructions, and features to help you make an informed choice about how to choose bathroom faucets.
What is a Bathroom Faucet?
A bathroom faucet, also known as a sink faucet or lavatory faucet, is a device that controls the flow of water from a plumbing system to a bathroom sink. It is an essential fixture that allows the user to adjust the temperature of the water and control the flow to perform tasks such as washing hands, brushing teeth and filling the sink.
A typical bathroom faucet is made up of multiple parts, including the spout, handle or lever, and internal mechanism. The spout is the part of the faucet where the water flows into the sink. It can come in different shapes and lengths, from straight and angled to curved and arched designs.
A handle or lever is used to control water flow and temperature. In a two-handle faucet, separate handles are provided for hot and cold water, allowing the user to adjust the temperature by turning each handle. Single-lever faucets have a lever that combines temperature control and water flow regulation.
Inside the faucet body, various internal mechanisms work together to regulate water flow and temperature. These mechanisms can include spools, ceramic discs, or compression valves, depending on the type and quality of the faucet. These components ensure smooth operation and prevent leaks.
Budgeting for Bathroom Faucets
Before diving into faucet selection, it's crucial to determine your budget. Prices for bathroom faucets vary widely, from affordable options to high-end luxury fixtures. Having a clear budget in mind will help narrow your options and prevent overspending.
Find the Center of the Bathroom Faucet
Make sure to measure the center of your bathroom faucet. This is the distance in inches between the pre-drilled faucet holes on your sink or vanity from the exact center of the left hole to the exact center of the right hole. These center points should correspond to the center connection of the faucet to be installed there. It's also important to measure the distance between the faucet hole and the wall, and account for any other obstructions, such as mirrors and cabinets.
When designing a bathroom update, keep in mind that different hardware should complement each other. Keep the faucet in reasonable size and proportion to the sink. The spout should reach the middle of the sink and be high enough from the vanity or deck that you can comfortably stand with your hands under the stream. It is best to keep the sizes of the different parts in balance with each other. A small sink with a big ornate faucet not only looks out of place, but if the sink basin is too small to hold the flow of water, it will create a splash of water every time it is used.
How to Measure Bathroom Faucet Size
To measure your bathroom faucet, you need to measure certain key dimensions precisely. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this:
Remove existing faucet (if applicable): If you're replacing an old faucet, remove it from the sink or countertop to get an accurate measurement. Shut off the water supply first, then follow the manufacturer's instructions for disassembly.
Measuring Mounting Hole Spacing: Measure the distance between the centers of the two outer holes where the faucet is mounted. Most bathroom faucets come in either a 4-inch or 8-inch configuration, but there can be variations, so measuring this distance accurately is critical.
Measure the spout height: The spout height is the distance from the bottom of the faucet to the highest point of the spout. Measure vertically to get the correct height.
Measure the outlet range: The outlet range refers to the horizontal distance from the center of the faucet body to the tip of the outlet. Measure it to see how far the water will reach the sink.
Measure Faucet Width: Measure the width of the faucet base. This dimension is critical to ensuring the faucet fits properly on the sink or countertop.
Measure the handle gap: If the faucet has a separate handle, measure the distance from the center of the faucet body to the furthest point of the handle when the faucet is in the closed position. This measurement will help you know if the handle has enough room to operate comfortably.
Note any additional features: If your faucet has add-ons, such as pop-up drains or pull-out sprayers, note their dimensions as well.
Consider the type of faucet: Based on your sink or countertop configuration and the measurements you take, determine whether you need a single-hole, center-mounted, or multi-hole faucet.
It's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's specifications and product details to make sure the new faucet you choose matches the measurements you've made. Note any other installation requirements or compatibility information provided by the manufacturer. This way, you can choose the right faucet for your bathroom and work with your existing plumbing setup.
Installation Types of Bathroom Faucets
The type of bathroom faucet you choose depends first and foremost on the arrangement of the sink or vanity in the bathroom. It's important to note how many mounting holes are available before you buy. If you find a specific bathroom faucet style that you like, but don't have enough holes to install it, your bathroom update project will turn into a minor remodel as you will need a whole new sink or vanity. It is very important to know the layout of the sink and the matching type of bathroom faucet installation in advance.
1) Single Hole Bathroom Faucet
Single-hole bathroom faucets, as the name suggests, install in a single hole in the back of a sink or vanity. They usually have a handle, lever or knob to control water flow and temperature, but some designs have two separate controls. Single-hole bathroom faucets offer more precise volume and temperature control. Additionally, a single hole bathroom faucet can be installed much faster than any other installation type. When you want to use a single-hole bathroom faucet over a vanity with a three-hole mounting layout, use an escutcheon or cover to hide the other two holes.
- Usually with one handle (sometimes two)
- Ideal for small bathrooms
- Sleek, Simple Design
2) Centerset Bathroom Faucets
This is a very popular type of installation and the versatile design is perfect for any size bathroom. For Centerset bathroom faucets, the faucet spout and handle fit together to form a single unit. Most offer separate hot and cold water controls so you can mix the perfect temperature every time.
- Two handles for easy operation
- Available for three-hole sinks with 4 or 6-inch faucet centers
- The spout and handle are attached to a base that mounts directly to the sink
3) Widespread Bathroom Faucets
This is a reliable type of bathroom faucet with the greatest variety of styles and options. The separately mounted handle is not fixed to the nozzle mounting base, but consists of 3 separate parts mounted in the 3-hole basin. This allows the use of larger basins and some bathroom faucets, resulting in up to 16" wide centers. Widespread bathroom faucets typically use unique escutcheon plates sized to fit the individual handles and spout bases, rather than a one-piece escutcheon for all three faucet components.
- Most commonly have two handles
- Most Popular Type of Installation
- Faucet 6 to 16 inches wide on center
4) Vessel Bathroom Faucets
Vessel bathroom faucets have taller spouts to accommodate the taller lip of vessel sinks above countertops. Because of the extra height, you'll most likely find vessel faucets as single-hole faucets, and often with lever handles.
- Single lever handle
- Fits perfectly with container sinks
- Provides an elegant focal point
5) Wall-mounted Bathroom Faucet
This faucet is a fashion-forward alternative to traditional sink-mounted faucets. Wall-mounted faucets free up space around the vanity or sink, so they can be used in freestanding vessel sinks or inset basin sinks. They require a wall-mounted valve connection, which can be a more expensive project because the water supply line must run along the inside of the wall to sink level. Spouts should be carefully measured to ensure their height and depth match the sink installation to prevent water from running onto the floor.
- Mount to wall
- Create a unique bathroom centerpiece
- Can include one or two handles
6) Floor-mounted Faucet
A floor-mounted faucet, also known as a freestanding or floor-mounted faucet, is a type of faucet that is installed on the floor rather than on a sink or countertop. It offers a unique and stylish alternative to traditional wall-mounted or counter-mounted faucets. Floor-mounted faucets are commonly used in freestanding bathtubs, vessel sinks, or as freestanding units in modern and contemporary bathroom designs.
Assess Your Sink Type
Consider the sink type you have or plan to install. Different sinks have specific requirements for the configuration of the faucet. Common sink types include built-in, undermount, vessel, wall-mounted, and pedestal sinks. Make sure the faucet you choose is compatible with your sink and has the proper number of holes or mounting options.
Bathroom Faucet Handle Type
The faucet handle helps determine the characteristics of the faucet and how it operates. The handle controls water from the hot and cold water lines to mix the water temperature in the spout before pouring into the sink.
1) One Handle
One tap provides optimal temperature and volume control. Turning the handle causes the temperature to change, while raising or lowering the handle changes the water pressure.
2) Two Handles
Handle taps are generally available in a wider range of styles and sizes, with the handles positioned to the left and right of each other or the spout to individually control the hot and cold water supply.
3) Touchless Faucets
Touchless faucets often don't offer handles at all. The water temperature of a touchless faucet is usually set to a steady temperature at the time of installation. The faucet runs on electronic sensors that detect motion, so the water turns on and off when it senses a hand in front of it. Some touchless faucets are electric, while others can be battery operated.
4) Touch-Activated Faucets
Similar to touchless faucets, touch faucets do not require a handle. The touch faucet requires no waving, just tap the sensor to turn it on or off. The temperature can be preset or adjusted by manual control with a knob or handle.
Bathroom Faucet Handle Style
The handle style of the bathroom faucet should coordinate with the design of the spout and any other fixtures such as tub or shower faucets. Strive for style consistency between each fixture. Complementing the faucet's style is best done with matching hardware in the room's drawers and cabinets.
1) Lever handles
- The most modern handle type
- Blade or wedge as well as round
- 90 to 120 degree turns
2) Cross Handles
- Combine traditional look with modern ease of use
- Cross-shaped handle for easy grip
- 90 to 360 degree on/off rotation
- The best affordable bathroom faucets feature standard round handles
- Multi-directional control of water pressure and temperature
4) Joystick Handles
- Shaped like a lever handle, round or wedge
- Designed to be raised above the nozzle, usually as part of a single hole installation
- Multi-directional control of water pressure and temperature
Consider the Style and Finish of Your Bathroom Faucet
The style and finish of bathroom faucets play an important role in the overall aesthetic of a space. Consider the following aspects:
Choose a faucet style that complements your bathroom decor. Popular styles include modern, traditional, transitional and contemporary. Consider existing fixtures and fittings in your bathroom to create a unified look.
Faucets are available in a variety of finishes including chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, brass and more. Choose finishes that coordinate with other hardware in your bathroom, such as towel bars, shower heads, and cabinet handles.
A glossy finish can elevate a sink faucet from utilitarian to jewel-like. Reactive substrates such as brass require surface treatment to prevent discoloration (non-reactive stainless steel does not). Electroplating, powder coating and physical vapor deposition are the most common surface preparation applications. PVD finishes are considered top-notch and relatively environmentally friendly, although thick and detailed hand-plated and polished finishes can rival them in terms of durability and expense. Here is a rundown of some popular finishes:
- Gold Metallics: Gold is making a comeback in today's homes. Polished and satin-finished brass are bright yellow and uniform. Aged and antiqued brass that has been chemically treated is darker and more mottled. Gold (24 karats in some cases) tends to look richer and less brassy, and has a price tag to match. French gold and rose gold have brown and pink undertones respectively. Brushed gold, like the coppery champagne bronze on these Trinsic Single Lever Faucets from Delta, offers a softer, matte, and contemporary look.
- Silver Metallics: A favorite in commercial kitchens and bathrooms, shiny chrome is tough, easy to maintain, hardly ever tarnishes and relatively inexpensive. Classic polished nickel has a warmer tone than blue chrome, giving it a subtler, more traditional feel and resisting tarnish if painted. Satin and brushed chrome and nickel hide water spots and fingerprints better than their polished counterparts, and brushed reveals more grain than satin. Pewter is a popular finish for period homes.
- “Living” Finishes: So-called living finishes are those that change over time due to oxidation and use. Unpainted brass will darken and darken. The matte, almost black finish of the oiled bronze wears away to reveal brass highlights. Regular waxing will retard rust, and buffing can often restore these finishes to near pristine condition. However, standard industry practice does not guarantee them.
- Nonmetallics: Nonmetallic finishes are often powder-coated and do not adhere as well to the substrate as metallic finishes, so can chip easily if not handled with care. Graphics matte black has always dominated the category, but now it's getting some competition from matte white.
- Mixing and Matching Finishes: Polished chrome and nickel look pretty much the same between manufacturers, so if you want your replacement chrome faucet to match your existing chrome showerhead, you might be in luck. The same is not the case with polished brass, satin and brushed finishes, so if you want a cohesive look for these, it's best to stick with the same manufacturer, or even the same series. Mixing finishes is popular but needs to be done with care so it doesn't look messy. This is just one area where interior designers can help. One trick is to use the same finish on the same level.
Bathroom Faucet Structure
1）High Quality Material
- Brass Bathroom Faucet: Most high-quality bathroom faucets are made of brass (solid or cast brass). This is the material of choice for bathroom faucet construction, ensuring durability and reliability. Solid brass (wrought or cast) and stainless steel (grade 304 or 316) bathroom faucet for long life. While brass contains antimicrobial copper, it can also contain harmful lead, which makes brass easier to work with. However, kitchen and bathroom sink faucets sold in the U.S. must meet NSF International's "lead-free" standards, which were reduced from a maximum lead content of 8 percent to 0.25 percent in 2014. If you wish to completely avoid lead faucets, then you can choose stainless steel faucets.
- Zinc Alloy Bathroom Faucet: Faucets made of zinc alloy (aka zinc alloy) are not very durable.
- Plastic Bathroom Faucets: Plastic faucets are more prone to wear and tear.
Signs of premium ceramic valve trim include brass or stainless steel stem; brass, stainless steel, or aluminum housing; and lubricant-free cartridges.
Of course, it's hard to know what material lurks beneath the faucet's surface. You can do the following to find out:
Read the box. "All Brass" and "All Brass Construction" indicate solid brass, while "Zinc Alloy", "All Metal", "Brass Construction" and "All Brass Body and Spout" indicate the presence of zinc. "Full brass faucet" is ambiguous because "faucet" can refer to the entire fixture or just the body.
Pick up the tap. Solid brass faucets are heavier than zinc or plastic faucets.
Look inside the nozzle. Brown, green, copper, or brass tones indicate brass. Dark gray indicates zinc.
2）Ceramic Disc Cartridge
Ceramic discs are becoming the standard on bathroom faucets. A ceramic disc has replaced the rubber disc inside the spout for a lifetime of drip-free and leak-free performance.
Assess Bathroom Faucet Height and Reach
To ensure optimal functionality and convenience, consider the height and reach of your faucet. The spout should provide enough clearance above the sink for you to comfortably wash your hands and perform other tasks. Also, the length of the nozzle should match the dimensions of the sink to avoid excessive splashing.
Check Water Efficiency
Promoting water conservation is critical, and choosing water-efficient faucets can help you achieve this goal. Look for faucets with the WaterSense label, as they are certified to meet water efficiency and performance standards. These faucets reduce water usage without compromising performance, allowing you to conserve water and lower your utility bills.
Read Reviews and Ratings
Before making your final decision, take the time to read customer reviews and ratings on the faucets you're considering. Feedback from other buyers can provide valuable insight into the durability of the faucet, ease of installation, functionality, and overall satisfaction. This step will help you make an informed choice and avoid potential problems.
Consider Additional Features
Some faucets offer additional features that can enhance your bathroom experience. These features may include built-in soap dispensers, integrated pull-out sprayers, or touch-free operation. Evaluate your needs and preferences to determine if any of these features would be of value to your bathroom faucet.
Warranty and After-sales Service
Make sure the faucet you choose has a warranty. A warranty guarantees that a manufacturer stands behind its product and fixes any manufacturing defects or issues that may arise. Also, research the brand’s after-sales service reputation to ensure prompt customer support should the need arise.
Other Bathroom Faucet Features
Bathroom faucets with the WaterSense label have an environmentally friendly flow rate guaranteed to save water and money.
Recent legislation requires customers in Vermont, Maryland and California to install lead-free new faucets.
As a common feature in kitchen faucets, some bathroom faucets actually offer pull-out spouts. Now you can easily clean every area of your bathroom sink.
Many manufacturers simplify installation with easy-to-fit plumbing.
The right bathroom faucet not only enhances the functionality of your bathroom, but also adds a touch of elegance and style to your space. Choosing the perfect bathroom faucet requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. After a series of understanding of the faucet, when purchasing a faucet, by considering our budget, faucet distance, faucet installation type, sink type, faucet handle type, handle style, style and finish, faucet structure, height and range, factor in water efficiency, reviews and ratings, additional features and warranties, and trust us to make an informed buying decision.
FAQ About How to Choose Bathroom Faucet:
Q1: What factors should be considered when choosing a bathroom faucet?
A1: Several factors should be considered including your budget, sink type, faucet type (single handle, double handle, wall mounted), style and finish, faucet height and range, water efficiency, reviews and ratings, additional features, warranty wait. More details, please read the article "How to Choose a Bathroom Faucet".
Q2: How do I determine the right faucet size for my bathroom sink?
A2: The faucet size should be proportional to the size of the sink. Consider the height and reach of the nozzle to ensure it provides adequate clearance and function. It should allow you to comfortably wash your hands and perform other tasks without splashing.
Q3: What faucet finishes are available and how to choose the right one?
A3: Faucet finishes include chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, brass, etc. Choose finishes that coordinate with other hardware in your bathroom, such as towel bars and shower heads. Consider the overall style and color scheme of your bathroom when choosing.
Q4: Is the water-saving function of the bathroom faucet important?
A4: Yes, water saving features are important to promote water conservation and reduce utility bills. Look for faucets with the WaterSense label, which shows they meet water efficiency and performance standards. These faucets help you conserve water without compromising performance.
Q5: Should I read customer reviews before buying bathroom faucets?
A5: Yes, reading customer reviews and ratings can provide valuable insight into the durability, ease of installation, functionality, and overall satisfaction of the faucet you are considering. It is a good practice to gather feedback from other buyers to make an informed decision.
Q 6: What additional features should I consider for my bathroom faucet?
A6: Some faucets come with additional features, such as built-in soap dispensers, integrated pull-out sprayers, or touch-free operation. Consider your specific needs and preferences to determine if these features are useful and enhance your bathroom experience.
Q7: Is there any warranty for the bathroom faucet?
A7: Yes, most well-known faucet brands provide warranty. Please check the warranty terms and duration before purchasing. A warranty provides protection against possible manufacturing defects or problems with your faucet for your peace of mind.
Q8: Can I install the bathroom faucet myself, or should I hire a professional?
A8: The complexity of the installation process may vary, depending on the type of faucet and your plumbing technique. Some faucets may require professional installation, especially if there are specific requirements or modifications required. If you're not sure, it's best to consult a professional plumber for help.