Bathroom Faucet Buying Guide: Read this First!

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 07/07/24 •  10 min read

Whether you’re revamping your bathroom or simply replacing an old faucet, understanding your options is key. From sleek single-hole designs to elegant widespread models, we cover all types to fit your sink and style in this guide.

You’ll also discover the right installation, handle types, and spout choices for your needs. Plus, we answer common questions about compatibility, finishes, and more.

Read on! We’re here to help you make an educated decision.

Types of Bathroom Faucets: Installing Confidence

That’s no typo, we meant installing! The most important choice you will make to is what sort of installation you’ll need in your bathroom. Let’s get your feet wet by introducing the various styles of faucets:

Express Yourself: Selecting Faucet Handles and Spouts

Now is when you can start to really express yourself!

Here is the Handle

Handles come in a variety of different types – round, lever and cross are the standards, with even further variations upon these. In addition, there are touchless electronic handles that assist in conserving water by turning off automatically after you are finished using them; these controls are usually located under the sink.

If you prefer a more minimalistic look, you might want to consider a single-handle option, but two-handle faucets are much more user-friendly in that they allow you to customize the temperature of the water you use. You only have a single hole drilled into your sink you say? That’s no problem! Many manufacturers offer single-hole, double-handled faucets. You shouldn’t have to settle, and designers respect this.

And Here is the Spout

There are two types of spouts, aerated and nonaerated. Aerated spouts use a screen and resistor in combination with air to create limited water flow in addition to better overall pressure. Nonaerated spouts do not have that screen, and therefore water can flow more quickly and freely.

Constructive Debate: Understanding Faucet Valves

There are four different valve types used in the construction of faucets today:

The Finish Line: Exploring Faucet Materials and Finishes

As mentioned earlier, the material most commonly used to create faucets these days are rust-resistant alloy and brass.

Recognizing that not everyone are interested in the look of brass in their bathrooms, countless finish options have been introduced over the last few decades. There has been a growing trend to offer baked-on, powder-coated enamels in wild colors, but the traditional finishes remain strong:

One other thing to keep in mind is that many manufacturers offer handle accent color finishes in addition to the standard hardware finish, which is not only a perfect way to draw attention to their styling but also allows a greater degree of personalization.

Why There Are Various Types of Bathroom Faucets: A Historical Perspective

Plumbing systems have been around for a very long time – nearly four thousand years! Such luxuries weren’t always publicly available; some of the earliest known examples of plumbing were found in the Minoan Palace of Knossos in Crete (the largest island of Greece). Terracotta was used to create piping while the faucets themselves were made from gold, marble, and silver. By the time Romans were using plumbing in their public bathhouses (or thermae), lead was the primary material for pipes; and alloy brass is the most commonly used in modern day.

The overall design of bathroom faucets remained relatively untouched until 1937, when a young college student by the name of Al Moen decided to invent the single-handle faucet after scalding himself. The two-handled option wasn’t going to cut it anymore! He wanted people to have the ability to customize their water temperatures. After nearly ten years of trial and error, Moen developed his first truly marketable design, selling it to a local plumbing supply company in San Francisco.

Breakthroughs in plumbing technology have continued to emerge in the last century. Today’s faucets can offer so many options that a homeowner looking to purchase one can be overwhelmed when choosing what is right for their home. It’s very important to keep a few factors in mind beyond just style when purchasing – ease of care, durability and safe, convenient use.

Think about the faucet you are currently using, and then consider what about it causes you any discomfort: is the spout an improper length, are handles hard to grasp or just plain uncomfortable, or perhaps the finish is just not staying as clean as you would like?

The right bathroom faucet blends style with functionality, fitting your space and needs. From modern single-holes to classic widespread designs, each type offers unique benefits. Consider materials, handle types, and valve mechanisms to find your match. Now, equipped with this info, you’re ready to choose confidently. Got more questions? Check out the FAQs below for additional insights.

Bathroom Faucet FAQs: Compatibility, Cleaning, and More

Do All Bathroom Faucets Fit All Bathroom Sinks?

No, not all bathroom faucets fit all bathroom sinks. If you have a no-hole sink, you’ll need a wall-mounted or a floor-mounted faucet. This style is most commonly used for vessel sinks.
If your sink has one hole, you will need a single-hole bathroom faucet, where the water and temperature controls are a part of the spigot.
Finally, if your sink has three holes, you will want a faucet with a spigot and two handles. There are three types of these faucets, depending on the hole spacing. You will either need an 8-inch widespread, a 4-inch center set, or a 4-inch mini-spread faucet. This measurement should be specified in the product description of your sink.

What Does “Center” Mean when Installing a Bathroom Faucet?

Center is the measure of distance between the centers of the hot and cold inlets.

What Is a Ceramic Disc Cartridge?

Ceramic disc cartridges are replacing rubber washer gaskets to seal your faucet and prevent drips. These discs are designed to last for the lifetime of your faucet

How Should I Clean My Faucet?

To keep your faucet in top shape, wipe off water spots as often as possible. Use a non-abrasive cleaner to remove water stains. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or pads, as these may damage the finish of your faucet.

Next Steps: Your Complete Bathroom Upgrade

You’re on your way to a stylish and functional bathroom with the perfect faucet. But why stop there? Complete your bathroom transformation with these comprehensive guides:

  1. Shower Base and Walls: Elevate your shower experience. Discover the best options for your space in our Shower Wall and Base Buying Guide.
  2. Shower Heads, Valves, and Drains: Fine-tune your shower’s functionality and style. Explore various designs and features in our Shower Heads, Valves, and Drains Buyer’s Guide.
  3. Toilet Buyer’s Guide: A critical piece of any bathroom. Find the right fit, style, and features for your home in our Toilet Buyer’s Guide.
  4. Bathroom Sink Buyer’s Guide: (Link coming soon) Complement your new faucet with the perfect sink. Stay tuned for our detailed guide to choosing the right bathroom sink.
  5. Bathtub Buyer’s Guide: (Link coming soon) Looking for relaxation and style? Our upcoming guide will help you find the ideal bathtub for your bathroom oasis.

Each guide is packed with practical advice to help you make informed decisions, ensuring your bathroom is not only beautiful but also perfectly suited to your needs.


At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.