Whether you’re renovating your bathroom or just replacing a leaky faucet, a vanity is not complete without a bathroom faucet. But with a wide variety of types and styles, finding the right bathroom faucet is a challenge.
Types of Bathroom Faucets:
- Centerset Faucet
- Widespread Faucet
- Single-Hole Faucet
- Vessel Sink Faucet
- Wall-Mount Faucet
Finding the perfect bathroom faucet can feel daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. By identifying the type of sink you have installed and the style of your bathroom, you can find the perfect bathroom faucet.
Expanded: Types of Bathroom Faucets
Each bathroom faucet fits a specific type of sink, so finding the best faucet for your bathroom begins with the sink. How many holes does it have in the deck? How far apart are the holes? Check out our room planner service for a free design.
A centerset faucet is the most common type of faucet. They are standard for most bathroom sinks or countertops with three holes close together – one for the faucet and two for the hot and cold water levers. You control the water flow and water temperature with each handle. Centered on the bathroom sink, the standard centerset faucet requires three holes measured 4” from center of the left hole to the center of the right hole.
Since the entire fixture is close together at the center of the sink, a centerset lavatory faucet fits small and regular sized vanity sinks. While there are contemporary and modern style centerset faucets, the compact design evokes a classic charm that makes it a great fit in a traditional bathroom.
You can install a single-hole faucet onto a centerset deck with three holes, you just need to cover the extra holes with an escutcheon plate. In fact, a single-hole faucet is often considered a centerset lavatory faucet for this reason – it’s also set in the center of the sink.
A widespread faucet also has three holes, just like a centerset faucet, but the holes are spread out, usually between 8” and 16” when measuring from the middle of each exterior hole. As such, the hot and cold water handles are separate from the faucet rather than one unit as with centerset faucets. This makes them a lot more flexible in design, allowing you to customize the distance between the handles.
Since the handles are spread out from the faucet, widespread bathroom faucets are better fits with large bathroom sinks. They also tend to be more modern and contemporary in style and function. While you can certainly find classic styles with widespread faucets, if you want a stylish faucet to go with your statement piece sink, a widespread faucet is the way to go.
Single-Hole Bathroom Faucet
As the name suggests, a single-hole bathroom faucet fits all the plumbing through one hole in the sink or countertop. Single-hole faucets are more common in kitchen settings because they typically only have one handle installed in the same fixture as the spout.
Single-hole bathroom faucets are more versatile than other faucet types because you can install it to sinks made for widespread or centerspread faucets. You just need to make sure you cover the extra holes with an escutcheon plate.
Vessel Sink Faucet
A vessel sink faucet is a tall single-hole faucet designed specifically for vessel sinks. Since these sinks sit on the countertop rather than below it, a vessel faucet is taller than a standard bathroom faucet and almost always single-handle.
Since vessel sinks are usually the centerpieces of a bathroom, vessel bathroom faucets also come in some of the boldest styles for a bathroom faucet. Waterfall vessel faucets are trending, as are rustic styles. That said, the most common vessel faucets are modern in design. These minimalist types of vessel faucets go well with bold sinks.
The most important consideration with a vessel sink is the height of the faucet. Since vessel sinks vary in height, you should look for a vessel faucet with at least an inch of clearance above the lip of the sink.
For vanities with little counter space or tall vessel sinks, a wall-mount faucet is a great option. Since the spout and lever handles mount to the wall, it doesn’t take up counter space and the height can be adjusted for any size vessel sink.
Wall-mount vanity faucets come with either a single-handle or two-handle design, but the faucet is generally separate from the faucet. However, wall-mount faucets require more planning, as the plumbing connections are in the wall above the countertop rather than below the countertop. In addition, it often means moving the vanity mirror higher, though installing the wall-mount faucet through the mirror is also an option.
FAQs About Bathroom Faucets
Are Bathroom Faucets Standard Size?
There isn’t a specific standard size for bathroom faucets. However, there is a standard when considering the installation type. For example, a centerset faucet is typically 4” when measured from the center of the exterior holes. Likewise, a widespread faucet is typically 8”, but can vary since the handles are separate pieces from the faucet.
Are Bathroom Faucets Easy to Install?
As with any DIY project, “easy” is relative. If you've done any plumbing before, then installing a bathroom faucet should be a breeze. That said, if you can follow directions, you can install a faucet. There are plenty of video and online tutorials available online with step-by-step instructions. We recommend this tutorial by the DIY Network.
The basic steps are to turn off the water, disconnect and remove the old faucet, install the new faucet with plumber’s putty, reconnect the plumbing, and turn the water back on.
You need the following:
- Adjustable wrench
- Plumber’s putty
- Plumber’s tape
- Two flexible water line extensions
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
What are the Best Bathroom Faucet Materials?
Bathroom faucets come in a wide variety of materials: stainless steel, chrome, brushed nickel, polished nickel, bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, copper, zinc, brass, and even plastic.
Chrome, stainless steel and nickel faucets are safe choices, as they don’t go out of style and they don’t cost a premium. Bronze and copper faucets are high-end materials that develop a patina over time, making them great fits in vintage or farmhouse style bathrooms. Brass fixtures are another premium material because of its sturdiness, but brass finishes go in and out of style. They were very popular in the 1990’s, but they are becoming more popular again.
Plastic is the most affordable and the least durable. Some plastic faucets are made to look like chrome, but they aren’t made to last.
Can Bathroom Faucets Be Refinished?
Absolutely! But it is a challenge. Refinishing or painting a faucet is a lot of work, requiring sanding, primers, and great attention to detail. Also, finding a non-toxic finish or paint is a challenge. Most experts recommend using automobile-grade primer and paints, which can handle the day-to-day moisture of a faucet, but these are expensive and not typically available in small quantities. They also require respirators and a well-ventilated room.
What Bathroom Faucets are in Style?
Choosing an oil-rubbed bronze finish with any style faucet is very popular right now because the dark finish doesn’t show water spots or fingerprints as easily as other metallic finishes. And it looks well in a variety of styles. Waterfall faucets are also experiencing a moment, especially with vessel faucets. Homeowner’s love the unique way the water cascades off a ledge and into the sink. It’s a new way of spicing up the handwashing experience.
When Should I Replace My Bathroom Faucet?
A bathroom faucet should last about 15 years, so if your faucet is old and it’s starting to leak from the handles or faucet, it’s a good sign the faucet needs to be replaced. However, if the faucet is just a few years old, you may consider removing it and seeing if a single component needs to be replaced or fixed, like a worn-out valve. Sometimes, you may only need to reseal the faucet or replace plumbing fixtures, like flexible water lines to fix a leak.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathroom Faucet?
The cost of a new faucet ranges between $15 and $1,000 depending on the quality of the materials and the features. Once you’ve chosen a faucet, you can expect to pay an additional $150 to $350 for a professional plumber to install it, with the national average being around $245. You can certainly save yourself some cash by installing it yourself by watching tutorials online, but any time you’re dealing with plumbing fixtures, it’s good to at least consult with a professional.
How Much Do I Need to Spend on an Excellent Bathroom Faucet?
Vanity faucets vary widely in cost, but you can expect to pay between $90 and $200 for an excellent bathroom faucet. Spending more than $200 still nets you a great faucet, but you’re likely spending a premium on style at this point. If you spend less than $90, the faucet is more likely to leak and break within a few years. The finish you choose can also affect the price. Often, stainless steel faucets are the most affordable while matte black or brushed nickel faucets are a bit more expensive.
Do Sink and Shower Faucets have to Match?
Your showerhead faucet doesn’t need to match your sink faucet exactly, but they should be compatible with each other. In other words, the faucet brand doesn’t need to be the same, but you want the style and finish to be compatible – if your sink faucet is modern with an oil-rubbed bronze finish, choose a showerheads in similar fashion.
If you’re worried about mismatching fixtures, a wide variety of faucet collections we carry include shower faucets and tub faucets in the same style and finish, making it easy to pair. That said, it’s on trend right now to mismatch the trim in your bathroom. So, having a matte black vanity trim with polished chrome showerheads is great if you’re going for an eclectic look.
What Is the Best Brand of Bathroom Faucets?
From site to site, the top sellers and highest rated bathroom faucets tend to be Pfister, Delta, Kohler, and Moen products. After reading six professional review site’s best picks for bathroom faucets, Delta and Moen came out on top as the faucet products with the most top picks and most reviewed faucets.
The faucet designs of popular brands are made to last while fitting seamlessly into specific interior designs. Likewise, faucet reviews by verified users on Amazon and other sites consistently rate these brands higher than others.
What Additional Features Might You Want to Include in Your Faucet?
Aside from style and finish, you should look for bathroom faucet with a ceramic valve. While most valves last for several years before they leak, a ceramic valve is more reliable and durable. It’s an innovative plumbing product feature that typically doesn’t add much to the price of a faucet.
What is the Best Flow Rate for a Bathroom Faucet?
Water flow rate is not a determining factor for bathroom faucets. In fact, water efficiency should be valued more than flow rate. Unlike kitchen faucets, which need some water pressure to blast food off plates, bathroom faucets should have a flow rate under 1.5 gallons per minute. Look for a water efficiency around 1.0 gpm.
Get with the Flow! Speak with an Expert
Choosing the right bathroom faucet can feel daunting, especially if you’re unsure about the style you want. Fortunately, you can narrow down the search by determining whether your sink is made for a widespread, centerset, single-hole faucet, or vessel faucet.
If you’re not sure about what type of bathroom faucet is right for your bathroom or you’re not sure if the faucet you’ve picked out fits your bathroom’s style, talk to our expert designers for free at 855.483.2629 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!