Bathroom Faucet Buying Tips

Look Beyond Beauty and Style When Buying a Bathroom Faucet

By Mark J. Donovan

When buying a bathroom faucet it is important to select one that provides both functionality and beauty. Bathroom faucets are heavily used and expected to last for many years. Consequently it is wise to do your homework when buying a bathroom faucet, and be willing to spend a little extra, to get the one that provides style and functionality, as well as durability.

It’s amazing how many choices there are when it comes to buying bathroom faucets. They seem to come in an infinite amount of shapes and sizes. They also come in a myriad of finishes and features, and prices vary all over the map. It can become quite confusing choosing the best bathroom faucet for your bathroom and budget.

There is however a couple of major features that you can first decide upon to help quickly narrow the options when buying a bathroom faucet. First, bathroom faucets are manufactured in three basic types, single handle, dual handle and widespread faucet.

The single handle centerset bathroom faucet is probably the most commonly purchased bathroom faucet as it is both economical and provides the easiest control of water temperature.

A single lever is used to control both the hot and cold water mixture. Often the lever is an integral part of the bathroom faucet spout. The dual handle centerset faucet sits on a single base and consists of two handles for controlling the hot and cold water, and a separate spout.

Bathroom Vanity

The widespread bathroom faucet consists of separate hot and cold water valves / handles, and a spout that are mounted separately on the bathroom countertop.

Typically they are more expensive than the other two types of bathroom faucets and are more difficult to install if the bathroom countertop does not already come with the three pre-drilled holes. However they can offer more flexibility in their placement and are often considered more stylish that the other bathroom faucet types.

Once you’ve decided upon the type of bathroom faucet you are looking for, you can then move on to the technology features that may interest you, particularly the ones that will prevent scalding and leaks. Suffice it to say, typically the higher the price of the faucet, the higher the quality of valves used in the bathroom faucet construction. There are a variety of valve designs to choose from with bathroom faucets, including cartridge valve, compression and ceramic disk valves.

Higher quality valves are designed to prevent rapid changes in temperature and to be leak free for years to come. Also, with higher end single handle controlled faucets they include temperature set limits or scald guard features to set the max temperature the faucet will deliver.

Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet

Per federal guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy, the max flow rate of a bathroom faucet is 2.2 gallons per minute, however some higher-end bathroom faucets include flow rate restrictors to even further conserve on water use.

Bathroom faucet single handle Bathroom faucet dual handle


Warranties also vary widely amongst bathroom faucet manufacturers, however as a general rule, the longer the warranty the more likelihood the faucet is of higher quality. Also, when comparing bathroom faucet warranties, look for faucets that offer life time protection warranties against drips and leaks.

Once you’ve decided upon your preferred bathroom faucet type and features, then look at the various styles and finishes that will most complement your bathroom vanity and countertop, and other bathroom accessories. Also make sure the particular bathroom faucet you choose will work with your bathroom vanity countertop, e.g. the bathroom countertop has the necessary holes already pre-drilled in it or is at least capable of being drilled.

For help on your bathroom remodeling project, see my Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective bathroom remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive bathroom remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

Related Information

Additional Bathroom Remodeling Design Resources

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