If you are embarking on a bathroom renovation or choosing fixtures for a new build this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about bathroom faucets.
Right now, the top bathroom design trend for 2018 is focused on efficiency and small-scale luxury.
Designers are moving away from hard, angular lines towards fittings with dynamic, flowing shapes that also include low water usage.
It’s an expansion of the overarching movement from the last few years that the bathroom is people’s personal, spa-like sanctuary where they go to escape from the chaos of the day. That combined with durable fixtures and increased water efficiency has inspired many top brands such as Delta Faucet, Brizo, and Hansgrohe to enhance their product offerings.
That’s where we come in.
Understanding bathroom faucet basics are useful because it helps your shopping experience by narrowing down available choices to what you’re looking for – and ensuring your final pick is a tailored expression of both personal style and intended purpose.
THE ULTIMATE BATHROOM FAUCET GUIDE:
#1 Bathroom Faucet Types 101
SINGLE-HANDLE BATHROOM FAUCETS
The most popular, standard go-to. This faucet has a clean, minimalist look while also having the least amount of pieces for simple installation and maintenance. It is also the least expensive bathroom faucet type.
This faucet controls water volume and temperature with a single handle. It requires a single hole for installation but is also suitable for sinks with three holes at 4” center set when used with an escutcheon plate.
*An escutcheon plate is the base plate that seals a faucet to a sink.
CENTERSET BATHROOM FAUCETS
This combo faucet is compact and ideal for small bathroom spaces. The spout and handles make up one connected piece.
It fits sinks with three faucet holes that measure 4” from the centre of one side to the centre of the other.
Also, this is the less expensive route for a two handle opposed to a widespread faucet.
VESSEL BATHROOM FAUCETS
These faucets are taller than average because they complement a vessel sink, which sits higher than other sink types.
They are normally a single handle, but there are some exceptions.
WIDESPREAD BATHROOM FAUCETS
This is what people typically picture when they think of a bathroom faucet.
The widespread bathroom faucet is perfect for larger vanity areas and pedestal sinks.
In terms of measurements, you’ll require three faucet holes that normally measure 8” from the centre of the left hole to the centre of the right hole because of the handles for hot and cold water.
A huge benefit and main selling point of this faucet is that it’s easy to regulate the temperature and water flow.
WALL-MOUNT BATHROOM FAUCETS
This is less conventional and is increasingly gaining popularity in contemporary designs.
These faucets are mounted on the wall behind the sink making them ideal for sinks with minimal countertop space.
Keep in mind, wall-mount bathroom faucets require a different installation process and should be installed near the beginning of a renovation.
This is because plumbing lines are installed in the wall, not exposed lines through the sink. They often require a specific rough-in piece sold separately from the faucet.
TOUCHLESS TECHNOLOGY BATHROOM FAUCETS
High tech. These hands-free, sensor-operated faucets offer ease-of-use, but do not allow control over temperature and water flow unless they have a mixer.
But, they are becoming more and more popular because they conserve water and also help to limit the spread of bacteria.
Not only does the touchless faucet require batteries since it uses electricity and sensors, it is installed differently than a traditional faucet.
We’re even starting to see innovative tech in touchless bathroom faucets like TOTO’s Revolutionary EcoPower Self-Generating Hydropower System. The water-powered turbine in the EcoPower faucet creates an electrical current that is stored in rechargeable cells to power the Smart Sensor System.
The end of the faucet should be a few inches above the rim of the sink, or there will be splashing. The angle that the water hits the sink also has an effect on splashing. Aim for the water to hit the bottom of the sink, in the centre over the drain.
Recommended Reading: How to Renovate a Small Bathroom
#2 TOP BATHROOM FIXTURE FINISHES
Note: Keep in mind that brands have different names for their finishes.
This is the most versatile, yet inexpensive finish. Chrome is very easy to clean and maintain.
It’s durable, highly accessible, and easy to match with accessories and other fixtures due to chrome’s popularity. But – it does show water spots and fingerprints quite easily.
Although more expensive, quality stainless steel is tarnish-resistant, scratch resistant, and corrosion resistant. Like chrome, stainless steel is durable and easy to maintain.
While stainless is not as shiny, it doesn’t show water spots or fingerprints as easily as chrome.
Keep in mind that no brand has the same stainless steel finish. If you choose a finish other than chrome, it is best to be consistent with its usage in your fixtures and appliances.
This finish has an appealing shine and unique colour.
Similar to chrome, it is easy to clean and highly durable but has much more warmth and richness in tone.
This is one of the most durable finishes available because and it doesn’t show wear, fingerprints or water spots.
Brushed nickel has an antique feel compared to its polished twin, or even chrome.
But, it is still easy to clean, highly accessible and easy to match due to the popularity of this finish.
This finish captures the timeless beauty of old-world artisanship and is highly sought after for deep, rich bathroom designs.
Once again, this finish is easy to clean, does not show fingerprints or water spots, and is highly durable.
This new finish surged in popularity in 2017 because of its appealing industrial look.
Interior designers began using champagne bronze accent pieces to showcase robust designs in contemporary spaces.
This is a durable finish that does not show wear, fingerprints or water spots, but it can be the most difficult finish to pair with complimentary fixture finishes and accessories.
This was the most trendy bathroom finish of 2017.
It adds a dramatic depth to your bathroom faucet and makes for a strong accent piece.
It is very durable, while also not showing dirt or fingerprints. The only difficulty is pairing this finish to create a cohesive look.
#3 TECHNICAL JARGON WORTH KNOWING
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s good to understand the technical fundamentals before you purchase a bathroom faucet.
This can not only help you plan a renovation or new build but also ensure you understand how to communicate with your contractor.
Every type of faucet has an inner valve that controls the flow of water through the spout. The valve quality, with or without a washer, determines the reliability and durability of the faucet. It’s helpful to keep this in mind when doing your research.
There are four types of bathroom faucets:
Faucets with a Washer:
This is the least expensive, but most prone to leaks and maintenance.
Compression faucets use a stem that rises and falls to open and close the passageway.
Compression washer faucets have separate hot and cold water handles requiring you to turn the handles to close off water flow.
These have a rotating metal or plastic ball that regulates the flow of incoming water.
With only one moving part, they are less likely to break or have issues.
Keep in mind, a plastic ball will eventually wear out, but a metal ball is designed for longevity.
At Splashes Bath & Kitchen, we only sell quality bathroom faucets with metals balls, which is a differentiator compared to big box stores that have plastic balls.
These utilize rubber O-rings inside a cylindrical cartridge to control the flow of water making them very reliable.
This is the most popular faucet type and makes up the highest percentage of our selection.
These are ideal because they require minimal to no maintenance.
They have two ceramic discs that move against each other in a shearing action, blocking water or allowing it to pass through.
Also, the seal is watertight because the discs are flat.
What does gpm mean?
GPM means Gallons Per Minute. Also known as “flow rate”, GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute.
Bathroom faucets with a WaterSense label use a maximum of 1.5 GPM. The average for a bathroom faucet is 2.2 GPM.
LET’S TALK ABOUT DESIGN COORDINATION
Every brand has collections with a similar aesthetic in order to create a complementary and cohesive design.
This can be beneficial for choosing fixtures because this simplified shopping experience makes it easy to give a unified look and feel.
It is a good idea to understand different design styles to help narrow down not only your bathroom design but how your fixtures can complement or contrast that design.
#4 BATHROOM DESIGN STYLES
While its origins are set in the early 20th century, pure modernism mimic’s Germany’s Bauhaus school of design.
The Bauhaus philosophy placed form over function, with little desire for accents or decorative pieces.
Some examples of modern designs are frameless cabinets, flat panel doors, minimal trim, sleek appliances and fixtures with predominantly shiny finishes.
In terms of modern bathroom faucet, they focus on hard, angular lines and clean, minimalist details.
Pictured: Grohe Eurocube Bathroom Faucet
Transitional design is the fusion of modern and traditional – it blends rustic charm with modern simplicity to achieve a look of casual sophistication.
Transitional bathroom designs are known for their subtle and clean colour palette to create relaxing and uncomplicated rooms.
A transitional faucet is defined by a rounded edge for comfort and practicality combined with a soft shape and subtle curve.
Pictured: Brizo Levoir Widespread Bathroom Faucet
Traditional design is rooted in 18th century England and French countryside. The style is known for its warm, inviting interiors with colour schemes that typically include rich, neutral tones.
Traditional faucet styles can include bevelling details that mimic crown molding, a stylized handle, fountain spout and classic base.
Symmetry is also important to traditional design.
Pictured: Brizo Charlotte Bathroom Faucet
BEST SELLING BATHROOM FAUCETS
Some of our most popular and versatile bathroom faucets include:
- Solid brass construction
- Ceramic disc valve cartridge
- Aerated, hidden and adjustable stream (6°)
- Maximum flow rate: 8.3 liters/min. (2.2 gallons/min.)
- Push drain with overflow included
- Lead-Free: low lead product (less than 0.25%)
- Lifetime warranty
- Chrome and chrome & black finishes
- Solid brass
- Aerated spray
- Flow: 1.2 GPM
- Ceramic cartridge
- Includes pop-up assembly
• GROHE EcoJoy technology for less water and perfect flow with a max flow rate of 1.2 gpm
• Single hole installation
• Metal lever handle
• GROHE SilkMove 28 mm ceramic cartridge
• GROHE StarLight chrome finish
• Flow control
• Includes waste-set drain assembly
• Stainless steel flex lines
• GROHE QuickFix installation system with centering support
• Temperature limiter
Understanding the stylistic varieties and technical jargon can enhance your shopping experience by helping you narrow down what is the best bathroom faucet for your home.
Let us know if you have any other specific questions about your bathroom faucet.
Also, feel free to drop-in to any of our Splashes Bath & Kitchen showrooms to see our wide selection of faucets in person to get a feel for what would look & perform best in your home!