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The 4 Different Bathroom Faucet Parts & Types

For anyone entertaining company, making your guests feel welcome is a top priority. One way to ensure your guests feel welcome is to have a comforting appeal to your bathroom. Sink faucets certainly help to add a lasting impression on your guest’s memory as it is the last thing they notice before leaving your bathroom, so it is important to make a good impression. 

faucet types and parts.

What are the different parts of the common faucet?

The common faucet comes in a wide variety of parts including different washers that hold it together, but the primary parts are listed below:

  • Faucet –The primary piece of your faucet, it is where water comes out from depending on it’s position in your sink. It is also the most notable part of your sink
  • HandlesTurns the water on/off . 
  • ValveControls the hot/cold aspects of your water, similar to the handles, but is completely internal, depending on the type of Valve you might also have a cartridge as well.
  • CartridgeThe cartridge regulates water flow and temperature before it comes into contact with the valve, helping you control your water before you turn the handle.

With faucets, the type of valve you choose greatly affects the type of faucet that is produced and it’s overall water flow. Valves come in four primary types: Compression, Ball, Cartridge and Ceramic Disc


Faucets that have compression valves are the type that you may find the most commonly around your bathroom and older bathrooms you may encounter as they have been around since the advent of plumbing. Cheap and relatively inexpensive, these faucets are unfortunately prone to leaks and will require occasional maintenance.

What is a Compression Faucet?

A compression faucet is a faucet with individual hot and cold handles, which allows for the valves to control the flow of water by means of a feature in the handle that compresses the water seal through a rubber washer, which ultimately means you can turn the water on and off depending on you loosening the washer or tightening it.

Handle Type

Compression faucets have a double handle system

How expensive are they?

Compression valves are perhaps the cheapest of the four valve types

Ease of Repair

Since this sink valve type is very simple, repairing it is a matter of just replacing the valve and washer and ensuring that the washers are secure, making this the easiest sink type to repair.

bathroom faucets.

Ball Faucet

Found commonly in kitchen sinks and are among the first type to be completely washerless, ball faucets are identifiable by their single handle at the top which can move over a round ball shaped cap at the base of the faucet spout.

What is a Ball Faucet?

As stated previously, a ball faucet is a washerless faucet that has a single handle that controls a special plastic or metal ball inside the faucet body. This ball has chambers or slots in it, allowing hot and cold water through the spout. Moving the handle changes the position of these slots, allowing you to regulate flow. 

Handle Type

Ball faucets utilize a single handle type at the top of their design

How expensive are they?

Since these sinks tend to have a few more parts than a compression sink, they tend to be a bit more expensive, especially since these faucets tend to leak more often than other washerless faucets 

Ease of Repair

As discussed before, ball faucets have a bit more moving parts to it, literally, so they are a bit more complicated to repair. They require specialized tools and specific plumbing knowledge to ensure that the ball is placed properly and works with the system, making this type of faucet more difficult to repair

Cartridge Faucet 

 Very similar to compression faucets in appearance, cartridge faucets are a culmination of both a newer concept and an older ideal, resulting in an extremely durable faucet.

What is a Cartridge Faucet?

A Cartridge Faucet is a faucet that uses a movable stem cartridge to regulate water flow. Movement of the faucet handle moves the sleeves of the cartridge, aligning and blocking holes to help control the supply of water. So while it may appear very similar to a compression faucet, the cartridge action makes the handles of the faucet much smoother and easier to turn, unlike that of a compression sink. 

Handle Type

Cartridge sinks come in both single and double faucet varieties, as the cartridge can be made to fit any handle type.

How Expensive are they?

While outwardly a bit more pricey compared to both ball and compression sinks, cartridge sinks are among the most durable of the types, meaning that it can easily stand the test of time without problems, making it quite worth the investment long term.

Ease of Repair

Since flow is controlled by a water cartridge, the leaks and problems will always stem from the cartridge seals wearing out. Repairing a cartridge faucet is similar to any other faucet, making it a very straightforward process as you simply need to replace the cartridge and you don’t have to worry about other systems such as in replacing a ball faucet. 

standard bathroom faucet.

Ceramic Disc Faucet

With compression sinks being a much older form of technology, ceramic discs represent a more modern approach to faucet technology. 

What is a Ceramic Disc faucet?

A ceramic disc faucet is a faucet that consists of both a wide cylindrical body and a single lever. Inside, it contains a wide cartridge housing unit with two ceramic discs that slide over one another to control water flow and temperature. The motion of the two discs controls the water volume by either opening or restricting the pathway of the water. 

Handle Type

Ceramic disc faucets utilize a single handle

How Expensive are they?

Ceramic discs are considered to be the highest quality of sink faucet, and as such are very reliable, meaning they do not need to be repaired often due to the method of how water flows in their system. However, high durability and quality does not come cheap, and as a result, this sink type is perhaps the most expensive of the four discussed today.

Ease of Repair

The discs used in these sinks are typically ceramic, meaning they will last for quite some time before wearing out, meaning that maintenance will be minimal over time, however, over time the rubber seals at the bottom of the cartridge might be fouled from water mineral deposits. So in these instances it is best to clean and replace the seal, which is a similar process to repairing a compression or cartridge sink.

Sinks come in a wide variety of styles, each with their own positives and negatives, but as in the case of bathtubs, always remember that while an initial investment might seem steep, higher quality will always be more worthwhile in the end.


An important element of any bathroom faucet is it’s finish. The finish not only protects the material of the faucet but also wraps the faucet in an appropriate material that stands out and separates your sink from any others. 

Nickel, Stainless Steel, and Chrome-are neutral colors that pair well with any bathroom aesthetic, either classic or modern.

Brass, Copper, Bronze-These alloys have similar color hues and pair well with modern designs aesthetics. These finishes contrast well with darker colors such as black, grey, brown, or colors such as orange and red to create a striking contrast. 

Black and White-Classic finishes, black and white work well with modern and classic bathroom color schemes respectively. However, matching color schemes are not popular at the moment and people want contrasting color schemes, so black finishes with white and bright backgrounds and white finishes in dark and cooler color environments. 

Special Features

Bathroom faucets have a wide range of special features to add additional functionality for a more enjoyable experience. 

ADA Compliant-Faucets that comply with ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act are made with these individuals in mind. They are easily accessible and are more straightforward to use. 

Commercial-Commercial grade faucets are designed to handle a high volume of users without breaking down so their construction is more heavy duty.

Low-Flow Faucets-Low-flow faucets are designed to be eco-friendly and highly sustainable, using less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute. Flow-restriction devices are placed to limit water use and control the overall flow of the water. 

Waterfall Faucets-For those looking for an aesthetic bump, waterfall faucets pour water like a waterfall. The design provides a heightened aesthetic and can be added to any faucet.

Touchless Faucets-Automatic or touchless faucets use motion-sensing technology to control water flow. This provides better hygiene for your faucets as well as more eco-friendly options as less water is wasted. 

WaterSense Certified Faucets-WaterSense requires a faucet to have a water flow or GPM of 1.5 gallons per minute. Having WaterSense certification guarantees that the faucets are eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable.

Valve-Included-Valves connect to the faucet spot at the base to control water pressure. Installing a valve ensures that you have greater control of your faucet’s water and lowers the chance of wasting water. 

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