How to Choose the Right Bathroom Faucet: 2020 Guide
Looking to add more flair to your old bathroom? Well, a great place to start is replacing your old faucets and adding more color to your bathroom. Faucets make for great pairings with a new bathtub or sink, so here’s what to consider when choosing new faucets for your bathroom.
When it comes to faucet style, keep in mind that your choice will mostly be determined by space. Different faucet styles are dependant on the size of your sink and therefore how much available space you have. By choosing a specific style, you are also putting a greater emphasis on the look of your bathroom, either modern, classic or somewhere in between. Below are some of the common styles and their uses.
A freestanding faucet offers a great deal of freedom when pairing with a sink. These require a longer spout length to reach the sink and allow for almost any sink size to be paired with it, as the dimensions of the faucet have already been determined previously. Similar to a wall-mounted faucet, you simply need to place a basin or sink of any dimension under or near the sink, providing more flexibility for the user. A freestanding faucet is a great choice for a bathroom with limited space, or if you want to have a more modern feel to your bathroom.
A traditional approach for a faucet is installing it on your countertop. These faucets are generally larger units, installed on your countertop with the spout and the handles as a singular unit. The advantage of this is that you have a great deal of control when using a longer spout as opposed to the typical design that will result in splashing due to differences in water pressure.
A bridge faucet comprises a singular spout in the center, with two handles on it’s side. Similar to a centerset faucet, except that a bridge spout only requires two holes to secure it to it’s base because the entire piece is interconnected by a bridge component. Other than that, this style pairs well with almost any sink style.
Centerset faucets are designed for basins or countertops and require three holes to secure properly. They comprise a spout and two handles at the single base. This is the most classic appearance for a faucet and pairs well with over the counter sinks.
A single hole faucet is one with a single handle or two handles and refers to the installation method of the faucet itself. Usually these come as one piece faucets that are mounted on your countertop or surface. Many usually are pre-drilled with additional holes to secure them further.
Vessel faucets are faucets that are typically tall in length, to allow for a vessel style sink to be paired with it. These faucet types typically only come with a single handle, thus limiting your control options. These sinks are great for those who want a more natural feel to their bathroom as it is similar to the old bronze and wooden vessels of the ancient world.
Faucet Control Options
All faucets control a bit differently from each other and there are quite a few options to ensure that the water flows the way you desire. Below are the different faucet control options available.
Knobs are one of the most common faucet control options available. One knob controls hot water, while another controls the flow of cold water. They can be turned on simultaneously to create warm water. essentially two knobs
Cross handles function very similar to knobs, with handles that are turned on and off to control hot and cold water instead of knobs. Similar to the knob control scheme, cross handles
Joysticks are handles that simply pull or flip up. Unlike the knobs and cross handles, all the control is placed on this single lever on the faucet. You turn it to one direction to change from hot to cold and simply pull down or pull back up to shut the water on and off.
For the more modern user, there are touchless models that do not require physical knobs and handles to be turned. Touch-activated sinks are available in many corporate businesses, and can simply be activated by touching the top of the faucet. A handle controls the temperature and is perfect for those with accessibility issues.
Materials play an important role in determining both the physical qualities of your faucets as well as the look of your faucet. When choosing the right material, it is important to balance the look with the physical attributes you want in your faucet.
An iron based alloy that is resistant to corrosion, has decent temperature resistance and is quite durable. Stainless steel finishes are resistant to scratches and very suitable for daily bathroom use. It is also easy to clean with just water and soap. However, despite it’s durability, stainless steel is remarkably easy to scratch, so it is best to avoid harsh cleaners when cleaning. It also tends to be on the expensive end compared to other faucet finishes.
An alloy consisting primarily of copper, bronze sinks tend to be quite durable, scratch resistant and easy to clean. Bronze faucets are also quite easy to match as many bronze accessories are available, ensuring that their color tone can match almost any sink material.
Another quite durable sink material, brass is composed of copper and zinc, forming into a brass finish. While it shares similarities to bronze, brass tends to have a generally dull finish. Summarily, the material also takes to fingerprint and watermark stains fairly easily, so continual upkeep is recommended.
One of the cheaper options when choosing a sink material. Zinc faucets are composed of either zinc or a composite alloy that tends to not be very durable. Although these faucets tend to be quite affordable, their longevity is no more than a couple of years at the most.
The least durable material on the market is plastic. Although it may not be visually appealing, there are quite a few color options available for plastic since it is so cheap. Plastic faucets also do not contain lead, though as stated before, plastic is perhaps the least durable material, lasting a year or two at the most with heavy use.
As stated previously, size is an important factor in choosing the right faucet. Small sizes are appropriate for smaller sinks/bathrooms while larger sizes are generally the common choice for those with medium to large sized bathrooms. The benefit of having a small faucet is that your sink can be as small and as minimalistic as you want it to be. The downside of this is of course that your sink is pretty small and will have limited functionality. A large faucet/sink on the other hand, has much more functionality allowing for separate hot and cold water taps. It is because of this that larger sized faucets are typically more common as they are generally not too much larger than smaller faucets and the added functionality benefits everyone in your home.
Installation can be a troublesome point for those that are inexperienced with installing a new faucet or sink. Different faucets require different plumbing knowledge to install. A bridge or single hole faucet is a bit different than a freestanding faucet. In general, faucet installation is a fairly straightforward process compared to installing a sink. So long as you understand your plumbing situation, than you can easily install a new faucet or sink. However, some homes require rerouting water lines, in which case it is best to consult a plumber.
Perhaps the most important point to consider is the price of a new faucet. A new faucet can cost anywhere between $20 to $250 and beyond. These days there are a multitude of different attachments and add-ons you can install to improve your faucet, but always remember to stay in budget. While many of these add-ons are trendy and visually appealing, they usually double or triple the initial cost of the faucet in the long term and just aren’t worth it. Focus on the material and finish of your faucet and whether the style is appropriate for your bathroom. If an add-on doesn’t help with either of those things, you probably don’t need it.
When choosing a new faucet for your home, always consider your budget and your needs. Although it may seem pertinent to splurge on some of the amenities and additions out there, a straightforward faucet that runs hot and cold water is generally what you need. So pick a style that suits your home and find the right faucet for you.