Choosing a Faucet for your Bathroom Sink

Faucets come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Whatever style you choose, make sure the it matches that of the sink. You won't want to put a modern faucet on a traditional sink, or a tiny faucet on a big, bold sink, for example. Not all faucets are compatible with all sinks, so take some time to understand the different types and requirements.

Installation Type

Take a look at the rim of your sink, the countertop, or the wall (depending on the type of sink you have chosen) to determine which type of faucet you require.

  • Single-hole faucet

    If you see only one hole, you need a single-hole faucet. This type features a spout and single handle integrated together.

  • 4-inch minispread (aka mini-widespread) or centerset faucet

    If you see three holes that measure four inches from the center of one of the outside holes to the other, you need a 4-inch minispread or centerset faucet. A minispread faucet comes with three individual pieces (two control handles and a spout). A centerset faucet features these same three pieces mounted together on a deck plate.

  • 8-inch widespread faucet

    If you see three holes that measure eight inches from the center of one of the outside holes to the other, you need an 8-inch widespread faucet. Like the minispread, this faucet comes with three individual pieces.

  • Vessel filler faucets

    Because a vessel sink sits on top of the counter, it requires a taller faucet body that can accommodate its additional height. When selecting this type of faucet, be sure to check that it is tall enough to comfortably clear the rim of the sink.

  • Wall-mounted faucets

    As their name implies, these faucets mount directly to the wall above the sink, usually to accommodate supply lines that are mounted above sink height. They are often used with free-standing sinks and sometimes with vessel sinks. With wall-mounted faucets, it is important to make sure the spout reach offers adequate sink clearance.

Handle Options

  • Lever handles

    These are the most common and are generally the easiest for people of all ages to use. (Think of an "L" turned on its side.) They typically come in a three-hole design, though you can usually find a few options for single-hole lever handles.

  • Cross handles

    Each handle looks like a "T" but is otherwise very similar to the lever handle. They may be slightly more difficult for children and older adults to use.

  • Knob handles

    These handles come in a knob shape that often includes grooves for easier gripping. They are generally designed to be used with three-hole configurations, but some models are available for single-hole designs.

  • Single-handle faucets

    This handle features only one grip (rather than dual levers or knobs). They control the entire temperature range, from hot to cold, and are very easy for people of all ages to use. They are generally designed for single-hole faucets.

  • Motion- or touch-activated

    Motion-activated faucets don't require handles or knobs; a sensor activates the flow of water when hands are placed under the spout. Touch- activated faucets are activated by a light tap on the unit. A handle controls the water temperature and acts as a manual control. In addition to the plumbing, these faucets require an electrical connection.