So, you've decided it's time for a new faucet. Maybe your existing faucet is so old you can't find repair parts or is simply worn out and leaks too much, maybe you want to upgrade to more water efficient model, or maybe you're remodeling or just looking to update your décor. Whatever the reasons, choosing a new faucet doesn't have to be a chore - and your friends at PlumbingSupply.com® are here to help make it easy for you.
Before we get started, let's go over a few key terms.
A faucet that uses a single handle to control temperature and volume - and requires only one faucet hole to install. Many modern kitchen faucets are single lever, some with pull-down sprays, although this is a common style for lavatory faucets as well.
These faucets are most commonly found in the bathroom, although some wet bar, prep sink, or commercial kitchen applications may use them. Centerset faucets feature two handles and the "centers" of the holes where the faucet goes into the sink are 4" apart.
You can find widespread faucets in both the kitchen and bath frequently. Widespread faucets also have two handles, but the "centers" of the faucet holes are typically 8" apart. Some widespread faucets are adjustable, however, often extending from 6" - 12", depending on the faucet model.
As the name implies, these faucets are mounted onto the "deck" - either of the sink or the counter behind the sink. The majority of faucets are deck mounted, since they are easier to install and you don't have to mess with the plumbing in your walls.
These faucets are installed directly into the wall. While this is not a very common installation, many people do like the look of wall mounted faucets, as well as the space they save on countertops - especially in smaller kitchens and bathrooms where counter space is already a limited commodity.
5 things to think about before you start shopping
Selecting a faucet can be a complicated exercise, dependent on a variety of factors, and it is important to consider some of these factors before you start shopping for your new faucet. You may have a number of other factors influencing your purchasing decision, but if you can answer at least these five basic questions, you're already halfway through the process of choosing your new faucet.
- What are my current limitations?
The very first thing you need to keep in mind when choosing a faucet is your current limitations. You can look at two-handle widespread faucets all day long, but it won't do you a bit of good if you need a single lever faucet. Unless you're replacing your sink or countertop as well, you need to consider how many faucet holes are already drilled - you can always cover unnecessary faucet holes (i.e., you had a widespread faucet and switched to a single lever), but it's difficult if not impossible to drill new holes in your existing sink.
You also need to consider your budget. Avoid buyer's remorse (or having to return the faucet!) because you went too far over your budget. There are a lot of quality faucets out there at reasonable prices, and setting at least a general price range you can afford beforehand can really help trim down your list of faucet candidates.
*Quick Tip: Take measurements of your space. This can help you determine how much room you have to move the handle, how tall the spout can be or if the spout will have room to swivel, and whether or not the size of the new faucet will complement, overwhelm, or get lost amongst your existing fixtures.
- Who will be installing your new faucet?
While most modern faucets have been designed to be very easy to install, and most people could probably install these faucets just fine by themselves, you should remember that you will be dealing directly with your home's plumbing system. If you are AT ALL UNSURE about your ability to install the faucet all on your own, we recommend calling in a reliable local plumber to handle the job for you.
- Who will be using this new faucet most?
In most cases, the answer will be you or your immediate family members. However, it is important to take into consideration any physical challenges the most frequent users of the faucet may have. For instance, it may be a better idea to install an easier to operate single lever faucet in a kids' bathroom or in your elderly mother's bathroom. If you frequently wash dishes by hand, consider if you need a spray for your kitchen faucet. If you employ a housekeeper and you're looking for a new laundry faucet, get her input on what she uses the faucet for most often. Thinking about these types of things before you start browsing can help you quickly and easily eliminate faucets that won't meet your needs.
- Which features are WANTS and which are NEEDS?
Do you use the sprayer in your kitchen every day or is that something you can get by without if you really love the look of the faucet? Is a built-in water filtration system a luxury or a requirement due to allergies or health issues? Do you regularly need to fill pots, tall vases, or tall water pitchers? How important is water conservation - is this a cause near and dear to your heart, do you want to save money, or is this something that won't factor into your purchasing decision? All of these questions and more should be mulled over so you don't overlook any essential elements while picking out your new faucet.
- What kind of design aesthetic am I looking for?
Sometimes this is very clear and other times it is not. If you have an old-fashioned country kitchen and want to maintain that look, you're probably not going to want to waste time browsing ultra modern faucets. Alternatively, an ornate oil-rubbed bronze faucet is going to look very out of place in your contemporary bathroom with all-white tiles and chrome fixtures. Know what finish or range of finishes you want and the overall look you're going for before you start shopping to help you avoid making a decorating faux pas.
Getting the most out of your time & money
You've brushed up on your faucetry vocabulary, you've spent some time mulling over your needs, wants, and current limitations, and now you're ready to start shopping - or are you? What makes a good quality faucet? How do you know which brands are best? What should you avoid when faucet shopping? The answers to these questions can be somewhat subjective, particularly when it comes to faucet brands.
Of course, you want a good faucet. One that will perform well and continue to perform well long into the future. When it comes to longevity of the faucet body itself, you can't do better than brass or stainless steel. A cast brass or quality stainless steel faucet will resist corrosion, usually be easier to clean, and will last you longer than tubular brass, pot metal, or plastic. (Yes, they do make faucets out of plastic. The PlumbingSupply.com® newbies were shocked and appalled too.)
You also want to make sure your faucet has quality components. Most faucets are now "washer-less" - meaning the water flow is controlled by a cartridge that basically shears off the flow, which causes less leaking and more effective water shutoff. There are many different designs of washer-less cartridges. Ceramic disc cartridges are becoming very popular, and have been around for over 20 years. Ceramic cartridges tend to last longer than other types, and although they can sometimes be more expensive to replace, you shouldn't have to replace them often.
Regardless of the type of internal components your faucet may have, you should definitely find out how easy it is to get parts and get a general idea of how expensive it may be to replace parts. We suggest calling the manufacturer and talking with their technical department about the faucet you want to buy before purchasing - they can usually give you good information about which parts will last longest and how easy it is to repair the faucet. Also, ask about any warranties the faucet may have and for which parts. Some manufacturers offer a full replacement warranty on the internal parts, the body, and even the finish, while some will only replace defective parts.
Some of our favorite faucet brands
When it comes to brands, each manufacturer has their own set of pros and cons. Some companies may offer a top quality faucet, but it only comes in one finish, while others may offer a mid-range quality faucet in 20 different finishes. While we certainly cannot choose a "best" brand for you, we do have several favorite brands that we believe offer a good value to our customers. Please note that we haven't listed any "budget" faucets here (although we do offer those for people who want them) because we often find that our customers simply aren't as happy with lower-end faucets, and end up having to repair or replace them more often.
Additionally, while we've done our best to provide you with a variety of information to help you choose your next faucet, we always encourage shopping around to find the best solution for your home. Read product reviews and ask the good folks over at Plbg.com about problems they've encountered with certain brands you're considering.
We think Danze® is one of best faucet values around. They use quality materials for their faucets, a majority (if not all) of their faucets feature ceramic disc cartridges and many have ADA compliant lever handles. All of Danze's lavatory faucets are WaterSense™ certified to help you conserve water, and many of their kitchen faucets feature water-saving technologies as well. We offer a number of matching collections, in a wide range of styles from modern to Victorian, with a selection of designer finishes. If you're looking for a quality faucet and are willing to spend a couple hundred dollars, Danze® is the way to go. Shop Danze® Faucets
Symmons has long been an industry leader for quality commercial faucets, shower systems, and more - but they offer a very nice selection of residential products as well. They have a solid reputation for quality, and a number of their products boast water-saving features and ADA compliant handles. Although they do manufacture more bathroom products (i.e., showers, lav faucets, tub fillers), we are pleased to offer a wide selection of Symmons kitchen faucets as well. With reasonable prices and long-lasting, top-notch design, Symmons faucets are a great value for any home or business owner. Shop Symmons Faucets