You may think there’s nothing to a faucet – turn the tap and water runs, what more is there to know? A little knowledge can go a long way, however, especially if that faucet develops a leak or the water doesn’t flow.
The four most common styles of faucets are:
Ball Faucets: Straight forward in design, ball faucets use a swivelling handle over a ball joint that is mounted on a central post. The handle turns to control the water flow as well as temperature. One of the main complaints about this style of faucet is that they are prone to developing leaks because of all the little parts inside.
Compression Faucets: A compression faucet is a traditional style faucet with two handles, each of which contain a valve to regulate water flow and an on-board washer to create a pressure seal.
Washerless Faucets: Also known as cartridge faucets, the washerless faucet eliminates the need for washers by using a stem cartridge to control water delivery. They can feature one or two handles. Single handle models lever up and down to regulate volume and side to side to control temperature, while their double handle counterparts can look identical to compression faucets. Washerless faucets are less prone to annoying drips but their seals can wear out over time.
Disc Faucets: Relatively new in terms of design, a disc faucet uses a central cylinder and two ceramic discs (one that moves and one that doesn’t) to control both water flow and temperature.
Of the four styles of faucets mentioned above, the disc style is least likely to leak, more reliable and longer lasting, though they tend to run on the more expensive side.
Modern design styles call for more contemporary looks, and technology advances to create beautiful and practical new faucet designs, such as the “Bridge” faucet, which combines old fashioned style with modern technology.
Because styling on faucets is so radically different, it’s important to consider the function of the room and the faucet over price or design when choosing a faucet for your home. If you’ve ever spent an evening hunched over a kitchen sink washing dishes with a laundry faucet you’ll understand why functionality is key.
Though a laundry room or utility style faucet may swivel to accommodate a large or double kitchen sink, the shorter neck makes it uncomfortable to perform daily tasks. Pull-down and pull-out faucet styles in the kitchen are highly popular because they tend to be ergonomic, easy to use and take the struggle out of daily chores.
Bathroom faucets also see their fair share of daily use, and you should look for a style that focuses on ease of use, safety and durability.