How To Buy the Correct Faucet for Your Bathroom Fixtures

published May 24, 2016
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

All this week we’re talking about bathroom renovations, starting with Ashley’s recent remodel, and following up with tons of helpful posts about the process!

Changing out the faucet on your bathroom sink can be a pricey project. Fortunately, not every bathroom faucet is created equal. There are so many shapes, sizes, finishes -and price ranges to choose from. So where do you start?

Control options, construction, color and finish – those are all decisions you can easily make yourself based on the overall room design, and your personal preference. What you need to know is the specific mounting type that fits with your sink.

Above, Ashley chose a white pedestal sink from Kohler. The model she picked (from their Kathryn series), has three 8″ widespread holes, which is common in these types of sinks. After a couple of purchases and subsequent returns, she finally settled on this faucet from Kingston Brass.

Here are the options and features to look for:

Widespread (lead image above): Most commonly found on pedestal sinks, widespread faucets are made for sinks with three pre-drilled holes that are 8″ apart. When purchasing a widespread faucet you’ll receive three individual components: two handles and one spout.

(Image credit: Melanie Grizzel)

Vessel/Single-hole: On single hole faucets, the handle is attached to the spout and is for use on a sink with 1 pre-drilled hole. If you are in the market for a vessel style faucet but have a sink with 3 pre-drilled holes, it’s sometimes an option to purchase an additional deck plate to cover the existing holes on the sink. Contact the faucets manufacturer to see if that is an option before buying.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Wall-mounted: Ready for it? Wall-mounted faucets are mounted to …the wall! Normally, your water supply lines come up from the sink, but in this case they’ll need to be installed into the wall. One thing to be aware of when purchasing these types of faucets is that the spout is actually long enough to reach from the wall over the sink basin.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

4″ Centerset: These faucets are found on sinks with 3 holes set at 4″ apart. The components sit on a deck plate that connect the handles with the spout body, and can also be found with single handle components.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Backup)

4″ Minispread: Similar to centerset, these faucets fit 4″ configurations on sinks with 3 pre-drilled holes. But instead of purchasing a faucet with a 4″ deck plate, a minispread faucet looks more like a widespread faucet with three individual components: two handles and one spout.


  • One hole in the sink or counter = use a single hole or vessel faucet.
  • Three pre-drilled holes that sit 4″ apart = use a 4″ minispread, or a 4″ centerset faucet
  • Three pre-drilled holes that sit 8″ apart = use an 8″ widespread faucet