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April 16, 2018

The styles of faucets available for the kitchen and bath are seemingly endless. If you’re in the market for a new one, your first decision will be whether to choose a one or two-handle design. It’s not complicated, but there are practical considerations that can influence your choice.

The decision is partially made for you if the sink and/or countertop are not being replaced along with the faucet. It’s the number of existing holes that determines your options. One hole means you’ll need another single-handle style replacement. But three holes will allow you to upgrade with a double or single-handle model, since a base plate can conceal the unused openings.

The single-handle faucet is a modern concept and evokes a contemporary feel. It’s not only stylish, but convenient. How often have you had only one hand free while the other is holding a pot in the kitchen or maybe a toothbrush in the bath? With one simple push or pull, that free hand can quickly control the water. Many ADA-approved faucets are often fashioned with a large single-handle that doesn’t require tight grasping or twisting.

Maneuvering one handle to find just the right water temperature and flow is simple for most; but some find it troublesome. Try it a few times to gauge your own reaction. In a modest-sized kitchen or bath, the single-handle design will free up valuable counter or vanity space. It also has fewer nooks and crannies to clean.

The traditional configuration is a two-handle faucet. The distance of the handles outward from the spout determines whether it is referred to as centerset or widespread. Centersets are a better choice for small sinks, but the closeness of the spout and handles makes cleaning a bit more challenging. Widespreads are generally chosen when space allows or a more elaborate style is preferred.

Two-handled designs range from sleek and contemporary to ornate and classical. Water temperature and flow is controlled more precisely with two handles; and if one side needs to be shut off for repair, water is still available through the other. More space between fixtures means easier cleaning.

There is no wrong choice. Your habits, and your evaluation of each style’s attributes, should determine the configuration of the next faucet you install.