Before shopping for a bathroom faucet replacement, remove the old faucet and count the holes in the sink where the faucet had been installed. If there are two or more holes, measure from the centers of the holes that are furthest apart. If the distance is 4 inches, choose a center-set faucet with the spout and handles configured as one unit on a base. For holes 8-16 inches apart, you'll need a widespread faucet set (the spout and handles are separate). For a sink with just one hole, put a single-hole bathroom faucet on your shopping list. Pair a vessel sink with a tall faucet mounted in the countertop or select a wall-mount faucet. Measure out from the wall to the center of the sink and purchase a wall-mount faucet spout long enough to deliver water directly into the basin without splashing onto the countertop.
Set a Budget
Determine how much you want to spend on your new bathroom faucet, and keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A high-quality faucet will feature an all-brass body with a warrantied finish. Metal alloys eventually corrode. Faucets with compression-style valves usually cost less but also feature washers that wear out and must be replaced to cease drips. Faucets without washers (ball, cartridge, or ceramic disk valves) cost more and provide longer service before requiring repair. A faucet with a ceramic disk valve will likely last longest and be the most expensive.
Generally, here's what you can expect when you pay:
Under $100—At this price point, you can typically purchase only a center-set faucet. Products at the higher end of this range can include an all-brass body, ceramic disk valve, and antiscald feature.
$100-$500—This price range provides the purchasing power for a quality widespread faucet set with some bells and whistles, such as a pullout spray or a model that turns on with a touch on the spout.
$500 and up—With this budget, you can buy a top-of-the-line product with the most up-to-date styling, finish, and features.
Find the Look
If you're buying both a new faucet and sink, select them at the same time to ensure a compatible style, function, and proportions. Look for a faucet finish that matches or complements other hardware and lighting fixtures in the bathroom. Or select an enameled faucet hue that suits your color palette.
Where to Shop
You can find an unlimited selection of bathroom faucets online; be sure to check the site's return policy and the product warranty. Local home improvement centers also offer a wide range of styles and price points.
Before you lay down hundreds of dollars for a top-of-the-line faucet, visit a plumbing showroom, which features displays with fixtures and faucets fully installed so you can more closely inspect the look, finish, and feel. Turn on the faucet to experience water flow and special features firsthand.