Accessing your water supply is crucial in just about every facility—private and public. To get ahold of that water, you’re going to need the right faucet for your sink.
Faucets are found in various settings such as bathrooms or kitchens, and they are used for many different purposes like utility sink faucets and laboratories. Identifying the different types of faucets will make buying and installing the one you need much easier. Check out our faucet guide to see the available types and to learn how to install them.
Types of Faucet Valves
Ball faucets are composed of a single handle which can be adjusted to either side for control of water temperature and pressure. This flexibility comes from a rounded ball cap sitting atop the faucet spout.
Inside the faucet body is a plastic or metal ball, O-rings, chambers and slots. Ball faucets are known for being the most leak-heavy of the other washer-less faucets due to the O-rings and rubber seals drying out or when the springs weaken.
Best Use: Bathrooms and kitchens, especially if they are in restaurants or public establishments that see large volumes of people. They are easy to use and only require the turning of one handle instead of two.
Disc faucets have a single lever over a wide, cylindrical body that combines hot and cold water in a pressure balance cartridge. This cartridge has two ceramic disks on the base that are used for controlling the water volume, while the temperature is controlled by swaying the handle from side-to-side. These types of faucets use the newer faucet technology and seldom require repairs.
Best Use: Faucets like these are best for use in bathrooms, kitchens and laboratories. They can also be installed in warehouses or facilities that rely on water applications as these faucets are sophisticated and require infrequent repairs.
A long-standing faucet type, the compression washer faucet has been in use since the beginning of indoor plumbing. Utility sinks often use the newer versions of these faucets. They have two handles for hot and cold water and a compression stem, which is a kind of screw that allows water to flow out. When the washer is compressed, the water is shut off.
Best Use: These types of faucets are best used in residences and offices as these are the most standard.
Faucet Spout Types
The spout and nozzle are the anatomical “neck” of the faucet. This tube-like structure transports water out of the faucet and into the sink basin or drain, depending on the setup. Spouts are often movable, in which cases they are called swivel or swing spouts. They can also be non-movable or fixed. Spouts are not invariable; they come in a variety of styles. Some of these style and shape options are even available in the three main sink categories.
||Composed of a long straight body
||Higher neck composed of a curved “U”-shaped body
||Possesses two tubes connected together, a straight, long one like in the standard swing, on which a shorter curved one is connected to
||Long and straight, like the standard swing but much thinner and with a more angular spout
Faucet Installation Guide or Replacing a Faucet
||Compression Washer Faucets
||Turn off the water supply by shutting off the valve beneath the sink.
||Shut off the water supply.
||Shut off the water supply.
||Loosen the faucet's handle with an Allen wrench and remove it.
||Remove the fastening screw and the handle with a screwdriver or Allen wrench.
||Remove the faucet handle—the handle body is attached to the faucet valve stem via a screw. Unscrew the cap to see the screw.
||Tighten the locking collar by twisting it clockwise. If the leak stops, just replace the handle. If the leak drips from the faucet spout: see next step.
||Remove the disc cartridge and check for any damage. If there is any, it needs to be replaced.
||Remove the screw, and take off the handle.
||Use a tongue and groove set of pliers or a pipe wrench and remove the top cap. Remove the cam, cam washer and control ball.
||Take out the rubber inlet seals with a screwdriver.
||Unscrew the knurled knob and take off the cover to remove the valve stem assembly cover.
||Replace the ball if it is damaged
||Clean the seal seats in the base of the cartridge.
||Unscrew the valve stem assembling with an adjustable wrench.
||Take out the rubber valve seats and springs from their receptacles with a flat blade screwdriver.
||Reassemble the cartridge and place the clean rubber seals in their seal seats.
||Remove the old washer, which sits on the valve seat, by using a screwdriver and clean out the end of it.
||Remove the faucet spout and O-ring. Grease a new O-ring and put it over the faucet base while pushing it down into the groove.
||Put the disc cartridge back into the faucet body by aligning the tabs with the lines in the faucet body.
||Turn the water supply back on and inspect it for leaks.
||Place back the spout over the O-ring until it is on the base of the faucet
||Replace the decorative cover place and the handle.
||Put the faucet back together by adding a new valve stem and body, cover, cap and handle.
||Install new valve seats and springs by putting the spring into the rubber seal.
||Turn the water supply on again and inspect it for leaks.
||Install a new control ball and top cap.
||Restore the water supply and inspect it for leaks.
More Tips on Buying Faucets
When choosing which type of faucet to buy, consider both maintenance and the levels of usage. While the latter is subjective, the former depends on basic plumbing knowledge and the practice of working with faucets. In addition, considering the position (mount) and colors of the faucet will help you select the right one.
The product statements contained herein are intended for informational purposes only. Such product statements do not constitute a product recommendation or representation as to the appropriateness for a specific application or use. W. W. Grainger, Inc. does not guarantee the result of product operation or assume any liability for personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of such products.