A great bathroom faucet can totally transform the look and feel of your bathroom vanity, whether you’re installing it as part of a larger remodel or just swapping out your old one for a new style. But really nice, designer faucets are rarely cheap, and it can be tempting to just skimp on this feature entirely and opt for a bargain bin faucet. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other: if you know where to look, you can find beautiful bathroom faucets for a hundred dollars or less.
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The first thing you need to do when choosing a new bathroom faucet is to flat out exclude any faucet that costs less than about $50. There are hundreds of bathroom faucets out there that cost as little as $15 or $20, but you really get what you pay for – cheap finishes, plastic parts, and a near guarantee that your faucet won’t last long. At around $50, you start getting a better metal construction, nicer finishes, and an overall improved look and feel.
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Second, avoid acrylic handles like the plague. The “diamond” cut design is totally dated, and can suck the style out of your whole vanity area. Plus, the small ridges and hollow interior can be difficult to clean, or even hard to turn on and off on a really cheap faucet. Instead, look for faucets with lever style handles. Even if they’re on the smaller side (as in, if you’re sticking with a 4″ spread rather than a luxury 8″), they’ll look more updated, as well as being easier to use and keep clean.
Generally speaking, right now the trend is to have a bathroom faucet with bigger handles spaced farther apart – ideally with the center point of the handles about 8 inches apart (aka, an 8″ spread). Now, this isn’t an upgrade you can make by itself – you’ll need to replace your vanity top, too, so you’ll probably only want to do it as part of a larger remodel. But you might be surprised to find there’s actually a pretty decent selection of widespread bathroom faucets in the $100 range. These are sold in three separate pieces, with both handles separate from the main body of the faucet, and can usually be installed anywhere from 6″ to about 12″ apart, depending on the amount of space you have.
If you aren’t planning on replacing your counter tops, chances are the faucet you have now is drilled for a 4″ spread. Remove it, and you’ll find three holes drilled into the underlying sink or counter top. Now, there are faucets out there in this size that are sold in three separate pieces to mimic the look and feel of a widespread faucet, but you won’t find many in the $100 and under range. Instead, look for a faucet where all the parts are attached to a single slim base base, but that has long, lever style handles and a tall neck to help evoke that luxurious, spread-out look.
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For a more modern bathroom with a vessel sink, you’d probably be surprised at just how many really lovely, elegant vessel sink faucets you can find for less than $100. The simple reason, of course, is that post-style faucets with only one handle simply have fewer moving parts than more conventional two handle models, but what that means is that you can get a great designer look for a fraction of the price. Look especially for faucets from companies that specialize in bathroom vanity combos – even if you don’t buy their vanities and vessel sinks, they tend to have some great styles at lower prices than you’d find elsewhere.
If you have the luxury of a single hole installation (or if you’re replacing your vanity/vanity top or top mount sink and can get a single hole installation), it’s definitely worth considering, even if you don’t plan on installing a vessel sink. Many modern single handle faucets are designed with a vessel faucet style single post installation, which has a much nicer, more streamlined look than the traditional wide-based single handle faucets. Even if your look isn’t particularly “modern,” this type of bathroom faucet will make your sink area seem more spacious, and can even afford you a little extra counter space.
Are you trying to avoid spending a fortune on your bathroom faucet, or are you finding yourself at the end of your bathroom budget? Let me know in the comments!
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