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Handles, Mounting and Compatibility

A single hole faucet high-arc spout, lever handle and soap dispenser.

High-arc faucets with pull-down sprays are a popular choice for contemporary and traditional kitchens. This one has a single handle located on the faucet, with a soap dispenser to the left that requires a separate hole.

Picking the perfect faucet requires sorting out a few important factors that affect not just look and function but also installation: 1) Number of handles, 2) how it will be mounted, and 3) compatibility with your sink and countertop.


Do you prefer to have separate handles for hot and cold water, or just one handle? Separate handles offer a more traditional look, but single, lever-style handles are popular beause they are easy to use with just one hand or even the side of your hand. Handles can be located on the faucet or off to the side. A faucet with a lever handle will require either a single- or a double-hole setting, depending on the location of the handle. If your sink has more holes than required, you can use escutcheon plates-metal discs-to cover the extra holes.

Faucets with separate hot and cold water handles located on either side of the faucet require a triple-hole setting. They may be either centerset, widespread or mini-spread.


Centerset bar faucet

This centerset faucet is on 4-inch centers and used with an entertainment sink.

Centerset Faucets

In a centerset model, the spout and handles are placed together on a single base. This type of faucet setting has three holes, one in the middle for the spout and one on each side for the hot and cold water handles. Most centerset kitchen faucets place the handles 8 inches apart, although some intended for use with bar or prep sinks have the handles 4 inches apart from each other. Centerset faucets are more affordable and easier to install than other types of faucets.



Widespread faucet with undermount stainless steel sink.

Courtesy of Kohler

The holes for the handles of this widespread faucet are 8 inches apart. The sidespray requires a fourth hole.

Widespread and Mini-Spread Faucets

As the name implies, the handles for these faucets are spread apart from the spout. The spout and handles sit directly on the sink or countertop, not on a base. Handles are 8 inches apart for widespread faucets; 4 inches apart for mini-spread faucets. What you want to avoid is buying a faucet that needs more installation holes than your sink or countertop currently has. While it is possible to drill extra holes into certain sinks and countertops, this costs more money and generally is something you want done during fabrication, not when the products are being installed in your kitchen.



Stainless steel kitchen sink with wallmount bridge faucet.

This wall-mount faucet is also a bridge faucet with widespread setting.

Wall-Mount Faucets

Most kitchen faucets are deck mounted-that is, they are installed on a horizontal surface (your countertop). Wall-mount faucets, however, are installed into a vertical surface (usually the backsplash behind your sink). Although more common in the bathroom, wall-mount faucets add style and help conserve countertop space in kitchens as well. Potfiller faucets are an especially popular type of wall-mount faucet. Before buying a wall-mount faucet, make sure your kitchen is plumbed properly: You will need a water supply line that extends up the wall behind your sink (or your cooktop, in the case of a potfiller).