So many options to chose from!
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
There are far too many material options to chose from!
What do they all mean? How do I know that I'm getting the right faucet for me?
Here we discuss the different types of materials and finish options that are typically found in faucets and why they are important.
The trouble with going to big box retailers like Home Depot and Lowes is that, more often times than not, there's either no one available to help you in that section or, in the off-chance that there is someone available, the sales-person will likely try to push the most expensive product at you without you really learning about your options or figuring out what might be your actual best fit.
If you don't have a plumber handy, doing your research ahead of time is the smarter option. Look through the different available styles and decide on what functions you want (2 handles, single handle, motion sensor(s), spray head + function(s), do you need a 1-, 2-, or 3-hole system, and so on).
Once you've gone through the exercise of determining what style and functions you want, you then get bombarded with material and finish options. They may all look similar on the outside, but it's definitely what's on the inside that counts.
The cheapest options are always going to be plastic fixtures with a thin metal finish. These finishes have absolutely no functionality and are solely for cosmetic purposes. The finish will wear out very quickly and cause the fixture to have little to no durability.
Then there's options that say things like "die-cast zinc alloy" or "electroplated". How on earth are you supposed to know what these mean, let alone know their advantages and disadvantages?
Faucets made with die-cast zinc alloy fixtures are fairly durable but will start to corrode once the plating has began to wear down. They are more expensive than the plastic options but less-so than the solid brass options. Die-cast zinc alloy fixtures are known as a good middle ground if you're on a strict budget. The finishes on these fixtures are typically electroplated (an electric current process that forms a thin coherent metal coating on a metal object). While this finish is more durable than the thin metal layers used on plastic fixtures, it still has a higher chance of wearing off fairly quickly.
The finish on a faucet is eventually to wear off but, depending on the type of fixture you have, you may be able to avoid the health issues caused by corrosion.
Solid brass fixtures are going to be your best bet. They are the most durable, require the least amount of care, and are the most resistant to corrosion. While they may be the most expensive option, having a solid brass fixture is easily the best investment that you'll make when selecting a faucet.
These types of fixtures typically have either a chrome-plated, electroplated-chrome, or electroplated-nickel finish. If these finish types aren't a key listed feature, then they should have a proprietary lifetime finish dependent on the manufacturer (i.e.; Delta, Moen, Bloom, Kolher, etc.).
Other finishes can include pewter, satin, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, satin brass, polished nickel, brushed nickel , copper, and matte black.
We'd love to hear your feedback: What option do you think you'd go with and why?