Single- Vs. Double-Handle Faucets: Which Is Better For Your Home?

The faucet is an important fixture for every home, not only because of its functionality but also owing to the fact that it contributes to interior aesthetics, per Specialty Hardware + Plumbing. In a world where everything comes in different varieties and styles, it can get quite confusing what option to go for. Unfortunately, the same is also true when it comes to faucets. It's important to mention that there are two functional styles that are common for manually operated faucets; single- and double-handle faucets. Fundamentally, these two style options do the same work, and deciding on the right one will require you to consider two main factors. First, think about the aesthetics you want to achieve, but remember the most important consideration should be the installation requirements. 

The good news is that most of the installation prerequisites are the same and the only difference is the number of holes under your sink. Usually, a single hole under the sink will limit you to the single-handle faucet while three to four holes give you the luxury of installing either of the two styles. Other than the two mentioned factors, zeroing in on the right faucets for your home will require you to carefully consider the perks and downsides of each of the two faucet options. Having said that, here's a detailed breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of single- and double-handle faucets to enable you to make an informed decision.

Advantages of the single-handle faucet

Have you ever been in one of those awkward situations where you need to wash your messy hands without making the faucet handle dirty? Well, if you have, then you surely appreciate the benefits of single-handle faucets. It gives you the convenience of operating the handles with a single arm and also with your wrists or elbows when both of your hands are dirty (via Home Stratosphere). Another benefit of this type of faucet is the ease of operation. This is particularly beneficial for small children or senior citizens who neither have the time nor the ability to struggle with a more complicated system. 

Other than the ease of operation, single-handle faucets are also ideal for those small and tight spaces, especially with smaller sinks. They take up considerably less space compared to their double-handle counterparts. When it comes to aesthetics, the single-handle faucet option packs a punch, particularly for the interior inclined toward a minimalist style. The streamlined appeal common with this type of faucet has a modern vibe and can also complement the overall interior aesthetics. Finally, the installation process is also relatively simpler than the double-handle option.

Disadvantages of the single-handle faucet

Right off the bat, it's worth mentioning that the single-handle faucet doesn't come with a lot of disadvantages; in fact, some plumbers argue that it's one of the friendliest types when it comes to operation at home. However, one of the biggest shortcomings with regard to this type of faucet is that you will need to shut the water off completely in the event of a leak, per Anytime Plumbing. This can be quite troublesome since you will have to wait until the plumber fixes the problem first. Also, if you ever need to upgrade to the double-handle option, the installation process is quite complicated because you'll need to drill extra holes. 

Unfortunately, for regular homeowners, this is not a simple DIY task you can take on over the weekend. You'll need to call a good plumber, which will cost you money for labor. Some users have also mentioned that getting the water temperature right can be quite complicated, especially for children. This is because you need to find that sweet spot where the water is neither too hot nor cold. Having the handle too far on one end is quite dangerous for anyone who hasn't hacked the operation yet. According to American Home Shield, you might need to install anti-scalding valves to keep everyone in your household safe.

Advantages of a double-handle faucet

One of the biggest advantages when it comes to double-handle faucets is temperature control. Unlike the single-handle option, this particular style comes with two separate handles for hot and cold water. This provides more precise water temperature control, eliminating the risk of getting burnt during the process. Other than that, the double-handle option also gives you the opportunity of increasing the aesthetic appeal of your bathroom or kitchen. This type of faucet has a unique construction and design that is both timeless and also easy to integrate with whatever décor you have in your home. 

Golden and bronze knobs are among the most popular metal finishings (via Delta Faucet), thanks to their luxurious touch. Also, should you decide to change the faucet to the single-handle option later, it's relatively easier to downgrade. What's more, you can utilize the extra holes to attach other kitchen utilities like a soap dispenser for more convenience (via TruBuild Construction). Another advantage that's unique to the double-handle faucet option is that you don't have to worry about staying without water whenever a leak occurs. You can easily shut off the water from the problematic handle and continue operations with the other handle before calling a plumber.

Cons of a double-handle faucet

Similar to the single-handle option, this particular type of faucet also has a few downsides. To begin, the double-handle faucet is quite difficult to install; it requires more drilling and often takes a longer time than its single-handle counterpart. It goes without saying that an increase in moving parts also comes with the possibility of damage, not to mention the difficulty of pinpointing the exact source of the problem whenever a leak occurs. Before choosing to install the double-handle faucet, think about the ease of cleaning. 

Since the kitchen and the bathroom spaces need to be cleaned regularly, the double handles create more nooks and crannies that need detailed cleaning, which is often a hassle. If convenience is your primary concern, then you need to know that operation requires both hands which can be quite distressing if you have one or both hands occupied (via Gerber Plumbing Fixtures). This can be off-putting, especially in this age where faucets come in touchless options for extra convenience.

Single or double handles: Which way is it?

The one-style-fits-all mentality has no place in the world of faucets; there are a lot of different variables you need to consider beforehand. Think about your interior decor and how easily it will be to incorporate your desired faucet. Because of the simplicity in design, a single-handle faucet is ideal for a minimalistic interior while the double-handle option is perfect for the modern appeal owing to balanced and streamlined construction. Another significant factor to keep in mind is your budget and also how much space you have to spare. 

If you're the frugal type, the single-handle faucet is ideal because the installation is simpler and will cost you less in labor, mentions Tiles Wale. Clearly, there's no direct answer to the question of what faucet is best. Remember, a good faucet should not only be appealing to the eyes but also functional enough to facilitate everyday activities. With that said, be sure to shop around for a style that's suitable for your individual requirements.