When shopping for new bathroom faucets, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the type of faucet you want. There are three main types of faucets: single-hole, two-hole, and three-hole. Another factor to consider is the style of the faucet. There are many different styles to choose from, such as traditional, contemporary, rustic, and modern.
The next thing to consider is the size of the faucet. Make sure that you measure the size of the opening before you purchase a faucet. The last factor to consider is the price. Faucets can range in price from around $20 to $200 or more.
Here we will explore the difference between chrome, brushed nickel, and oil rubbed bronze finishes and help you decide which one would be your best choice for a new bathroom faucet.
What are the different finishes available for bathroom faucets?
When shopping for a new bathroom faucet, you may notice that there are different finishes like chrome, stainless steel, and brushed nickel. Generally speaking, the more you spend on a faucet, the better quality it will be in terms of durability and finish. The following is a brief explanation of each type:
Chrome: This is a bright and shiny silver color. It does show some fingerprints and smudges, but it is very easy to wipe clean. Chrome is a great option for those who want their faucet to really shine! However, a major drawback of chrome is that it can chip or scratch over time.
The chrome finish is made of nickel and chromium, which are both naturally occurring elements. Chrome is known for its brightness, durability, and low cost compared to other metals like silver, gold, or copper.
Typically used in bathrooms where water splashing occurs, the matte surface helps repel water droplets that would otherwise bead up on the faucet or fixture. This property also protects the faucet from corrosion due to hard water.
Brushed Nickel: This might be your best option if you are looking for a darker finish. Brushed nickel has a similar effect as chrome in that it does not show fingerprints well, but its matte look makes it much less noticeable. This is also a good option if you have hard water in your area since the finish is more resistant to corrosion from minerals in the water. However, just like with chrome, brushed nickel can chip or scratch over time. And, of course, it does not look as sophisticated as a polished nickel.
Polished Nickel: This is the most popular nickel finish and can be seen almost everywhere. Most hardware stores carry this type of knob, making it easy to find. It is what I have on the doors of my current house, and I’m pretty happy with it.
There will be some visible fingerprints, but nothing too bad unless you touch them constantly. The biggest benefit of polished nickel is that it looks good no matter how old or new the fixture is, so you won’t need to replace them anytime soon.
Oil Rubbed Bronze: This finish is like a combination of the two above. It is not as shiny as chrome and not as dark as brushed nickel. Instead, it has a matte look with small specks of copper, which gives it an aged appearance. Oil rubbed bronze faucets do not show fingerprints well, and they provide corrosion protection due to the oil rubbed finish that is applied to them.
This type of faucet will generally last longer than other finishes and resist corrosion and staining from hard water better than other finishes because of its oiled coating. In addition, faucets in this finish are known to age gracefully over time since their color gradually changes when exposed to air or humidity.
The color of this faucet is considered to be less modern than chrome and brushed nickel.
Polished Brass: Here, we have another popular finish that falls between polished nickel and oil rubbed bronze in terms of age. It has a matte gold tone color that makes it look sophisticated without being too flashy or “bling-y.” The general rule with brass is that the darker it looks, the older it will appear. So a bright shiny brass, like those found on Victorian style fixtures, will make your house seem older than one with a darker hue. However, too much darkening can make a fixture look old and dirty very quickly, so be careful when choosing this type of faucet.
Polished Chrome: This is certainly the flashiest option that you will find. It is bright and shiny like polished brass but tends to look cleaner longer because it does not have the same color tone as brass.
This finish is easy to scratch, like chrome, but fingerprints are the biggest downfall of this type of faucet. It looks great in modern homes or houses with very clean lines, but if your bathroom has a lot of details or curves (like mine), then you might want to consider another option. The cost for these types of fixtures is usually about the same as other finishes since this is one of the most popular choices among homeowners today.
What are the benefits of each finish?
Chrome: You will find chrome on most homes built or remodeled after the 1950s. It is a bright shiny metal that shows fingerprints very well, but as mentioned earlier, it also looks great in modern interiors. In addition, this finish is very low maintenance and easy to clean since it does not corrode over time.
Oil Rubbed Bronze: Oil rubbed bronze fixtures are popular for their anti-corrosion properties and ability to age gracefully over time. They generally do not show fingerprints as easily as other finishes because of their oiled coating; however, the color can’t be matched by any color paint, so scratches will stick out like a sore thumb if you don’t touch them up regularly.
Brushed Nickel: Brushed nickel has a matte appearance that does not show fingerprints well. It is a popular choice for its transitional style, meaning it works well with both modern and traditional interiors.
Polished Brass: This finish has a nice golden hue that looks great in both traditional and modern settings. The biggest drawback of this type of faucet is its tendency to tarnish or turn brownish over time because the metal used contains high levels of copper, which easily oxidizes when exposed to air.
Polished Nickel: This is one of the most durable finishes as it will not rust or corrode as easily as other finishes mentioned above. However, the price point tends to be much higher than other options, so you have to decide whether durability outweighs the cost.
What about cost?
In general, chrome is the most affordable option and will be your best value. Oil rubbed bronze is the priciest finish and may not be worth the extra expense over brusk nickel or chrome if you are on a budget. Brushed nickel can also be a good value depending on the brand, and the price is usually in-line with other finishes at a similar level.
Polished brass can run upwards of $200 per fixture even for the most basic models and will lose value as soon as the shine starts to fade. Polished nickel and chrome will both be around $100 or more on average, depending on quality and brand.
What type of spout do you want?
Single Lever: This is a standard option that uses one handle to control water flow and temperature. It does not include a sprayer (also known as a “gooseneck”) except in rare cases where it is part of a bathroom faucet set with an included soap dispenser.
2-Handle: Two handles are required to control the water flow and temperature but typically includes a gooseneck sprayer as well. This type of faucet is often referred to as a “traditional bathroom faucet” and was popular in homes built before the 1960s.
Touchless: Touchless or sensor-activated faucets have recently gained popularity, but their price point can be well over $300 for a single fixture. Some brands offer a remote control that allows you to change various settings while your hands are dirty without having to touch the fixture.
What other features should I look for?
In addition to choosing between different finishes and spout options, you should also consider additional features such as flow rate, soap dispenser, pull out sprayer, water filter, warranty, noise level when it runs, etc… which should all factor into your final buying decision.
What do we think?
We like all of the above finishes, and there is no clear winner in our book! Go for a brushed nickel if you don’t want to spend extra money on oil rubbed bronze. It looks great and has the added benefit of being corrosion resistant when you have hard water in your area.
Chrome will show smudges more than either brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze, but it’s very affordable and shiny! Which bathroom faucet finish would you choose?