What Is The Difference Between Widespread And Centerset Faucets?

When it comes to picking out bathroom fixtures, you knew that you would have to make choices. Obviously, there are multiple finishes and tons of different styles. However, you may not have been prepared to make the choice between different types of faucets. You may be wondering what exactly a widespread faucet is, and are unsure of how it differs from a centerset faucet. Good news! We have done some research and have written this entire article to help bring clarity to you.

The primary difference between widespread faucets and centerset faucets is in their design and installation. Widespread faucets come with separate handles. They are not connected and they are not mounted onto a base plate. Centerset faucets usually come as a single unit, with the faucet and handles connected. Sometimes, centerset faucets will feature a faucet and two handles separately, with a plate to mount them on.

Now that we're clear on the difference between these two types of faucets, let's delve a little deeper. There are pros and cons to each different kind of faucet. There are also certain situations where it is impossible to use them interchangeably. Keep reading to learn when to use a widespread faucet and when to use a centerset faucet.

A collage of a widespread and centerset faucets of a bathroom, What Is The Difference Between Widespread And Centerset Faucets?

Widespread Faucets

As we noted above, widespread faucets come as 3 separate pieces, plus all of the accessories for installation. You will find them in kitchens as well as in bathrooms. Widespread faucets are very popular due to their versatility and attractive appearance. They are available in a variety of styles as well as finishes.

Modern bathroom faucet widespread type faucet

Click here for this widespread faucet on Amazon.


Let's look at some of the reasons to choose a widespread faucet: 


Because the handles are installed separately from the faucet, there's room for options when it comes to spacing things out. The standard spacing is 6-8 inches between handles. However, the handles on widespread faucets can be installed as far as 16 inches apart. Now, most bathroom vanities will not accommodate that spacing, but the option is there.

Easy To Clean

Widespread faucets are easier to clean than centerset faucets due to a couple of factors. First of all, the handles are usually installed with a decent amount of space between them. This makes the task of getting in there to scrub around everything much less complicated. The fact that there is no base or base plate to clean also simplifies things.

More Variety

When it comes to faucet styles, widespread faucets have a huge amount of variety. Choose from modern, farmhouse, Victorian, and many other options.

Click here for this widespread waterfall faucet on Amazon.


There are some downsides to selecting a widespread faucet. Widespread faucets can:

  • Be more complicated to install
  • Take up more room

When To Choose Widespread

Although widespread faucets are not the only option, there are times when they are the best option. Some examples of this could include:

  • Larger sinks
  • Undermount sinks
  • When a corner-mounted faucet is needed
  • When faucet holes are spaced 6 inches or more apart

Centerset Faucets

Sink and Reflection in Modern Bathroom of a centerset faucet

Centerset faucets are primarily used in bathrooms. This type of faucet goes way back in sink history and has been the standard in bathrooms for many years. You will find a variety of centerset faucets at any home improvement store. They come as a single unit, with the faucet and handles all attached to a base or base plate. All of the parts necessary for installation will be included as well.

Click here to see this modern, black centerset faucet on Amazon.


Centerset faucets have been a popular bathroom accessory for years, and for good reason. These types of faucets are:


Because of the compact nature of centerset faucets, they can fit into most bathroom sinks. They are great space savers which makes them very suitable for small areas.

Easily Installed

Centerset faucets may not have the adaptability that widespread faucets have, but that has its upside. Because they are one piece, centerset faucets are much easier to install. No messing around with multiple parts, making sure everything lines up and such. Putting your new centerset faucet in takes no time at all.

Click here to see this centerset waterfall faucet on Amazon.


As with anything, there are some disadvantages to using a centerset faucet:

  • They can be hard to keep clean
  • They are not quite as fancy looking

When To Choose Centerset

Despite any disadvantages to centerset faucets, there are some situations where they are the absolute best choice. Choose a centerset faucet for:

  • Drop-in sinks
  • Most pedestal sinks
  • Faucet holes that are less than 6 inches apart on center

Can You Replace A Centerset Faucet With A Widespread Faucet?

Technically, yes, you can replace a centerset faucet with a widespread faucet. That being said, the holes that are drilled for centerset faucets are usually 4 inches on center. Unfortunately, the majority of widespread faucets will not fit in that space. A happy alternative would be to use a mini widespread faucet. These are widespread faucets that are designed to fit in the same space as a centerset faucet. They come in 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch options.

Click here to find this mini widespread faucet on Amazon.

How Do You Measure A Widespread Faucet?

Corner bathtub with widespread faucet against the two windows

Fortunately, there is rarely the need to measure a widespread faucet, as it is 3 individual pieces. This means that it can be spaced out as far as needed, and there is no specific measurement to take. However, you may need to determine the minimum space required for your faucet. To do this, lay your faucet on its side and arrange the handles on either side. Be sure to place the handles as close to the faucet as they can be without touching it. Measure from the center of one handle to the center of the other handle. This will be the bare minimum distance required between the holes.

Do Sink And Tub Faucets Have To Match?

Modern clean white bathroom with shower and bathtub

Bathroom fixtures can be found in almost any color, style, and finish. There are product lines that allow you to purchase matching fixtures. But is it necessary for all of these to match? No, it is not. The truth is, most people will not notice if your sink faucet and shower faucet do not match exactly.

However, it is best to stick with a single color or finish. For example, if the faucet on your sink is brushed nickel, try to find a brushed nickel faucet for your tub also. You can also try to match styles, but this is not as important. As an illustration, if your tub faucet is square, try finding a square faucet for the sink as well. 

Are you concerned about other things in your bathroom matching? Check out this article for some help: Does Bathroom Hardware Have to Match?

Will Any Faucet Fit Your Sink?

Bathroom interior with sink and faucet

No, any faucet will not fit your sink. Some faucets require one hole, some two holes, and some three holes. Some handles are 4 inches apart and others are 6+ inches apart. To determine what size faucet your sink requires, you will need to measure the holes.

There should be 2 or 3 holes in your sink. Measure from the center of one outside hole to the center of the other outside hole. Or, if you have a faucet already installed, measure from the center of one handle to the center of the other handle. This will be the "on center" measurement for your faucet. If this measurement is under 6 inches, you will need to find a centerset faucet or a mini widespread faucet. If it is 6 inches or more, then look for a widespread faucet. 

In Closing

Collage of a widespread and centerset faucets of a bathroom

Whether you're choosing fixtures for a remodel, or putting in a brand new bathroom, there's a lot to choose from. Widespread faucets and centerset faucets have their differences, and each has its place. We hope that this article has been helpful in explaining the differences between these two types of faucets.

Are you replacing only your faucet or the whole vanity? You may find these other posts helpful!

What Is A Bathroom Vanity? [And How to Choose Yours]

How Deep Are Bathroom Sinks?

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