Which Finish is Best for Bathroom Faucets?

Bathroom faucets come in several designs, finishes, styles, and brands. If you’re looking for the perfect fixture to tie your bathroom theme together, you have multiple options. Bathroom faucets generally come in a range of finishes, some easier to maintain or more durable than others.

If you’re trying to narrow down the best faucet finish for your bathroom, continue reading. This article dives into the pool of options to help you decide which is best for your home.

Types Of Bathroom Faucet Finishes

Like kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets are available in a diverse array of finishes. Some brands have somewhat limited finish selections, while others have everything you could possibly think of. A few of the most common bathroom faucet finishes include:

  • Chrome
  • Copper
  • Nickel
    • Brushed nickel
    • Polished nickel
  • Brass
    • Polished brass
    • Satin brass
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Stainless steel
  • Matte black
  • Enamel
  • Plastic

Given the extensive range of finish options (not to mention the dozens of styles, designs, and brands), there’s something to meet the aesthetic tastes of everybody. From the classy silvery surface of stainless steel or chrome finishes to the rich, deep hues of oil-rubbed bronze, there’s sure to be something to complement your style.

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What Is The Most Popular Finish For Bathroom Faucets?

Top picks for bathroom faucet finishes range based on the particular buyer. However, there are a few options that stand out from the crowd. For example, stainless steel has become a trendy choice for its durable timelessness.

Brushed nickel faucets have also surged to the front line due to the ability to mask water spots and fingerprints. Polished brass is another popular choice, especially in vintage flair bathrooms. In addition, matte black faucets are also a popular pick, as the finish offers a sleek, modern alternative to classic metal finishes.

What Is The Most Durable Finish For Bathroom Faucets?

Many of the available bathroom faucet finishes offer surprisingly solid durability, although levels do fluctuate from type to type. A few of the most durable faucet finishes include:

  • Chrome
  • Stainless steel
  • Brushed/satin nickel
  • Polished nickel
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Brushed/satin bronze
  • Copper
  • Brass

Other finishes, like enamel, plastic, matte black, or powder coated faucets, tend to wear out much quicker. Flaws tend to stick out like a sore thumb, detracting from the overall appearance of the faucet. 

Pros And Cons Of Bathroom Faucet Finishes

Each faucet finish has its fair share of pros and cons that may help you decide the best option for you. Use the chart below for a generic view of each faucet finish’s high and low points.

Finish TypeProsCons
Polished brassEasy to clean
Various options
Great for matching
Can be pricey  
Satin brassWorks great as an accent color
Hides fingerprints and water spots
Can be tricky to find
Can be hard to match with other accessories
Oil-rubbed bronzeDurable
Easy to clean
Easy to find
Hides water spots and fingerprints
Pricier than other options, such as brushed nickel finishes or chrome
CopperNatural antibacterial properties
Able to “heal” itself (scratches darken to match the patina)
Shiny finishes require more maintenance
Can be hard to match with other accessories
Not as durable as other options
Satin bronzeDurable
Easy to clean and maintain
Masks water spots and fingerprints
Hard to find
More expensive
Difficult to match with other accessories
Polished nickelEasy to clean
Can be challenging to find matching accessories
Brushed nickelOne of the most durable finishes
Hides wear, water spots, and fingerprints
Easy to clean
Easy to match to accessories
Relatively inexpensive
Generally doesn’t coordinate well with stainless steel
ChromeUsually most inexpensive finish
Easy to clean and maintain
Easy to find matching accessories and fixtures
Shows water spots and fingerprints
Matte blackEasy to clean
Hides dirt, fingerprints, and water spots
Easy to coordinate with other fixtures and accessories
Can be hard to find matching fixtures
Tricky to find
Stainless steelDurable
Easy to clean
Widely available
Matching accessories and fixtures are easy to find
Relatively inexpensive
Requires frequent maintenance
PlasticAvailable in multiple colors
Not very durable
Requires frequent maintenance
EnamelAvailable in several colors
Relatively inexpensive
Offers moderate durability
Requires regular maintenance
Not as durable as other options

Which Bathroom Faucet Finish Is Best?

Bathroom Faucet Finish

Ultimately, the best faucet finish for your bathroom falls to your personal preferences. For example, consider oil-brushed bronze or brushed nickel if you’re looking for a faucet that hides fingerprints and water spots well. These finishes can be a good choice if you have kids and can’t keep up with wiping down the faucet after every use.

Or, if you prefer the glossy looks of chrome, consider purchasing a chrome-finished faucet. If the look of metal finishes isn’t your cup of tea, consider a matte black or enamel faucet. Each finish option has its advantages and disadvantages, so the decision falls to you and your personal scenario.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best finish for hard water?

If you live in an area with hard water, there’s a good chance water spots will be an issue. Generally, the spots wipe away easily if you stay on top of cleaning. However, over time, you may have to deal with crusty deposits developing in and around your faucet. These are called calcium deposits. They’re not hard to clean; they just take time.

Your best bet for a faucet finish that will hide water spots is probably brushed nickel, satin brass, or oil-rubbed bronze. These finishes do a great job masking the small spots appearing where water splashed up and dried on the faucet. Matte finishes tend to hide water spots better than polished finishes. The best options for hard water include those that say “matte,” “brushed,” or “satin” (except matte black).

Avoid shiny or highly reflective finishes. Although they’re appealing to the eye, they tend to put any dirt, grime, or water spots front and center on display. Unless you want to clean your faucet constantly, opt for a different material.

Which faucet finishes are easiest to maintain?

Maintenance is a vital part of extending the lifespan of your new faucet. If constantly cleaning/maintaining your faucet sounds like a nightmare, avoid finishes like chrome, stainless steel, and solid brass, as they require frequent maintenance.

If you’re looking for a finish that is easier to maintain, a few options meet the criteria. Finishes like matte black, brushed nickel, polished nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and satin bronze tend to require low to moderate maintenance. Copper and enamel usually require routine, somewhat frequent maintenance.

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What faucet finishes are the most expensive?

Some faucet finishes tend to be pricier than others, although pricing also hinges heavily on the particular brand and design. The most expensive faucet finishes often include brushed/satin bronze, copper, solid brass, and oil-rubbed bronze.

Other faucet finishes, including chrome, stainless steel, brushed/satin nickel, and enamel, tend to be less expensive than others.

Which faucets are best for avoiding corrosion?

Over time, corrosion plagues most faucet finishes, especially if the faucet is constantly exposed to water. It’s essential to keep the faucet dry most of the time to avoid issues with corrosion. However, some finishes hold up better than others.

For instance, chrome-finished faucets tend to withstand corrosion exceptionally well. Copper and stainless steel also hold up well over time. Most faucets resist corrosion well, providing you keep them clean and dry.

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