What Is a Center-Set Faucet?


Many types of faucets are available on the market today. From scald guard to sprayer head faucets, knowing which one you are buying and why helps. However, for the installer, you must know the different types of faucet designs. One of these is the centerset faucet, and it has very distinct characteristics.

Handles and Temperature Setting

  • The centerset faucet has two handles. One of the handles is used to operate hot water; the other is used to operate cold water. This design is very traditional and has been in use for a very long time. The double-handle design allows the user to set an accurate temperature by opening one side and closing the other. If you open the hot side and close the cold side, the water gets very hot. Turn the cold side on a little, and the water temperature drops.


  • Another distinction in centerset faucets is the width of the handle and spout bases. The bases of each part of the centerset faucet fit into mounting holes in the sink, which is how the faucet is installed. Most sinks have holes drilled into them to accept centerset faucets because this is a common type of faucet. These holes are drilled four inches apart, and there are three of them: one for the spout, one for the hot water and one for the cold water. All centerset faucets adhere to this arrangement, so they install right into the sink without any drilling required.


  • Centerset faucets operate in one of two ways. They either use a cartridge or disc, a cylindrical valve inside of the handle to shut off and turn on the incoming water or they use a stem and seat assembly, which is another type of valve. The stem contains a threaded valve that screws down to meet the seat inside of the faucet pipe. To close the faucet, the handle is turned and the valve lowered down into the pipe until the it contacts the seats and stops water flow. Older centersets usually have a stem and seat while newer models use the cartridge and disc system.

Centerset Versus Widespread Faucets

  • The handles in a centerset faucet are closer to the spout than in widespread faucets. Widespread faucets feature handles 6, 8 or 12 inches away from the spout. The design and operation of the faucets otherwise is the same. Widespread faucets require a different type of sink for installation, one that has predrilled mounting holes to match their design. Faucets made to accept widespread faucets have handle mounting holes drilled either 6, 8 or 12 inches from a center hole, which is the mounting hole for the spout. You can't mount a centerset faucet in a widespread sink without additional drilling because the mounting holes will not line up properly.

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