There are hundreds of faucet designs on the market, and it's up to you to choose which style suits your needs; however, on the inside, the valves that control the water are based on one of these four types:
Compression valves are the traditional systems on two handle faucets. Rotating the knob or handle raises the stem and opens the flow of water. Washers beneath the stem wear out over time but are easily replaced.
Ball valves contain a slotted metal or plastic ball that aligns with the hot- and cold-water inlets when rotated by the faucet handle. Exclusive to single handle faucets, ball valves are reliable but time consuming to fix.
Choose a metal valve over plastic, or consider ceramic disk valves; these are the latest in faucet technology. Available in both single and double handle models, they are made of two disks in a sealed cylinder that allow water flow when aligned. This system is extremely durable and easy to repair.
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