Waterfall faucets may look vastly different from the traditional faucet but its fundamental mechanisms and design are similar to the traditional faucet. Nevertheless, having specific knowledge of how a waterfall faucetworks can help you decide if it is the faucet for you. It will also help existing waterfall faucet owners understand their faucets so that reparation or installation will be easier. So let’s find out how does a waterfall faucet work.

Anatomy of a waterfall faucet

The waterfall faucet contains parts similar to the traditional faucet: the handle, the spout, the stem and various nuts and bolts. Unlike conventional faucets though, the spout delivers water differently and looks starkly different from normal faucets. Usually, it is a flat disc that allows the water to stream over it before falling over the edge and towards the sink.


Waterfall faucets work similarly to the conventional faucet fundamentally, maintaining a minimum pressure within the faucet to ensure water will always be able to flow out. There is a watertight seal holding back the incoming water and it is usually made out of a washer securely pressed against the faucet seat.


The main difference between a waterfall faucet and a traditional faucet is the spout, which is what creates the waterfall effect. The spout of a waterfall faucet allows you to see the water flow out before cascading over due to its open-concept design.

Waterfall faucets are able to achieve the natural flowing water stream, as they do not tend to contain aerators commonly found in conventional faucets. It is used to mix air and water together to increase the pressure a water stream exerts. Having an aerator in your waterfall faucet defeats the point of having a waterfall faucet because you lose the gentle and natural cascading effect. Unlike water from aerated faucets that tend to spit at you, waterfall faucets release a calm and soothing flow of water that many homeowners seek for. Without an aerator though, it means that more water needs to flow out for the same pressure of water flow compared to traditional faucets and you may end up chalking higher water bills for trying to increase pressure.

Waterfall faucet-

To prevent sky-high water bills, the faucets tend to have a flow restrictor. In fact, the law restricts water flow to 2.5 gallons per minute so it is not advisable to remove the flow restrictor.

Spout design

All waterfall faucets have a spout leading up to either a flat disc-like or rounded structure that sends the water cascading over like a waterfall.

Different waterfall faucets achieve different waterfall patterns due to the spout design. The most common spouts would be the flat and wide faucets that allow the water to flow in wide sheets rather than as a cylindrical flow. There are also those with rounded C-shaped spouts that create a smaller and slightly more forceful waterfall effect.


The stem of the waterfall faucet tends to contain the most vulnerable parts of the entire faucet such as the cartridges and the movable parts. Fundamentally, the stem of the faucet contains the backbone of the faucet.


The stem of the waterfall faucet is largely similar to traditional faucets. It has the mechanisms that control how much hot and cold water comes out and the pressure of the water that will flow through the spout. These features are connected to the handle, allowing you to control the temperature and flow rate of the water.

The stem also contains the O-ring, the part of the faucet that prevents water from leaking at the spout. The O-ring is frequently the cause for leakages when damaged.

Choosing the right waterfall faucet design

What you need to consider when choosing the right waterfall faucet is more or less similar to what you had to consider when choosing a conventional faucet. You might think that since you have already decided on the waterfall faucet, it would be much easier to decide on the specific faucet you want. However, that’s where you are wrong. Unbeknownst to many homeowners, the types of waterfall faucet designs are staggering as well.

Shape of spout

The shape of the spout determines the overall design of the faucet, the waterfall pattern that cascades down and the rate of flow as well. There are 4 main types of spouts: flat plate, circular, curved plate and wide spigot.

Flat Plate

The flat plate spout could be said to be the most conventional out of the lot. The water goes over a flat plate and cascades in wide sheets. The wide sheets of water will do great for showers, as the entire span of waterfall will be beating down upon your shoulders, recreating a soothing massage.

Circular plate

Similar to a flat plate, the water flows over the circular plate but because the water flows through the radius, the waterfall tends to be narrower than waterfalls from flat plates.

Curved plate

The plate is slightly curved to create a narrower stream of water but at the same time, retain the waterfall effect. Similarly, this can help you save water without compromising on design.

Wide spigot

This is a traditional-waterfall faucet hybrid that attempts to combine the best of both traditional faucets and the waterfall faucets. Again, there are a few types of such faucets: open top, closed top and partially opened top.


Flow Rate

It is important to decide the flow rate you desire and select the faucet with the right hardware to suit this flow rate. There are various types of waterfall faucets out there, some purposely created to release a gentle stream of water and others, meant to release a heavy and almost gashing stream of water like actual waterfalls. Faucets with higher flow rates would be more suitable for those who wish to recreate a spa or fill up a tub quickly.

On the other hand, faucets with lower flow rates would be better for hand-washing sinks, as there will be less wastage of water and a more soothing hand washing experience.


Material and finish

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Ceramic
  • Stone

The faucets are available in 4 main materials: glass, metal, ceramic and stone. In deciding which material to select for your faucet, cost and style are probably the main considerations. Glass and metal are cheaper options and also fairly easier to repair and replace if spoilt. They also give a fairly wide range of styles that can match almost any room’s design. For installing stone faucets, you are most likely required to hire a stonemason on top of a plumber.

Just looking at metals, there are also different finishes to consider. Duller colors would be great for achieving vintage looks whereas shinier colors will suit more contemporary looks. Certain finishes are less prone to wear and tear as well. For instance, chrome and stainless steel are generally suitable for high moisture conditions but may be more expensive.

When choosing the right faucet, it is important to consider the cost first before moving on to see which options are available to you. You should also look at durability and quality of the design because a faucet is a long-standing specialty that should last well into the decades. Try your best not to compromise on quality just to save a few bucks.