Buyer’s Guide To Touchless Bathroom Faucets (Plus, Our Top 5 Picks)

Updated: May 02, 2024

Considering a touchless bathroom faucet? Learn about their benefits, key features, installation and more.

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Touchless bathroom faucet and sensor-operated plumbing fixtures have been around since the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the 1980s when they began turning up in airport restrooms that most Americans became familiar with them.

Turning on water without touching the faucet or handle offers many benefits—conserving water, preventing germ transmission and increasing user accessibility. Today, touchless faucets are affordable for homeowners and widely available at home improvement retailers nationwide.

“Touchless faucets, known for their ease of use, ergonomic design and sleek aesthetics, are an ideal enhancement for any bathroom,” says Polestar Plumbing founder and owner Mark Snell.

Deane Biermeier, a long-time home improvement expert, mentions, “Once touchless faucets moved from novelty to commercial to residential use, they jumped on the fast-track to being an essential fixture in a short time. Options for smart models with voice activation are even available for home use at reasonable prices.”

What Features to Look for In Touchless Bathroom Faucets

Like traditional manual faucets, touchless models offer variety in their individual features. To ensure you’re buying the best touchless faucet for you and your bathroom, keep these things in mind:

High-Quality Sensors

Longtime plumber and HVAC technician Al Fagundes says it’s vital to find a sensor bathroom faucet that can turn on when hands are placed under the spout, but not so sensitive that it turns on any time someone walks past it. “By finding a touchless bathroom faucet that strikes the right balance between sensitivity and accuracy, you can enjoy the convenience and ease of use without any unnecessary hassle,” Al says.

Convenient Activation Options

Besides standard operation, some smart faucets feature settings and options like auto-flush, which periodically clears the water line of stagnant water. Some also offer convenient timer settings to customize the precise time the valve is open — ideal for reducing water waste. Leak-detection and voice commands are other useful options to consider. Take some time to think about what would be most convenient for you.

Temperature Adjustment

Most motion sensor faucets will have under-sink temperature adjustment levers, though more expensive options may have a lever on the side of the sink. Regardless, make sure there’s a way to control how much hot or cold water you want at a time.

Reliable Power Source

All touchless bathroom faucets require a power source, typically a battery pack or adapter that plugs into an outlet. Battery-powered options tend to be less expensive, but you do have to replace the battery occasionally. Plug-in options are convenient, but chances are you’ll need to install an outlet first unless your bathroom has one under the sink. Also, keep in mind plug-in faucets won’t work during a power outage.

Thirty-year remodeling and construction expert, Deane Biermeier thinks it’s especially important to pay attention to the battery-changing specifics when purchasing your faucet. “While battery changes may be infrequent, ensure adequate access below your sink if your chosen model’s battery-changing process requires performing the task below the vanity countertop,” he explains. “If space is tight, consider purchasing a plug-in faucet and taking the extra step of adding an outlet now instead of regretting your model choice.”

Easy-to-Maintain Finish

Though touchless faucets are inherently easier to clean than traditional manual faucets — less touching means fewer fingerprints—they’ll still attract toothpaste, soap and other cosmetic residues. Choose an easy-to-maintain finish. Chrome, stainless and brushed nickel are all great choices for their durability and resistance to corrosion. Plus, they’re easy to wipe down.

“These finishes are excellent for low maintenance cleaning,” says Angela Rubin, expert author for Canadian cleaning company Hellamaid. “They resist water spots and fingerprints, providing a polished look with minimal effort.

How Do Touchless Faucets Work?

Residential touchless bathroom faucets work like the commercial-style versions you see in hospitals or airports: An infrared sensor controls the flow of water. When you place your hands in front of the sensor, it sends a signal to the valve, turning the water on. Once you remove your hands, the sensor disengages the valve and shuts the water off.

This means less wear and tear on your fixtures and fewer components to maintain, according to Michael Green, vice president of operations at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. He says this makes cleaning the faucet easier, too, since there’s less area for unwanted residue to accumulate.

How To Install a Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Touchless bathroom faucets, especially battery-powered and plug-ins, can be simple for the average homeowner to install. However, as we mentioned above, for a plug-in you may need to add an outlet under your sink. That can be tricky. Green recommends consulting with a pro before diving into a DIY wiring project. If you’re unsure, hire an electrician to do it for you.

After that, proceed as follows:

  • Turn off the water to the faucet: There should be a supply valve under the sink. Turn it clockwise to close the valve.

  • Remove the old faucet: Disconnect the supply lines, remove any locknuts and pull it away from the sink. You may need to use a wrench for this step.

  • Place the new faucet on the sink: Depending on the layout of your sink, you may need to add a deck plate to cover any extra holes. Secure it in place according to the touchless faucet installation instructions.

  • Connect the new supply lines: They should attach to the supply valve like the old faucet lines did—hot water on the left, cold water on the right.

  • Connect the power supply: This will vary depending on your specific faucet, but will typically require attaching a battery pack or plugging into a wall outlet.

  • Turn on the water: Turn the supply valve counter-clockwise to open the valve back up.

  • Set up the faucet: Touchless faucets can vary in their setup and programming, so be sure to follow the instruction manual. Some hassle-free models might not require any setup at all.

The Best Bathroom Touchless Faucets

Touchless bathroom faucets tend to cost more than traditional models, though they do come in a range of budget options.

Best Single-Hole Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Vibrant Bath Sink Bathroom Faucet

Vibrant Bath Sink Bathroom Faucetvia merchant

People with single-hole vanities will love the elegant look of the Vibrant Bath Sink Bathroom Faucet. Although the spout height is a relatively high 10.7 inches, the motion sensor bathroom faucet is strong enough to detect hands at nearly every height. The sensor takes away the fear of overfilling, which is often one of the reasons people regret vessel sink faucets.

The Vibrant faucet has an incredible value, and the solid-brass construction will last for many years. Solid brass is one of the most durable finishes for bathroom faucets, according to Kansas City-based Polestar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

Pros

  • Compatible with single-hole vanities
  • Sleek design
  • Durable solid brass construction
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No low battery sensor or light

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Best Overall Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Charmingwater Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucet

Charmingwater Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucetvia merchant

The Charmingwater Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucet is easy to install, battery-powered and reasonably priced compared to most other automatic bathroom faucets. It’s available in five finishes and features high-quality sensors that prevent false triggers.

There are more than 750 5-star customer reviews as of this writing with many calling in the perfect addition for their DIY bathroom remodeling. “The water flow rate is excellent, allowing me to easily wash away foam from my hands. The sensor is highly responsive, releasing water as soon as I approach it,” writes 5-star reviewer Efrain. “After using it for some time now, I’m extremely satisfied with its performance.”

Pros

  • Great sensor technology
  • Easy to install
  • Five available finishes
  • Affordable

Cons

  • One-year warranty requires customer activation

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Best Budget Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Wowow Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucet

Wowow Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucetvia merchant

Though it’s less expensive than other models, the Wowow Touchless Bathroom Sink Faucet still offers a highly sensitive yet accurate hand sensor that makes it more hygienic than a standard faucet. Plus, the color-coded temperature control levers (an important safety feature) are easy to adjust.

It has a brushed nickel finish, which 20-year plumbing and HVAC technician Al Fagundes says is one of the easiest to maintain. “Brushed nickel resists the visibility of spots and fingerprints,” Fagundes says. “Not only is it affordably priced, but it also maintains its resistance to corrosion over time.”

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean brush nickel finish
  • Levers are easy to adjust
  • Sensor light blinks when batteries are low

Cons

  • Only one color option

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Best Splurge Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Kohler Insight Touchless Commercial Bathroom Sink Faucet

Kohler Insight Touchless Commercial Bathroom Sink Faucetvia merchant

Although it costs more than most other touchless options, the hassle-free operation of this Kohler Insight Touchless Bathroom Faucet makes it a great splurge.

After installation, this faucet scans the surrounding area, gathering the necessary information to prevent false triggers and ensure it’s always working as efficiently as possible. It takes two AAA batteries, purported to last at least three years. The polished chrome finish should allow you to easily keep it clean of residue and fingerprints.

Pros

  • Scans area to prevent false triggers
  • Polished chrome is fingerprint-resistant
  • 2 AAA batteries reportedly last “at least” three years
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Pricier than other models on this list

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Best Commercial Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Delta Commercial Battery-Powered Bathroom Faucet

Delta Commercial Battery Powered Bathroom Faucetvia merchant

For those who appreciate the minimal design and heavy-duty construction of a commercial-style model, consider the Delta Commercial Battery-Powered Touchless Bathroom Faucet. It works effectively even when confronted by issues that sometimes fool or confuse a sensor, like light reflection or dry skin.

Installing this battery-powered faucet is more involved than other options—you’ll need to set the temperature and other settings below the sink. But if you have the know-how or are willing to hire a professional, it may well be worth the effort for this type of sink.

Pros

  • Commercial-grade plumbing
  • Sensors account for variables such as light reflection and dry skin
  • Battery-powered
  • Easy-to-maintain finish

Cons

  • More complicated installation than other touchless faucets

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Why You Should Trust Us

Deane Biermeier verified this review for accuracy. He has 30-plus years of field experience in home construction, remodeling, and repair. Deane is currently a DIY home products and services expert for several publications. His expertise and experience allows him to accurately examine the products in this review and critique the author’s findings with a keen eye for details most important to consumers.

FAQ

Are touchless bathroom faucets worth it?

Above and Beyond Service Company owner Jason Brady says there are many reasons one might consider a touchless bathroom faucet, such as saving money on your water bill. “These touchless faucets are designed to be water-efficient and can save roughly 30% to 50% more water compared to their manual counterparts,” Brady says.

The lack of contact also reduces the amount of fingerprints and smudges left behind, which means less cleaning.

What are the cons of touchless faucets?

RJ Living product and design manager, Milly McEwan, points out that touchless faucets often come with higher upfront costs compared to traditional bathroom faucets, and says some people may prefer to spend the money on a different part of their bathroom or home. “If the convenience of a touchless faucet is important to you, invest in it,” she says. “If not, stick with a manual option and spend that money on upgrades that better speak to your values.”

What brand of faucets do plumbers recommend?

Delta is the most highly recommended brand for touchless faucets, especially for commercial use. Biermeier also adds, “Moen, Kohler, and American Standard also stand out as durable, trusted brands. However, there are a number of quality faucets on the market that may be a little more wallet-friendly. Customer reviews can be an excellent source to learn which brands are worth the cost.”

What is the difference between touchless and touch on faucets?

Touchless faucets allow you to only have water running when you’re washing your hands, reducing water waste, lowering your monthly utility bill and reducing the amount of germs spread around your house by eliminating contact with knobs and levers.

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