The most common types of faucet handles are lever handles, blade handles and cross handles. The type of handle that a faucet can accommodate is somewhat dependent on the type of faucet itself. Some faucets are by nature double-handled in design, while others are made to be used with a single handle. In addition to aesthetics, the ergonomics of the handle’s design will have an impact on the ease with which the faucet can be turned on and off.
Lever faucet handles come in single and double-handled varieties, and therefore can be used with just about any faucet. In their double-handle form, lever handles generally consist of a metal bar that extends at a right angle from the handle stem, forming a small lever that allows the user to regulate the amount of hot and cold water by turning the left and right handles, respectively. Double lever handles are usually found on compression faucets, as well as some cartridge faucets.
Another style of lever handle is the single lever handle, found on single-handle cartridge faucets as well as on ball faucets and disc faucets. In fact, because of the way in which these latter two faucets operate, they nearly always utilize a lever handle. This type of handle can be manipulated up and down to adjust water flow and left and right to control temperature.
Blade faucet handles are similar in design to lever handles but have a tapered shape, similar to the flat blade of a butter knife. Some blade handles are long and elegant in appearance. These handles are designed to be easily manipulated, so that the user can turn the water on or off with a gentle pull or push of the handle. Blade handles also can be shorter, similar to lever handles, but with a flat, wing-like gripping area, as opposed to an extended bar. Blade handles, being a double-handled design, are seen on compression and double-handle cartridge faucets.
Cross faucet handles consist of a cross-shaped — or X-shaped, depending on how it is viewed — piece of metal or porcelain attached to the handle stem, allowing the user to use a twisting motion to turn the handles rather than a push/pull or levering action. Cross handles are nearly always a double-handle design and therefore are usually seen on compression and cartridge faucets. Like the other faucet handle styles, cross handles might be large or small and simple or ornate in design.
No one style of faucet handle is right for everyone, and some people might be more particular about the specific style of faucet handles than others are. The number of handles, ergonomics and aesthetics are all factors that contribute to differentiating between handles. Depending on personal preferences, one might find any or all of these types of faucet handles to be a good fit.