Double-handle cartridge faucets look almost indistinguishable from a compression washer faucet. However, you can tell the difference by how the handles feel when used. A compression faucet requires you to tighten down (compress) the washer to close the water flow. With a cartridge faucet, the action is smooth and consistent. With a half turn, the handle goes from the off to the on position. The faucet turns off without added pressure being required as with a compression faucet.
Handle Type: Single or Double
Compression washers have been around since the beginning of on-demand indoor plumbing. They are found in older homes, and updated versions are often found used in utility sinks in newer homes to this day. These faucets are typically the least expensive but are most prone to leaks and maintenance. Compression washer faucets are identifiable by their separate hot and cold water handles and their action requiring you to tighten the handles down to close off the water flow. These faucets work by using a compression stem, which is a type of glorified screw with a washer at the end of it pressing against a valve seat.