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Do you turn on a spigot, faucet, or tap when you go to the sink to wash your hands? Many English speakers treat these words as synonyms, but are they interchangeable? What does each of these terms truly mean?

This article explains each concept in detail and concentrates on their technical distinctions between spigot vs faucet vs tap.

Also read: How to remove calcium deposits from faucets

Let’s start by knowing the differences among these basic confusing terms.

What is a faucet?


The word “faucet” may be the one Americans use the most to describe the device controlling the flow of water or another liquid from a pipe. Particularly, a lot of people call the sink fixture in a house or other structure a faucet.

There are several varieties of faucets, and they differ in terms of the design, quantity, and potential uses of their handles. Ball, disc, cartridge, and compression faucets are examples of these kinds. A circular cap and one handle are what make up a ball faucet.

These faucets, frequently seen in kitchens, are advantageous because they give the user more control over the volume and temperature of the water that emerges from the faucet by allowing the handle to be moved in a variety of ways directions.

The name is because the handle moves a ball inside the faucet’s body, which regulates the water flow.

The disc faucet is the second type of faucet. This faucet also has a single lever, but it is attached to the wide body of the faucet rather than the round cap. As a result, the range of motion is reduced to a more basic up-down and side-to-side motion, where moving up increases the flow of water and moving to the side changes the temperature to hotter or colder water.

One of the more recent varieties of faucets, the disc faucet, has an unusual construction whereby hot and cold water are combined inside a chamber known as the pressure balancing cartridge in the faucet’s body.

There are two handles on cartridge faucets. The handles for hot and cold water are frequently on the left and right, respectively. The proper temperature water may be poured out in the required amount by adjusting these two knobs simultaneously.

This sort of faucet is typically found in bathrooms. It is a somewhat common faucet. Compression faucets are comparable to cartridge faucets, with the exception that they lack handles and have cylindrical knobs or wheels that must be turned counterclockwise to turn on and clockwise to turn off the water.

Since these faucets have an older design, older homes and structures’ bathrooms can be where you’ll find them more frequently.

What is a spigot?


A fixture mounted on the exterior of a home or structure, as opposed to the interior, is referred to as a “spigot” in most contexts.

Spigots are less aesthetically pleasing than ordinary faucets since they are mounted on external walls. They may include a metal pipe and a valve, which frequently has an asymmetrical form and must be twisted counterclockwise to open and let water flow.

The main distinction between a spigot and a faucet is that a spigot likely allows for managing the quantity of water that emerges from the pipes. Still, a faucet often allows for the regulation of both the volume of water and the temperature of the water.

A ball, globe, or gate valve may regulate water flow from a faucet. Spigots come in different varieties, such as hose bibs, to which a hose can be attached, and frost-proof spigots, which install the valve in a special location on the fixture to prevent water from freezing in the part of the pipe that extends into the outside air by forcing the water to stay inside the building due to the location of the valve.

A yard hydrant is another form of spigot; it has a long pipe that extends into the ground and a handle that may be used to pump water out of the earth. Since installing one of these valves stops water from flowing back into the pipe and entering the water supply, an anti-siphoning valve may be a crucial addition to a spigot.

What is tap?


The most widely used term in British English is “tap,” which has largely replaced the more conventional terms “faucet” and “spigot” in American English.

As opposed to the typical faucet found in a kitchen sink or bathroom, which also allows for the regulation of the temperature and amount of water flowing from the pipes, or to a spigot, which allows for the regulation of the amount of water but not necessarily the temperature of that water, a tap specifically refers to a type of faucet in American English that only allows for movement between the “on” and “off” positions.

The simplest of the three is a tap, which offers simple control over whether water is flowing or not and offers no further options.

As it is specifically described in American English regional dialects, a tap features a more basic lever that may be spun from its set “off” position or flipped up or down. This motion can loosen the stopper, allowing water to flow from the tap.

As was previously mentioned, this type of tap frequently only allows for one-way control of the flow of water and its temperature.

Water tanks and some drink dispensers, such as kegs and coolers, have taps.

The major difference between spigot vs faucet vs tap:

A device used to draw or control liquid flow, usually from a pipe.It’s a device that controls the flow of water without providing any other optionA fixture mounted on the exterior of a home in most contexts.
It is found in the kitchen and bathroom.It is found in traditional places.It is found in gardens.
Latest technologyTraditional water supplying technologySuitable for garden for watering


Is a faucet the same as a spigot?

A spigot is a faucet that may be used to switch on and off the water. A spigot will continue to dispense water if you leave it open. Most Americans refer to interior valves (those in the kitchen or bathroom) as faucets and outdoor valves as spigots.

What makes a faucet a tap?

The Old English word “teppa” referred to a peg put into a cask’s bunghole to limit the flow of ale, mead, or other intoxicating beverages. The British prefer to manage their domestic water supply with a fitting known as a “tap,” which is based on the Old English word (ye olde Anglo Saxons were quite the Merrie bunch).

A water spigot is what?

The faucet outside your home, known as a hose bibb or spigot, is where you attach a garden hose. To avoid flooding in the winter, homeowners must shut off the water to their hose bibbs.

How do water faucets function?

A valve directly controls the flow of water. A gate valve, a globe valve, or a ball valve might be used. These often have a mechanism screwed down to open or even close them. The mechanism will either open or close the installed valve as you turn the spigot handle.

An outside faucet may be used in the winter.

Some folks leave their water lines flowing even when it’s quite chilly outside. Others use electrical heating for their plumbing, particularly for copper pipes. So the answer is yes, you may use the outside water faucets.

To sum up:

There are clear distinctions between faucets, spigots, and taps that go beyond even variances in regional linguistic popularity. These names each relate to a particular technological device, and while they all ultimately serve a mostly identical purpose, their capabilities and general look might differ greatly.

Although the distinctions between the three words will generally not be crucial to understand, it is nevertheless a good idea to keep them in mind.

Thomas Louis

Im, Thomas Louis, a passionate faucet and kitchen gadget expert. Im your trusted source for all things related to enhancing your culinary space. With years of dedicated research and a keen eye for innovation, I have established myself as a go-to authority in the world of kitchen fixtures, faucets and gadgets. Whether you're seeking the perfect faucet to complement your kitchen's aesthetic or looking for the latest kitchen gadgets to streamline your cooking experience,As a chief contributor at, I am committed to simplifying your decision-making process when it comes to kitchen upgrades. My insightful blogs provide a wealth of information, from faucet buying guides to gadget reviews that cater to both novice home chefs and seasoned culinary enthusiasts.

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