Tricks of the Trade

5 easy tips for picking an ADA compliant faucet

Bill Woodward, a Ferguson author

by Bill Woodward


The ability to reach a water source varies from person to person. The Americans with Disabilities Act , or ADA, outlines regulations designed to make it simpler for people with physical disabilities to reach water from bathroom ADA faucets in commercial or public spaces.*

What does ADA mean in plumbing?

In public buildings or commercial buildings people with disabilities need to access, these regulations are essential. ADA plumbing includes accessible bathrooms, showers if applicable and hand washing. When considering what makes a faucet ADA compliant, keep in mind unobstructed access, reachability, ease of operation and electronic controls.

Do faucets have to be ADA compliant?

Installing an ADA faucet that is designed for use by people with all physical abilities will help ensure easy access to water for all building occupants. By implementing water faucets that meet the ADA requirements in your building, you will enhance the safety of your facility by making it more comfortable for those with limited mobility and disabilities to use the restroom.

Need to update kitchens for ADA compliance? Explore ADA kitchen faucets >>

Finding an ADA compliant bathroom faucet that meets these standards is simpler than you might think.

5 tips to find the best ADA faucet

How do I know if my faucet is ADA compliant? Use these five tips and tricks when shopping to make accessing water easier for all.

1. Twist and turn

Are you able to twist, turn, or pull the handle to activate water flow without using much force? If so, you’re in good shape. The ADA regulations say that you must be able to turn on a water faucet using less than 5 lbs of force and without twisting or straining your wrist.

2. Give it a hand

Can you turn the handle like you did in the first tip, but using only one hand? A water faucet that allows you to activate it single-handedly meets the ADA standards for compliancy and will make it simpler for people with physical limitations to turn on the water.

Pro tip: Some water faucets on the market today are marked as ADA compliant. Simply look for an indication on the faucet or the faucet packaging to see if it complies with ADA regulations. Water faucets that have the marking include touchless, lever, wrist blade and cross-handle faucets, so there are a wide variety of ADA compliant bathroom faucet styles to choose from that will help you meet requirements.

3. Measure up

Are the faucet handles elevated too high? If they are, it could be problematic when installing the faucet. The ADA regulations state that the operating parts of a water faucet must be no higher than 48” from the ground if the area is free from obstructions. ADA faucet handles mounted on the base of the faucet will help ensure the installation meets this height requirement.

Find an ADA toilet to make the entire bathroom compliant. Read the ADA toilet guide >>

4. Mind the gap

Can the water faucet be mounted on a surface that has an open gap beneath it? The distance between the floor to the underside of the mounting surface must be 27” to allow for knee clearance. An ADA faucet must be installed without obstructing this space in order to comply with standards.

5. Check the time

If the water faucet has a motion sensor, does the water flow for at least 10 seconds before shutting off? Electronic metering faucets are an excellent solution for allowing easy access to water since they are hands-free, but they’re only effective if the water stays on long enough to satisfy the 10-second requirement outlined by the ADA regulations.**


Trust Ferguson for ADA compliant bathroom faucets

As the largest wholesale plumbing supplier in North America, Ferguson has the faucets you need. Shop ADA faucets online or find your local Ferguson for more information about bathroom fixtures that help your space comply with ADA requirements.

*Per the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, U.S. Department of Justice, September 15, 2010
**As of September 1, 2015, the California Energy Commission passed regulations stating that lavatory faucets with a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute or higher can no longer be sold for use in the state of California.

Robbie Foglia, a Ferguson author

Bill Woodward

Bill Woodward is the Senior Category Manager for Trade/Commercial products and has over 30 years of experience in the plumbing industry.