Tricks of the Trade

5 easy tips for picking an ADA compliant faucet

Robbie Foglia, a Ferguson author

by Robbie Foglia


The ability to reach a water source varies from person to person. Installing a faucet that is designed for use by people with all physical abilities will help ensure easy access to water. The standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outline regulations designed to make it simpler for people with physical disabilities to reach water in commercial or public spaces.* Finding an accessible faucet that meets these standards is simpler than you might think. Use these five tips and tricks when shopping for a compliant faucet to make accessing water easy for all to do.

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 for compliant faucets say that you must be able to turn on a faucet using less than 5 lbs of force and without twisting or straining your wrist.

2. Give it a hand

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

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 faucet must be no higher than 48” from the ground if the area is free from obstructions. Handles mounted on the base of the faucet will help ensure the installation meets this height requirement.

4. Mind the gap

Can the 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. The faucet must be installed without obstructing this space in order to comply with ADA standards.

5. Check the time

If the 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 specifications.

*Per the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, U.S. Department of Justice, September 15, 2010

**Due to recent regulations passed by the California Energy Commissions, as of September 1st, 2015, 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

Robbie Foglia

Robbie Foglia, a native of Norfolk, VA, brings 10 years of experience in digital media writing to Ferguson, where he authors informative content for plumbing, HVAC and general contractors about trade trends, new tools and tips for improving your contracting business.