Benjamin is a freelance writer and graphic designer. He is passionate about DIY projects and finding creative ways to upcycle things headed for the landfill. Based in Oakland, CA, Benjamin enjoys playing guitar and gardening.
What Are The Different Types Of Outdoor Faucets?
There are a lot of reasons you might put an outdoor sink or faucet in your backyard. It can be very useful to have easy access to water when you are doing yard work or grilling. However, outdoor faucets do differ from indoor faucets for a couple of important reasons. Therefore, you should know the different outdoor faucets available to you and their different benefits and uses.
The best outdoor faucets are spigots, yard hydrants, wall hydrants, ball valve faucets, and frost-proof faucets. Anti-siphon faucets are a great option as well because they keep water from re-entering your home. The standard outdoor faucet has a ½” or ¾” outlet.
Additionally, we will discuss anti-siphoning valves that can be attached to any faucet spout. Finally, you can also purchase a spigot extender in the event that your outdoor spigot is too low to the ground.
Table of Contents
- What Makes Outdoor Faucets Special?
- Option One: Spigots, also known as Hose Bibs
- Option Two: Yard Hydrants
- Option Three: Wall Hydrants
- Option Four: Ball Valve Faucets
- Option 5: Frost Proof Faucets
- Option Six: Anti-Siphon Faucets
- Related Questions
What Makes Outdoor Faucets Special?
Outdoor faucets vary from indoor faucets in two important ways. First, standard outdoor faucets are not equipped to allow access for both hot and cold water. This is because it is simply not necessary to have hot water outside.
As a result, the design and mechanism are slightly different from indoor faucets. In fact, they are a lot simpler in construction because there is only one line, which is the hook-up for cold water.
Second, outdoor faucets have to be able to cope with cold temperatures and other weather conditions. Indoor faucets do not face such challenges. As you will see below, outdoor faucets are typically constructed with hardier materials than indoor faucets. They need to be able to withstand freezing temperatures and weather, like snow and hail, without corroding or breaking.
Below are the most common different types of outdoor faucets available. Frost-proof faucets and anti-siphon faucets are discussed as their own categories. However, most faucet types are sold with frost-proof upgrades. Additionally, as noted above, anti-siphoning valves can be added to almost any faucet.
Option One: Spigots, also known as Hose Bibs
Spigots are probably the most common type of outdoor faucets for homes and other residential buildings. It is very likely that you have seen and even used one at one time or another. Spigots allow you to wash your hands or fill a watering can for gardening.
Most homes have a spigot or hose bib installed to the exterior of the side or back of the home. Sometimes they could be installed to the front of the home. In this case, the faucet will likely be covered by plants or other landscaping to protect the visual appeal of the home.
Hose bibs have threads inside of the spout so you can connect a garden hose to it. Both spigots and hose bibs work very simply with a compression valve that tightens and cuts off the flow of water. These have a handle above the faucet that you turn to screw the valve down. Many of these handles are made of plastic, while nicer ones will be rubber for an easy grip.
Both spigots and hose bibs are typically made of brass or steel to have long lifespans. However, you can also find them in aluminum, iron, and even plastic. While they come in slightly different sizes, the material is the main factor for differences in cost.
|Hose Bib Material||Price Range|
|Aluminum||$7 – $43|
|Die Cast Aluminum||$60 – $146|
|Brass||$7 – $24|
|Cast Iron||$11 – $37|
|Plastic (ABS)||$35 – $55|
|Plastic (Celcon)||$5 – $30|
|Steel||$11 – $24|
|Zinc||$9 – $15|
It is also common for people to have spigot extenders. These would be used in cases where the spigot is installed too close to the ground. Maybe you cannot fit a watering can underneath it, or maybe you have accessibility issues and cannot bend over.
In either case, spigot extenders sit against the house and connect to the current spigot. Then, a second spigot is at the top, a few feet higher than the original spigot. As you will see in the pricing chart shown below, these spigot extenders are typically made of steel.
|Spigot Extender||Price Range|
|Steel||$29 – $50|
Option Two: Yard Hydrants
Yard hydrants are outdoor faucets that connect to underground water supply pipes. Because of this, they are not going to freeze on you in the middle of winter. They provide year-round, immediate access to water.
Best of all, they can be located further away from your home than a spigot that is attached to the side of your home. If you have a large yard (and your piping extends a good distance), a yard hydrant is a good way to have secondary access to water.
Yard hydrants work very simply and intuitively. They let out water when you pull up on the handle, creating an opening in the piping. Therefore, the further you pull up, the faster the water will come out. They also have a valve to allow the water to drain from the piping and into, say a garden bed. This will ensure that this pipe does not hold water and freeze in the winter.
As you will see in the pricing chart below, the cost of a yard hydrant is generally determined by its length. Moreover, this length will be dictated by how deep they need to be buried in the ground to reach the water source.
|Yard Hydrant Depth||Price Range|
|2 feet||$108 – $165|
|3 feet||$114 – $184|
|4 feet||$118 – $192|
|5 feet||$123 – $199|
|6 feet||$129 – $213|
Option Three: Wall Hydrants
The second type of hydrant for outdoor water access is the wall hydrant. This faucet has a similar pipe to the yard hydrant that extends out to a water supply. However, unlike the yard hydrant, the wall hydrant extends into your home to a pipe.
The thing that makes wall hydrants so special is that they do not have handles to control the valves. Instead, wall hydrants use keys to open and close the water valves. This prevents people who do not have the key from gaining access to your water.
Wall hydrants have square, rectangular, or circular flanges. Additionally, these flanges are flat and are meant to be flush mounted to the exterior wall of your home. Wall hydrants tend to be expensive, as you will see in the chart shown below. The cost varies based on their size and the depth of the wall they are installed in. Moreover, there are also additional costs associated with getting a wall hydrant that is frost-proof or enclosed.
|Flange Length||Wall Thickness||Price Range|
|7 inch||6 inch||$226|
|7 inch||12 inch||$242|
|3 inch||3 inch||$188|
|4 inch, enclosed||5 inch||$368|
|12 inch, frost proof||8 inch||$259|
|12 inch, frost proof and enclosed||8 inch||$446|
|16 inch, frost proof||12 inch||$270|
|16 inch, frost proof and enclosed||12 inch||$464|
While wall hydrants can be quite a bit more expensive than other outdoor faucets, you may find them worth it. The flushing mounting ability of these faucets means that they do not stick out from your house. Some people find this modern and hidden aesthetic worth the cost.
Option Four: Ball Valve Faucets
This type of faucet is very commonly used, both for indoors and outdoors purposes. You have very likely used one, even if you did not know it. Ball valves work in a self-explanatory manner. As the name suggests, a tightly fitting ball sits inside the valve to control the flow of water.
The ball has a hole in it for the water to pass through. When a ball valve faucet is closed, the water cannot get through. When the faucet is opened, the ball turns sideways and lets the water through. As you can imagine, they do not allow for much control of the flow of water. It is simply either on or off.
For this reason, ball valve faucets tend to be used as “shut off” valves. This is desired in landscaping, where you typically do not need to be able to control the water flow. Finally, as you will see in the pricing chart shown below, ball valve faucets are most commonly made out of brass.
|Ball Valve Faucet||Price Range|
|Brass||$9 – $35|
Option 5: Frost Proof Faucets
Outdoor faucets that are frost proof are essential for homeowners who live in cold climates. If you put a normal spigot or hose bib in freezing temperatures, it will break. When water gets trapped inside the faucet, it expands when it freezes and breaks the spigot piping.
Frost-proof faucets have a long metal inner tube that continues into the house. The valve (that allows water through) sits far enough back in this tube that the water is always inside. As a result, the valve keeps the water where the average temperature is warmer, so the water will not be able to freeze. This unique design is how frost-proof faucets are able to withstand freezing temperatures and avoid damage.
Furthermore, because frost-proof faucets are always installed at downward angles, they drain completely once the valve is closed. This means no water will be stuck inside the tube and able to freeze and cause damage. However, if you leave a hose attached to the faucet, this could prevent it from draining fully. Therefore, be sure to always disconnect your hose from the faucet after you are done using it – especially in the wintertime.
One downside, however, comes from this design. Since the valve sits so far back, the water takes a while to get to you when you turn the faucet. While this can be annoying, it is not a good reason to avoid getting a frost-proof faucet. It is a much better alternative to having to replace a damaged faucet from frozen pipes.
|Hose Bib Material||Price Range|
|Aluminum||$15 – $28|
|Die-Cast Aluminum||$60 – $70|
|Brass||$20 – $25|
|Cast Iron||$24 – $37|
|Plastic (ABS)||$36 – $43|
Option Six: Anti-Siphon Faucets
Anti-siphoning faucets work to prevent a backflow of water by allowing the water to flow only one way. This is very important in cases where the water source is connected to your drinking water. In the case of outdoor faucets, you would not want outside contaminants flowing back inside.
Anti-siphon faucets prevent water from re-entering your home once it is in the outdoor faucet. This keeps your drinking water clean. In some areas of the country, it is actually required that outdoor faucets have this feature. Therefore, if you are installing an outdoor faucet, check with local regulations first to see if this asset is mandatory.
|Anti-Siphon Faucet||Price Range|
|Brass||$20 – $39|
Many outdoor faucets come with an anti-siphoning device pre-installed. However, it is very easy to attach one after the fact to any faucet. You would simply buy the small valve separately in whatever size your faucet spout is. Then, you would just screw on to the end of the spout, the same as you do to install faucet aerators.
This little device is very handy. Furthermore, even though your local laws may not require you to have an anti-siphon faucet, you may want one. As you will see in the pricing chart shown below, anti-siphoning valves are very inexpensive. For this low cost, you can get the peace of mind of protecting you and your family from contaminated drinking water. When you are looking to buy this accessory, you might also see it called a “vacuum breaker.”
|Valve Accessory||Price Range|
|Screw-on anti-siphoning valve||$6 – $20|
How much does it cost to replace an outdoor faucet?
A plumber will charge between $100 and $300 to replace an outdoor faucet. It is a simple installation. Additionally, the cost will also vary based on the type of faucet you get and if it has certain weatherproof features.
To install an outdoor faucet for the first time will cost more. On average, this an outdoor faucet installation will cost between $200 and $500. This cost depending on the distance between the desired faucet and the nearest pipes in your home.
What size is standard for outdoor faucets?
Most outdoor faucets have an outlet of ½ or ¾ inches. This is most common because this is the width of pipes, as well. This is also the standard size for garden hoses, so everything will work well together. If for some reason your hose and faucet do not match, you can get an adapter. Faucet adapters come in all sizes and are very inexpensive.
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