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What are the Different Types of Plumbing Fixtures?

Klaus Strasser
Klaus Strasser

Plumbing fixtures generally refers to parts of a plumbing system that have a distinct use and application. This differentiates fixtures from other types of plumbing parts, such as pipes, which only carry water. For example, a faucet is a type of fixture because it can be turned on to release water. Some of the other most common kinds of plumbing fixtures include toilets, showerheads, bidets, bathtubs, and sinks. The basic aim of a plumbing system is to distribute water to designated areas, for purposes such as cleaning, cooking, and waste disposal.

Most plumbing fixtures for home use can be broken down into three categories: kitchen fixtures, bathroom fixtures, and plumbing system fixtures. In the kitchen, one of the most familiar types of fixtures is a sink, which is generally used for cleaning food and dishes, or washing hands. Many types of sinks are available, from basic models to versions that feature a garbage disposal unit. Other common kitchen fixtures include faucets and taps. A wide range of faucets are available for homeowners, incorporating different designs and materials.

A showerhead.
A showerhead.

Many experts consider the bathroom to be the focal point for water and plumbing usage in the home. This is because it can have many types of fixtures such as toilets, showers, bathtubs, and sinks. A toilet is a type of plumbing fixture that is utilized to dispose of human waste. There are many brands of toilets available, often made from materials such as porcelain and stainless steel.

A kitchen faucet.
A kitchen faucet.

Showers and bathtubs can be combined into a single unit. Specific parts of the shower, such as the showerhead, are typically also classified as plumbing fixtures, since they allow water to be released into the shower or bathtub. Bidets are a type of plumbing fixture that originated in France and are used for personal cleaning and hygiene.

Plumbing fixtures are also employed by plumbers to repair or install a plumbing system. For example, a professional may have to replace a leaky faucet or a clogged toilet. Many times plumbers will recommend replacement with one of their own plumbing fixtures, based on factors such as quality of the material and price.

Plumbing fixtures include toilets, which are used to remove human waste.
Plumbing fixtures include toilets, which are used to remove human waste.

There are many plumbing fixture dealers that supply the marketplace with all sorts of products. Most stores dedicated especially to fixtures will stock anything from toilets to tools that are used in the installation of plumbing fixtures. Usually these stores will feature the products of many different manufacturers from all over the world.

Discussion Comments


I finished a remodel on the bathrooms and kitchen in my home recently. Like a lot of people these days, I had to work on a pretty tight budget. I had never thought about using used plumbing fixtures before. But, there is no way I could have come in close to my budget without doing so.

I was surprised how much I was able to find at yard sales. I went to auctions, too. I know a little about plumbing and plumbing fixtures, so I had a pretty good idea of what to look for as far as quality in used fixtures.

I don’t think I bought more than a handful of new pieces, and everything is up to code. Buying used plumbing fixtures worked out really well for me. If you know what you are looking for, it is a great way to go. I will get used fixtures in the future if I can.


My husband and I purchased an old farm house last year. We have slowly been working to restore it to its original glory, or as close to original as we can get. The house itself was built about a hundred years ago.

I have had my work cut out for me with trying to find vintage plumbing fixtures to match the pieces we have to replace. I am even fine with using brand new items that are stylized to look vintage, but it seems like even this can be difficult.

Estate sales and auctions have been helpful so far. I found a wonderful old-fashioned claw foot tub. I can’t wait to get it put in.


My step-dad is a licensed plumber and owns his own business. When he is out of town, or busy in the field, I help run the office. Going in to the job, I couldn’t identify many plumbing fixtures beyond some of the basics you find in any bathroom, like shower fixtures, or piping under the kitchen sink.

Since I have been working for him, I have had to gain a greater knowledge of plumbing fixtures. Whether I am itemizing an invoice or talking to a sales representative to order parts, I need to know how to get a part with out using the word ‘thing-a-ma-jiggy’. Not that I ever would…

But in all seriousness, I have enjoyed getting to be part of the business and have learned a great deal.

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    • A showerhead.
      By: Filipebvarela
      A showerhead.
    • A kitchen faucet.
      By: Elenathewise
      A kitchen faucet.
    • Plumbing fixtures include toilets, which are used to remove human waste.
      By: kmiragaya
      Plumbing fixtures include toilets, which are used to remove human waste.
    • Kitchen sinks can be used to wash food or hands.
      By: Myimagine
      Kitchen sinks can be used to wash food or hands.