The humble hose bib and spigot are the two most common types of outdoor faucet. The terms are often used interchangeably to describe any exterior water fixture, but they’re not exactly the same.

For homeowners who love getting their terminology just right, we’ve got the definitions and the pros and cons of both hose bibs and spigots.

Read on …

Spigots and Hose Bibs: More Alike Than Different

It’s easy to see why hose bibs and spigots are confused as the same – there’s very little difference between them in terms of use, installation, or maintenance. They’re both outdoor faucets that connect to a residential water supply. They’re the same size, look similar, and have the same installation costs. Both are typically installed low to the ground on an exterior wall of the home.

See if you can spot the difference between a hose bib and a spigot in the descriptions below …

What Is a Hose Bib?

A hose bib is an outdoor water fixture with a threaded faucet designed to connect with garden hoses. Homeowners tend to be more familiar with this term, which is used in most home improvement and hardware stores.

What Is a Spigot?

A spigot is an outdoor water fixture that may not be threaded, although some are. Unthreaded spigots rely on an adapter to connect to garden hoses. Plumbing professionals sometimes prefer the term spigot to hose bib, in some cases.

The differences between a hose bib and a spigot are largely semantic since many spigots do have a threaded faucet that a hose can attach to. No matter what you call them,  when you notice a dripping exterior faucet, know that your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing will fix it.  

Hose bibs and spigots are repaired using the same tools in the same amount of time.

If you’re considering a hose bib replacement, we’ll install another hose bib or a spigot, depending on your preference!

How to Choose: Spigot or Hose Bib?

Because they’re so similar, it’s more important to choose the right material for your exterior faucet based on where you live and how you plan to use it rather than focus on the nozzle type.

Here are a few recommendations to get you started …

  • Go frost-free. Even if you only experience occasional freezing temperatures, opt for a frost-free hose bib. These are designed to prevent water freezing in the bib during cold weather. If you’re unsure whether your hose bib is frost-free, these models tend to have long stems, which is the part the valve handle connects to. If you have a round dial, it’s unlikely to be frost-free.
  • Brass is best. Brass is the do-it-all material for hose bibs and spigots because it’s exceptionally durable and resistant to extreme temperatures.
  • Security first. Unauthorized water use is a serious problem in arid regions with water use limits. Consider choosing a loose-key hose bib, which requires a removable key to activate.

Can I Replace a Hose Bib or Spigot by Myself?

Replacing a hose bib or spigot is best left to licensed professionals. Removing the old hose bib typically requires a propane torch and other potentially hazardous steps, including soldering copper pipes.

If you notice leaks, cracks, or any water discoloration, it may be time to replace your hose bib or spigot. When the time comes, you know who to call to fix outdoor spigots!

How to Winterize a Hose Bib or Spigot

Spigots and hose bibs typically last a decade or longer with basic preventative maintenance. The most important task is to winterize your hose bib ahead of prolonged periods of freezing temperatures:

  1. Shut off the interior valve. Turn off the water line connecting your main to the exterior faucet. If your home has more than one hose bib or faucet, you may have two lines to shut off.
  2. Remove the hose if connected.
  3. Empty the pipe. Drain the hose bib by opening the valve until the water stops flowing.
  4. Leave the valve open. Keep the spigot or hose bib valve open during the winter to reduce the risk of pressure building up if any freezing occurs.

For more seasonal plumbing tips and tricks, sign up for The Royal Flush, our monthly newsletter! We send out fun stories and useful maintenance reminders to help you keep up with their preventative plumbing tasks!

Another Word for Trustworthy Plumbing: Benjamin Franklin!

Just like hose bib and spigot, thousands of satisfied customers know Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is synonymous with exceptional service, professionalism, and punctuality. You can always count on our friendly plumbers to arrive on time, make the fix, and answer all your questions before we go.

With hundreds of locations nationwide, there’s a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in your neighborhood; find a location near you or call 1-877-BEN-1776 today!