Before I entered into the Kitchen & Bath industry I never thought about the difference between a 4 "spread faucet and an 8" spread faucet. I grew up in a small, rural town and honestly can't remember the type of faucet in any house I had seen, including my own. My parents built a new house in the late 70's so I'm sure all the faucets were 4 "spread or also known as mini faucets. I really never looked or knew the difference.
Even in my 20's, I owned my home and did a low budget renovation. I had to aleve myself of the 50's blue from Kohler. Oddly, I don't really know the official name of the color. I went to Home Depot and bought a new pedestal sink. It had a 4 "spread faucet hole drilling. I thought I was really 'upgrading'. It definitely was an upgrade but if I had known in advance with a little extra money it would have made a bigger difference.
What is the big deal whether you have a 4 "and 8" spread faucet? And for many of us … what does that mean anyway! A sink or countertop will determine the faucet spread you need. Holes are drilled to accommodate the faucet. Look at the hole drillings. If you put a measuring tape up to the holes there will be either a 4 "or 8" spread between them. Please note that in all plumbing situations, you measure from the center of the hole and not the right or left of the hole. All plumbing measures are made from the center of the hole.
The upside with purchasing an 8 inch spread or also know as a widespread faucet is that it tends to be known as 'higher end'. It means you took your renovation seriously. Perhaps these issues are not important to you and that's fine. So let's look at the more practical reasons to choose between the two faucet types.
1. It's usually harder to clean an 8 "spread faucet because there are three separate flanges to clean. With a 4" spread faucet there is normally a single bottom plate to clean around.
2. The quality of an 8 "spread faucet is usually better than a 4" faucet. I should state is more than usually better. Between the function and finish the 8 "spread should usually win in the long run. Also, 4" spread faucets are normally available in chrome only.
3. Because of the first two points, a desire to achieve better things is the reason to get an 8 "faucet. Everyone wants to improve there lives and purchase nicer things when they are affordable.
Now it is time for reality. Buy the faucet that you can afford. Have a budget. It does not matter if you have 4 "or 8" faucet. You don't have to impress your friend, family and enemies with having the best things. If you can afford it then go for it. If not, enjoy the water that runs out of it. It's about water. There is no need to impress anybody; just enjoy. Family and friends are far more important than the faucet you choose.