How to choose the best kitchen faucet for your home
The faucet is probably one of the hardest-working fixtures in your kitchen. It can also be a statement piece delivering functionality and style.
However, choosing a new faucet for your kitchen means finding one that works with your sink setup, space and cooking needs. This article covers kitchen faucet features and explains how to choose the best kitchen faucet for your needs.
Kitchen faucet features to consider
The choices can be overwhelming when browsing faucets, but considering the features can help narrow down your choices. Here are a few things to think about.
The faucet arc, or spout height, is the distance from the countertop to the highest part of the faucet. A high-arc faucet stands 8 inches or higher above the counter and allows ample room to fill large pots in kitchens. The faucet can be stationary, or it can swivel to reach both sides of a double-bowl sink.
In some kitchens, a low-arc faucet is the best solution. This height works in tight spaces or to preserve sightlines, such as for a sink on an island.
Consider both form and function when choosing a faucet with separate hot- and cold-water handles. With a single-handle kitchen faucet, you can adjust the water temperature and flow with just one hand. However, a two-handle faucet can make a striking style statement, highlighting a traditional look or a modern commercial style.
If you install the faucet in your current sink, you’ll need to choose one that fits your sink’s configuration. For example, a standard two-handle faucet fits over three holes typically 8 inches apart.
The touchless faucets often seen in commercial restrooms are now available for your home kitchen. They use motion sensors to turn on the water flow. Hands-free activation is convenient when your hands are dirty or full of dishes. A touchless kitchen faucet can also use less water because it only runs when triggered.
The best touchless faucets have multiple motion sensors, so you don’t have to wave your hands around to trigger them. Some models pair with smart technology for voice activation, while others use an LED light that changes from blue to red to indicate the water temperature.
This technology uses either batteries or an electrical connection as a power source. Note that a faucet that turns on with electricity won’t work during a power outage.
While installing a faucet is a fairly easy DIY task, you might need to call a plumber for more complicated installations, such as touchless kitchen faucets.
The sprayer extends the reach of the faucet. It assists with heavy-duty jobs, like rinsing pots, and lets you power-clean every square inch of a large sink. There are three main sprayers: stationary, pull-down or pull-out kitchen faucets.
- Stationary spouts: A faucet without a pull-down sprayer usually comes with a separate side sprayer. Side sprayers were once a common feature in kitchen designs but have declined in popularity. However, they are good options in kitchens with an additional hole in the sink or countertop.
- Pull-down or pull-out spouts: A kitchen sink faucet with a sprayer can function as a normal stationary spout and also become a pull-down kitchen faucet when needed. Just pull the faucet head out and it extends on a hose to activate the spray function. A magnetic docking system helps the sprayer retract and remain in place. The best pull spouts have several spray settings, such as spray, stream or pause.
While they use similar spray modes, there’s a difference between pull-down and pull-out spouts. Pull-down faucets have a shorter spray hose, and the faucet typically has a taller gooseneck spout.
Pull-out faucets have shorter spouts, but the hose is longer than a pull-down faucet. A pull-out spout might work if you need a hose that stretches to fill pots on the counter instead of in the sink.
Before choosing a kitchen faucet, it’s important to consider how you’ll mount it and the configuration of the sink and water lines.
- Deck mounting and wall mounting: These are the two ways to install a kitchen faucet. Deck mounting is the most common type, which installs the faucet on the sink’s rim or on the countertop behind an under-mounted sink. Wall mounting is less common. Pot-filler faucets are wall-mounted and require water lines behind the wall. One advantage of wall-mounted faucets is they don’t require counter space.
- Mounting holes: Kitchen sinks come with mounting holes drilled into them for water lines located under the sink. Mounting holes can also facilitate accessories, like sprayers and soap dispensers. The faucet you choose has to work with your sink. If you buy a new sink and faucet, make sure the faucet mount matches the number of holes in the sink. If you buy a faucet to use with your current sink, match the sink configuration exactly. Look at the number of holes and measure the distance between them to ensure the faucet will fit. Don’t buy a faucet with more holes for water-supply lines than in the sink or counter where you’ll install it. Experts advise against attempting to drill additional holes in a sink. Alternatively, you can use a deck plate to cover the extra holes if the faucet has fewer holes than the sink.
- One-hole sinks: If a sink has one hole, it will accommodate a faucet with a single-handle pull. A single-hole sink doesn’t have room for a sprayer or other accessories.
- Two-hole sinks: A two-hole sink accommodates a single-handle faucet and an accessory or a two-handle faucet. Adding the additional hole allows greater flexibility in faucet choices.
- Three-hole sink: This configuration features a center hole with two other holes spaced symmetrically on each side. A sink with three holes works with a variety of faucets, including pull-down faucets with two handles.
- Four-hole sink: A four-hole sink provides the greatest versatility and is the most common mounting type. It allows including almost any faucet and accessory, like a sprayer or soap dispenser.
Color and design
When choosing the color and design of your faucet, consider how it will complement your kitchen design. Do you have a modern kitchen, or is your style traditional or industrial?
Selecting a finish for your faucet means choosing to match or contrast with other metals in the room. If you find a faucet you love that doesn’t match your cabinet hardware, don’t rule it out. Some homeowners choose faucets in accent colors like black or solid brass to make them stand out.
Standard faucet finishes include stainless steel, brushed nickel, chrome, platinum, pewter and matte black. Keep in mind that shiny options, like a polished chrome finish, show fingerprints and water spots, while a brushed nickel finish is more spot-resistant. Some faucets even have a rust- and corrosion-resistant finish.
Your new faucet’s functionality is as important as its appearance. If the faucet is too low, there won’t be enough room for tall pots and pans. On the other hand, if your kitchen has a low cabinet or a windowsill above the sink, a tall-spout faucet might not work. You might need a swivel faucet or a pull-out spout to reach the entire sink.
Does kitchen faucet brand matter?
Durability is important in a heavily used fixture like a faucet. The brand matters because some manufacturers build their reputations around high-quality components, lifetime warranties and excellent customer service. Some of the more popular faucet brands have reliable products at every price point.
What’s the best kitchen faucet brand?
Here are several top picks in faucet brands. Some offer high-end products with innovative technology, while others offer easy installation or the best kitchen sink faucets for budget-conscious consumers.
- Delta Faucet
- Moen Faucet
How long do kitchen faucets last?
Faucets are pretty durable and built to last 15 to 20 years. It’s important to act quickly if you start to notice issues. Some signs that your faucet might be malfunctioning include:
- Irregular water flow
When to repair your faucet
Often, you can repair minor issues with a faucet and avoid the expense of buying a new fixture. For example, leaks and squeaks are easy fixes, such as tightening the adjusting ring or greasing the appropriate parts.
You might prefer to repair your faucet if you have a more expensive model, since repair could be more cost-effective than replacement.
When to replace your faucet
If your faucet is malfunctioning and nearing the end of its 15- to 20-year life span, it might be time to replace it. Another reason to replace your faucet is to get a more efficient model.
According to federal standards, the maximum flow rate is 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm), although some states have tighter restrictions on newer faucets. However, you might want to consider an aerator if you’re concerned about low water pressure. This small device on the end of a faucet creates an aerated stream, shaping the stream of water and improving water pressure.
Another advantage of replacing your existing faucet is that newer faucets tend to have innovative technology to make them longer-lasting and resistant to leaks. Instead of traditional rubber washers, some single-handle faucets have ceramic discs that open to allow the water to flow. These tend to be superior to rubber washers, which can deteriorate over time and cause leaks.
A few brands have added a feature to the ceramic cartridge: diamond seal technology (DST). Instead of two ceramic disc valves moving against each other to form a seal, one disc is diamond-embedded. As the discs move, the diamond-embedded disc polishes the ceramic disc and removes mineral deposits that can build up and cause issues.
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