The following guide is for anyone looking to buy kitchen faucets. The guide is designed and structured in a manner as to assist the layman in finding the best kitchen faucet according to their needs.
This guide not only provides all the technical considerations but also advises on the aesthetic values to consider when buying a kitchen faucet.
Kitchen faucets have been categorized according to their design considerations, features, handles, and other qualities throughout this guide in an attempt to assist the reader in discovering the best kitchen faucet.
Whether you are renovating your old kitchen or starting from scratch, buying the perfect kitchen faucet is quite crucial. Why is that? For the simple reason that a kitchen faucet is the focal point of your kitchen.
That means a poorly designed, inefficient, or unaesthetic kitchen faucet will basically ruin your entire kitchen. So, it goes without saying that you need to put a special consideration when buying a kitchen faucet.
But, where to start? With an endless array of kitchen faucet variations, being baffled is understandable. Worry not, for here is a comprehensive kitchen faucet buying guide that will tell you the different kitchen faucet types available, which one do you need, their price, and other important points that will help you the next time you find yourself in the market.
Features to look for while buying faucets
When you find yourself in front of hundreds of kitchen faucets, struggling to choose one, rewind the following points in your mind:
A technical issue: Number of mounting holes
Before aesthetics comes functionality. For a kitchen faucet to be functional, it is important you buy a kitchen faucet according to the number of holes in your sink. Let me explain why it is important.
Generally, sinks have three holes, one for hot water, one for cold water, and a central hole below the spout. So, if you want a single-handle faucet, you must check the label as some of them come with a bridge piece to cover the extra holes, while the others don’t.
Some kitchen faucets might even have their holes in different spots. Therefore, it is your job to make sure the kitchen faucet you buy will match your sink holes.
Briefly, If you are just renovating the kitchen i.e. replacing the old faucet with a new one without changing the sink, the number of mounting holes on the sink should be considered.
Moreover, a single-hole faucet can be installed on a 3-hole sink with the aid of a bridge piece but it is not possible the other way around.
On the other hand, if you are starting from scratch, it is a good idea to select your ideal faucet first and then choose the sink. In this way, you will have the liberty of choosing your favourite faucet without worrying about the mounting holes as you can buy a sink compatible with it or make holes in the new sink to fit the new faucet.
Lets discuss about “holes” in a little detail:
What is a 1-hole faucet?
A 1-hole faucet is the representation of a minimalist design. It is adopted when there is a single hole in the sink. It’s a simple and efficient faucet that uses a single handle to control water flow and temperature.
- It’s easy to install, even a layman can do it with a DIY guide.
- It’s simple to use as all the functions are controlled using a single handle.
- Because of a single handle, you will have to control the water flow and temperature using a single handle. This reduces your control over the flow and temperature as the precision is lost.
What is a 3-hole faucet?
Conventional homes had, and still have, three holes in the sink. Two of the holes are for handles on either side (hot and cold) and one for the spout.
The 3-hole faucet is further categorized on the basis of the distances between the holes at the two extremes as follows:
The center-set faucet is used for sinks that have mounting holes that are 4-inches apart. A deck plate is used in this type of faucet to offer stability and durability to the handles and spout.
Wide-spread faucets are used for sinks with mounting holes that are 8-inches apart. No deck plate is used in this type of faucet, so the handles and spouts are mounted separately on the wall, sink basin, or the countertop.
- Different handles for hot and cold water allow for precise temperature and water flow control.
- 3-hole faucets have been traditionally installed since the start of plumbing and are easy to install.
- These faucets come at affordable prices.
- If you want additional features, you would need a modification of the faucet.
What is a 4-hole faucet?
Imagine a 3-hole faucet with an additional feature, that is a 4-hole faucet for you. The two holes are for handles on either side, one is for the spout, and the last hole is for an additional customized feature.
It can be anything based on your requirements. For example, it can be used for a sprayer if you want efficient rinsing of fruits and veggies or it can be a soap dispenser for optimum hygiene.
- The additional, personalized, feature makes the 4-hole faucet significantly more efficient.
- Similar to the 3-hole faucets, these faucets also have different handles for hot and cold water, resulting in better temperature and water flow control.
- Different handles can be used for different functions, making kitchen work less of a hassle
- Because of an extra feature, the 4-hole faucet requires extra space. Therefore, this type of faucet will not only look unaesthetic in compact kitchens or smaller sinks, but will also be more of a hindrance because of the little space available for mobility.
Control vs Efficiency: Number of handles
Kitchen faucets are also categorized on the basis of the number of handles and the types of handles available. Generally a single-handle faucet is preferable in a kitchen, however, various handle types offer various functionality.
Single-handle faucets are the most likeable when it comes to kitchen use. It has various advantages over others, as listed below:
- Without having to operate multiple handles, a single handle offers ease of mobility.
- Single-handle faucets require a single mounting hole, making them easier to instal.
- Single-handle faucets are the cheapest kitchen faucets in the market with maximum utility.
- These faucets are best for compact kitchens and small sinks.
- Don’t offer enough control as the dual-handle faucet offers.
Two-handle faucets are mostly used in bathrooms but some people like to use them in kitchens as well. People that need precision of water flow and temperature would prefer dual-handle over the single handle faucet.
- Provides better control over water flow and temperature adjustment.
- If one of the handles is leaking, you can shut-off its valve and keep using the other one.
- You would require a professional to install a two-handle faucet as it requires a complex installation process.
- Rates of two-handle faucets are higher as compared to single-handle faucets.
- These faucets are more prone to leakage because of multiple joints.
We have talked about single-handle faucets and dual-handle faucets, let’s talk about no-handle faucets. These touchless faucets were initially introduced in shopping malls after which they started appearing in our washrooms and now touchless faucets are becoming popular in the kitchens as well.
And if you’re wondering what makes these fauces so special, read ahead:
- You minimize water wastage as the tap only turns on when your hand appears.
- You don’t have to bother yourself with adjusting the water flow and temperature every now and then as it is fixed in advance according to your requirements.
- It’s more efficient as you don’t have to turn the valve on and off every time.
- It’s easy to operate as there are no handles.
- It’s a serious hit on your wallet because of its hefty price.
- If you, for some reason, need to change its flow and temperature settings, you will need to call a professional as it is not as simple as rotating a handle.
- If you have wiggled your hands like a madman in a shopping mall’s bathroom sink, you know that touchless faucets can malfunction, leaving you agitated.
Style matters: Types of handles
This might seem a trivial thing to consider but choosing the right handle type for yourself goes a long way.
The type of handle you want depends on the type of work you normally do in the kitchen, the available space, and your budget.
Here are some of the most common and efficient faucet handles available in the market:
Lever handle faucets are quite the norm in modern households. Their popularity lies in their ease of utilization. A lever handle can easily be operated by a child, a weak old grandma, or someone suffering from arthritis.
Cross handle faucets are not common. You would only find them in old houses or vintage-themed flats. These faucets are harder to maneuver, especially for children.
One of the newest additions to the kitchen faucets is the touch activated faucets. These faucets are the easiest to use, with a single tap, you’ll have the water running.
Speaking of handles, one of the most regrettable mistakes you can make is not to consider the size of the handle. If the bridge behind the sink is shorter than the handle length, your handle will end up hitting the trim.
When you find yourself looking for a faucet to buy, you should always keep in mind the functions you want.
The market is flooded with different kinds of faucets offering different features. Where one faucet is good for filling pots, the other is great for rinsing. Basically, buying a faucet is a trade-off between what features you truly need and what you can live without.
The following faucets are the most common and user-friendly faucets that you can install in your kitchen:
Pull-Out & Pull-Down Faucets
Although the terms are used interchangeably, the pull-out and pull-down faucets are different. So let’s talk about them separately.
Pull-out faucets are great for premium kitchen spaces. It is one of the most durable and efficient kitchen faucets in the market.
- These types of faucets have a longer hose with a spray head.
- Their spout is shorter which saves space.
- Pull-out faucets are long-lasting and efficient.
- Not ideal for filling tall pans and pots.
- If you have bigger hands, you might struggle handling the pull-out faucet.
- Pull-out faucets do not offer any variety in spray designs.
The pull-down faucet is a union of aesthetics and functionality. A favorite for kitchen use, this type of faucet is best for spacious kitchens.
- Allows smooth and efficient water flow and minimizes splashing.
- Makes rinsing and filling more efficient.
- Offers various spray design options to choose from.
- You will need to consider the space above the sink because of the height of the spout.
- The height of the spout can also result in a loss of water pressure.
Pot-filler faucets, as the name suggests, are designed to fill pots so to save you the trouble of carrying water-filled pots all the way from the sink to the stove. However, one needs to give proper consideration during installation or the pot-filler will become more of a trouble than a convenience.
- Saves you the trouble of carrying water-filled pots from the sink to the stove.
- It’s easy to install and a professional would hardly take a couple of hours for installation. However, the height of the faucet needs to be properly thought out or the faucet will either be too high or too low for the pots.
- If a pot-filler leaks, you’re in for a disaster as the leaking water would not only damage the walls but also the stove. As a precaution, you should install at least two shut-off valves so that if one wears out, the other one can stop the leaking water.
- Regular cleaning would be required as the faucet would be in the direction of the smoke and grease from the stove.
A new concept of having a secondary sink has emerged in the interior design industry. The idea is to have a smaller, secondary, sink to make the main sink more spacious and efficient. The secondary sink can be used for tasks such as rinsing of fruits or veggies. A secondary sink can be even better if there are multiple cooks.
Bar faucets are simply perfect for such secondary sinks because of their compact design.
- You can easily connect bar faucets to a hot water dispenser or a filtered dispenser for cold water.
- Bar faucets come in various designs and features so you can choose one according to your requirements.
- These faucets can be installed on any number of mounting holes.
- Not everyone has the space for a secondary sink so you must consider your kitchen space before choosing a bar faucet.
A sprayer is apart from the main faucet and is used for rinsing. It is a great feature to add along with your main faucet.
A sprayer can be used to rinse fruits and veggies or clean the sink.
A sprayer is designed to throw a thin stream of water such that there is little to no splashing.
If you have a pull-out or a pull-down faucet, a sprayer is useless.
Hygiene is, and should be, one of the top priorities in the kitchen. However, handing a bar of soap in the kitchen can be tricky and agitating. Having a soap-dispenser on the side makes the overall experience streamlined and hygienic.
The only drawback of a soap-dispenser I can think of is that you will have to fill it once it gets empty.
Finally! The look…
Your sink is the focal point of your kitchen, so a faucet can make or break your kitchen. After all the technical aspects and features have been covered, the finishing must not be overlooked.
The finishing of faucets can be categorized as modern and classic.
The rule of thumb is to choose a faucet finish that goes well with the overall kitchen aesthetic.
Below are the most common finishes the fall under these two categories:
If you are someone who likes to remain up-to-date on all the fashion trends then opt for a metallic finish. Modern style finishes include:
A modern kitchen with a shiny chrome faucet looks splendid. The chrome finish reflects light, creating the illusion of a brighter kitchen than it already is.
It is known to be the most durable finish in the market. Moreover, chrome-finish faucets are easier to clean.
If you want funk and fun, opt for a white finish. It will look even better if the rest of your kitchen is full of other bright colors.
Nickel offers are more refined silver finish as compared to chrome. Although nickel is not as reflective, it complements a bright kitchen.
Nickel is also a durable option but it easily gets stained with water-marks or fingerprints. And even though some nickel-finish faucets are available in a coating that maintains the cleanliness of the faucet, the coating is not durable and wears off after some time.
Although there are other colors when it comes to a classical styled finish, there is nothing competing with brass. The reflective brass adds warmth and elegance to the whole kitchen.
How do I know which kitchen faucet to buy?
Apart from the main features and technicalities, there are some other considerations that would help you in deciding the best faucet for your kitchen. Here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself when you are buying your kitchen faucet:
Can I install it myself?
Ever wondered if you could install the faucets yourself? Well it’s both yes and no depending on the faucet you have purchased.
Different faucets require a different installation process. Some faucets, such as the single-handle faucet, require little expertise and anyone with a basic level plumbing experience can install it. Whereas, there are others that require high-level precision to install them satisfactorily.
If you want to cut the cost of professional plumbers, you might want to choose a simple faucet that can be installed by a layman.
Is it durable?
People don’t buy faucets frequently. A good-quality faucet should give you a decade of hassle-free service (with the occasional maintenance and leakage issues). Most US manufactured faucets come with a lifetime warranty, as well. So make sure, you buy one that offers durability.
Is it affordable?
The faucet price should also be considered while buying. And note that a high price does not mean better quality. Some high-end faucets offer features that you might not need, so there is no sense in wasting extra money on a feature you won’t even use.
Always consider the features provided and the price asked. An optimum faucet lies somewhere in the middle of the feature-price graph i.e. not only is it affordable, but it also offers all the features that you require.
A good way to find your faucet would be to visit different retailers in the market to get an estimate of the price.
What kind of maintenance does the faucet require?
Some faucets, e.g. bronze, require regular polishing to maintain their original elegance and functionality. While others, e.g. nickel, need a little cleaning with a wet cloth. If you don’t want to polish your kitchen faucet ever now and then, you should choose a faucet with a nickel finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is obvious that the kitchen faucets and holes do have a standard size that is followed throughout the US. Without standardization, efficiency and functionality is not possible. As mentioned before, centerset faucet tap holes are 4-inches apart while the widespread faucet tap holes are 6 to 8 inches apart. Moreover, the standard tap hole size is 1⅜ inches, but some faucets need 1½ inches holes.
There are various US based brands that sell high-end kitchen faucets; however, it is not mandatory to choose only from them. If you are well aware of the technical aspects and other considerations then after a little search in the market, you would easily find the perfect faucet. But if you want to buy from the best of the trade, you might want to look into the catalogs of Moen, Kohler, and Delta Faucet.
Kitchen faucets come in a variety of prices. The price differs for different types of faucets based on region, brand, quality, and durability. Because there are numerous factors in play, it is difficult to specify a price range.
If you visit the market, you would find kitchen faucets starting from a couple of hundred dollars to three to four thousand dollars. But that does not mean the more expensive a kitchen faucet is, the better it is.
As you know, a single handle kitchen faucet is cheaper than a double-handle kitchen faucet. But one cannot claim that one is better than the other, it all depends upon personal preferences. Therefore, the best way is to visit various shops to get an estimated price range and choose the one offering the best quality at the lowest price.