A kitchen is the heart of any home, where you gather with your closest friends and family. You’ll want to choose décor that expresses your personality, and your kitchen faucet is no exception. At first glance there appear to be so many options that you might think you need a professional designer to advise you. But if you take your time and consider all of your options, before long you’ll feel like an expert yourself. This buyer’s guide to kitchen faucets will help you reach that point.
You don’t want to spend a lot of time going back and forth to the home outfitter store. If you do a bit of research first, you’ll have all the information you need to make your choice.
Your first step should be to decide if you’re just going to replace the faucet but keep the existing sink. If so, check the sink to see how many holes it has for faucet installation. Buying a new faucet that uses the same number of holes as the old one is naturally going to be less work. If you choose a new faucet that uses fewer holes than the old one, you can cover the extra holes using a baseplate. It’s better to avoid a faucet that requires new holes. Drilling holes in your sink has the potential to damage it beyond repair, and then you’ll have something else to replace!
Also give some thought to how many levers or handles you’d like on the faucet. One handle faucets are the easiest to install, because they need fewer installation holes, have fewer parts, and often include a spray wand that pulls out of the spout. A two handle faucet has one handle each for hot water and cold, and the sprayer is separate from the main body of the faucet. The biggest advantage to a two handle design is that these usually cost less. Also, it’s a bit easier to control the water temperature precisely.
Also think about what shape and size you want the spout to be. Measure your sink to get a better idea of what you need. You will want the spout to swivel enough to serve most of the area, which is a big concern if your sink has two basins. The generic straight spout has the advantage of costing less, but if you’ve got big pots and other vessels to fit into your sink, a higher “gooseneck” faucet will probably work better.
You’re going to see that you have a lot of choices to make in your quest for the perfect kitchen faucet. For those of you who are not on a tight budget, the high end faucets can be completely customized. Whatever function or style you prefer, you’re certain to find a faucet that suits you perfectly.
The faucet’s finish is one of the main factors determining the appearance of the fixture. Think about the color palette in the rest of the kitchen and decide what finish will look best with it. Consider your flooring, cabinets, backsplash, countertop, and everything else. Gone are the days when your choice was between bronze or chrome. Today you have a broad range of finishes to choose from, such as:
- Stainless Steel Spot Resist
- Polished Nickel
- Brushed Chrome
- Mediterranean Bronze
- Oil-Rubbed Bronze
- Wrought Iron
- Matte Black
Every model you look at will have its own finish options. That’s why it’s important to do your research before you shop, so if you have your heart set on a particular finish you’ll know whether or not that finish is available on the faucet you’re looking at. If worst comes to worst, you can probably find a supplier who will custom order your faucet in the finish you need.
Shape of Spout
If you’ve taken measurements, you already know how big the spout needs to be. Choosing a spout shape is an aesthetic decision as much as a practical one. Curved gooseneck spouts and straight spouts are your two main options. Just remember that an arched spout may cause water to splash out of a shallow sink, and that you won’t be able to find a pull-out sprayer on a conventional straight-spout faucet.
Standard or Pull-Out
Pull-out sprayers have plenty of advantages over the conventional design. Pulling the spray wand out of the spout allows you to move the water stream to exactly where you need it to be. There are two types, both functioning in more or less the same way: Pull-down sprayers are pulled straight downwards into your sink to increase your reach. This is especially handy if your sink is very deep. But you may need your sprayer for more than just washing dishes in the sink.
A pull-out sprayer is slightly different. You pull the spray wand straight out of the spout instead of downward. These are great if you want the water stream to reach outside of the sink itself. For example, if you want to fill a big pot, you may prefer to leave it on the counter and fill it with a pull-out sprayer rather than lift it out of the sink once it is full (and heavy!) Both types of sprayers are useful for cleaning the sink itself, washing fresh produce, or even shampooing your hair. Make sure you know how long you want the hose to be before you buy.
Stream/Spray Selection Button
A faucet with a pull-out or pull-down sprayer will probably also have a button for choosing spray or stream. This button allows you to control the type of water flow you want. Different models have different designs when it comes to this feature, so check out some of them to see what works best and most comfortably for you. Try to find out how easy it is to operate this button when you are focused on another task like washing dishes.
Mounting refers to how the faucet is attached to your sink or sink area. A deck plate mounting is best if you’ve got more holes in your sink than you need for the new installation. Deck plates also give the sink and faucet a clean, finished look, making everything look well-matched even if you aren’t trying to hide extra holes.
In the right setting, a non deck plate mount can also be attractive. Just avoid this type of mounting if you’ve got unused holes to hide. Take this into account when you buy your faucet to avoid having to re-think the whole process later.
Wall mounted faucets are a bit uncommon. You might find the appearance of them a little odd – they almost look more like a bathroom shower than a faucet for your kitchen. If you like the look of a wall-mounted faucet for your kitchen, it’s best to get it professionally installed rather than trying to do it yourself.
Keep looking out for extra features available with some kitchen faucets. In most cases you’ll have to look at the high-end models to find these, but chances are if there’s a feature you absolutely must have you’ll find it somewhere. If you want to filter your water, you can find a faucet that includes a separate spout to direct water through a filtering system. If you cook a lot, a dedicated pot filler faucet might be worth having. These are generally installed at the stove instead of the sink, and are best left to the professionals to install for you.
Some faucets will allow you to set your temperature range. If you don’t like taking the time to adjust the water temperature each time you use your faucet, this feature may appeal to you. Pull-down faucets sometimes require you to hold down a trigger to release the water when the spray wand is pulled out. This feature can help you save water when you’re washing lots of dishes.
All of these special features will cost you more, but if you take the time to do some digging online, you can save a lot of money. Installing it yourself is also a good way to stay on budget. No matter what you’re looking for in a faucet, the perfect one for your kitchen is out there somewhere. Doing some research will make the difficult job of choosing well a whole lot easier.