How to pick your Kitchen faucet
The kitchen faucet’s basic function is to dispense hot and cold water for washing dishes, food and hands. But beyond that it’s a major player in defining the style of your kitchen faucet.
With all the new — and old — designs, finishes and mounting styles out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when choosing a faucet. Having the basic information on hand will make things easier. Here’s what to consider.
Sink-mounted faucets: There are many different kitchen faucet and sink designs, but they are not always compatible. If you are working with an existing sink, check how many mounting holes it has. New faucets come in one-, two-, three- or four-hole varieties.
When you are replacing an existing faucet that requires fewer holes than you have, look for a new faucet that comes with an escutcheon plate (a deck plate at the base) to cover up the unneeded sink holes. This will do the trick on many standard sinks.
Pros: This is a great option if you want a quick update to your kitchen and want to reuse your existing sink.
Cons: Your sink will limit your faucet style options.
Pros: Deck-mounted faucets provide a seamless look that’s especially well suited to contemporary kitchens (but they come in all styles).
Cons: They occupy space on the countertop. Also, you may find an accumulation of water, dirt and grime between the faucet and the wall.
Pros: Countertop cleanup is a breeze.
Cons: You’ll need to take extra care in colder climates (if local code allows installation on an outside wall) to insulate against freezing. Also, the plumber must get the spacing and location exactly right. If there is a wall stud in the way, it will need to be relocated so that the faucet and handles can be installed where you need them.
Single-handled faucets. A single-handled faucet rotates directionally, usually providing the ability to regulate flow with an up-and-down motion and temperature with a side-to-side motion.
Pros: Along with the advantage of requiring only one hole in your countertop, these are really convenient for when you have only one hand free. They often feature high arching pro-style designs that easily accommodate large pots and vessels in the sink.
Cons: Temperature adjustment is less precise than with a two-handled faucet.
Pros: Two-handled faucets have dedicated hot and cold water handles, allowing for more sensitive adjustments to water temperature as well as flow rate. Also, if one of the handles springs a leak, you can turn off the shut-off valve to the leaking handle and still use the faucet until you fix the leaking handle. Most allow you to change the handles and faucet independently from the plumbing, making for easy style changes.
Cons: It is more inconvenient to adjust two separate knobs when hands are full or dirty. Also, these faucets are typically considered to be more traditional and may limit you style-wise.
Pros: These versions operate with a sensor that detects light contact (some are activated by motion) that opens the valve. They are great for arthritic hands and children. They have the advantage of shutting off automatically to conserve water.
Cons: There is no way to adjust the temperature or the water flow through the touch mode. That has to be done manually, and some people find it aggravating. Also, these faucets require an occasional battery change for the sensor to work.
Chrome, nickel, brushed nickel, polished brass, oil-rubbed bronze, white, black and stainless steel are some of the standard finishes and colors. Keep in mind that finishes from different manufacturers may not be exactly the same. It is a good idea if you are planning to buy a faucet to purchase any accessories such as a hand spray or soap dispenser from the same collection to ensure a good match.
Do you have a kitchen that is sleek and contemporary, or one that is reminiscent of a farmhouse kitchen? Styles range from historically detailed to simple, clean lines, curves or 90-degree angles. This one item will shift the look of your kitchen to express the style you prefer. Again, the options are endless. But by the time you’re ready to pick the style, your kitchen style should already be established, which will help narrow down the options. Work with your designer to land on the best one for you.
Most faucets use cartridge, ball or ceramic disk valves. A faucet with a ceramic disk valve and stainless steel or solid brass base materials will be more durable and will cost more than one with plastic parts.
One good indicator of quality is weight. If you aren’t sure whether a fitting is solid brass, pick it up. It should feel heavier than other units. Solid-brass bodies last longest and require the least care, especially with hard water, which corrodes some metals. These faucets, as you may imagine, cost the most.
Though their entry price may be appealing, lower-priced faucets are often made with plastic parts that don’t hold up. When you factor in the cost to replace an inexpensive faucet and the fees to hire a plumber to install a replacement, it may quickly negate the savings.
- Mustafa Acikgoz