Buying Guide for Kitchen Faucets
Since selecting a faucet may initially seem like a difficult task, our goal is to provide you with enough information to assist you in selecting your kitchen faucet.
When it comes to your kitchen, there are a few factors to consider, and you should ask yourself the following questions:
What other accessories do I want or need to have on my kitchen sink?
What kind of sprayer do I like?
Do I need a faucet with a high spout to fill large pots?
What kind of handle do I like?
What finish do I like, or what finish will match my kitchen?
With a better idea of your needs and requirements, unfortunately, you might have some limitations depending on your existing conditions.
Most kitchen sinks are pre-drilled with either 3 or 4 holes. If you have an undermount sink, you will most likely be installing your faucet on the granite countertop. In that case, your granite fabricator can drill the number of holes needed.
The number of holes and their position is a good starting point. The bottom line is that you need to take into account the number of available holes and how many accessories you need on your kitchen sink. If you are limited on the number of holes available, you can always select a faucet that only requires a single-hole installation.
Depending on your local plumbing codes, you may need to have an air gap, which helps prevent raw sewage from backing up into your dishwasher.
Sprayers and Spouts
Sprayers keep evolving and no longer are we limited to those small plastic sprayers of yesteryear, but those are still available. Instead, there are many options available.
Pull-out sprayers are still very popular, and as the name implies, this sprayer is part of your faucet spout and pulls out when needed. This type of spray head will give you a much more forceful spray, and are generally designed with two modes, aerated flow and spray mode.
Pull-down sprayers share a lot of the same features and characteristics as the pull-out sprayer. The main difference is that because the sprayhead is fed through a gooseneck spout, it allows for better clearance between the top of the sink and the spout, allowing space for bigger pots.
Spring spouts are somewhat reminiscent of the restaurant type pre-rinse faucets; these faucets have become the latest fad in higher-end homes. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal, there is a significant functional benefit as well.
Generally, the sprayhead gives a much more vigorous flow, which works great for rinsing your pots and pans. In some cases, the spray head is activated by an integrated lever, making the whole process much more efficient.
Another criteria necessary in selecting the appropriate kitchen faucet is that of the spout. Having the highest does not necessarily mean that it is better; you should consider your cooking habits. A high arch spout generally will give you a clearance between the top of the sink and the spout of about 6-10 inches; in a standard spout, that same clearance is around 4-6 inches.
Be mindful of the size of your sink as the spout generally should reach at the center. A small faucet will get lost in a large sink, and a large faucet on a small sink may visually overpower the sink. On a double sink, the spout should be long enough to reach both of the bowls. The sprayer should also be able to reach all corners of your sink.
When it comes to handles, there is no right or wrong choice. It is mostly a matter of personal preference and matching the aesthetics of your kitchen.
Single handle faucets are very easy to operate with just one hand and are mostly available in contemporary designs.
Two-handle faucets adjust the hot and cold water individually as well as change the volume of water. The main reason to choose a single handle faucet or a two-handle faucet is the aesthetics. If you design a classically styled kitchen, a traditionally styled two handle faucet may be the best option.
The same concept applies to handle shapes. Knobs tend to be somewhat more cumbersome to operate. Levers and cross handles are the easiest to use, and most levers meet ADA requirements.
Choosing a faucet’s finish depends more on aesthetics and personal preference than function. There are some unique characteristics to each finish besides just the color.
Chrome is by far the most durable finish. It is a very neutral finish and can be used in many different décor settings. It does show fingerprints, and water spots, so be prepared for constant wiping down. Not a deal-breaker for some, but annoying for others.
Brushed nickel is a trendy finish because it hides fingerprints and blemishes easily. Its color tends to blend well with a warmer toned kitchen.
Polished brass is not as popular as it once was, but its gold color provides a rich look to any kitchen. Make sure that if you select this color that it is a PVD finish, this is a technology that prevents it from tarnishing. Otherwise, you may find yourself polishing brass pretty frequently.
Brushed brass is right now one of the most popular finishes available. It has the richness of polished brass in a bit more understated elegant style and is low maintenance as it rarely shows any fingerprints or water spots.
Antique brass is traditional elegance, a trend in the 80s and 90s but now making a resurgence. The combination of classic elegance and low maintenance is why this finish keeps gaining popularity.
Matte Black seems to be all the rage now, and it’s easy to see why it fits well in traditional settings and more contemporary decors.
Oil Rubbed Bronze is very popular because of its rustic appearance. It is considered a living finish, which means that it will continually change depending on use and cleaning practices. Beware that it may not age in the way that you were expecting.