The kitchen faucet is one of those items we’ve all taken for granted. Either yours stops working, or you see one so cool that it puts your circa 1980’s faucet to shame. At my house, we found out how much we took faucets for granted when our water pressure went from Niagara falls to spitting up your Coca Cola when hearing a dad joke. Suddenly washing dishes turned into a multi-hour endeavor. Of course, we hired a plumber to get it fixed, but to this day I’m grateful we now have a properly flowing kitchen faucet.
A great kitchen sink can provide you with a good spot for preparing food, washing dishes, filling pots, and is integral to smooth dinner preparation. There is no kitchen without a sink, just like kitchen lighting, appliances, floors, ceilings, fridges. A very high maintenance room, honestly. Just as important as a great sink, you need a well functioning faucet.
There are faucets that finish your kitchen sink in style with spray heads, double and single-handle faucets, and pull-down kitchen faucets for an improved water flow and easy washing, as well as different finishes such as stainless steel. These are designed with many functional features and can make a world of difference in your space.
Why this article?
In a world with so many options for everything made for consumption, sometimes we need a little help with navigation! With faucets, there are many options, features, designs, and functions to consider. We break down every element of a faucet, explain those elements, and include examples so you can figure what it is you want and what you don’t want.
Table of Contents
- A. The Main Types of Kitchen Faucets
- B. Faucet Parts and Function
- C. Materials
- D. Cost
- E. Size
- F. Special Features
- G. Where to buy faucets online
- H. Video: How to install a kitchen faucet
- I. Frequently Asked Questions
- Which kitchen faucets are popular?
- Do kitchen faucets come in standard sizes? If so, what are those sizes?
- Can kitchen faucets be painted?
- What materials are kitchen faucets made of?
- How long do kitchen faucets last?
- Can kitchen faucets be repaired?
- Can kitchen faucets be recycled? If so, how?
- How do kitchen faucets work?
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A. The Main Types of Kitchen Faucets
1. The Pull Down Faucet
A pull-down kitchen faucet uses a spray wand that pulls down straight into the sink. This can work for cleaning dishes or products, even your new puppy! It is the most basic type of faucet you can purchase. The pull-down feature makes for wonderful clean up of that messy sink. Pointer: also a great tool when your roommate is being annoying and needs a good hose down.
2. The Pull-Out Faucet
The biggest difference between the two is that the pull-out faucet has a body that works in a straight line, whereas a pull-down faucet is one with a curve that can only be pulled downward. This option allows for 360-degree spraying potential. Keep out of reach of children for your own personal dryness.
3. The Single-Handle Faucet
A single-handle faucet uses a singular lever that you can position from left to right to control warm or cool water. Pulling the lever up or down will control the water pressure. It can take a bit of time to get the water to your desired temperature, and will usually be a less precise temperature where you end up settling for an arctic bath or hellfire swamp.
4. The Dual-Handle Faucet
A dual-handle option has separate levers for warm and cool water. Sometimes, these two handles can be attached to the same central piece but, in other cases, they can be placed a few inches apart from each other. Either way, they would be right on the sides of the main tap.
This would also require separate connections to hot and cold water just like what you might find in your bathroom. The right handle usually controls hot water, and the left handle usually controls cold water. Bringing the handle towards the center or outer edges will control the water pressure.
5. The Commercial Style Faucet
A commercial-style faucet uses a longer flexible design. Depending on the model you choose, you might find multiple taps for different needs. This is designed to create a more modern appearance in your kitchen, and this is what will be found in professional kitchens. This thing is heavy-duty, and any guest brought over will take you as a serious chef. Or a serious dog washer.
6. The Separate Spray Faucet
When looking for something more flexible, a separate spray faucet might be ideal. This uses a separate handle with a trigger that will avert the water flow from the primary faucet, to the spray nozzle. The handle will be linked to the water supply that comes from a regular tap. When you turn on the normal tap, the spray nozzle will be active as water can be quickly rerouted to the tap without problems. We like options folks! And this is a great one.
7. The Pot Filler Faucet
A pot-filler faucet is made with a special arm extension that moves outward. It can swivel outward and go over a pot or other large item in your sink. This is identical to what you might find in a commercial sink. Some models like this are made to fit onto a wall and can link to your plumbing system from there. This is a personal favorite for avid soup makers.
8. The Motion Detection Faucet
The last option is a motion detection-based choice. This works with you simply placing your hand over a sensor to activate water flow. You could also place a pot or other utensil under the tap. You’d have to check on how well the sensor on such a unit works to make it effective though. Also, you can always adjust the temperature of it by simply using a lever at the base.
The sensor will typically be placed in the middle part of the faucet near its base. It should be easily visible through a dark spot. This should be used properly so you’ll actually get such a special faucet like this to work properly. These are most often found in public bathrooms so as to prevent the spread of germs.
B. Faucet Parts and Function
Let’s get specific here and help you figure out exactly how to go about choosing a faucet. There are several components to a faucet. For each component, there are different options.
Faucet Parts Diagram
The Parts Explained:
All images in this section courtesy of Wayfair.com.
A. The Neck
The neck is the “tube” so-to-speak, that carries water from the mount-location to the spout.
There are 3 main faucet neck types
B. The Handle
Faucets come with one or two handles. See examples:
C. Installation Location and Type
Faucet installation takes into account the number of holes you must make into the counter to install the sink. The number of holes ranges from one to four. It all depends on the design you get, or what already exists on your countertop. This can always be altered.
Another aspect of the installation is the install location. You can mount it on the wall or on the counter (deck-mounted). Here are examples:
All images above under the “Parts Explained” section courtesy of Wayfair.com.
You should not only look at how well something is designed, but is this design compatible with the overall function and look of your space? The materials used for making your kitchen faucets can include one of many good items:
A bronze style is made with a darker tone in mind and has a rustic appeal to it. This could add a nice style that prepares a quaint and cozy look to any kitchen. It has a lovely style but it does require plenty of polishing maintenance.
2. Zinc Alloy
A zinc alloy mixes zinc with copper to create a brass-like style although it can be painted with a nicer silver-tone if preferred. This works well in most situations and will not corrode or rust easily.
3. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel will fit in perfectly with a good number of sink basins that you have to work with. A stainless steel faucet will come with a shiny style that is easy to clean off. You should make sure it is treated carefully though as it can scratch.
Copper comes with a darker tone but it still manages to create a refined look. This is best suited for classic-inspired sinks. It should be polished regularly so it can stay beautiful. Also, this works best if you’re in a kitchen area where there isn’t far too much light, what with the shiny surface possibly causing quite a bit of light reflections depending on what you have.
Although a plastic faucet is cheaper and smooth and can be prepared in one of many colors, you’d have to be cautious with one. You do not want to get into any situations where the faucet might chip or break. Also, it might not look as refined as other options unless you ensure that what you order fits in well with other materials inside your kitchen.
A typical faucet can cost about $100 to $300 depending on the materials used and how many parts are in it. A faucet with more parts will cost more for you to get.
A shinier and more elaborate faucet made with fine metal materials may also cost more. A bronze or copper faucet could go for $300 to $500 in some cases.
It can also cost about $200 to get someone to help you install your faucet. This process will entail such functions as:
- Removing the old faucet
- Assembling the new faucet
- Securing everything in its right place
- Managing all supply lines; this includes rerouting any existing lines depending on where the new faucet is being added in
- Clearing out all the old debris from the original faucet
- Testing to see that there are no hazardous materials in the area your faucet is being installed in; some older properties might have lead or asbestos materials in them
The cost will be rather varied based on the effort needed to get it installed. Make sure you look at how well the installation will work and that you have a clear idea of how water connections are to be used when getting the installation ready.
The size of your kitchen faucet has to be checked carefully. You should watch for the hot and cold water inlets when getting it installed. The inlets are typically about 8 inches apart from each other. This helps to create a standard where your faucet should be about 8 inches long.
The faucet itself can stick out by about 8 to 12 inches from its base. This should be enough to go over your sink basin.
It can also be about 12 to 18 inches high depending on the model. Check on how your faucet is organized so you can have something that is easy to use and isn’t too complex in its overall design.
F. Special Features
There are many added features that can be included with a kitchen faucet to make it a little more functional and easy to use:
- Soap dispenser: A soap pump may be added to a faucet. This could match up with the rest of the faucet and be placed right next to its main parts.
- A small button could be added to the tap area. This could allow you to adjust the flow of water. This does especially well if you don’t have a separate trigger nozzle on your faucet setup.
- A garbage disposal button may also be applied to the side. This could be flat on the surface and placed near the faucet to trigger the disposal.
- Spout swivel: You can get faucets that swivel either 180 degrees or 360 degrees.
- Adjustable angle: Some faucets can be adjusted angle-wise.
- Adjustable stream: You can buy faucets with different stream options. We have this; ours is rather rudimentary, but we can opt for the regular stream or spray stream.
- Built-in water filter: If filtered water is important, there are faucets with built-in water filters.
G. Where to buy faucets online
Choosing a faucet is no easy task. There are so many designs, styles, finishes, and features to choose from. Since this is a buying guide, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a list of great online retailers that sell faucets. Here they are:
H. Video: How to install a kitchen faucet
I. Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about kitchen faucets.
Which kitchen faucets are popular?
The Moen 7594EC Arbor Motionsense Touchless Pulldown Kitchen Faucet provides sleek and shiny sophistication, and with its two-sensor capability, the water flows with a simple hand movement. Its spray technology provides a 50-percent more powerful spray than most other faucets, and its flexible hole design enables installation in a variety of configurations.
Delta’s Leland Single-Handle Arctic Stainless Faucet 9178-AR-DST has a matte silver finish that hides fingerprints. It also has a magnetic dock for the spray hose, which has ShieldSpray Technology. Designed to last up to twice as long as other faucets, it will fit in single or triple hole configurations.
Popular functions of today’s kitchen faucets include instant hot water for beverages, pre-rinse faucets, bridge faucets, touchless, and pull-out or side spray functions.
Do kitchen faucets come in standard sizes? If so, what are those sizes?
Kitchen faucet hole sizes are standardized throughout the world at 35mm or 1-⅜ inches. Typical accommodations are a single hole or a triple hole. The single hole accommodates a faucet that has a single handle. The triple hole accommodates faucets that have separate handles for hot and cold water in addition to the faucet.
The two outer holes are often 8 inches apart, but be sure to verify the measurement before purchasing a replacement faucet. If your replacement faucet requires fewer holes than you have, plates or escutcheons can be used satisfactorily. If your replacement faucet requires more holes than you have, you’ll need to drill more holes in your sink or hire a professional plumber to do so.
When purchasing a replacement faucet, these three measurements need to be taken;
- The thickness of the countertop where the faucet will be installed.
- The number of holes in the countertop.
- The spacing between the holes, measured from center to center.
Can kitchen faucets be painted?
Faucets can usually be painted. It’s easier to paint metal faucets, but plastic ones can be painted with the proper type of paint. Whether your faucet is metal or plastic, you should use a primer before applying paint, and you should use spray paint rather than a brush. Be sure to buy both primer and paint that are designed to work on metal surfaces unless you have a plastic faucet. Covering the immediate area will protect the immediate surroundings, but there’s no need to isolate the area because you’re painting such a small item. There’s no need to remove the faucet, it can usually be painted while it’s installed, but plan to refrain from using it until the paint has completely dried.
What materials are kitchen faucets made of?
Kitchen faucets can be made of chrome-plated plastic or die-cast zinc, but the majority are made of brass. A plastic or metal core is frequently found in single-lever faucets, but most faucets used in residential installations have cartridges that are single or dual controlled. Less expensive faucets are often made of plastic, but they’re significantly less durable than those made of brass. Die-cast zinc is a step up from plastic, but it doesn’t have the durability that brass has.
How long do kitchen faucets last?
The longevity of a faucet will be determined by factors such as usage, construction, and installation as well as the quality of the faucet. Many kitchen faucets function well for 15 or 20 years, and some have a lifetime warranty. If the faucet is dripping, it may need a minor repair, such as a new seal or washer or a nut tightened.
Can kitchen faucets be repaired?
Many kitchen faucets can be repaired, but if the faucet is leaking, it may be more cost-effective to replace it, depending on the cause of the leak. Single-handle faucets come in three types:
- Ceramic disc
It’s essential to know the type of faucet you have before you do repairs. Removing the faucet is the first step, and then taking it with you to the hardware store will require the least amount of time. Taking a picture of the faucet when it’s installed and then of the counter after the faucet is removed will be helpful for the employee at the hardware store.
Can kitchen faucets be recycled? If so, how?
Most metal kitchen faucets can be recycled. Many plastic faucets, however, aren’t recyclable because they contain toxic substances. Many charitable organizations will accept metal faucets if there isn’t a recycling center in proximity to you. If you’re taking metals to the recycling center, you’ll need to sort them by type of metal.
How do kitchen faucets work?
Most kitchens are on the city water supply, which is pressurized, so the faucet acts more like a flow restrictor than a flow enabler. The water flowing into the house is pressurized, so when it reaches your countertop, unless the faucet is in place, water will spurt from the pipe. When you lift the faucet handle, as in the case of single-handle faucets, the water is allowed to flow into your sink. When you depress the handle, the flow of water stops.
For dual-handle faucets, either the hot or the cold or both handles allow the free flow of water to the faucet when turned on. When the faucets are turned off, the flow of water to the faucet is restricted.