I think the kitchen faucet is one of those items we take for granted until either yours stops working or you get one that is so cool it puts your circa 1980’s faucet to shame. We found out how much we took faucets for granted last year when our faucet ended up being a trickle of water. It took forever to do anything in the kitchen that required water. 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, etc. The sink is integral to the kitchen; just like kitchen lighting, appliances, etc. These days there are amazing faucets you can choose from including high-tech options.
There are many types of kitchen faucets that you can use in your kitchen right now. 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?
The point of this article, which took many hours to put together, is to help you choose a faucet. There are many options, features, design 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?
A. The Main Types of Kitchen Faucets
1. Pull Down
A pull-down kitchen faucet uses a spray wand that pulls down straight into the sink. This can work for cleaning dishes or produce. It is the most basic type of faucet you can order today.
2. Pull Out
A pull-out faucet is different for how it can be pulled out directly towards you. It can work with a small button on its tap that allows you to adjust the flow of water coming out of the faucet.
The biggest difference between the two is that the pull-out faucet has a body that works in a straight line. A pull down faucet is one with a curve that can only be pulled downward.
A single-handle faucet uses a singular lever that you can position from left to right to trigger warm or cool water. It can take a bit of time to get the water to your desired temperature depending on what you have to work with.
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.
5. Commercial Style
A commercial style faucet uses a longer flexible design. It is more flexible from the base and doesn’t have as much of a cover to it. 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.
6. Separate Spray
When looking for something more flexible, a separate spray faucet might be ideal. This uses a separate handle with a trigger that can activate a spraying motion inside the sink. The regular flow of water from the main tap will work when you are not triggering the separate 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.
7. Pot Filler
A pot filler faucet is made with a special body 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.
8. Motion Detection
The last option is a motion detection-based choice. This works with you simply placing your hand over a sensor to get the water to come out. 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.
B. Faucet Parts and Function
Let’s get specific here to 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 range from one to four. It all depends on the design you get.
Another aspect of 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 look at not only how well something is designed but also how easy it is to get a faucet to fit in well in your kitchen. 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 look at any point in your kitchen. It has a good style but it does require plenty of polishing.
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.
To get a quality kitchen faucet, you will have to spend a good deal of money on it. 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 at 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 in 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 the 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.
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