Guide to Choosing a Kitchen Faucet
The faucet is one of the busiest tools in any kitchen and is quite often the focal point in kitchen design. Whether you are redesigning the complete kitchen or just want a quick refresh, replacing the faucet can work wonders. But this decision can feel overwhelming, what with the number of options available in the market today. Between materials, looks, and features, you have hundreds of options regardless of your budget.
Looks don’t matter, much
The looks and finish of the kitchen faucet matter a lot and you’d definitely want something that matches the rest of the kitchen hardware (like cabinet handles). However, looks do not matter much when it comes to selecting a faucet model. It’s more important to focus on the features and size. Once you’ve decided on the must-have features, you can find almost always model in the look and finish you want.
Materials and finish
That being said, some finishes do affect how often you need to clean the faucet or the long-term durability of the spout. For instance, chrome is the most durable finish and the easiest to keep clean. So in a high-traffic area like the kitchen, chrome makes sense.
Other options include satin nickel (also called stainless steel) and oil-rubbed bronze. Both are quite durable finishes but less so than chrome. They also show water spots and you’d need to clean them more often. However, if those finishes match your kitchen design, then you need not worry too much about the durability.
Features to look for
Pull out vs pull-down spouts
Pull-down spouts attach to a rubber hose that offers better reach to fill large pots or to reach the corners of a large sink. With a high arch, they add a dramatic flair to any modern kitchen. Pull-out spouts offer the same functionality but pull out towards you rather than down into the sink. They have a lower profile, so it’s a good choice if you have a shelf above the sink.
Spout height and reach
A tall spout adds flair and looks amazing but may not fit the space above your sink. You also need to consider the size of the sink. Faucets with smaller reach may not access the corners of a large sink or a 3-bowl sink. You might also end up splashing water behind the spout if you select one with a smaller reach. A short pull-out spout might be your best option if you don’t have a lot of space around the sink.
Unless you’re replacing the current sink, you need to match the number of holes available to the faucet. Many sinks have 3 holes to accommodate a two-handle faucet but many homeowners now prefer single-handle spouts. The faucet may include a plate to cover the extra holes or you can purchase one separately. You can also use extra holes for a soap dispenser to reduce clutter on the sink counter.
There are different materials brands use when it comes to valves but ceramic offers the best long-term durability and virtually eliminates repairs. Avoid plastic valves as they will start to leak quite soon. Don’t hesitate to spend a bit more to make sure you get a faucet with ceramic valves.
Many modern faucets come with electronic controls or motion sensors to add functionality. For instance, you can tap the spout or wave your hand to turn on the faucet. This is helpful if your hands are dirty or if you have young children who can’t reach the handle. Remember that these faucets are a bit more expensive and require a power source nearby.
Another feature you might consider is the type of sprays you can get from the faucet. Some manufacturers offer multiple spray options like drizzle, spray boost, ring spray, pause, etc. These can add a boost to your water pressure or reduce splatter. A pause button lets you stop and restart without the faucet switching back to the default spray option.
Wall or deck-mount
Deck-mounted models are more common among kitchen faucets with a dizzying array of options available. Wall-mounted options save on space, hence commonly used in industrial and hospitality environments. If you have a small sink or not much free space on the counter, then a wall-mounted design may be preferable.
A good quality faucet with basic features will run you between $65 to $100. Models with electronic functions or smart technologies can cost more. While that is a baseline, you can end up spending quite a bit more on the faucet. Fancier models with stunning designs can cost more than $300 – $500.
Keep in mind that these faucets are not necessarily better quality, it’s more about the looks. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can get a basic model with fewer features but make sure it has ceramic valves for durability.