Your kitchen faucet is one of the most frequently used fixtures in your home and a focal point in your kitchen. Once simply a tool for food preparation and washing dishes, today’s kitchen faucets offer exciting new features and enhanced functionality designed to provide ease-of-use and years of trouble-free operation. This buying guide will help you understand what to look for when selecting a kitchen faucet, so you can feel confident the fixture you choose provides the ideal combination of function and style.
Factors to Consider
Whether you're replacing an old faucet or installing a new one, you'll need to consider these important factors:
Mounting Options – Deckplate, non-deckplate and wall-mount Features and Functions – Handles, sprayers and spouts Finish – Tones, features and décor coordination
While accessories like deckplates and sink hole covers allow some flexibility, if you’re replacing a faucet on an existing sink or countertop, the faucet you choose should be compatible with the number and spacing of the existing holes. If you’re installing a new sink you can customize the holes to suit the faucet of your choice.
Kitchen sinks and countertops typically have between one and five holes to accommodate various configurations of handles, spouts and any accessories like side sprayers and/or soap or lotion dispensers. Generally, single-handle units require one hole in the sink and double-handle units require three holes, one for each handle and one for the spout. Double-handle faucets that can accommodate sinks with a single hole are available. Sink hole covers are available to conceal any unused holes on the sink.
Kitchen faucets can be mounted in one of three ways:
Deckplate faucets contain the spout and handles in one mounting plate. These units can cover up to three holes in your sink, and up to two additional holes can be filled with a sidespray or soap/lotion dispenser.
Non-Deckplate faucet components like the spout, handles, sidespray and/or soap or lotion dispenser mount individually on the sink or countertop. Depending on the faucet type, these units can fill up to five holes in your sink—spout, two handles, sidespray and soap/lotion dispenser.
Wall-Mount faucets connect to the wall above the kitchen sink. They make it easier to clean sink and countertops while allowing more height for larger vessels. Wall-mount faucets are a good match for apron and undermount sinks with no pre-drilled faucet holes.
Features and Functions
Once you know the number of holes your faucet requires and which mounting option you prefer, you’re ready to consider handle, sprayer and spout options.
Kitchen faucets have one or two handles.
Single-Handle faucets can be attached to the faucet base or stand-alone and require one or two sink holes. Many models come with a mounting plate to cover up to three unused holes and are ADA compliant for people with disabilities. A side sprayer can be integrated in the main faucet deck or as part of the faucet spout.
Double-Handle faucets have separate handles for hot and cold water and require three sink holes. The handles may be integrated with a deckplate or mounted separately. The sprayer is typically separate from the faucet head.
Sprayers may be located on the faucet spout or to the side. Some faucets incorporate pull-out or pull-down spray heads into the spout that allow you to direct water wherever you choose, providing added convenience and versatility for cooking and cleaning.
Pull-Out sprayers have faucet spouts that are curved or angled, allowing the head to be pulled out and extended. They are available for single-handle faucets and useful for washing dishes and vegetables and rinsing the sink. Some units offer an additional spray and/or pause function located within the main faucet head.
Pull-Down sprayers have faucet spouts that rise into a high arc, allowing the head to be pulled down into the sink. They are available for single- or double-handle faucets and allow more space and flexibility in the sink. The pull-down feature often includes a spray and/or pause function.
Side sprayers mount to the side of the faucet and require a separate hole in the sink or countertop. They extend water flow to hard-to-reach areas and make cleaning large pots or preparing food easier and retract when not in use. Side sprayers can often be matched with your existing faucet.
Kitchen faucets come in a variety of spout styles and heights. The type of sink you have may limit some of your options, but generally this isn’t an issue. Select a faucet with a spout that reaches as close to the center of the sink as possible. Average sized sinks require an 8” - 10” spout while larger sinks and sinks with multiple bowls may require a 12” - 14” spout.
Standard spouts are commonly from 3” - 5” high above the plane of the sink.
High-Arc spouts, also known as Gooseneck spouts, are commonly 8” - 10” high above the plane of the sink. They add elegant style, provide more work room and increase range by rotating as much as 180°.
The finish is the surface coating on the spout and handles. Consider a finish that complements your kitchen’s theme and coordinates with décor, lighting and appliances. Many manufacturers have special processes that make their finishes highly durable and resistant to abrasion and discoloration. Many also provide lifetime guarantees that protect the faucet against tarnish, so look for a finish backed by a strong warranty. In the samples of popular finishes below, color representations should only be used as a guide and may not be shown in their true quality due to differences in color monitors.
Chrome may have a polished, brushed or matte finish. Durable, economical and easy to clean, it resists oxidation but does show water marks more than some other finishes.
Stainless Steel may have a polished, brushed or matte finish. Durable, economical and easy to clean, it resists oxidation but does show water marks more than some other finishes.
Nickel may have a brushed or satin look and is stylish, durable and easy to clean. Look for units with a titanium finish to better resist scratching and tarnish.
Mixed Colors and metallic tones can be matched to your bathroom’s color scheme. Striking combinations include satin nickel and polished brass, brushed nickel and polished chrome, satin nickel and white, and more.
Brass may have a high gloss, satin or antique finish and is ideal for traditional décor. Faucets with lifetime finishes resist damage and wear.
Bronze complements neutral color palettes and is a popular choice for a rustic look. It may have a polished, brushed or darker oil-rubbed look with highlights and resists scratches, tarnishing and corrosion.
Solid Color finishes may be epoxy or baked-on enamel and clean easily. Popular options include white, black and ivory.
Secondary & Bar Faucets
Secondary sinks and bar faucets provide added convenience for preparing food or entertaining. When selecting a faucet for a secondary sink, choose one that complements the style and finish of your primary faucet.
Secondary sink faucets for food preparation should have both hot and cold water and sprays with high functionality.
Secondary faucets or bar faucets for entertaining may require cold water only, enhanced with a water filtration system.
Adjustable Flow-Rate Restrictor
Provides complete control over how much water you use. Ideal for areas where water supply is limited or if you’re concerned about conserving water.
Dishwashing chores are made easier with a sprayer that features a scraper or brush.
A faucet mounted over the stove allows you to fill heavy pots without carrying them back and forth to the sink. Many of these faucets feature a double-jointed spout that makes it easy to fill pots on both the front and back burners. This design also allows the unit to fold back against the wall when not in use to keep it out of the way. Some units offer both hot and cold valves.
Instant Hot- or Chilled-Water Dispensers
If you have an extra sink hole, you may want to consider installing a faucet component that dispenses hot or chilled water for coffee, tea, soup and more.
While most faucets require the addition of a separate filter, some feature a built-in unit that strains impurities such as dirt, rust and chemicals to provide better tasting water for drinking and cooking. Upscale models combine a pullout sprayer with a filter and some have an LCD indicator that monitors filter life.
Touchless or Hands-Free Operation
Touchless faucets turn on automatically using light and infrared sensors. They offer convenient operation when hands are soapy or dirty, help stop the spread of germs, and save money and water.
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