Of all the fixtures and appliances the kitchen faucet is probably the one we use the most. According to faucet manufacturer KWC, the average family uses the kitchen faucet more than 40 times a day. Whether it's hand washing, rinsing off dishes, filling a pasta pot or washing vegetables, the kitchen faucet gets a real workout every day. So when it's time to buy a new faucet you need to know how to choose one that will do it's job and will keep doing it for years to come. But, not to worry, this guide should take much of the fear and loathing out of selecting a new faucet.
Are you trying for a vintage antique look, a sleek contemporary look, Old World rustic or something elegant and traditional? Nickel or pewter faucets are perfect for the traditional kitchen, copper or bronze are great for Old World and country style kitchens, and chrome or stainless steel faucets have a very contemporary look.
One of the first things to know before shopping for a faucet is your hole configuration. Most sinks come with holes drilled to receive the faucet and sometimes accessories such as a sprayer, soap dispenser, hot beverage or filtered water faucet. One hole sinks are for single-control faucets, three hole are for single-control faucets with a sprayer and/or accessories and four holes are for single-control or two-handle sinks with various accessories. If you have an under-mount or apron front sink the holes are drilled into the countertop behind the sink.
Kitchen Faucet Types
The right faucet for you depends on you personal preference. You have several to choose from.
If you wash a lot of large pots, fill vases often or have a big roomy sink a high arc faucet is probably for you. High-arc, also known as gooseneck or high neck faucets, give you more room to work. Today's high arc kitchen faucets often have beautiful flowing curves and tapered handles and could easily be the focal point of a kitchen. These faucets are best used in deep sinks, they will cause splashing if the sink is shallow. Most bar sink faucets are of the high arc type to allow as much room as possible for washing produce.
Pullout and Pull-Down Faucets
Pullout faucets have a spray head that pulls out towards you, whereas a pull-down faucet has a spray head that pulls down toward the bottom of the sink. Both options help you clean the sink and wash produce or water plants. The pull-outs are the fastest growing in popularity of any faucet in the industry with good reason, they are the perfect combination of style and function. A button or toggle control makes it easy to go from aerated stream to spray. Look for one that swivels 360 degrees for easy access to all areas of your sink.
Single Handle Kitchen Faucets with Side Spray
Single handle faucets still make up more than 80% of faucet sales and are popular with builders. These faucets are basic and have a single handle that controls temperature and flow. These are available with a side spray which is much less expensive than the pull-out spray faucets. They also allow you to have a spray with a vintage-look faucet.
Two-handle faucets (one hot and one cold) are not as popular as one handle because they are not as easy to use. They do have a classic look that makes a strong fashion statement in Victorian and other period style kitchens.
Touch faucets are fantastic and are quickly growing in popularity. These hands-free kitchen faucets turn on and off with just a light touch of a hand or arm. These faucets are becoming a favorite in “aging in place” kitchens or with the disabled. These are wonderful additions to any food prep sink because they are so easy to turn on with dough or flour covered hands. They are also useful for a potting bench sink.
Wall-Mounted Kitchen Faucets
As you might guess, these are attached to the wall above the sink. They are often seen with farm sinks and sometimes vessel sinks. These faucets are becoming more popular since the apron or farm sinks have made a big hit in almost every style kitchen. Keep in mind when using a wall-mount faucet the water supply must extend up the wall above the sink.