How to Choose Kitchen Faucets
If you are considering buying a new faucet for your kitchen, then you might already be starting to feel overwhelmed by the huge array of options available to you and you might be wondering about some of the terms you’ve seen thrown around.
The wealth of options and information can often put buyers off fully researching purchase decisions and ultimately means they end up with a product that isn’t perfect for them.
As we spend so much time in the kitchen in our homes, choosing the right faucet is an important decision, not just in terms of usability, but also in terms of how the faucet completes the look of our kitchens.
How to Pick a New Kitchen Faucet
With all the new — and old — designs, finishes and mounting styles out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when choosing a faucet. Having the basic information on hand will make things easier. Here’s what to consider.
- Mounting Styles
Sink-mounted faucets. There are many different kitchen faucet and sink designs, but they are not always compatible. If you are working with an existing sink, check how many mounting holes it has. New faucets come in one-, two-, three- or four-hole varieties.
Pros: This is a great option if you want a quick update to your kitchen and want to reuse your existing sink.
Cons: Your sink will limit your faucet style options.
- Deck-mounted faucets.
With these the faucet mounts directly to the countertop and not the sink. If you are installing an undermount sink, you have the option of mounting the faucet directly on the countertop. When installing a deck-mounted faucet, make sure to allow more than a finger’s width behind the faucet for cleaning.
Pros: Deck-mounted faucets provide a seamless look that’s especially well suited to contemporary kitchens (but they come in all styles).
Cons: They occupy space on the countertop. Also, you may find an accumulation of water, dirt and grime between the faucet and the wall.
- Wall-mounted faucets.
Take care when placing a wall-mounted faucet to make sure it will work together with your sink. The distance the water spout projects will determine whether the two will be compatible. This can be more of an issue with a double sink.
Pros: Countertop cleanup is a breeze.
Cons: You’ll need to take extra care in colder climates (if local code allows installation on an outside wall) to insulate against freezing. Also, the plumber must get the spacing and location exactly right. If there is a wall stud in the way, it will need to be relocated so that the faucet and handles can be installed where you need them.
Pull Out vs Pull Down
Pros and Cons of Pull-Out Faucets
Let’s start with the benefits of pull-out models.
- As mentioned, you get a longer hose with the spray head which adds to the convenience of filling large pots and pans, and you can do this away from your sink.
- If you’re limited with space around or above your sink, I would recommend looking at a pull out type faucet because the spouts are generally much shorter.
- You will get less splash-back with a pull out faucet because the spray head is much more flexible.
And the possible downsides…
- This type isn’t great if you often need to fill tall items such as pitchers.
- Usage can be inconvenient if you have big hands, so make sure the grip fits your hand comfortably.
Pros and Cons of Pull Down Faucets
Again, let’s do the positive aspects first.
- More models of pull down faucet come with varying spray options than pull out, which makes it easier when rinsing or filling.
- For some, ergonomics comes into play because you only need one fluid motion (downwards).
- You’re less likely to get kinks in the hose because you’re not manoeuvring in different directions.
- Pull down faucets are also ideal for those of you that have deep sinks.
Possible negatives for this type…
- You need to bear in mind the amount of space you have above your sink because of the overall height of the spout.
- Some models can lose water pressure due to the above.
Tips on Choosing a Faucet
Style is critical, but don’t forget about practical factors
Watch the spout height and reach
Faucet spouts vary a lot in height and reach, and most of the time you can just choose the look you like best. But if you have a shelf above the sink, a tall spout may not fit. With a three-bowl kitchen sink, a spout with a short reach may not extend to all the bowls. A bath faucet with a short reach might cause you to slop water behind the spout when you wash your hands.
Choose ceramic valves
If you want to avoid having a faucet that drips, get one with ceramic valves. Other types of valves are usually drip-free for years, but they can’t match the long-term reliability of ceramic. Faucets with ceramic valves cost about the same as other faucets.
Count the holes in your sink
If you want to switch from two handles to one, you have to think about the number of holes in the sink. Most sinks have three holes: one for the hot handle, one for the cold and one under the spout. Some single-handle faucets include a cover plate to hide the extra holes. But some don’t, so check the label. If you currently have a “wide spread” bathroom faucet with two handles far from the spout, you can’t switch to a single-handle model.
If you want a kitchen faucet with a “pull-down” sprayer mounted in the spout, there will be an empty sprayer hole. But the solution is simple: install a soap dispenser. Your new faucet may even include one.
A single handle is more convenient
Two-handle faucets have a stylish symmetry that suits many bathrooms, especially traditional ones. But in practical terms, single-handle faucets have all the advantages. They’re just plain more convenient; water temperature adjustment is easier and there’s one less handle to clean.
How to Install Faucet?
Install FaucetTake a good look at the area that you will be installing your new kitchen faucet into. Is there a faucet already there that needs to be replaced? Is this a completely new build that doesn’t have the hoses in place? And do you have a specific theme?
These are the questions you should be asking yourself when you want to purchase a kitchen faucet. And since not every brand is created equally, you’re going to need to decide on what install you want to do.
There is the generic install that requires some cleaning tools, a wrench, and some measuring tape. This is generally the most common, and should take you no more than an hour to complete, even if you’re doing a replacement. If going with a Moen type install, you’ll have to do a lot less because of their proprietary install technique that comes with everything you need in the box. This is best on fresh installs of new kitchens, but can also work with older ones. But with each install make sure you have a clear head on whether you will be going forward with a 1 hole system or 3. Things can get complicated if you mess up in that area and have to redo the install.