Water from your kitchen faucet cleans your food, your dishes, and your hands. It’s the heart of the kitchen, and deserves to be treated as such. The best kitchen faucets are the perfect marriage of form and function, looking great and working flawlessly year after year. Follow this easy guide to get your fill on finding the right faucet.
How Many Handles?
Generally, there are two types of faucets available: single-handle and double-handle.
A single-handle faucet will have a single lever that swings in a half-circle toward the left or right for hotter or colder water. These are ideal for one-handed operation and can be combined with an additional sprayer for more dish-cleaning options.
A double-handle faucet has separate knobs for hot and cold and requires at least three holes (one for each handle and one for the spout). Sometimes all the parts can be connected by a matching metal deckplate; other times they’re mounted individually into the counter.
Faucet mounting presents a “hole” lot of options, but if you’re replacing an existing sink the choice may be already made. If your faucet has existing holes, it’s going to be easiest to stick with that number. You can go from three to one, though, with a deckplate.
- 1 hole installation: A single-handle faucet and a basin are the only components of this setup.
- 2 hole installation: This configuration may include a separate spout and single handle lever or a single-handle faucet and a side sprayer
- 3 hole installation: A three-hole setup can accommodate a traditional double-handle and faucet design or a faucet, separate spout and single-handle lever, or a single-handle faucet and an accessory.
- 4 hole installation: Add an accessory to a double-handle faucet setup with this standard configuration. Most include a side sprayer or hot water dispenser.
- Wall-Mount installation: Some of the most innovative faucets available have a wall-mount design that allows you to keep your countertop clean and use a surface basin.
Deckplate: A deckplate can be used with a single-handle faucet to cover up holes from an old 3-hole mounting, to connect a two-handled faucet and spout, or to add accessories to a single-handle setup. A deckplate is a visually appealing option that adds a lot of versatility to your sink.
Standalone: In a non-deckplate setup, each component is mounted individually into the countertop. It’s up to you to customize exactly what flows forth from where.
A pull-out sprayer hides in plain sight as a normal curved or angled single-handle faucet. These add easy versatility to a clean, simple design.
These sprayers pull down from high-arcing faucets, allowing for maximum basin space and easy water direction.
Side sprayers occupy their own hole in your sink setup, often off to the side of the main faucet and knobs. They’ll reach in and blast residue off of your dishes or help fill a stockpot at the push of a button.
You’ll find spouts of all shapes and sizes and styles wherever you look. They’ll all do the trick as long as you follow one simple rule – it needs to pour just about into the center of the sink. Before you buy, measure!
High-arcing spouts leave the most room for activity in the sink area. They usually rise 8 to 10 inches above the countertop and often incorporate pull-down sprayers.
Choosing a Faucet Finish
Faucets, handles, pot fillers, and accessories come in a variety of finishes to match your countertops, cabinets, and other kitchen hardware. Though most are solid brass at the core, these metal finishes range from gleaming to subdued and from stainless steel to white.
- Brushed Nickel
- Oil Rubbed Bronze
- Polished Chrome
- Satin Nickel
- Stainless Steel
Those on a budget should take a look at these faucets. Using time-tested, proven designs and technologies, these standard faucets will work hard for you.
- Tubular brass construction is highly durable and will to stand up to standard kitchen wear-and-tear for years.
- Compression washers have separate hot and cold handles that tighten down like a screw to close off water flow.
Upgraded features and technologies on these faucets mean greater durability and smoother use.
- Cast brass construction means one-piece, everything-proof quality that’ll stand up to anything. A wide variety of attractive finishes are available, from shiny chrome to antiqued bronze.
- Cartridge valves move up and down to offer a smoother, more consistent action than compression washers. You’ll only need to turn the handle or handles a little bit for a full off/on.
Top-of-the-line faucets offer materials that last literally a lifetime, smooth never-fail disc valves, and unique features like proprietary diverter valves and eco-friendly technology.
- Cast brass is the last word in faucet materials. Created from a single piece, brass looks great wearing a wide variety of metallic finishes.
- Ceramic disc valves are the most reliable and long-lasting water flow control mechanisms. They’re smooth and easy to use and will be found in high-end faucets of all types.
- Some manufacturers, like Rohl, build their faucets with proprietary diverter valves that offer superior performance and are unavailable anywhere else.
- Eco-friendly technology abounds in high-end faucets, with innovations that save water and automate usage.
Other Sink Options and Accessories
- Secondary Sinks and Bar Faucets: Plumbing a secondary sink is more feasible than it sounds, and many homes are already set up for it. Small faucets are designed specifically for wet bars and other compact applications. These are often single-handle types that are designed for convenience.
- Pot-Filler Faucets: Mount a pot filler right over the stove to implement commercial kitchen-style convenience in your home. These extendable extra faucets eliminate the difficulty and danger of carrying large, full pots across the kitchen.
- Hot or Cold Water Dispensers: Instant hot tea or coffee? Super-cold water? Both are right at your fingertips with a hot or cold water dispenser. These systems provide exactly what you’re looking for without any wait.
- Soap Dispensers: When your kitchen looks good, you don’t want to have a slimy bottle of dish soap knocking around. A built-in soap dispenser stores it under the counter and gives you access with a simple push.
- Water Filtration: Stop buying bottled water! Faucets with built-in filtration provide clean, filtered water whenever you need it.
- Touch/Motion Sensor Faucets: Sometimes things get messy in the kitchen. These faucets have alternative on/off methods, meaning an end to greasy fingerprints on your stainless steel.
- Laundry & Utility Sink Faucets: Beyond or below the kitchen, a faucet may be even more helpful. A compact faucet mounted on a utility sink lets you soak, scrub, and wash just about anything without carrying water all over the house.