How To Choose The Perfect Kitchen Faucet
Did you know that for every one hour spent in the living room, the average American spends more than five hours in the kitchen? Whether you're spending that time in the kitchen cooking up a storm or cleaning up a mess, there's no denying that the MVP of any good kitchen is the humble faucet. Selecting a great faucet can help your kitchen run more smoothly and save you time when cooking and cleaning. But how do you select the perfect faucet — that is, a faucet that looks good, works great, and ties the whole kitchen together? Luckily, it's not as hard as it may seem. Read on to learn more about how to choose the perfect faucet for your lifestyle and your kitchen.
Before you can begin picking the perfect faucet, you'll need to figure out where you want to install it and how your kitchen is currently configured. Faucets can either be deck-mount faucets (which are mounted directly on the countertop) or wall-mount faucets (which are mounted on the wall above the sink). While it may not be as fun as looking for faucets that might look great in your kitchen, checking out the location of your future faucet is necessary for avoiding frustration further down the road.
Additionally, take a look at your kitchen sink or counter, which should feature a certain amount of holes that will limit your faucet options: if there's one hole, you'll likely need to purchase a faucet that includes a handle, such as a hands-free or single-handle faucet; in contrast, if there are three holes, you'll need to buy a faucet that comes with two separate handles. Although it's certainly possible to change your counter or sink if the number of holes doesn't line up with what you want your faucet to look like, it's always good to be prepared when beginning to shop for a new faucet.
Narrowing down the list of available faucets for your kitchen can feel daunting. However, there are a few things that every new faucet buyer should look for. First is the spout height and reach. Low faucets tend to start 3-8 inches above the sink plane, while high faucets reach 8-10 inches above the sink plane. Selecting a high faucet as opposed to a low one is partially a matter of taste, but it can also vary based on the depth of your sink (with deep sinks requiring higher faucets) and the height of your cabinets (as low cabinets may make it difficult to install a high faucet). Think about what you use your sink for and whether a high or low faucet might make it easier to do dishes or fill up large pots with water. Deciding on the height of your new faucet is an important step!
Determining how many handles you want your faucet to have largely depends on how your counter is configured (see above) as well as your lifestyle. If you don't use the kitchen frequently or live with other adults, a one- or two-handle faucet should be adequate for your needs. However, if you have children or make messes in the kitchen on a regular basis, then a hands-free faucet might be perfect for you. In addition to providing greater accessibility, hands-free faucets can also be activated by touch or motion sensors, and their temperature and volume can be controlled as well. Determining how many handles (if any) your faucet should have is another important step in narrowing down which faucet is the right fit for you.
Many faucets come with sprayers, which allow you to clean hard-to-reach corners in your sink and keep your sink and surrounding counter as clean and tidy as possible. Determine what kind of sprayer you want — whether it's a side sprayer that's separate from the main faucet or a pull-down sprayer that extends directly from the faucet — and then think about how you want it to function (i.e., whether you want to press a button or flip a lever to start spraying). While this may seem like an overly specific factor to consider now, knowing and sticking to your personal preferences will save you endless amounts of frustration in the future when you actually begin using your faucet.
Now that you've narrowed down your faucet's desired technical capabilities, it's time to find one that looks great! Make sure your faucet matches the aesthetic of your kitchen (that is, no rustic faucets with ultra-modern sinks) and that its finish matches the finish of your nearby cabinet hardware to create a cohesive look. The finishes of most modern faucets are somewhat limited to chrome, nickel, and bronze, which look different but also vary in their durability. Typically, bronze and nickel faucets can chip or scratch more easily than chrome, which may be a helpful consideration for a household with children.
Finally, once you've made your decision, consider getting ceramic valves in your new faucet. While other valves claim to be drip-free, ceramic valves are unmatched in their long-term reliability. Even better? They cost roughly the same as other valves, making it an easy and cost-effective decision to choose ceramic.
Looking for a new faucet can be overwhelming. It's important to start by determining where you'll install the faucet and what your kitchen is equipped to handle. Then, you can begin determining the faucet height, number of handles, spraying capabilities, and style that are just right for you and your kitchen. While there may be a lot to consider when buying a new faucet, a good one should last you for decades to come.