Choosing a new kitchen faucet can be an exciting project that helps update the look and function of your kitchen. With so many options on the market, it’s important to consider your needs and style preferences to select the right faucet for your home. Here is an in-depth guide on how to pick a new kitchen faucet.
Assess Your Needs
Before starting your search, take some time to assess what you need and want out of a new kitchen faucet. Some key considerations include:
- Number of handles – Do you prefer a single-handle faucet or the more traditional two-handle style? Single-handle faucets tend to take up less space.
- Spout height – Standard faucet spouts range from 6-10 inches high. Make sure the height works ergonomically for your sink.
- Spout reach – Standard reaches are between 6-10 inches. Measure the distance from your sink to the backsplash or wall to ensure the faucet will extend far enough into your sink.
- Flow rate – Most kitchen faucets have a flow rate of 1.5-2.2 gallons per minute (GPM). Higher flow rates allow you to fill pots faster.
- Faucet functions – Consider convenient features like pull-down or pull-out sprayer hoses, touch controls, soap dispensers, filtered water, etc.
Choose a Faucet Style
Once you’ve assessed your functional needs, it’s time to choose a faucet style that fits your kitchen’s decor. Some popular options include:
- Traditional – Timeless styling with curved spouts and lever or cross handles.
- Contemporary – Straight, angled lines for a sleek, modern look.
- Transitional – Combines traditional and contemporary elements for an eclectic style.
- Industrial – Exposed pipes and mechanical styling create an urban loft aesthetic.
- Commercial – Inspired by restaurant kitchens with flexible coils and overhead sprayers.
Consider finishes like chrome, bronze, nickel, black, or white to complement other kitchen finishes as well.
Prioritize Key Features
Focus on the features that matter most for how you cook and use your kitchen. Here are some to consider:
- Pull-down – Hose pulls down for cleaning and extends your reach.
- Pull-out – Hose pulls out parallel to the sink. Good for filling pots.
- Side – Sprayer is mounted on the side of the faucet neck.
- Cartridge – Durable, drip-free, and easy to repair.
- Ceramic disc – Extremely durable with super smooth handle control.
- Ball – Time-tested and affordable but more prone to drips.
- Compression – Traditional design with rubber washers. More maintenance needed.
- Motion-activated – Hands-free activation via infrared sensors.
- Touch-activated – Tap anywhere on the faucet or handle to start/stop water flow.
- Multi-function – Allows you to toggle between stream and spray.
- Lead filtration – Removes lead and other contaminants for healthier water.
Choose Durable Materials
Look for faucets made from durable materials that will stand up to heavy use and last.
- Stainless steel – The most popular faucet material, provides great durability and scratch resistance. Can show water spots.
- Brass – A sturdy metal that can be polished to a shiny finish. Solid brass resists mineral buildup.
- Zinc – An affordable metal that provides good durability when nicely finished. Can erode over time.
- Bronze – A unique finish that develops an appealing patina with use and age. Can show water spots.
- Composite – Made from a mixture of materials to simulate metal. Provides good durability.
- Plastic – Lightweight but prone to staining and degrading over time. Generally less durable.
Choose a faucet certified by a reputable agency to ensure it meets rigorous standards for performance and longevity:
- WaterSense – Certifies faucets for water efficiency and conservation.
- NSF – Validates faucets are lead-free and meet safety standards.
- ADA – Tests for compliance with accessibility guidelines. Helpful if anyone in your household has disabilities.
- ASME – Indicates faucets are designed and tested to high durability standards.
Kitchen faucets can range in price from $50 on the low end to $1000+ for high-end designer styles. In general, expect to spend:
- Under $100 – Budget-friendly basic faucets with decent quality.
- $100-300 – Mid-range faucets with nice features and good durability.
- $300+ – High-end faucets with premium materials, styling and features.
Set a budget, but don’t sacrifice quality to save money. A higher-priced faucet can be a worthwhile long-term investment.
Research reviews on retail sites as well as specialist plumbing sites to evaluate real customer experiences with different faucet models. Look for durability concerns, quality of materials, ease of installation, and overall satisfaction ratings.
Consider Your Sink
Make sure the faucet you choose is designed to fit your existing sink and counter installation. Especially important for undermount and apron-front sinks.
Hire a Plumber
While designed for DIY installation, it can be well worth hiring an experienced plumber if you have any hesitations about removing your old faucet and installing a new one properly.
Picking the perfect kitchen faucet for your home takes some research and planning. Focus on your needs and style, seek quality materials and features, and invest in a faucet built to last. With the right choice, you’ll gain an updated kitchen focal point you can enjoy for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions about Kitchen Faucets
What are the most popular kitchen faucet styles?
The most popular styles are pulldown and pullout kitchen faucets. These feature a spray head that extends on a flexible hose, either pulling down into the sink or pulling out parallel to the sink. Other common styles include single handle with swivel spout, commercial style with separate sprayer, and widespread two handle faucets.
How do I choose the right finish for my kitchen faucet?
Consider the overall look and finishes used in your kitchen decor. Popular faucet finishes include chrome, stainless steel, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, polished brass, and more. Chrome and stainless steel suit contemporary kitchens, while bronze, brass, and black finishes fit traditional decor.
What should I look for in terms of function and features?
Key features to consider include number of handles, spout height and reach to fit your sink, water flow rate, pull-down or pull-out sprayer, motion-activated options, filteration, high-arch spout to fit oversink cookware, etc. Choose features that suit how you use your kitchen.
How do I remove an old or existing kitchen faucet?
Start by shutting off the hot and cold water lines under the sink. Then remove any parts that are connected to the faucet from above the counter. Underneath, disconnect the supply lines, sprayer hose, and the mounting nuts holding the faucet in place. The old faucet will then lift out.
What are the best tips for easy DIY installation?
Read installation instructions thoroughly. Have all tools on hand before starting. Clear the area under the sink to work comfortably. Use plumber’s putty or a gasket to seal the new faucet. Connect water supply lines securely. Test for leaks and make any final adjustments. Call a plumber if you have any issues.
Installing a new kitchen faucet is a relatively easy project that can make a big visual impact. Pay attention to your needs, kitchen style, and quality of construction and materials to get the most satisfaction out of your new fixture. With proper planning upfront and careful installation, you will have a beautiful, high-performing faucet to enjoy for many years.