Kitchen Faucets: A Buying Guide

Anyone who has struggled to work with and use a substandard or ill-fitting kitchen faucet knows the importance of buying the right choice. It has to function well in the space, be appropriately sized for everything from pots and pans to tall vases to fit easily beneath, and yet it has to look good, too. In this buying guide, we are going to consider the factors necessary for choosing the ideal kitchen faucet.

How a Faucet Is Used

Choosing the right kitchen faucet begins with a few questions about how the faucet or sink is to be used. For example, if you find yourself frequently washing oversized pots and pans, a bar faucet (something discussed shortly) is not an ideal answer unless the sink is deep, and the faucet mounted properly. Alternately, a tall faucet with a curved neck and perhaps even a pull-down sprayer may be best for shallow sinks and basins.

Naturally, the way the faucet is to be used will also determine the number of handles. After all, a faucet is not just the component from which water emanates. It also has the handles or taps that are turned to generate hot or cold flow.

Depending upon the number of handles, you will need to also make the appropriate number of holes in the countertop. Currently, home and property owners can find faucets with:

  • Single Handles – These feature a lever-like faucet or handle that will turn towards the user for hot or cold water and a way for hot or cold water. They are ideal when paired with sprayer heads or pull-down faucet types (detailed below).
  • Double Handles – These are familiar to most and feature a single tap or handle for hot, and a single handle or tap for cold. Depending upon the design of the faucet set, there may need to be two holes in the counter for each supply as well as a third for the faucet head.

When thinking about the number of handles you want or require, don’t overlook the general functionality of the kitchen faucet. For example, there are options for:

  • Single lever functionality
  • Sprayer functionality
  • One-touch on/off

Each style and function has its pros and cons, and they really all depend upon your needs and goals. It helps if you know how you want the faucet installed.

Installation Type

Installation on a faucet can be deck-mounted (i.e. directly through the countertop) or they can be wall-mount that are installed above the sink and through the wall. Deck-mount styles are often widespread with multiple holes, but can also be single-hole, bridge and center set style.

There are multiple facets of installation apart from the deck or wall mount issue. As noted, the faucet can be one hole with a single handle, two-hole with a spout and single handle levers on each side (sometimes with a sprayer), three-hole with double handle or with a faucet and separate spout and lever, or four-hole installations which is when an accessory is added to a double handle faucet.

Kitchen Faucet Body Types

As already noted, there are several body types for faucets. They include:

  • Pull-Down  – This is a popular choice with a sprayer at the end of the faucet. The curved or angled, single handle faucet will feature an endpiece that pulls out of the neck of the faucet set and with the flick of a button begins to function as a sprayer.
  • Pull-Out – This is a faucet with a sprayer “hidden in plain sight” and appears to be a normal faucet, but which pulls out as a single-handle sprayer.
  • Commercial Style  – Experts say that you get more power from a commercial-style faucet thanks to its design and spray functions. They usually offer full swiveling and higher flow rates. They also tend to feature pull-down sprayers and a more durable finish meant to withstand the wear and tear of commercial use.
  • Bar – Not as tall or as wide as a traditional kitchen faucet, this may also be described as a prep faucet. It usually has a narrower spread or none at all and does not stick out over the sink as far as a standard faucet.

Kitchen Faucet Profiles

The area from which water pours out of the faucet is not, technically, the faucet. It is the spout, and there are a dizzying number of styles for modern spouts. You’ll find them as standard swivel spouts and gooseneck styles that rise in a high arch above the sink (typically eight to ten inches).

Many people automatically assume that it is the latter that is ideally suited for the kitchen, but that is not the case. As we noted earlier, a low-profile kitchen faucet can work perfectly well with a deeper kitchen sink. It is simply a matter of determining which works best for your needs.

Would you prefer (or are you stuck with) a shallower kitchen basin, or does a very deep sink appeal to you? Many appreciate the convenience of the deeper sink and find that a low-profile faucet with a 180-degree swivel works perfectly well in all cooking, cleaning and other kitchen demands.

Kitchen Faucet Finishes

Naturally, all kitchen faucets have to be in a finish that coordinates with the kitchens themselves. Some of the most common and popular options include:

  • Chrome  – For the sleeker, more modern kitchen, but also just as easily accommodating in the old-school or retro space, this has a lot of shone and gleam. It may show water spots if not wiped down, but it is a very popular choice in faucet sets.
  • Brushed Nickel – One of the most commonly chosen finishes in farmhouse and contemporary kitchen design. Often chosen to match the hardware of the cabinetry, it is a soft and burnished finish that adds depth and character to any space.
  • Gold – Whether gleaming bright or burnished to a soft and warm glow, it is a hue that works well with wood surfaces, tile, and an array of styles and décor. It can be great in the retro-inspired kitchen, but also in modern spaces where a pop of color or a dash of luxury is needed.
  • Stainless Steel – By far the most popular metal in kitchens is stainless steel, and for good reason. It is resistant to rust and spotting, and when applied as a finish to a faucet can give it an industrial, modern, or simply “clean” esthetic that is such a good fit to today’s transitional trends in interior design.
  • Black – Sleek and stylish, this actually works in everything from the farmhouse kitchen to the modern and sleek space with minimalist design at its core. Available as a gleaming or flat finish, it is edgy and on trend.

Clearly, it is not all about esthetics, though, and the savvy homeowner chooses a kitchen faucet that looks good and functions well.

Faucet Quality

Any faucet has a finish that is often set over a brass core. In other words, the faucet and taps have a brass core over which those shiny or matte finishes are applied. Beneath the finished surface and inside of the faucets are an array of materials that determine the overall construction quality of a faucet set.

The best will use cast brass in a single piece for its core, and ceramic disc valves for years of flow and control. Cartridge valves are better quality and offer smooth and consistent movement, too.

Specialty Faucets

In addition to the faucets already mentioned, there are many other varieties and accessories to consider. There are pot-filler faucets that can be mounted to the wall above the stove and will be able to fill a pot without bringing it near the sink or the traditional sink faucet.

There are hot and cold water dispensers, too and they provide boiling water with just a turn of the tap. They can also be installed for icy cold water that is chilled even colder than the water that typically comes from the cold water tap.

Many faucets can also be fitted with filtration systems or with filtration built right into their design.

If your kitchen is the utmost of modernity, you will also find that there are motion sensor faucets that cut the need for you to touch the faucet with greasy or dirty hands.

Why Faucets Matter

One thing that many homeowners feel when being asked to think about the faucet for the kitchen is that it has to be all about function. While that is definitely the case and the faucet is going to make a tremendous difference in how functional any particular space might be, there is also the esthetics.

Go into any big box home improvement store and it only looks like you have a lot of choices. Then, once you start to consider the ways that the faucets and sinks align in terms of the numbers of handles and holes, you realize that the inventory is incredibly limited.

While it can be quite acceptable to use a stainless faucet with a standard low-profile look, it may not provide the level of higher functionality and the good looks that coordinate with your kitchen and its pots, pans, hardware, surfaces and cabinetry.

The experts tell us that there is a tremendous significance to the “details,” and something like a kitchen faucet is exactly what they mean. Think of how often you have struggled to use the sink for filling pots, washing produce, or simply cleaning up. This had entirely to do with the faucets, and by taking the time to look at the specifics outlined in this buyer’s guide, you will be able to identify the perfect solution.

Think about:

  • The finish that would look best in your space
  • The number of handles that you feel fits your needs AND your aesthetics
  • The number of holes that exist in the countertop or that you are willing to put into the mounting area
  • The profile for the faucet or spout (low or curved and high?)
  • The functionality and extras you might desire

Taking all of these factors into consideration is one sure way to get all that you need and want from your choice in kitchen faucet.

Conclusion

At Allora USA, we provide access to the widest range of kitchen faucet styles and designs, from low profile faucets to taller faucets each of which can be designed to work sinks of any kind.

All of our high-quality kitchen faucets are constructed from top of the line materials and finished to preserve form and function for years to come. From elegant chrome to understated brushed nickel or black, and even luxurious gold, our selections help you get just the look you need for your kitchen.

Don’t settle for anything less than your perfect kitchen faucet. You can create an entirely unique and customized look by taking the time to use the information in this guide to steer you towards the right choice.

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