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How to Choose A Kitchen Faucet: Kitchen Faucet Buying Guide

In most kitchens, the sink and faucet are used dozens of times throughout the day. The right faucet will not only elevate your kitchen’s design: It will also meet your needs as a tool for prep and cleaning.

Welcome Homes
/ Apr 7, 2022 / 6 min read

Whether you’re upgrading an existing model or doing a complete renovation, the faucet you choose for your kitchen can significantly impact both the style of the room and the functionality of your sink area. 

In most kitchens, the sink and faucet are used dozens of times throughout the day. The right faucet will not only elevate your kitchen’s design: It will also meet your needs as a tool for prep and cleaning. There are many options from which you can choose. Here’s what to consider before buying a kitchen faucet. 

Check the number of faucet holes in your existing sink.

If you're replacing a faucet, the first thing to do is check how many holes your existing sink has. Not every faucet design will be compatible with your existing sink. Count how many pre-drilled faucet mounting holes your sink has. Most will have one, two, three, or four.

  • A single mounting hole means you’ll need an all-in-one faucet with a single handle that controls both the water’s temperature and its pressure.
  • Two mounting holes are compatible with either an all-in-one-faucet and an accessory (such as a spray head or soap dispenser) or a spout and detached handle.
  • Three mounting holes are compatible with a spout and two temperature control handles.
  • Four mounting holes means you have space for a spout, two temperature control handles, and an accessory.

You’ll need to match the number of mounting holes in the sink with the faucet. Going from more holes to fewer is typically fine, but you’ll need a deck plate to cover up unused openings. 

Measure properly and don’t forget about placement. 

The next step to ensure you’re purchasing the right faucet is to measure the area behind the sink as well as the diameter of the pre-drilled holes and the distance between the center of the holes. These measurements will help you to better understand what faucets will work in your kitchen and to narrow down your options. 

You’ll also need to measure the distance between the sink and the bottom of any upper cabinets to make sure you don’t purchase a faucet that’s too tall, as well as any space between a wall and the edge of the sink to make sure handles or levers will function without interference. 

Some faucets are centered, some are mounted on the wall, and others are set off to the side. Whatever setup you have, make sure the spout on your new faucet is long enough to reach into the sink, especially if your faucet isn't centered. If you have an extra-large or extra-deep sink, take that into account when choosing the height of your faucet.

Determine the faucet mount you want.

There are three typical mounts for a faucet: 

  • Sink-mounted: Installed in the pre-drilled holes on a top-mounted sink
  • Deck-mounted: Works well with under-mount sinks, which add a contemporary feel to a kitchen; these can sometimes take up more counter space
  • Wall-mounted: Frees up counter space behind the sink; plumbing can pose challenges for installation; measuring the distance from faucet to sink is crucial 

Look at your water lines.

Before you decide to replace a faucet, make sure it’s compatible with your existing water lines. Determine the size of the waterline on the valve. If it’s not marked, measure it. If your home doesn’t already have a shut-off valve (most older homes don’t) then add one when installing your new faucet. If you do have a shutoff valve, consider replacing it. This is a good practice any time you install a new faucet, as it ensures that the valves are updated and in good shape and should avoid leaks and the subsequent need for repairs. 

READ: Refrigerator Buying Guide: What to Look for in a New Fridge

Faucet designs and styles

There are endless styles of kitchen faucets to choose from, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choices. Start with what you already have in your kitchen and work from there to streamline your options. How you use your sink will determine whether you need a multi-function faucet or a basic model. Ask yourself questions such as whether you want to keep metal finishes consistent throughout the kitchen. 

Two-handle faucets
A two-handle faucet works in any design style. Functionally, separate hot and cold-water handles give you more control over water temperature. This can be important for home chefs who need specific temperatures for successful recipes, but can require a little more work to operate. 

Price range: $30 – $3,000

Pull-out faucets
A pull-out faucet is your best option for a wide range of motion and reach. If you have an oversized sink, a pull-out faucet will give you the best cleaning power because you'll be able to reach all corners of the sink. You can easily use a pull-out faucet with one hand, and its flexibility means you can fill pots and other vessels on the counter without needing to place them in the sink, fill them, and then haul them out. Most pull-out faucets have single handles, adding convenience and ease of use.

Price range: $99 – $3,000

Pull-down faucets
Pull-down faucets are similar in their usefulness to pull-out faucets in that they can reach anywhere in a sink, but they require a deeper sink to avoid overspray and splashing. They also don't have the pull-out faucet’s flexibility to reach beyond the sink.

Price range: $99 – $3,000

One-handle faucets
A fixed one-handle faucet is the most accessible type to install. The simple design and function makes them less likely to break and easier to repair.

Price range: $49 – $2,500

Touchless faucets
A touchless faucet turns on and off when a sensor reacts to the motion of your hands—a true convenience when you’re in the middle of cooking and have food on your hands. While the touchless aspect doesn’t control temperature, these faucets also feature a knob or lever for temperature and a second on/off control. 

Price range: $119 – $3,800

Smart faucets
The newest option for tech-minded cooks is a smart faucet. These gadget-loaded faucets have features ranging from water-temperature reading to voice-command controls. If you're concerned about water conservation, a smart faucet can tell you exactly how much water you're using. Because smart faucets are voice-activated, they can be completely hands-free. Smart faucets must be installed by professionals familiar with them—this is not a DIY project—and repairs can be costly.

Price range: $399 – $1,300

READ: How to Choose a Kitchen Range, Stove & Oven

Additional options for kitchen faucets

There are additional features that can be added to a kitchen faucet, making it even more helpful and functional. Just make sure you have space and the proper conditions for installation, as some of these options require an additional mounting hole. 

Water filtration: When you install a water filter with your faucet, it provides drinkable tap water that tastes good and eliminates the need for bottled water or filtration pitchers with costly replacement filters. Quality filtration systems will eliminate chemicals like chlorine, lead, mercury, and pesticides from your water.

Beverage dispenser: A beverage dispenser is another good option if you’re adding a filtration system. You can choose hot or cold, and the water will be dispensed at a slower rate than your faucet, making it safe and easy for everyone to use.

Dish soap dispensers: A soap dispenser is a great way to declutter your countertop if you prefer to keep bottles and tools hidden from view. Most have a pull-out spout for easy refilling. 

Whether you shop at one of the big-box home chains or a boutique kitchen design store, take your time when choosing a new kitchen faucet. Between budget, design, style, features, and your needs, it’s wise to look around and consider what would best serve you and your kitchen. 

Design your dream kitchen today.

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