Walk into any kitchen and you’ll notice three things immediately if they are not there: the refrigerator, the stove/oven, and the faucet. These are the three elements that every good kitchen needs. Without good ones, a house won’t become a home.
As for the kitchen faucet, well… that’s a fixture everyone takes for granted. We think nothing of it until something happens to it. Maybe there’s a drip that developed. Or perhaps there’s an unknown leak that has created havoc behind your cabinetry for months and only now you can begin to smell the water damage.
The time to stop ignoring the kitchen faucet is now.
If it has been more than 10 years since your kitchen faucet was updated, then you’re missing out on some amazing innovations and technology upgrades. You’re also missing out on some incredible design changes, finish upgrades and water-saving inventions that could help a new kitchen faucet eventually pay for itself.
And for professionals: if you’re not offering modern, high-quality kitchen faucets as part of your remodeling, new construction, or renovation services, then you could be missing out on some serious revenues.
Are you ready to discover how one small kitchen upgrade can change everything?
These Are Our Top 3 Favorite Kitchen Faucets Available Right Now
We were very impressed with the finish that comes with this faucet. The challenge was simple: do something that would damage the finish so we could write about it. For all practical purposes, the faucet withstood every common thing we could think of that might be in the kitchen. You won’t want to use a bleach-based cleaner and don’t scrape the finish with a knife or metal spatula. Two finishes are available with this specific model. It works with a standard 1-hole sink, but an optional 10-inch deck plate allows it to work with a 3-hole sink as well.
This faucet uses Diamond Seal technology instead of a standard ceramic disc. We like this technology a bit more than the standard ceramics that are used in most kitchen faucets today. Diamond Seal technology has noticeably fewer drips and leaks escape from the faucet. It’s also very easy to install and can potentially last over the entire lifespan of the unit. You can install the Delta Leland on any 1-hole sink or use a deck place to install it on a 3-hole sink, giving everyone the versatility needed for the modern kitchen.
Fingerprints and water spots are minimal thanks to the Spot Resist finish that Moen has given this faucet. When they do appear, all it takes is a simple wipe down of the fixture to make it look great again. Yet it is the sensor activation feature is clearly the best feature of this kitchen faucet. If your hands are covered in nasty stuff, you don’t need to touch any handles to turn on the water. Just wave those dirty hands over the sensor and you’ve got the water needed to clean up.
What Type of Faucet Works Best in My Kitchen?
When designing a new kitchen or working on a remodeling project, you’ll find that there are two basic types of kitchen faucet that are available to use.
This type of faucet mounts directly to your sink, counter, or another component of the kitchen. Many of today’s faucets are one-piece designs, working best with sinks that have a 1-hole installation point. Sinks built for traditional faucets have 3 holes to accommodate hot water and cold water controls. Look for a deck to install over these holes with the faucet for best results.
This type of faucet mounts directly onto the wall, tapping into the plumbing instead of requiring a connection underneath the sink. They face the wall, hang over the sink, and are a solid choice for homes that do not have a lot of space.
What if I want to purchase a single-mount kitchen faucet, but my sink has more than 3 holes?
Some sinks are manufactured to accommodate several different faucet-based features. This may include a separate filtered water faucet, a bar and prep faucet, a soap dispenser, or a side spray
Homeowners may find themselves with 5 installation points that need to be serviced by themselves or by a professional in their area.
If you are a professional who encounters this situation, the best result would be to install an escutcheon over the three-hole installation and then recommend two key features or additions that could work with the new faucet.
For homeowners who don’t really like the idea of spending extra money on features that are not wanted, many manufacturers offer a solution in multiple colors. Kohler, for example, offers a sink hole cover, model #K-8830-CP, in several different finishes so that unused faucet holes along the rim of the sink can be closed.
The most important thing you can do when planning a new kitchen, however, is to choose your brand-new faucet before you decide on what sink you’re going to use. A heavy faucet on a light sink could damage your new fixtures. A light faucet on a heavy sink might not provide the right level of performance.
And you’ll also know how many holes your sink should need so it can accommodate the best kitchen faucet for your home.
Then you’ll need to think about how the faucet is actually mounted. Some models require a top-mount installation, while others require a bottom-mount installation. The only real difference between the two is how the mounting screws attach through the faucet piece to the counter.
Getting to Know Your Kitchen Faucet Handles
Kitchen faucets in the past had two handles. One was dedicated to the cold water line and the other was dedicated to the hot water line. If you wanted lukewarm water, you’d need to turn both handles. That meant trying to tinker with the temperature a lot and it created plenty of water waste.
Most modern kitchen faucets have a one-handle design. This reduces the installation footprint that is required for the fixture while providing a simple mechanism that rotates so the perfect water temperature can be found.
Some kitchen faucets today even have a feature called “temperature memory.” This feature will return the water to the last known temperature or a pre-set temperature, regardless of where the actual faucet handle(s) happen to be.
Switching from two handles to one handle reduces some problems, but it doesn’t fully eliminate them. If your hands are messy, you’ll still need to grasp the handle and turn it, which spreads the mess you’re trying to clean up. Instead of trying to turn the handle with an elbow, a chin, or your toes, touchless kitchen faucets make a good investment in the modern home.
Touchless faucets are truly hands-free. A sensor is equipped to the faucet so that it can recognize if someone is standing in front of it. If the sensor is triggered, then the water turns on. Walk away and the water turns off.
Some models have a second sensor on the top of the faucet as well. If you wave your hand over the faucet, it will turn the water on. Wave your hand over it a second time to turn it off.
This greatly reduces the level of mess that can spread out in the average kitchen. It also means that, as a professional, a touchless kitchen faucet gives you the opportunity to make a client’s living space more accessible.
Many of these models are ADA and EPA compliant.
These Are the Best Touchless Kitchen Faucets
What we really loved about this faucet, especially with the brushed nickel finish, is that cleaning and maintenance are kept to a minimum. Stains don’t settle on the surface often, but if they do, a simple wipe is all that is needed to make it shine brightly again. Since it is a touchless model as well, there are fewer fingerprints to deal with as well. You also have access to 2 different spray modes with this faucet: the standard stream and the aerated spray. The button to control the spray modes is at the back of the head instead of the front.
You’ll find two sensors are available to trigger the faucet so it will turn on. One is located at the back of the gooseneck faucet, which means standing in front of the faucet will give you water. There is another sensor at the top of the faucet, above where the spray head connects, which can activate it as well. The faucet continues to run until you step away from it or swipe over the top sensor a second time. That feature is nice, but it isn’t without a small headache. The temperature for the sensor activation is preset underneath the sink. Because it doesn’t have last temperature memory, users must then engage the handle or make an adjustment to the settings for their next use.
There is a design element with this kitchen faucet that is extremely helpful for the average kitchen, either residential or commercial. The nozzles on the spray head are angled differently, allowing for “water blades” to be created. This design makes it a lot easier to sweep through and clean a sink full of dishes while still having the power to fill a pan with water very quickly.
Even though this is a touchless model, there aren’t any batteries that users will need to worry about when using the Kohler Sensate. It operates with a standard alternating current power resource, so users need access to an outlet in or around their sink.
How Do You Plan to Use Your New Sink?
It is important to choose your kitchen faucet before you choose your sink. Some faucets, especially commercial-style ones, can be incredibly heavy. Some weigh between 10-15 pounds. For sinks that are constructed of a thin, low-grade metal, that offers the opportunity for denting, sinking, and other forms of damage.
Heavy kitchen faucets on ceramic or painted sink surfaces offer a greater risk of scratching and premature finish wear.
Yet how you use your sink must also be part of this equation. Do you tend to cook with stock pots, woks, and other pots or pans that are somewhat large or bulky? Is there an infant or toddler in the home and the kitchen sink is where they’re going to be taking their baths?
If so, then you’d want to begin looking at today’s best high arc kitchen faucets before any other model. A higher arc gives you more room to work underneath the faucet in the safety of the sink basin. It gives you a chance to fill large pots with water, wash dishes in the sink, and give the kiddo plenty of room to splash around.
For the professional: a kitchen remodeling project or new construction effort benefits from the installation of a side sink. It is important to keep produce away from raw meat, but many home chefs mix the two because they don’t have enough sink space. Consider a recommendation of a secondary bar and prep faucet or full-size commercial-style faucet so that meal preparation doesn’t need to create unnecessary risks.
These Are the Best Commercial Kitchen Faucets
The most noticeable change for this faucet is the quality of the hose that connects the spray head to the fixture. Instead of using a braided metal design, the product uses a mesh-type hose on a mounting that is nothing but a threaded plastic sleeve. We also found that the faucet was more difficult to install than other faucets of comparable size and weight. Once the installation is finished, the faucet looks great and is fully functional. Just make sure you set the faucet in such a way that the handle moves toward the hot and cold water in a way that works for you.
This unique commercial faucet does more than offer a simple pull-down sprayer on a high arc gooseneck and call itself good. You have dual faucets that can be accessed with this wonderful design. The primary faucet is the spring-based flexible look with a commercial trigger for fast and effective washing. Then there’s a secondary faucet, with an L-shaped design, which gives you a traditional user experience as well. The total weight of this faucet is about 12 pounds, so be sure to follow all mounting instructions to ensure the best possible user experience.
We found that this faucet is both beautiful and very functional. Although it is priced as a mid-range faucet, there are elements of high-end features and design elements that can be found. The spring on this commercial faucet allows for plenty of movement, but there is a bit of resistance to it as well. There are times when it feels like the faucet is trying to fight you. Instead of a chrome finish, this model is an oil-rubbed bronze finish. You’ll still have the spring-protected sprayer, but it also has the bronze finish instead of chrome. Refin even includes a warning for those thinking about purchasing this faucet as it can bend thin stainless steel sinks.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Faucet Finishes
Be sure to read our guide on the faucet finishes which bring you the most revenue for a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of today’s standard finishes.
Kitchen faucets come in a variety of finish options from most manufacturers for one basic reason: to unify the look of a kitchen. It is important to remember, however, that not every homeowner wants to have a kitchen with a unified look.
One easy way to make a statement with modern kitchen design is to contrast the finish of the kitchen faucet with the rest of the room. If you’ve outfitted a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, for example, then an oil-rubbed bronze kitchen faucet might create a unique and inviting look for the space.
Many professionals coordinate the look of a faucet with the colors of the appliances or the sink, but there is a third option. Think about recommending a kitchen faucet that has a finish, which matches the countertop surface instead.
Now countertop matching isn’t always the best idea. Homes built before 2000 tend to have kitchen counters with pressed wood and a laminated surface that is hideously colored. If you’ve ever stepped into a kitchen with hard lines, sharp corners, and a solid beige color, then don’t match the faucet to that.
Many homeowners, and even some professionals, worry about the cost of certain finishes. Chrome tends to be the most popular because it is often regarded as being the cheapest, good-quality finish that is available.
The fact is that there are bronze, nickel, stainless steel, and matte black finishes available at almost every conceivable price point.
The only faucets that are usually chrome-only, with no other finish option, are the very basic, entry-level faucets that are priced below $50. At that price point, you’re looking at a temporary solution, not a permanent upgrade, so quality isn’t as important.
If you want real value, however, look for the best possible finish in the price range that your budget can afford.
What Faucet Mechanism Should I Be Using?
Kitchen faucets use four basic types of mechanisms to control how water is distributed to you. Some mechanisms are more widely available than others.
- Ball valves.
- Ceramic discs.
- Compression valves.
Most of the modern kitchen faucet designs will use a ceramic disc or a cartridge to keep the final cost down. Delta kitchen faucets use a diamond-coated ceramic disc on some models to improve the smoothness and consistency of the faucet’s performance.
The reality is this: the best kitchen faucets will perform well no matter which mechanism is being used. Daily use does not change with any of these mechanism types. It is the ongoing maintenance and future repairs that must be thought about when looking at these mechanisms.
From a pure money-saving standpoint, the ceramic discs are the best option. They don’t last as long as the other mechanisms all the time, but most are backed by an original purchaser limited lifetime guarantee. That means as long as you own the house where the faucet has been installed, the ceramic disc will be replaced for free.
Kitchen faucet manufacturers will ship out warranty qualifying parts for free, but do not provide any assistance with labor costs.
What About an Alternative Type of Kitchen Faucet?
There are some kitchen faucets that serve specific functions that may be right for certain homes or businesses.
One of the most common options is the pot filler. For the professional, a pot filler faucet is a nice upgrade to offer because it adds versatility to the kitchen without too much extra effort. Just run a water line to the installation point, if that’s even necessary, and then mount the faucet.
Pot fillers are often installed by the oven or stove, either with a wall mount or directly onto the counter. A home chef can then fill up their pan with water right there while cooking, eliminating some of the back-and-forth that can occur in the kitchen.
Water filtration faucets are another option worth thinking about, especially as questions about water quality are being raised in communities all over the world after the Flint water crisis. This type of kitchen faucet puts a filter right into the nozzle before it is distributed, creating cleaner, fresher water.
This option is a good choice to recommend for homeowners who experience high levels of chlorine odor from their tap water as well.
Filtration doesn’t have to be at the distribution point either. Filtering systems and reverse osmosis systems can be installed under the sink and distributed with a small faucet that runs next to the primary faucet. That provides a kitchen with a drinking water dispenser right next to the central kitchen faucet.
Here are some additional kitchen faucet types you might encounter as you shop around for the best option.
- Bridge. This is a two-handle faucet design that is connected to the main spout. There may be no gaps in the design, but a 3-hole installation is required for this type of faucet. Most will install on the sink, but some models are wall-mounted designs.
- Widespread. This is another two-handle faucet design, but with handles that are spread wider than normal.
- Basin Tap. These kitchen faucets are a lot like the bathroom faucets you’d find on an old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub or a bathroom sink. They are a little larger when made for the kitchen, with a rotor-like handle design to control water pressure, flow, and temperature.
For additional design ideas, take a moment to review our guide on nature-driven designs.
Here Are the Best Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets
The nicest feature that comes with the design of the Delta Essa is its easy clean features. The rubber nozzles on the end of the spray head are much easier to clean than similar models from other manufacturers. Although you won’t want to use a fingernail to do so like you could with a showerhead, the scale tends to slide right off. We also like the full swivel action that is provided by the Delta Essa. Once installed, it can give you a full 360 degrees of access at the sink. That is combined with the MangaTite docking that keeps the wand in place for a solid user experience that limits drips, leaks, and other common forms of faucet damage that may occur.
The gooseneck design utilizes the commercial-style coil spring and gives the faucet an overall height of 20.5 inches, but the spout height is just 5.3 inches. It can be installed onto a deck that is up to 2.5 inches in thickness. The finish looks great out of the box but at a fraction of the cost, that other oil-rubbed bronze faucets tend to be priced at.
Installing the kitchen faucet is a little difficult if you don’t know much about plumbing. We’d highly recommend a professional installation to avoid unintended damage.
There are some nice elements that have been built into the design of the unit that make it worth considering. You receive a full 360-degree swivel with the high arc design. That gives you full access to your sink and plenty of clearance so that your work can get done. The pull-down sprayer also offers the standard dual-function design that offers a cleaning rinse and an aerated stream. That limits the amount of water that is wasted while working at the sink without compromising the ability of the faucet to help with cleaning.
Kitchen Faucet Features: Necessity or Profit?
Ask the average homeowner what they want in a kitchen faucet and many will tell you something like this: “I want a kitchen faucet that won’t leak.”
That taps into our core need to have something that is of an excellent quality, can be environmentally sustainable, and makes life more comfortable. No one is cheering when something they need breaks down on them.
Yet there is still a great need to save money for many homeowners. Many communities are still experiencing high foreclosure rates. A high percentage of homes in some areas may be underwater and could have been that way for more than a decade. There is a real emphasis on not spending money – especially on a remodeling project.
That’s why trying to balance the profit potential of kitchen faucet accessories and determining their necessity can be a difficult task.
Many consumers want the best possible product at the lowest possible price. Trying to add a side spray, a soap dispenser, or some other feature is out of the question. Some homeowners are even avoiding a professional installation because they feel like they can’t afford the expense.
Every client requires an independent analysis. Talk about how homeowners use their sink. Show them the pros and cons of each feature. Don’t put any pressure on them to take the plunge on an extra expense.
You may find several clients will want the basics and nothing more. Others will weigh the advantages of a feature or two and close the deal. Some people want a kitchen faucet with the works right away.
Never assume that you know what your client wants. Always ask questions to gather information. That is the best way to build profits when your work entails the installation of a kitchen faucet.
If you are a professional, these are the best kitchen faucets to recommend.
What Kitchen Faucet is the Best Option Today?
There are several excellent kitchen faucets available today from a variety of manufacturers. Some are established names that have been manufacturing quality faucets for more than a century. Others are newly formed, but trying to carve out their own path toward the American dream.
And then there are international brands, value brands, and manufacturers that are based in North America, but do all their production work in China, Taiwan, and Thailand.
A kitchen is not the same without a functional faucet. With many brands offering limited lifetime warranties, a good faucet is not just an expense. It is an investment that offers the potential of increasing the value of a home.
Our kitchen faucet style guide can answer even more questions that you may have.
If you haven’t upgraded your kitchen faucet in at least 10 years, then now is the time to act. If you are a professional who works on new construction or remodeling projects frequently, these faucets can help you build or maintain an excellent community profile.
Water is life. That means the best kitchen faucets bring life to us all.