Perhaps you’ve noticed a leak. Maybe you’re looking to update a few features in your kitchen. Or, you could be modernizing the whole room. Either way – it’s time to consider a new kitchen faucet.
However, with so many faucets on the market to choose from, it can be hard knowing where to begin – that’s where our reviews of the best kitchen faucets come in, and our handy guide to different types of faucets.
To help you choose the best faucet for your home and kitchen, we’re going to break down all the different types of faucets on the market today. We’ll go from telling you exactly which kind of fitting will work in your kitchen, all the way to the best additional features that you can find in a kitchen faucet now.
The varied range of kitchen faucets can be intimidating to a first-time consumer – but we’re going to help you through it. Our expansive guide will tell you everything you need to know – so you get the perfect kitchen faucet for your home, your life, and your family.
1) What Kind of Mounting Hole Do You Have?
If you’re surprised that when talking about faucets the first thing we’ve mentioned is a mounting hole, don’t worry. Before we get to any of the fancy add ons which can make a kitchen faucet interesting, you have to find out what type of faucet will physically work with your pre-existing features.
The number of mounting holes in your sink deck affects the type of faucet you can choose for your kitchen. Although in some instances the number of holes can be adapted, this can be a bit of a tricky job for someone who is not very handy.
In most instances, if you plan on installing your new faucet yourself, you should find one which matches the amount of mounting holes you have.
To locate your mounting holes, remove the faucet that is already in place and look at your sink deck, countertop, or on the wall. In most homes, there are 1, 3 or 4-holes, with the most popular kinds being the 3-hole and 4-hole mounts.
If there is only one hole in your sink deck or on your countertop, that means that a 1-hole faucet will be the one that fits in your home. Most 1-hole faucets are the simplest to install, and that is often reflected in the minimal design.
Many come with a single handle which controls both temperature and pressure, with a sole spout. Mostly come with some curve, to minimize the amount of splashing beyond the sink.
- Easy to use
- Simple installation
- Many style options available
- Lacks additional features
3-hole faucets are known are the more traditional kind. A lot of older homes come with a 3-hole mount because they were used most as plumbing became more commonplace.
The 3-holes of this faucet are divided along 2 for the handles, and 1 for the spout. There are two major types of 3-hole faucets, and they’re distinguished by the distance in size between the mounting holes.
The difference between the two leftmost and rightmost holes on your mounting deck is usually either 4 or 8 inches. If there is a 4-inch difference, you need that size faucet, and the same applies to an 8-inch difference. 4-inch faucets are known as mini-spreads because they are significantly smaller than their 8-inch counterparts. 8-inch faucet mounts are known as wide-spread.
This kind of faucet is for those whose mounting holes are 4-inches apart. On a center-set, each piece of the faucet is usually connected by a deck plate, which guarantees a stable foundation for handles and spout.
If your mounting holes are 8-inches apart, this is the faucet for you. Most of these faucets come without a deck-plate, so the handles and the spout are mounted separately, and sit directly on the countertop, wall or sink basin.
Both kinds of 3-hole faucets are considered the family-friendly because two temperature controls which you can modify very specifically means less chance of burnt hands.
- The cheapest kind of faucet
- The easiest to install
- Family-friendly temperature control
- Will need modification to add additional features
4-hole faucets have all the advantages of a 3-hole faucet, with an additional bonus. Unlike the 3-hole faucet, which just allows for the traditional handles and spout, a 4-hole faucet allows for one additional feature, which you can adapt to your specific needs.
The feature you choose depends on how you use your kitchen. Some companies, like Kohler, offer a sprayer faucet which is specifically adapted to wash fruit and vegetables gently. Some people who cook with lots of different meats prefer a soap dispenser as their feature so that they can maintain excellent food hygiene practice.
- Perfect for a spacious kitchen
- Allows for that additional feature, to make your time in the kitchen that little bit easier
- Easy to use
- Great temperature control
- A crowded sink-deck can make a small kitchen feel even smaller
2) What Kind of Handles for Your Faucet?
Once you’ve figured out how many mounting holes your faucet has, you can then begin to think about how a faucet can streamline your time in the kitchen and improve your experience in there.
There are many different types of faucets, and a lot of the differences depend on what kind of handles you want. Although this may not seem so crucial, the smooth functioning of the kitchen-space is of fundamental importance to those people who like to be very active in the kitchen.
How easy it is to manipulate the water flow function can make all the difference between a relaxed afternoon baking or stressful fussing – and a burnt cake.
We’re going to break down all the different types of handles, so you can find out what’s best for your kitchen, and your lifestyle.
These days, lever handles are the most common type you can find in a modern kitchen. Lever handles offer one smooth point from which the hand can grip, which makes them easy to maneuver for children and the elderly.
Lever handles are most commonly found on 3-hole faucets, but many 1-hole faucets come with lever handles too.
- Family friendly
- Allow for subtle temperature adjustments
- Dirty spots are very visible
Cross handles are the more traditional type of handle, which you find in older homes or the kitchens of those who want their home to have a vintage, classic charm. These come in an overlapping t-shape.
These are a little harder to maneuver so may not be the ideal choice for children or the elderly.
- Great for those who want a more traditional look in their kitchen
- Good temperature control
- Hard to adjust for those with mobility problems or muscle weakness
Touch-activated faucets are a relatively new kind of technology that is revolutionizing the way people use their faucets.
Instead of having to turn a handle, anywhere on the surface of the spout and handle can be tapped to produce a stream. This is incredibly useful for people who have poor maneuverability in their hands and wrists because it makes using a kitchen faucet very simple.
- Easy to use
- Great for those who struggle with standard handles
- It turns off automatically
- Temperature control handle
Like the touch-activated faucet, a touchless faucet is an appliance that has truly revolutionized the way people can use the space of their kitchen. Most of us have come across the touchless faucet in the bathrooms of commercial premises, where they’re often installed because of their ease of use and for hygiene purposes.
In a kitchen at home, the touchless faucet is fantastic those who are active cooks and bakers, because it means they do not have to dirty their faucet each time they need to wash their hands or an ingredient. Because it’s not constantly being touched with dirty hands, the touchless faucet is the most hygienic of the bunch.
- Effortless ease of use
- Great for those with poor maneuverability
- The most hygienic type of faucet
- Temperature control handle
3) What Kind of Features Do You Want in A Faucet?
We’ve covered mounting holes and handles, but the journey into faucet features doesn’t stop yet. After the fundamentals of a faucet – how to find one that fits your kitchen and what kind of handle you need - now comes the fun part. Think of all the additional features that you’d like to enhance your kitchen faucet and make it more enjoyable to use.
If you thought faucets just did water – you’d be wrong. Nowadays, there’s a wealth of different types of features for your kitchen faucet.
Pull-down faucets allow you to move the head of the faucet into the body of the basin as you want. The faucet head is attached to a tube which can be extended at will and easily maneuvered.
This is great to give you more control over where your water flows, and the intensity of the stream. It’s really useful for cleaning your sink and counter too.
- Excellent control of the water flow
- Can reach even the fiddliest places
- Need thorough cleaning to retain a sleek look
Often pull-out and pull-down faucets get confused, and that’s because they’re very similar. The crucial difference is that a pull-out extends horizontally, not vertically.
This is a good option for those who want the benefits of precise water flow a pull-down model gives but who has a smaller sink basin.
- Great in a smaller kitchen
- Good control of the water flow
- Doesn’t allow for as much maneuverability as the pull-down
A side-sprayer allows a little stream of water spray separate to the main body of the faucet. It’s usually to the right or left of the main body of the faucet, and can be pulled into the basin to wash, rinse and spray.
Usually, a side-sprayer retracts manually or can be moved back automatically.
- Useful for more fiddly jobs
- Great for washing fruit and vegetables
- Good for cleaning the sink and sides
- Unnecessary if you have a pull-out or pull-down faucet
A lot of us who are concerned with kitchen hygiene always need soap on hand when we’re in the kitchen. A soap-dispenser is a great additional feature that streamlines your experience when cooking. Instead of reaching for a slippery soap bar, or fiddling with a plastic dispenser, soap on hand makes cooking so much easier.
- Very hygienic
- Streamlines your kitchen experience
- You have to remember to fill it!
4) What Finish is Right for Your Faucet?
Once you’ve found a faucet that fits, the handle that would make your life that little bit easier, some additional features to make every time you’re preparing food a smile-time, now is the time to think of the look.
How a faucet looks may seem like an add-on, but believe it or not, it may just be the thing that makes or breaks an attractive kitchen. The sink is one of the major hubs of activity in a kitchen, and since you’ll be spending so much time with your faucet, you might as well get something that’s good to look at.
There are two major styles of faucets; modern and classic. We’re going to break down the finishes that are associated with them, so you can know which faucet will best suit your overall style.
Modern faucets best compliment the minimal style of a lot of contemporary kitchens. If you’re a bit of a gadget lover, and like everything that’s new, fresh and sleek, you should opt for a faucet which has a smooth metal finish.
The most popular faucet finishes in a modern style are chrome, white and nickel, so we have just surveyed them. There are more options, like those found at Moen, but they’re a little rarer.
The sleek silver of a chrome faucet perfectly complements a modern kitchen. The brightness of the chrome allows the light in the space to bounce around, creating the illusion of more space.
- Fits in well with cool modern furnishings
- Reflective to give a sense of more light
- Can look cold in darker kitchens
Nickel offers a slightly, deeper, more-refined silver than Chrome. It’s less reflective, but that can be to its benefit in a bright kitchen.
- Great in a modern kitchen
- Smooth, classy look
White is a good choice if you employ plenty of color elsewhere in your kitchen because it compliments a kooky style in a modern way.
- Classic but in a fresh way
- Compliments most other features
- Dirty marks show up easily
If you’re after a traditional look for your kitchen, black can look good in some homes, but it can be hard to pull off – especially if your kitchen lacks some natural light. However, if you’re looking for a cool kitchen, in the traditional style, brass is Queen.
Brass is reflective, but it’s lovely sepia tones add warmth to any space.
- Warm color
- Classic and elegant
- Adds light to a space
- Won’t suit a kitchen with lots of silver features elsewhere
We hope this guide to different types of faucets has carried you through every step of the way. Now you know the ins-and-outs of mounting holes, you’re up to speed with the best in handle technology, and you know exactly what features you need, and what finish you’d opt for – you’re ready to go!
With all this knowledge as your power, go out there and find the faucet of your dreams! It’s guaranteed to make every meal prep and every instance of washing-up that little bit easier.