What to Look for When Buying a Kitchen Sink Faucet?
Types of Faucets
The most popular faucets for the kitchen are pull-out and pull-down ones. They have detachable heads that allow extended access during cooking or washing. Using their long hoses, you can easily fill the big pot that doesn’t fit into the sink or do another complicated task.
Any of these types will be good for your kitchen, just keep in mind that the pull-out requires more space, and the pull-down is better for a small place.
Faucets are categorized by the handles options. Most of them belong to one of two general kinds, one-handles or two-handles. Two-handles have different control for cold and hot water, and one-handles operate the both with single handle.
Many customers (us included) consider one-handles more convenient type because you can turn the water on and off and adjust the temperature with one hand. Two-handles, though, are conventional, thus have the retro look that is required by some kitchen designs.
There are types of faucets that a decade ago were a high-end class of kitchen technics. The touchless faucets are trending now, and they are much more affordable nowadays. These fixtures have motion or touch control technology. While being considered luxurious, touchless faucets can be extremely useful. If you often got to wash a very dirty hands after gardening or garage works, touchless are great solution for keeping the faucet itself clean.
At last, you can find the voice guided faucets, which are the next step up from touchless. We can’t recommend any of them yet because the voice processors are far from perfect at the moment.
Types of Cartridges
Faucet cartridge is the part of the fixture that regulates the water flow. It is the cartridge that opens and closes the water, thus, it is the most important mechanical part of the faucet. There are single-function cartridges and mixer ones.
The single-function means there is only one water line per cartridge, either cold or hot. Two-handle faucets have single-function cartridges for each handle, for example.
Disc cartridges are named after a pair of ceramic discs inside each of them, that rotate against each other allowing water to pass through the gap. Ceramic discs are very durable in terms of wearing, so they can last very long without maintenance. They also rarely leak. There may be issues with the disc cartridge if there are debris in the water. Even the smallest particles can lodge the faucet, especially if the water pressure is strong. Their handles rotate 90 degrees.
The compression cartridges are set up in the faucets with recognizable knob handles. You have to turn the handles tightening them and sealing the water flow. These cartridges require maintenance and replacement way more often than disc ones.
Mixer cartridges are also called dual function. Their mechanism allows two water lines supply both hot and cold water into the chamber where they mix before getting into the spout. Mixer cartridges are operated with only one lever.
Disc mixer cartridges have the construction which is very similar to the single-line disc ones. The only difference is two openings in the ceramic discs set, for two water lines. They have the same pros and cons though.
There are ball valve as an alternative to disc mixer ones. They use the same principle but are more complicated in construction. That’s why they are hard to maintenance; if they leak you will have to replace the whole unit. To avoid the problems (and additional expenses), opt for valves made from solid metals like brass. Plastic ones are one-offs in most cases.
The main question about controls is should they be touchless or not. All the buzz around touchless controls are created by those who find them very helpful in cases like limited abilities, dirty jobs, hands busy, etc. If you often have the need to on / off water without touching controls, you should buy a touchless faucet. Otherwise, this feature doesn’t add much value.
Currently, the most popular controls type is single-handles. They have one lever to guide cold and hot water lines and to adjust temperature. It’s convenient because you can do it with one hand instead of two.
Two-handles allow to adjust the water temperature more accurately, though. It is not substantial benefit for the common usage, that’s why people opting for this type of faucets do it due to their nostalgic look.
- Spraying modes. Many of the kitchen faucets have various configurations of spraying to help in cooking tasks. There are different kinds of stream regulations, like boosting it to shorten time of filling the pot. The sprayers often have triggers on them to allow adjusting water flow with one thumb only.
- Protective finish. Faucets are made from different materials but the finish matters as well. The ones eliminating water traces will help you to reduce cleaning job.
- Auto-shutoff feature. Touchless faucets of the newest generation offer the automatically shutoff feature after water runs for several minutes. It’s handy if you have kids or elderly family members with memory issues. Some models also have the improved sensors to avoid false activation.
There are numerous of advanced features that different kitchen faucets have, like simplified installation, temperature indicators, magnetic head docking, and many other which can affect your decision.
One can purchase a faucet for the kitchen for less than $50. In this price range, the fixture may have the decent look but its inner details quality is questionable. Remember, that kitchen faucet is a heavily-used fixture that has to be reliable.
As the price gets higher, the quality becomes better, and so does customer feedback. You can find the brass or stainless steel faucets in the range between $50 and $100. They have spectacular finishes and metal cartridges, which last longer and not so prone to leaking.
The price range between $100 and $250 is the one where most of our recommended models are. These faucets have sophisticated designs, improved features, and solid quality, backed by a reputable brand. For years-long effect, look for the models of this range.
There are faucets that are more expensive than $250. They are top-tier products with non-questionable quality and impeccable appearance. We couldn’t find significant differences between these hi-end fixtures and the ones priced $100-250. There are improvements we consider minor at this price but it’s totally up to you what to prefer.
All-in-One Retailers or Local Plumbing Stores
The question is where should you buy a fixture – at superstores by cheaper price or at specialized plumbing stores where they usually cost extra? While researching for this review, we can state that a number of faucets at the big-box stores look great for the price but have lower quality inner mechanism and hardware. That’s eventually the reason of their affordable pricing.
At the smaller plumbing shops, you can rest assure that they won’t try to sell you the no-name copy of a reputable brand with a low-tier internals.
Big chain stores often start to manufacture the copies of best selling models to sell them cheaper than the branded products. They save on marketing, ads, and some other expenses this way but usually can’t provide the same quality.
We recommend to opt for the trusted brands when it comes to faucets. As heavily-used fixtures, these products are prone to leak or break if they have poor quality details inside. You will pay for repair or buy and install another one in the short term. It is totally the case when miser pays twice.
Best Kitchen Faucet Brands
Who makes the best faucets for your kitchen?
Delta is the third oldest brand on this list and was founded in 1954. They are most likely the most popular kitchen brand in North America.
Delta does innovation just as good as everyone else. Their technologies have completely changed the industry and forced everyone else to adapt.
The use of high quality parts make leads to long-lasting products. Honestly, most people voluntarily replace their faucet or sell their home before their Delta faucet breaks.
A great emphasis is placed on customer service as well. The limited lifetime warranty is the best example of this.
Moen was a brand founded with safety and ease-of-use in mind. This is apparent with the Hydrolock Connection System, Motionsense, Spot Resist finish, and Reflex System. All those technologies make life in the kitchen that much safer and easier.
Innovation is integral to the Moen brand. The general industry consensus is that the best faucet brand a tossup between Moen and Delta.
Moen’s does have good customer support, but Delta probably beats them in this category. They do include a limited lifetime warranty on every product. The customer service issues generally arise when a warranty claim arises.
Kohler is the oldest brand we reviewed. They were founded in 1873.
Kohler takes sophistication to new heights by focusing on the more traditional silhouette design. This definitely gives your kitchen an upscale appearance.
Kohler’s main focus is still a minimalist design at a great price. Plus, they have an upscale design that works great in a higher end kitchen.
Kohler offers a limited lifetime warranty as well, which you might notice is industry standard for the top faucet brands.
Kraus was founded just 12 years ago. They have certainly risen quickly for being such a new company though.
Just take a look at the amount of Kraus products you see at your hardware store. The Kraus brand will be everywhere.
Kraus’ mission is to provide high quality products at a price point that average people can afford. Their products aren’t particularly technologically advanced. However, they are durable and will last you years. Their faucets have ceramic cartridges and Neoperl aerators. The ceramic cartridges don’t drip. The aerators use less water while still giving the same amount of pressure.
Kraus includes a limited lifetime warranty with purchase. Again, this just an industry standard at this point.