The faucet in your kitchen probably sees more action than any other feature of the kitchen, so it shouldn’t be an afterthought when designing a new kitchen or renovating an existing one. It’s a functional item, but a beautiful faucet can also have a big impact on the overall aesthetic of the kitchen.
So let’s talk faucets! I’ll take a look at some of basic considerations for finding the best kitchen faucet for your needs, and then sift through some of the options of top-rated and easy to find faucets. Feel free to go right to the products through the links below to see the most recent pricing and reviews for each.
Shopping for a New Faucet
If you are starting a kitchen project from scratch, you’ll have a wider array of faucet options. You could actually design the whole sink area around what type of faucet you want.
But if you’re purchasing a replacement faucet, you will be constrained by your existing set-up, such as the number of holes in your sink or countertop. You also need to be sure that the size of the water lines fits in with the faucet you’ve chosen. You can change this with some plumbing work, but this will add to the cost.
Here are some other factors to consider when choosing a faucet:
1. Mount Location
- Sink-mount faucets mount directly on the sink itself. With this set up, you’ll need to consider how many holes your sink has—they can have 1-4 holes, depending on the handle style and general design. Some faucets have a plate, called an escutcheon, that can cover unused holes.
- Deck-mount faucets mount onto the counter above the sink, like when the sink is an undermount style that fits under the edge of the countertop.
- Wall-mount faucets mount to the wall behind the sink. This looks beautiful, but can present some additional costs and challenges if you have to move plumbing into the wall to accommodate it.
2. Handle Style
- Single handle faucets have one handle attached to the faucet spout to control flow and temperature. It can be a long lever over the top or a small lever at the side. Industrial-style pull down faucets usually utilize a single-handle design, with a high arch and springy movement to give you a lot of flexibility.
- Double handle faucets have two handles, usually on either side of the faucet itself—one for hot and one for cold water.
- Hands free faucets work by touch or motion to turn on, while flow and temperature are usually controlled by a lever at the side. I love the idea of this—no more getting dough all over the handles!
See a hands-free faucet in action:
Faucets come in a wide variety of finishes such as chrome, nickel, copper, brushed metal, oiled bronze, etc. Look to the general style of your kitchen and other fixtures like lights, door handles, and cabinet pulls to coordinate the finish of the faucet.
You’ll also want to fit the style of your faucet into the overall style of your kitchen and the rest of your home. If you have a traditional Victorian home, you might consider a more elaborate heritage design for your faucet, whereas in a more modern home, you’ll want something sleek and minimalist. This is the fun part, where you can really let this piece of equipment say something about your personal style.
4. Extra Features
Sink faucets can also include extra features such as:
- a sprayer nozzle that is off to the side or built into the main spout
- an extra water tap for a built-in water filtration system
- a built-in soap dispenser
5. Construction and Quality
High-end faucets have all-metal constructions and feel nice and solid, built to last. Cheaper faucets may have plastic parts that can break down more quickly. If you’re doing a kitchen overhaul in your dream home, don’t skimp on the faucet—get something that’ll last as long as that marble countertop you invested in. A good faucet can be the final flourish in a kitchen reno.
Best Faucet Options
While personal taste will play a role in your choice, here’s a round-up of options that I think would fit into a large range of kitchen styles.
Delta is a well-known brand of kitchen and bathroom fixtures with a wide variety of offerings at affordable price-points.
This two-handle faucet has a classic look with the handles at either side of the long, slender arching faucet. It is a simple enough design that it could still work in a more contemporary style kitchen. It is available in chrome, oil bronze, and stainless finishes. It also includes a sprayer that sits to the side of the faucet and handles.
Many people find this to be a great value for the price and even found it easy to install. Some users noted issues with the unit loosing flow over time, and were able to fix it by cleaning the diverter valve or replacing the aerator.
However, other owners have had recurring challenges with leaking, and found that multiple calls to the plumber negating the cost savings of this inexpensive unit.
|• Includes sprayer|
• Classic design
|• Has issues with leaking|
• Aerator and diverter valve can cause drop in pressure
Moen is often at the fore of innovation for kitchen and bathroom faucets and sinks in the mass-market of these products. They were one of the first to introduce motion sense technology to the home kitchen.
This faucet features a high arch with a sprayer that pulls down from the main faucet. A switch flips between spray and a single flow of water while a lever at the side controls the temperature and the flow strength. It is available in chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and spot-resist stainless.
There is a motion sensor at the top of the arch which will turn the water on to stay on, and a motion sensor toward the base that goes on and off for quick uses. The motion sensor is powered by batteries, but you can also get an AC adapter to hard-wire it.
People who have had success with this faucet really love it. They report that the motion sensors are very reliable (don’t think of finicky public restroom bathrooms—this one really works!) and the operation of the faucet is intuitive and smooth. I find the design is simple enough that it could work in a modern or traditional kitchen.
Unfortunately, it does seem that there are some issues with this faucet. While some people have lasting success, others have issues with the motion sensors shorting or behaving strangely after a while (turning on and off at will). Moen does have a limited lifetime warranty, so if the unit is truly defective, Moen should replace it.
|• Motion sensor design is convenient|
• Simple design
• Limited lifetime warranty
|• Sensor can malfunction|
Kraus is a European company that makes fairly high-end fixtures. This faucet is a commercial style faucet, like what you’d see in a restaurant kitchen, with a springy arch that offers a lot of maneuverability. It is available in chrome and stainless steel.
This is a high-quality faucet with all-metal construction and convenient touches such as a magnetic docking station and a dual-function sprayer. The faucet swivels 360º, offering great functionality but also giving you installation options such as being able to mount the temperature and flow-control lever at any position on the neck of the faucet.
Owners rave about this faucet. They note that it looks and feels like an excellent quality piece of equipment and it functions smoothly with few issues. This style of faucet head is easy to work with and really gets around the whole sink.
The primary drawback is the size. At 18.5”, it’s pretty tall so take that into consideration if you have limited space over your sink. Another kitchen owner noted that this faucet, which has a low-flow aerator to reduce water waste, didn’t work well with his tankless water heater—there wasn’t enough pressure.
|• High-quality components and finishes|
• 360º swivel offers installation choices
• Good value
• Limited lifetime warranty
|• May be too big for small space|
• Low-flow head may not work with tankless water heater
Choosing a Faucet
With so many faucet options out there, it mainly comes down to personal taste and the construction of your kitchen.
If you’re looking for a classic, affordable design, Delta’s Windermere Two-Handle faucet is a nice option, although you may face some issues and have to get comfortable under your sink to replace or clean parts!
I really love the idea of Moen’s Motion-activated faucet, and some people have great success with it, but I would probably wait for the technology to improve a bit before making this investment.
If I was redesigning my kitchen today, I’d go with Kraus’s Commercial-style faucet. I have worked in restaurant kitchens and have always loved the big, flexible sprayers, and that industrial look is very of-the-moment. This also seems like a great value for a high-quality faucet.
What kind of faucet do you prefer in your kitchen?