As with any major purchase for your home, buying a
kitchen faucet can be a bit intimidating. Especially
since you'll likely want it to last a few years, some
basic facts and tips about kitchen faucets can
help step you through the process of selecting a faucet.
First, you'll want to consider the kitchen sink. Kitchen
sinks are equipped with one to four (or sometimes more)
holes to accommodate different types of kitchen
faucets. If you're changing a faucet on an existing
sink, the easiest approach is to select a kitchen
faucet to fit the sink's current hole configuration.
Changing from a three-hole type faucet to a single-hole
setup leaves open holes in the sink to be filled.
Alternately, trying to knock out additional holes, say
to change from a single-mount faucet to a three-hole
version, can damage an already-installed sink. If you're
installing a new kitchen sink and kitchen faucet,
life is a little easier since you can select whatever
type of compatible faucet and sink you like. In fact,
you can make things much simpler by installing the new
faucet on the sink first and then drop the whole sink
and faucet combination into the countertop at one time.
This will save you or your plumber from having to work
in tight places under the sink to attach the new faucet.
Once you know how many holes are available in your
kitchen sink, you can begin to choose a kitchen
faucets that's a fit with your likes and needs.
Think about whether you'd prefer a kitchen faucet
with two handles? one handle? a sidespray? a pullout
spout? hot water or soap/lotion dispenser? separate
filtered water spout? Two-handle faucets require three
sink holes and may have an escutcheon or deck plate.
Adding a sidespray takes a fourth hole; other
accessories - soap/lotion and hot water dispensers,
filtering spout - each require an additional sink hole.
You'll want to consider the clutter factor too, being
careful not to add so many things to the sink space that
you feel crowded or constrained.
Single-handle faucets with a deck plate also need
three sink holes; without a deck plate, you can mount
the faucet in a single hole. Many
kitchen faucets can be single-hole mounted as well.
This is a nice option if you'd like the functionality of
a sidespray and faucet all-in-one and the flexibility to
add some accessories to any available sink holes.
Now that the handle configuration of the faucet is
decided, you can move on to style and particular
performance features. Kitchen Faucet styles range from very
basic and utilitarian to distinctively traditional,
contemporary or somewhere-in-between "transitional"
designs to coordinate with the overall look of the
kitchen. In terms of the faucet finish, chrome was once
pretty much your only option. Not so today - finishes
for kitchen faucets are offered in a myriad of colors
including copper, stainless, matte black, polished brass
and even shades of white for perfect matching! There are
no hard and fast rules about style. What's most
important is that you pick something you like since you
use your kitchen faucet so much everyday.
Functionality will play into your choice as well. Look
for kitchen faucets that offer good spout heights
(for working with large pots, tall vases and pitchers,
and the like) as well as extended reach into the sink
(for full sink coverage and task versatility). A
forceful spray option is pretty much a must for rinsing
or cleanup - you'll need a sidespray or maybe a pullout
faucet with the spray function integrated within the
spout wand. There are even filtering faucets available
that deliver pure, filtered water right from the tap.
Regardless of the functionality that appeals to you, buy
the best kitchen faucet you can afford.
Inexpensive models may seem appealing, but the
kitchen faucet is so heavily used that you'll want
the highest quality materials and construction possible
to avoid any premature repair or replacement. Solid
brass construction of the kitchen faucet body is
always a good choice for durability. An essential
consideration as well is a proven technology to prevent
leaks - the washerless cartridge and ceramic disc
technologies are two that have stood the test of time.
Armed with this information, you have what you need to
shop with ease for kitchen faucets that meets all
of your expectations in terms of affordability,
performance and style.