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Choosing Your Next Kitchen Faucet

Perhaps the most used and least appreciated workhorse in your kitchen is the faucet. Consider how many times a day you reach for the tap without even thinking.

Whether you’re changing your kitchen faucet out of necessity or desire, or the spigot is part of a total remodel, spending a little extra time and making a wise choice will pay you back for many years to come.

Replacing an Existing Faucet

If all you want to do is change out the faucet you have for a more modern or better functioning model, and you want to keep things simple, the first order of business is to count the number of holes in the deck.

A deck with a single hole will accommodate a faucet with a single handle that rotates to supply cold or hot water and moves up and down to control the flow.

If your deck has three holes, it can accommodate a two-handled system, one for hot water, the other for cold. Having a dedicated flow of either hot or cold water can be a plus. But you may find it irritating to juggle dirty dishes as you adjust the two handles to achieve the perfect temperature.

An additional hole off to the side allows for a sprayer, which is always handy for attacking stubborn food residue. You may not need this if you choose a faucet with a built-in sprayer. You may also decide to use the additional hole to house a built-in soap dispenser, a handy gadget with the added benefit of saving counter space.

If you have more openings than you need, you can always install an escutcheon plate that will cover up the unused sink holes.

Starting from Scratch

Your options increase considerably if you are planning on a whole new sink and faucet system.

The first consideration will be if you want a faucet that is sink-mounted, deck-mounted or wall-mounted.

The traditional sink-mounted deck offers from one to four holes, depending on whether you want a single handle faucet that delivers both hot and cold water or a two-handle system with separate hot and cold taps. The extra hole is for the sprayer, should you wish to add one.

 Deck-mounted faucets are installed right into your countertop. Some people prefer the modern look this creates, especially if your kitchen has a modern vibe.

Wall-mounted faucets are often used in institutional settings and in smaller kitchens. While they allow for neater countertops and a more effective use of space, extra care must be taken if installing this type of faucet. For example, if you reside in a cold climate, you need to consider the risk of frozen pipes when the temperature dips. Also, the placement can be tricky. If you go this route, it’s a good idea to leave the details to a professional.

Placement, Placement, Placement

If you have your heart set on a deck-mounted faucet, you’ll need to figure out how much space you have behind the sink to install the faucet. The spout needs to be over the middle of the sink, so figure out the space between the wall and the inside edge of the sink. Then use this measurement to choose the size of your new faucet.

An important consideration in any faucet you choose is how well it works with your existing sink (or the new one you’re going to install). For example, your new faucet needs to be tall enough to comfortably fill and clean your biggest pots  and pans.

It’s What’s Inside that Counts

Water temperature and flow are controlled by the faucet valves. Their function is to make the water pour from the spout and aerator, delivering your water to you. There are essentially four common types of valves that are used in the manufacturing of faucets: ball valves, disk valves, cartridge valves and compression valves.

Each valve works a little differently, but with the same results. While the type of valve may not be top of mind when purchasing your faucet today, you may find that in the long run, you will saving money by choosing a valve type that can be replaced without buying a whole new faucet a few years from now.

A faucet that has a ceramic disk valve, along with a solid brass or stainless steel base, may cost more but will last longer and require less maintenance than faucets constructed with cheaper materials. You can easily tell what your faucet is made of by its heft. A solid brass fitting feels heavier. And keep in mind that if you live in a place that has corrosive hard water, solid brass is your best bet.

What’s Your Style?

Consider the type of faucet that works best with the overall look of your kitchen. Are you going for a cozy farmhouse kitchen feeling? Or do you prefer all things modern?

Do you like the look of a tall gooseneck spout, or will it interfere with the lovely view outside your kitchen window?

Picture your faucet in your space. How will it fit in? Will it perform effortlessly, day in and day out?

The Finishing Touch

It’s mostly about the look, but the finish also determines your faucet’s durability.

Chrome’s classic style and durability make it a popular finish.

For endurance and a finish that’s resistant to smudges, brushed nickel is a good choice.

A copper finish gives a bright, rich look to your kitchen. Copper has the added advantage that the more it ages, the more rich its appearance.

Combining durability and a modern look, stainless steel is always a solid choice.

The most important factor in choosing the finish is how it works with the rest of your kitchen.

Modern Features

Manufacturers work hard to keep up with modern technology. The popularity of voice-command appliances has found a home in the modern faucet. If you’re all about touchless technology, you’ll find the perfect faucet for you.

In an era where our concerns are with achieving the purest possible water, filtration systems have become a popular addition to the kitchen faucet.

The classic spray head has gotten a reboot. You can find built-in spray heads that give you the ability to switch between a regular stream to a higher pressure for easier clean-up.

Choosing the perfect kitchen faucet for you can be a snap. Just remember, whatever you decide, your faucet is going to get a lot of use over the next several years. So choose one that functions as you’d like as well as one that looks fabulous in your kitchen space.

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