If you are looking for kitchen faucet reviews, you’ve come to just the right place! Many people may not believe this, but choosing the best kitchen faucet that suits your needs perfectly is of critical importance. Your kitchen faucet plays a key role in the look and feel of your kitchen. It goes without saying that it should look really pretty – and blend with the rest of your kitchen. And you know what – the humble faucet is one of the hardest working pieces of equipment in your kitchen. It gets used several times a day, everyday – for as long as it lasts. Few people really appreciate this fact. So your kitchen faucet should look really good, be easy to use and should last for years. That’s a tall order.
Which is why you should take care to choose a faucet that strikes a fine balance between aesthetics and functionality.
A quick look at the very best faucets
In case you are in a hurry, take a look at these reviews. The very best faucets on the market are compared here. Choose one of these and you will have chosen wisely …
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How To Select The Right Faucet For Your Kitchen …
As we discussed earlier, choosing the right faucet is a matter of critical importance. You do not want to neglect this. And truth be told, it’s not really hard. What really matters as far as functionality is concerned is the material the faucet is made from, and the kind of valve it uses. Style is of course important, but then the majority of faucets these days look good – so you would want to pay more attention of functionality. Choosing really good faucets is easy – all you need to do is ask a few key questions and you will know exactly what to look for …
1. How many holes does your sink have?
This is important if you are going to be replacing your existing faucet with a new one. Knowing how many holes your sink’s deck has is essential so that you can buy a faucet that requires the same number of holes. One piece faucets that come with integrated spout and handle need two holes, while faucets that come with options for hot and cold taps require three holes. Sprayers will need an additional hole, so will options like soap dispensers, lotion dispensers, filtered drinking water tap, instant hot water tap and the like.
But for new constructions, you could choose any design you fancy – and design the sink accordingly.
Single hole faucets are the most popular, but some people choose to opt for designs that require as many as seven
You could choose one handed faucets, two handed faucets or opt for a hands free design. A hands free design would perhaps be the most suitable for sleek, all stainless steel type modern kitchens while for the more traditional kitchens, faucets with classic x-shaped taps would be more appropriate.
If you are someone who thinks functionality is more important than fancy designs, you would want to choose a faucet with lever taps, ideally having a single handle that you could rotate directionally to select water temperature. These are the easiest and most convenient to use – and repair as well.
3. Do you want a integrated sprayer?
Many of the newer models come with integrated sprayers. You just pull it out of the faucet head. And yes, these do look good. But you would want to choose them with care.
If you are going for fancy features, be prepared to pay the price for it. Don’t make the mistake of buying low cost knockoffs that only look good but are in fact terrible. Many people think they are saving money by buying cheap faucets that have fancy features like pull out sprayers and the like. Use it a few times, and you will know why it costs so much less than the original, expensive designs.
4. How tall do you want it to be?
If you will be washing large pots in the sink, you will want to choose one of those faucets that have a curved and tall neck. That way, it washing larger vessels will be a lot easier. In case you will be washing or rinsing large cookware and want the spout to be as tall as possible, you could opt for a gooseneck design.
You would also want to note that with very tall faucets, splashing may be an issue. Taller the faucet, more the splashing. There’s really no way to completely avoid that. So decide in advance how far you would want the faucet to extend over the sink – which depends on the size of your cookware. Do not choose a model that is too tall for your needs. It is also a good idea to ensure the faucet is centered right over the drain. Water splashes a lot less if it hits the center hole exactly. If it does not, and you choose a very tall faucet, splashing could be an issue you will have to deal with later on. If you are going to be using a taller faucet, you need to make sure the faucet and sink are coordinated very well. The tilt of the spout and water pressure also are factors you would want to consider.
5. Will you be using a filter?
If you want to filter the tap water, you could either choose a model with a built in filter, or install an external filter. Of course, if you choose to use a filter – either inbuilt or as an external attachment, there will be regular maintenance required.
The kind of finish a faucet is more or less what determines its price. You may find it hard to believe, but it’s usually the quality of the finish that separates the best models from the rest in many a case. Technologically, you can only make a faucet so good. A faucet costing $2500 is not ten times better, technologically speaking, from one that costs $250. It’s the finish that really makes the difference. There are various kinds of finishes – the better ones cost more. So you would want to learn about the kind of finishes available for faucets and their relative strengths.
Generally, a faucet has one of two kinds of finishes – metallic and non metallic.
Metallic finishes :
The most popular metallic finish applied to faucets is chrome. Chrome is tough, hard and it can be highly polished. Nearly 85% of ALL faucets sold in the United States have chrome finish – a testament to its popularity as well as quality. In addition to chrome, other metallic finishes include nickel, bronze and copper.
Nickel : Nickel is usually alloyed with copper and zinc. Alloyed nickel hardly ever tarnishes at room temperature. Brushed and highly polished finishes are a hot favorite. Brushed finishes do not show water spots while polished finishes do so very readily. Hammered nickel would be very well suited for rustic or country style kitchens.
Bronze: Bronze is another finish that’s very popular with home owners – and that’s hardly surprising because it looks so very good. But you might want to be aware that when it comes to bronze faucets, things are not always what they seem.
You see, a lot of supposedly “bronze” finishes are only paints and have no bronze in them whatsoever. And even if it’s not a paint, it may be some other metal that’s been made to look like it’s bronze.
Oil rubbed bronze faucets are a perennial favorite. While metallic bronze is of a light brown color, oil rubbed bronze is much darker. And it usually has no bronze and definitely hasn’t been oiled or rubbed. It’s just a name – but it sure looks pretty. The finish is the result of chemical darkening – a look designed to simulate bronze that’s aged. The shade varies from deep chocolate brown to shades of dark grey. You would want to note that there’s no real standard here. If you order two faucets with oil rubbed bronze finish from two different suppliers, it is highly likely the finishes will be very different. If you are planning to order multiple faucets of this finish from different places, you would want to place orders for samples before hand so that you will know exactly what you will be getting.
Copper faucets: While most faucets with a copper finish are really wholly made of copper, it can also be applied as a finish to brass faucets. But these days, simulated copper – typically made using titanium or zirconium – that looks exactly like copper is also being used. While metallic copper tarnishes very soon, simulated copper does not – and is also highly resistant to scratches.
Other metallic finishes include gold, silver, pewter and zinc. Gold and silver finishes typically cost a lot of money and they are usually only made to order.
Stainless steel faucets are available as well – and these do not need any kind of finish.
Non metallic finish:
While each metallic finish typically has a very distinct color to it, non metallic finishes can be of any color. And the color is obtained either by painting or powder coating. While metallic finishes bond to the faucet very well and will not chip off except in unusual circumstances, non metallic finishes do not bond well to the metal underneath and can easily chip off if you happen to be a bit careless in handling the faucet. In addition to applying non metallic finishes to metal faucets, manufacturers also make faucets entirely from vitreous china – so these are essentially pottery. These faucets can match the enamel colors of your sink in case you happen to have an enamel coated sink. Glass enamel can also be applied to metals, making what is basically a metal faucet underneath look like fine pottery.
No discussion about this will be complete without a word or two about living finishes. While other finishes are designed to keep faucets looking good as new for a long while, these are designed to age in an accelerated way, making the faucets look like valuable antiques, giving a touch of classy, old-world elegance and charm. You will need to let these age for a few weeks and then apply wax to keep off water spots.
7. Where will you mount it?
Depending on where the faucet will be mounted, you have deck mounted and wall mounted faucets. While deck mounted models are the most common, home owners are rapidly realizing the benefits of choosing the wall mounted
variety – they free up a significant amount of counter space and are also easier to keep clean.
You would definitely want to know the material your faucet is made of. While most faucets today are made from metals that do not corrode easily – like copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, pewter and alloys of zinc, plastic faucets are also widely used. Ceramic faucets are available as well.
Brass: This is the most widely used material – mainly because it’s easier to cast and machine. It is also corrosion resistant and is very easy to chrome plate.
Stainless steel: Steel is better suited for faucets than is brass mainly because it does not have any lead content. It’s also harder than brass which is a relatively soft metal. That said, you would want to note that there are several grades of steel. While some have excellent physical properties, others do not. While buying a stainless steel faucet be sure to choose one that’s made of 304 grade (same as 18/10 or 18/8 grade) stainless steel.
Zinc: Zinc costs less than brass or 304 grade stainless steel. Consequently, zinc – or its alloy ZAMAK is used in the manufacture of low cost faucets. It’s grey in color, and is not as durable as brass or stainless steel. If you are going to be using these in your kitchen, then you would want to do so knowing you will have to replace them in a few months. Some brass faucets have ZAMAK handles – something you would want to look out for if you are not very keen on the material.
Plastic : The only good plastic faucets are those made of PEX – or cross linked polyethylene. PEX is very well suited for the purpose. But in case a plastic faucet is not made of PEX, don’t ever make the mistake of buying it. Even ZAMAK faucets are a lot, lot better than cheaply made plastic faucets. The only kind of plastic faucet you might want to buy – if you are really keen on plastic – would be PEX.
Why should you care about the kind of valve used in the innards of the faucet? Well, because the valve is basically what the faucet really is in essence. A valve that controls water flow, a handle that opens or closes the valve and a spout for the water to flow through – this is what a faucet really is. Everything else is just embellishment. Maybe that sounds like over simplifying things, but this isn’t too far from the truth.
Faucets today have cartridges that house the valve. When you need to replace the valve, all you need to do is replace the cartridge and you will be set. There are various kinds of cartridges, and as technology keeps advancing, newer ones are introduced. Typically, cartridges and faucets are built so that you can use any kind of cartridge with any faucet without having to worry which kind of cartridge matches with a particular faucet.
Basically, there are three kinds of cartridges – cartridge, compression and ceramic disk.
This is the oldest type of valves. It uses a rubber washer which gets twisted and compressed against a brass seat to cut off the flow of water. Due to the nature of operation, the rubber washers wear out fast and need to be more frequently replaced.
Moen sleeve and Delta ball cartridge valves are the two main kinds of cartridge valves, though there are now lots of variants based mostly on these designs.
Unlike a compression valve that presses a rubber washer against a brass seat, a Moen sleeve cartridge uses a cylinder with holes made in it in such a way as to allow or disallow the flow of water. When holes in the cartridge align with corresponding holes in the faucet’s sleeve, water flows. When the holes are not aligned water stops flowing.
Delta ball cartridges use a ball with holes in it – a variant of Moen’s design.
Both Moen and Delta cartridges are very long lasting and you can expect them to last for several decades without needing much maintenance of any kind. A far cry from the typical compression valve.
Ceramic disk cartridges: These are the very best when it comes to faucet valves. This cartridge which can last a really long time is a fine example of German engineering. Whereas Moen and Delta cartridges use silicon or rubber seals which tend to wear out over time, these valves use very hard ceramic disks that are nearly indestructible.
There are two main kinds of ceramic disk cartridges – the mixing cartridge designed for use in single handle faucets and the single function stem cartridge used in two handle faucets.
Which kind of valve should you choose?
Ideally, you would definitely want to choose a faucet with a ceramic disk cartridge. This is the best technology and should last you a lifetime. That said, you would want to choose a model that has as few plastic parts as possible. You would want all of the parts of the faucet to be metallic – but since that’s not possible now because just about every manufacturer uses at least a few plastic parts. Plastic parts are the first to fail and shorten the life of the product. Choosing a faucet with as few plastic parts as possible is the only way to ensure the faucet will last a lifetime.
This does not mean faucets with Moen and Delta proprietary valves aren’t good.hat They are excellent as well, and you will not regret choosing them.
What you would want to avoid are faucets with compression valves. While these are more reliable than they used to be in the past, they are not comparable to the newer technologies and you wouldn’t want these.
Frequently Asked Questions
Really, Really Expensive Kitchen Faucets : Are They Really That Much Better Than Cheaper Ones?
This is a common question many people have. More so when your three year old, not-so-expensive faucet has become wiggly or drippy and you simply cannot stand it anymore. Is a $500 faucet really ten times better than a $50 one? Does it last ten times longer and never leak?
Well, truth be told, in most cases it’s just the finish that adds to the cost. The $500 faucet is not technically 10 times superior to the $50 model. But the $500 faucet has a great finish – and that’s why it costs more. There’s no guarantee that it will never leak or become wiggly. But it looks good, so it costs more.
You would also want to note that newer designs that are currently in style will cost more. Buy the same design a few years later, and it might only cost a fraction of what it costs now.
That said, you would not want to buy a faucet that’s very cheap either. Chances are, it is not made of quality materials and you can expect it to leak or break after a short while. While you would not expect a $100 faucet to last forever, chances are pretty good that it will last for several years because it most likely has good craftsmanship and is made from high quality materials. In the same vein, you would not expect a $10 faucet to last more than a few months because it most likely has been made from cheap, low cost and low quality materials.
What Would Cause a Faucet To Lose Water Pressure?
If your kitchen faucets seems to sporadically lose water pressure – and the other indoor faucets do not and there are no leaks anywhere, then the cause most likely is an obstruction of some kind in the pipes.
To fix this, you would have to turn off the water main and remove the faucet. Examine it first to see whether there’s something inside it that could be obstructing the flow of water. If there’s nothing there, then you would have to examine the pipes – section by section – until you find the cause. This job is best done by a professional plumber and you would want to hire one to fix this.
This is a fairly common problem that occurs when the plumbing is old – like 10, 20 or more years, and the water is hard. Calcium and other mineral deposits clog the supply valves under the sink over time and the volume of water that gets to the faucet drops significantly. These are usually easy to replace and that should fix the problem.
It’s also possible that the pipes are not of the right size. But that’s not usually the case. The majority of homes have pipes of the right size. If you suspect incorrect sizing may be the real cause, hire a very good plumber, get yourself a ‘water calculation work sheet’, a pipe sizing chart, calculate the number of plumbing fixtures in the house – and you will know the answer.
If none of that is the cause, you could consider installing a booster pump is that’s indeed feasible where you live. For a booster pump to work right, you will also need to install a tank to feed the pump. So it might involve a bit of expenditure. If this is done right, you can expect water pressure of around 50 psi – which should be more than sufficient. Tankless booster pumps might also work, but tank style pumps may last longer.
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