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Kitchen Faucet Buying Guide

Updated February 9, 2022

Holly H.

By Holly H.

Whether you’re replacing an old faucet or installing something new in a remodeling plan, there are a few things to know before the water starts to flow.

Faucet Types: Deck-Mount or Wall-Mount Faucets

A wall-mount faucet over a farmhouse kitchen sink.

Deck-mount faucets attach to the countertop or rest on the sink. These are usually common kitchen sink faucets. Wall-mount faucets attach through the wall and hang over the sink. If you choose a replacement deck-mount faucet, the number of holes on your sink is important. One-piece faucets, with an integrated handle and spout, need one hole for the handle/spout piece and another for the sprayer. Traditional faucets, with hot and cold taps, require three holes for the taps and spout and a fourth for the sprayer. Additional options — soap dispensers or integrated sprayers — create a different set of requirements. If you’re starting from scratch, choose the faucet before the sink, so you can buy a sink with the appropriate number of holes for your selection. Alternatively, holes can be drilled into the sink to accommodate the faucet. More often than not, the best kitchen sink faucets come equipped with the sprayer feature.

Tip
Escutcheons, also called base plates or deck plates, are ornamental plates that cover additional holes and allow the installation of a one-hole faucet on a three-hole sink.

Faucet Handles

A pull-down kitchen faucet over a double sink.

Typically, kitchen sink faucets have either one handle rotating directionally to change water temperature or two handles for mixing hot and cold water. These include a sprayer that sits to the side or a pull-out or pull-down sprayer with spray and stream options. Hands-free faucets add a new dimension to the kitchen. These can be touch- or motion-oriented and come with both temperature and volume control, making these faucets a safe choice for homes with children. Hands-free faucets work well with the universal design concept, making living spaces more accessible and accommodating for every level of physical ability.

Tip
If you choose a pull-out or pull-down sprayer, look for a faucet with a magnetic catch so that the hosing keeps its form.

Sinks for Specialized Tasks

A high-arc bronze kitchen faucet over a sink.

Before you choose your faucet, think about the ways you use your sink. Do you wash a lot of bulky pots and pans? Are you bathing a baby? A high-arc faucet might make your tasks more comfortable. If you have room in the kitchen, consider installing a bar prep faucet in a side sink. The double setup makes it one of the best kitchen faucets because of the ease of keeping meats and vegetables separate during meal preparation.

Faucet Finishes

A brushed stainless faucet over a double sink.

If you prefer a unified look in your kitchen, check out the selection of kitchen sink faucets with a finish that matches the cabinet hardware. Bronze, chrome and nickel/stainless steel are available at every price point.

Faucet Features

Hot water faucet filling a mug with a tea bag.

In-faucet filters are great for filtering tap water. Keep volume and maintenance in mind to decide if this is the right filtering option for your family. Soap dispensers make it easy to keep kitchen counters clear of clutter. Hot-water dispensers are great for hot beverages and pot filling. A kitchen faucet with a sprayer makes for a great feature. You can use the sprayer to get excess grime off of your dishes and into the drain quickly and efficiently.

Faucet Installation and Operation

There are two types of faucet installations: top mount and bottom mount. Top-mount faucets attach with screws through the bottom of the faucet piece from underneath the counter. Bottom-mount faucets attach with screws through the top of the faucet piece. There are four types of faucet mechanisms: ball valve, ceramic disc, compression valve and cartridge. The type won’t affect your day-to-day use but will affect faucet repairs and maintenance down the road.

Tip
If you have cabinets above your kitchen sink faucets, measure the height available from the deck plate to the bottom of the upper cabinet. Keep this number in mind when shopping.
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