What Kind of Kitchen Faucet Should I Buy?

kitchen faucet style

You might be tempted to think that the small touches in your kitchen don’t matter as much as appliances, flooring, and countertops. However, the ideal kitchen faucet style can pull together the room, draw the eye, and make your day-to-day kitchen activities not only easy but also enjoyable. Before you settle on a choice for your kitchen, take some time to explore some of the options and features of kitchen faucet designs.

Think About How Much Time You Spend in the Kitchen

kitchen blueprint

When you make home improvements or decide to redecorate a room, consider your role in that room. When you’re selecting a kitchen faucet, think about how much time you actually spend in the kitchen.

For example, if you’re creating a showpiece kitchen, then you want an attractive piece of hardware. If you want a simple, well-equipped kitchen for those times when you cook at home, a more utilitarian faucet makes an excellent choice. However, when you spend much time cooking, baking, or entertaining at home, you need a faucet that promotes ease and convenience.

Consider the Size of Your Kitchen

The size of your kitchen is another essential consideration. While not all small kitchens have small sinks, you may have a small sink in your kitchen space. Don’t overwhelm a small space with a gigantic faucet, and don’t detract from a large space with a small faucet either.

In addition to measuring your sink and counter space when selecting your faucet, you also need to make sure that the faucet you ultimately choose works with the flow and feel of the space.

What’s Cookin’?

sink with strainer

Image via Flickr by Rachel Zack

What do you like to cook? That answer might not seem like an important question, but your kitchen is part of the response. You might often make pasta, soups, or stews. Would you want to try filling your large stockpot underneath a short kitchen faucet style?

Just as a baker would take the time to choose the most suitable oven, home cooks need to consider their sinks in addition to their stovetops and cooking utensils. When making your selection, choose a kitchen faucet that complements your cooking style. Compare the handle designs, special features such as sprayers, and the height and design of the spout.

Ace the Arc Test

kitchen faucet style

Speaking of handles and large pots, spend a decent amount of time comparing spouts. The height is important, but so is the arc, the curvature of the fixture as it hangs over the sink. Some faucet designs descend lower, which can make maneuvering a large bowl or pot underneath the spray more difficult.

Similarly, if you have low-hanging cabinets, then a large, high arc design can get in the way when you’re trying to work at the sink. In these cases, a kitchen faucet style with a lower arc would be the better choice.

Take the time to measure around your sink. Pay attention to the way your cabinets hang, if applicable, and check to ensure that the faucet you choose fits within the space you have. It’s also important to make sure that your new faucet doesn’t come down too far into the well of your sink, as that descent can significantly cut down on the free space you have.

Get a Handle on Convenience

Kitchen faucets have come far in their designs. Not long ago, the designs were fairly similar, but today, you’ll find different sizes, shapes, and designs. The handles of your new kitchen faucet are one of the features you should focus on as you make your decision.

kitchen faucet style

Two-handled faucets are most common, and they’re fairly simple to operate: Use one handle for hot water and the other for cold water. These faucets allow you to fine-tune the water temperature, allowing you to make sensitive adjustments.

kitchen faucet style

One-handled faucets combine the hot and cold handles, a feature which can help you waste less water and make it easier to adjust your faucet when your hands are full. However, with this one-handled style, you might find reaching the perfect temperature a bit difficult.

kitchen faucet style

Hands-free faucets are both innovative and practical. This faucet style is easy and convenient for daily use, plus the design makes a more sanitary fixture. You won’t have to worry about touching the sink after you’ve touched raw meat. Finally, a faucet with motion sensors can adjust water pressure and spray. Some can also adjust the temperature, but with most hands-free faucets, you have to change the temperature manually. Keep in mind that you will likely need to change the sensory batteries over time as well.

A Clean Kitchen Is a Happy Kitchen

Cleanliness is the benchmark of any good cook. So how can your kitchen faucet help with kitchen cleanliness? When you rinse fruits and vegetables in your sink, you’re likely also using that sink to collect dirty dishes as well. In short, the sink is your home base for kitchen cleaning in general. A faucet with a sprayer feature is ideal for keeping items in the kitchen clean, especially if the faucet has a long reach and several settings.

kitchen faucet style

Image via Flickr from Your Comfortzone

Some faucets feature pull-down sprayers that are directly attached to the faucet. When you need to activate a spray, you pull down the faucet and direct the spray in the desired location. A pull-out faucet is similar, but the arc is usually more streamlined. You could also choose a faucet with a side spray option; in this model, the sprayer is actually positioned on the side of the faucet and handles. Keep in mind, however, that these types of sprayers require an extra opening in the sink to function properly.

kohler side spray faucet

Kohler Purist® High-Arch With Side Spray SKU: 15080295

You can also consider choosing a sprayer that allows you to customize it. For example, you may love a faucet and its sprayer, but you’d like a longer hose. In most instances, these switches are ones you can easily do.

The Hole Story

While on the subject of sink holes and openings, remember that buying a faucet isn’t as simple as picking out a fixture you like. Take a look at your existing sink first. The number of existing openings in your sink can determine what type of faucet you’ll purchase, unless you want to buy a new sink.

undermount sinks

(Left) Kohler Hartland® 33″X22″X9-5/8″ Double Basin Under-Mount w/5 Holes (Right) Kohler Vault™ 33″ Single Basin Topmount Bottom Mount w/Silent Shield®

Sinks can have between one to four openings. Sometimes, those openings are located in the counter, but sometimes those opening are in the faucet unit itself. You might choose a side-spray faucet, but if your sink has only one or two holes, this construction won’t work for you. However, you can use a deck plate or escutcheon to cover up additional sink openings if the faucet you choose needs fewer openings. To that end, you also have a choice between mounting your faucet on the sink or counter itself, using deck mounts, or relying on a wall mount.

Complement Your Kitchen

Also, consider aesthetics when you’re choosing your faucet. While you want to match color and texture as much as possible, you’ll want to consider other factors. What kind of sink do you have? Does it have a modern, eye-catching design? Do you have an older, larger farmhouse kitchen sink style?

rustic kitchen vs modern kitchen

Naturally, if your faucet doesn’t fit your sink design, there’s no point in having a gorgeous sink in your kitchen. Don’t worry about selecting a faucet only because you love the way it looks. Even if the faucet style doesn’t work with your sink, you’ll have an idea of what you like and you can search for a similar faucet design that will work with your type of sink.

Modern kitchens can look amazing with sleek, streamlined faucets. Try a single-handled or hands-free faucet with a pull-down or pull-out sprayer and a minimalist design. If your kitchen is somewhere between styles, consider transitional or contemporary pieces in warmer colors. For a rustic or country kitchen design, keep your choices traditional and browse for faucets with some antique inspiration.

Accentuate Your Accents

Spend some time considering all of your options for colors and finishes. Take a look at different shapes and designs as well, especially if you want to complement a specific decor style. Fortunately, you have more to choose from than chrome, brushed nickel, or brass.

kitchen faucet style

(Picture left to right) Chrome vs Brushed Nickel vs Brass

In addition to those choices, you could go with a gorgeous oil-rubbed bronze, wrought iron, or Mediterranean bronze, styles which are perfect for rustic spaces. Glacial white also appears frequently in many home decor trends, as does matte black — both of which are ideal for modern kitchens. You can always opt for a spot-resistant finish to reduce the risk of rust and water spots.

Your kitchen faucet does much more than provide hot and cold water — it’s one of the most important aspects of your kitchen. Remember to consider the time you spend in the kitchen, its size, and what you cook, but don’t forget about the overall picture. You can find a kitchen faucet style that fits your every need, your budget, and your design aesthetic, and you just might have fun on the search, too.


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