Choosing the perfect faucet type
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Have you ever actually looked at all of the available faucet options out there? There are several types to choose from, so how do I know which one will be my best fit?
Here we take a look at 7 different faucet type options and what some of the major pros and cons are of each kind.
1. Single-handle faucets are increasingly becoming the more popular option compared to two-handle faucets. They tend to be easier to use and have rather simple installation instructions since they only require one hole. This faucet type should be the go-to option when the existing wash basin is small, as it only requires a minimal amount of working space.
It should be notable that single-handle faucets are are more likely to found in areas where the weather doesn't change much throughout the year. People who don't necessarily need strong definition between hot and cold water will likely benefit more from this faucet type than those who need strictly controlled hot and cold water.
Easier to use and install
Takes up less space than two-handle faucets
Can be very stylish (has a more modern feel)
Technology improvements have evolved to allow for the same level of control as two-handle faucets
May not allow for as precise temperature adjustments as two-handle faucets (it may take more practice to master water flow)
There is only one water valve connection so, in the event of a leak, the single valve would need to be shut down (no access to water)
User reviews have reflected complaints of experiencing a "sloppy" or "mushy" feeling when turning on these faucet types
2. Two-handle faucets are thought to be more traditional than single-handle faucets. They contain separate hot and cold handles to the left and right of the faucet for temperature control. These handles can be part of the base-plate or separately mounted. Spray nozzle heads are typically purchased separately for two-handle faucets.
May allow for more precise temperature adjustments than single-handle faucets
Nice, classy aesthetic (can look more elegant and inviting)
Better water flow rate
Best option for cold and hot weather (access to controlled hot and cold water)
There are two water valves so, in the event of a leak, you can simply turn off the valve of the leaking handle while still having access to water from the other handle
Less likely to cause accidental scalding since the handles are typically well marked for hot and cold water
Can be harder to install since it needs 3-holes and (in several cases) an escutcheon plate
Needs both handles to adjust to the desired temperature
Two handles increases the likelihood of an eventual leak
Can be more expensive than single-handle faucets
Does not typically include a spray nozzle head
3. Pull-down faucets have a spray head that pulls downward and away from the fixture. A counterweight helps the hose and spout retract neatly and efficiently. Pull-down options are more commonly found on single-handle faucets.
Pull-down faucet types are increasingly becoming the most common kitchen faucet and are the preferred model for professional cooks. They are the ideal option for deep sinks.
Considered the "golden child" of the kitchen faucet industry
Ergonomics come in to play because you only need one fluid motion
Very handy when rinsing vegetables or the sink itself
Comes in a wide variety of designs and styles
Pull-down spray heads are considered to be the best option available since they have a wide variety of functions (not included in pull-out faucets)
Less likely to get kinks in the hose since you don't have to maneuver in different directions
High arc spout gives more clearance for large pots and pans
If you have a small sink you may not need the pull-down feature (small sinks may also cause issues with installation measurements)
Would not be ideal in limited space since the height of the spout may cause clearance issues
Not typically equipped to swivel at 360 degrees
Homes with weaker water pressure may have some problems (the spray head functions may not work as needed)
4. Pull-out faucets are no longer commonly found in the kitchen, however, they do find themselves quite useful in other rooms around the house (bathrooms, outdoor areas, etc.). They are a secondary option to the pull-down faucet. They have a shorter spout but their arc can sometimes be a bit high. It compensates space by offering either 190 of 360 degree swivel support.
Often times comes with a longer hose than pull-down faucets
Works well in areas with small sinks or limited space
Since clearance is not an issue, there is less hassle for the user
Spray head can be more flexible, which causes less splash-back
Can be more durable and affordable than pull-down faucets
Design and style choices are very minimum, so buyers may have to settle with a look they doesn't necessarily want
Doesn't work great if you need to fill tall items such as pitchers or large pots
User reviews have reflected complaints from users with large hands finding these faucet types to be inconvenient to hold and operate
Doesn't offer the same ergonomic options as the pull-down
5. Pot-filler faucets are common in restaurant kitchens but also come scaled for use in the home. They are either deck- or wall-mounted, installed near the stove, and have articulated arms to fold away when not in use.
Placement for this faucet type is critical. If it's too low you won't be able to fit items such as tall pots beneath it. If it's too high you won't be able to reach it. Regular cleaning for a pot-filler faucet is very important in order to keep grease, heat, and smoke from tarnishing the finish.
It is recommended to install a set of water valves instead of a single valve, so that if one wears out you can stop a leak by turning off the other.
Ease and convenience
No more lugging heavy pots across the kitchen (less slogging)
Can be very stylish (has a modern, upscale look)
Must be connected to a water source behind the stove. It requires a cold water supply pipe that rises inside of the wall behind the stove and stubs out at the proper height.
If you are not a serious cook it may not be needed or used as frequently
Can be difficult to clean since it can be difficult to reach
In the case of a leak, water can damage the stove, wall, and floor
Once the pot is filled you may still need to carry it to the sink for drainage, which means you would still be slogging water around the kitchen
6. Bar faucets, also known as wet-bar or entertainment sinks, are smaller options that are primarily used in a secondary sink to free up space at your main sink. They make prep-time easier, especially when there's more than one cook in the kitchen.
These faucets are often purchased to match the same style as the main faucet. Installation is pretty simple and straightforward since they're typically single-handle faucets. They are typically installed close to the cook-top or in an island counter-top. It is recommended to attach a garbage disposal, as this faucet would mainly be used in prep-like scenarios.
Can be connected directly to an instant hot or cold (filtered) water dispenser
Great for home entertaining when installed in a high-traffic/volume areas (like patio, terrace, or home bar)
Perfect for small homes or tiny kitchens
Space needs to be considered as this extra faucet and sink area might not be needed
Only meant for small jobs, not meant to accommodate huge pots and pans
7. Hands-free faucets first became available on the market during the late 1980's and have quickly grabbed the attention of buyers. Their first public launch was done on airport lavatories, accentuating their stand-out features such as ease of use, water conservation, and reduction of the spread of bacteria. They are now often used by living establishments for the elderly and handicapped, shopping malls, and other public establishments.
Aside from being used in public areas, hands-free faucets are more commonly being found in the home. They come in options that offer sensor or touch activation.
Usually activators are found in the front of the faucet for easy accessibility. The touch-to-start features are typically located on the spout. Either option should come with manual operations, as well.
Convenience and cleanliness (dirty hands won't be touching the fixture as much)
Less/controlled water output means better water conservation. The design of sensor faucets is to have a low flow rate, an aerator in the spout and system or material that prevent leakage, and a solenoid valve that would be closed by default
Saves much more energy as compared to traditional faucets that can be used with a preferred flow and temperature
Possible to have power come from a renewable source
Reduced back-splash due to low flow rate and less contamination caused by not touching the fixture makes the faucet more hygienic
Some sensor designs hide the activator toward the bottom or back of the faucet where it's harder to find when your hands are full or messy
It it's touch-to-start faucet you may end up having to clean up the spot you touched, making the hands-free option irrelevant
Higher prices than standard faucets which can be problematic for those on a budget
Unintentional activation, not recommended for home owners with domestic pets since animals (cats) can possibly walk on the basin of the counter-top and activate the faucet (built-in timers should be able to turn water off after a certain allotted time period, typically around 3 minutes)
If it's operated by electric power rather than a battery, if the power goes out you won't have water
We would love to hear from you: What faucet type do you like best?