A really great faucet is the centerpiece of every well designed kitchen: it’s prominently placed, frequently used, and the perfect way to show off your own personal style. Best of all, kitchen faucets can easily be replaced without a major kitchen remodel. So, if you’re looking to freshen up your space without making any substantial changes, upgrading your kitchen faucet is a great way to do it. That said, if you’re buying a faucet on its own, there are a few features you should pay attention to to make sure your new faucet fits with your existing setup.
First and foremost, if you aren’t replacing your sink and counter tops, you’re more or less stuck with the number and spacing of holes available. For example, if you have a single hole sink, you won’t be able to upgrade to a widespread faucet, and doing the reverse isn’t without its complications. With a few exceptions, you’re going to want your new faucet to be a fairly direct replacement for the old one, at least in terms of size and shape. Ensuring the distance between the holes exactly matches your new faucet is crucial to ensuring a good fit, so your faucet selection will be somewhat limited by the size, shape, and style of your existing one.
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That said, the existing faucet holes aren’t an ironclad limitation, especially if you’re rounding down. If your sink has more holes than your new faucet needs, most manufacturers will supply simple metal deck plates or round hole covers in the same finish as your faucet to cover them up. In the case of the former, these sit beneath the base of the sink and spread out a few inches in either direction to where the handles would be installed on a larger faucet. The small, round covers are generally meant for sinks with more than three holes, but can plug any spare spots you aren’t using.
It’s also worth noting that the number of holes doesn’t necessarily dictate the style of the faucet or even the number or type of handles it has. Single-hole faucets can have either a single lever style handle or more traditional knobs on either side of the base. Widespread faucets always have a three-hole installation, but many faucets with a single handle use the same three hole installation but have a wide metal base. Bridge faucets have a more unusual two-hole installation, though, which makes these a little difficult to pull off without a larger remodel. The good news is that just about any of these configurations is available in a huge range of styles, from highly modern to very traditional.
It’s also worth noting that kitchen sinks can have more than three holes: there are sinks out there that have four, five, or even six openings. In addition to simply covering them up, you can also install a variety of unique accessories into these spaces, like a drinking water tap, soap pump, or a sink sprayer. These days many kitchen faucets come with built in sprayers, which makes the latter a bit less desirable, but having sleek, coordinated taps and soap pumps is a great way to streamline and declutter your counter space.
If you’re considering buying a new kitchen faucet, you probably already have a style in mind, so I won’t spend much time on that. But one thing worth considering regardless of your style is how high tech you want your faucet to be and what other features you’d like it to have. Faucets with pull-down sprayers are becoming ubiquitous, and many homeowners are even upgrading to professional quality, restaurant style faucets with powerful, flexible spray nozzles, both of which make dish washing and cleanup just that little bit easier. Many manufacturers are also starting to offer touch and motion activated faucets, which allow you to turn the faucet on and off hands-free. This can be great for people who tend to get their hands messy and don’t want to dirty their faucet handles, but be aware that you can’t adjust the temperature or pressure of the water without touching the handle – the sensors will only turn it on and off.
Finally, it’s worth considering your faucet in the context of your kitchen as a whole. It can be tempting to fall in love with a really trendy finish, but if it doesn’t match the rest of the hardware in your kitchen, it’ll never look quite right. So, either stick with something close to your existing hardware or, better yet, replace your cabinet pulls at the same time you replace the faucet to keep that unified look. Some really high quality finishes will be a little more expensive than your basic chrome, but generally speaking a large difference in price between two sinks indicates a difference in construction quality. Barring a big designer name, a higher price usually means the faucet is made of metal and ceramic rather than plastic. If you’re buying in person, be sure to pick up the faucets you’re considering. The heavier they are, the better; it’s often worth spending a little extra for a faucet made of better materials for the simple reason that it’ll last you longer.
What are you looking for in a new kitchen faucet, and what type of faucet are you looking to replace?