Selecting and caring for kitchen faucets

Apr 14, 2022, 3:00 PM
(Shutterstock Photo)...
(Shutterstock Photo)
(Shutterstock Photo)

Homeowners experiencing problems with plumbing fixtures often ask whether they should repair or replace them.

We are going to focus on replacement here. A new faucet is a simple way to spruce up your kitchen and conserve water.

Types of kitchen faucets

There are many different types of kitchen faucets. What is best for you is based on what your preference is. The Plumbing Lab helps us explain the 13 types of faucets.

Pull out — A longer hose that can be pulled out further is ideal for shallow sinks with smaller drains. The spout fully detaches from the neck and can be used in a 360-degree motion, giving you the freedom to spray in any direction.

Pull down – Pulls directly from the neck and sprays a jet into the sink. It has the option of changing to a spray. With a taller design, the hose pulls down to the basin and clips back into place on the spout. Perfect for filling a pitcher or washing fruits and vegetables.

Single handle — The most common and simplest faucet. The single handle swivels from left to right to control the temperature and up to control the water flow. It is easier to find the desired temperature as it only takes one hand to swivel the handle into position.

Double handle — Two handles control the hot and cold water separately, giving you control of the flow of both temperatures. This faucet requires the hot and cold hoses to be connected by flexible hoses.

Touchless — Made with motion sensors that are wave-activated or by proximity sensor. Designs come with a temperature lever and are usually battery-operated. Better at preventing the spread of harmful germs. Also, more expensive.

Hands-free — Slightly different from the touchless, hands-free faucets are designed to be switched off at the spout with the back of a hand or installed with a sensor. They also benefit from better prevention of spreading harmful germs. It can also be battery or mains-operated.

Pot fillers — Attached over a stove or an extension to the main faucet, the pot filler is designed for preparing water to boil. Its use is best for larger kitchens with space to spare. Designs include an extendable arm to reach each portion of the stove, and it can be tucked away neatly after use.

Water filter — Water is filtered by a separate spout attached to the side. This is used for better quality drinking water and helps to prevent unwanted minerals from coming out of the main spout.

Faucet finishes

Once you have figured out the type and function of the faucet you want, next comes the finish. There are plenty of options to choose from.

Brass – Pairs nicely with white kitchen finishes to add warmth and work well with a modern-looking kitchen sink.

Chrome — Durable, inexpensive, and easy to maintain, it can come in polished, matte, or brushed, which complements most kitchen styles.

Nickel – Available in satin and brushed, it is durable like chrome and stands up to scratches and water spots with its softer look.

Stainless steel — Also durable and easy to maintain, it doesn’t easily show spots. Stainless seamlessly matches and blends with a stainless-steel sink and appliances. It is generally more expensive than chrome and nickel.

Bronze – Popular in rustic and country-inspired kitchens, oil-rubbed or brushed bronze is a dark brown, sometimes nearly black. It is also more expensive.

Matte black – A relative newcomer to fixture finishes, matte black is seen in modern and contemporary kitchens.

Ombré — Developed by Kohler, Ombré combines two vibrant metal finishes to create a transition from light to dark. The finish is available in two fabrications: Vibrant Rose Gold to Vibrant Polished Nickel, and Vibrant Titanium to Vibrant Rose Gold.
Kohler also offers these finishes which will give you an idea of what’s available in many faucet brands.

Cleaning the kitchen faucet

Regardless of whether your faucet is new, it is important to keep it clean. There are commercial products available. But be careful; some finishes can be damaged by chemicals and can cause breathing difficulty if not used in a well-ventilated area.

If you want to use a commercial cleaner we recommend JAWS Kitchen Cleaner-Degreaser. It is a powerful, nontoxic, multipurpose cleaner that removes everyday grease and grime.

Arizona’s hard water can be tough on fixtures. If you don’t have a water softening system, the faucet may have white mineral deposits. Don’t scrape the deposits off. You can scratch the finish. Use white vinegar to remove them.

• Fill a small plastic bag halfway with white vinegar.
• Attach the bag over the faucet with a rubber band.
• Leave it for a few hours. You will see the vinegar bubbling when it meets the minerals.
• Remove the bag and scrub the fixture with a sponge or cleaning cloth.

For heavily saturated fixtures, you may need to keep them saturated overnight. Remove the aerator and clean it with a soft toothbrush and a light vinegar-water mixture. You may need to soak the aerator in vinegar for a few hours if it is heavily gunked up.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.

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Selecting and caring for kitchen faucets