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How to Choose Your Kitchen Faucet

If you thought you had an overabundant choice in kitchen sinks, wait until you start trying to select the right faucet. The pros and cons of various faucet setups may not be immediately obvious to you, but you should consider your setup options carefully because they directly affect the number of factory-drilled holes you’ll be working with and the plumbing design of the faucet assembly.

Faucets come in two handle setups or designs: A single, lever-style or a two-handled version. Both do the same thing — allow you to turn the water on and off and control the flow as it’s running. So, if they do the same thing, how can there be such a divided camp of people when it comes to design? Let’s look at what makes each one unique to help you decide which design is right for you.

A lever-style faucet (which controls both the hot and cold water flow with one handle) has the hot- and cold-water supply lines attached underneath where the spout is connected to the faucet housing. A two-handled faucet (which has a separate handle for turning on both the hot and cold water) has a separate supply feed (tailpiece) for each water handle.

Both single- and two-handle faucets are popular, but for different reasons:

  • A single-handle faucet is usually easier to use, especially for people with arthritis or anyone who has trouble gripping objects.

  • A single-handle faucet is a good choice for families with young children. The single handle eliminates the chance that a child will turn on only the hot water and scald himself.

  • The single-handle design helps you get your desired water temperature more quickly with fewer adjustments.

  • Single-handle models with longer, paddle-shaped handles allow you to turn the water on or off with your elbow or wrist. This is handy when your hands are full or covered with food.

  • Because a single-handle faucet doesn’t have a handle on either side of the spout, the spout has a greater swing radius.

  • A single-handle faucet with a base that doesn’t cover the adjacent holes is ideal if you plan to add a soap dispenser or hot water dispenser in the extra holes.

Two-handle faucets are popular for the following reasons:

  • They give people a more traditional look for their kitchen.

  • Most two-handle faucets also feature interchangeable handles so you can change the appearance of the faucet whenever you want — without doing any plumbing!

  • Dedicated hot- and cold-water handles give you only hot or cold water from the respective handle.

  • You can adjust the water temperature by adding or taking away from the flow of either the hot or cold water without changing the other’s water flow.

Cruise down the faucet aisle of your local home center and you’ll see mostly good old chrome finished faucets on display because chrome is still the most popular finish. Besides being traditional, it works well color-wise with just about any sink color. And it’s pretty easy to keep clean. Just wipe it down with a damp rag and dry it off. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see colors and finish combinations that your parents could never imagine. Today’s faucet colors range from white to biscuit to bronze to black. And some elegant brass-finish faucets come with a lifetime warranty.

Tired of holding your nose every time you take a drink of water because you can’t stand the smell or taste? Then a filtering faucet may be a good choice for you. Filtering faucets typically contain a built-in, replaceable filter with activated carbon that removes organic contaminants and cleanses the water as it comes out the spout.

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