The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the home because it's usually where the food is stored and prepared. Some homes even have a kitchen table for the family to gather around for meals. With this high level of use, it shouldn't be a surprise that the kitchen faucet can wear out over the years and show signs it needs to be repaired or replaced. Common problems that can occur with a kitchen faucet include mineral deposit build-up, rust, and leaks.
You can replace parts of the faucet, like the cartridge, aerator, or O-rings, to extend the life of this fixture, but after repeated repairs, it's recommended to replace the entire faucet. It's also important to keep in mind that you don't need to wait for your current faucet to fail before replacing it. Sometimes you are looking to change up the aesthetic of the kitchen or you may see a new style of faucet that's more attractive than your standard faucet.
No matter the reason, it's essential to research new faucet products before buying them and to find out more about the various features and factors that could influence your final decision. Keep reading to discover how to buy a kitchen faucet.
Before Replacing Your Kitchen Faucet
When you notice a leak coming from the side of your kitchen faucet, a non-stop drip, or signs of mineral buildup, it's a good idea to investigate what caused the problem so that you can make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace the faucet.
A leak can often be fixed by replacing the O-ring or cartridge in the faucet, so it's likely less expensive to repair the faucet than it is to replace it. However, if the faucet continues to develop leaks, then it's better to replace the fixture than to continue spending money for replacement parts.
Similarly, mineral buildup is typically caused by hard water in the home. While you can replace the faucet, it won't solve the actual problem. To prevent mineral buildup on the new faucet, you will need to have a water softener installed before replacing the old faucet.
Buying Considerations for a Kitchen Faucet
A kitchen faucet will typically last about 15 to 20 years if it's well taken care of and properly maintained, so it's important to take some time to learn more about the various product features and factors that could impact your decision, such as the flow rate, sink configuration, and finish.
Flow Rate (GPM)
One of the key factors to research when you are looking for a new kitchen faucet is the flow rate of the fixture. Flow rate is typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and it refers to the amount of water that flows through a faucet within one minute. Older faucets had average flow rates of about 2 GPM or higher, though with water conservation efforts, most faucets now have a flow rate of 1.8 GPM or less.
Check your local building codes to find out if there is a limit on the flow rate of your kitchen faucet before heading out to the local home improvement store or purchasing a new faucet online. Some areas require the installation of a low-flow faucet with a maximum flow rate of 1.5 GPM. The drawback of a low-flow faucet is that it takes longer to fill up pots or buckets, but the low flow rate will help you save on your water bill.
Where the faucet will be installed is almost as important as the actual faucet. If you are installing a new sink, then you can decide on the appropriate sink configuration while looking for a faucet, but if you have an existing sink, then you will need to find out what the sink configuration is before deciding on a new faucet.
Sinks may have one hole for both the hot and cold water line or they can have over four different holes for the cold water line, the hot water line, the faucet bracket, soap dispenser, or an independent hole for a pull-out sprayer. Inspect your sink to find out how many pre-drilled holes it has, so you can find a suitable faucet. Also, keep in mind that many faucets come with covers or faceplates that can be used to conceal additional pre-drilled holes in the sink, but if the sink doesn't have enough holes, isn't recommended to drill additional holes in the sink to accommodate a faucet.
There are many different faucet finishes to choose from when you want to improve the aesthetic of the kitchen or you are looking for a new faucet to match the current style. Chrome is a great choice that suits most kitchen aesthetics because it's easy to clean and blends in with the color of the sink. Refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and even toasters are often made with a stainless steel finish, so if you are looking for a finish that matches your appliances, then stainless steel is usually the right choice. However, for a kitchen faucet that stands out, you can opt for a premium finish like nickel, platinum, pewter, or matte black.
Kitchen Faucet Types
The finish isn't the only feature that comes in a variety of styles. You can also choose from a range of faucet types, differentiated based on the number of handles and the size and shape of the spouts. Common options include single-handle, double-handle, touchless, stationary spouts, pull-down spouts, pull-out spouts, straight spouts, and gooseneck spouts.
- Single-handle faucets have the benefit of taking up less space than double-handle faucets and they typically need fewer pre-drilled holes in the sink. However, these faucets can be more difficult to adjust the flow and water temperature than a double-handle faucet.
- Double-handle faucets allow the user to control the hot and cold water separately, improving flow and water temperature control. Though this style does take up more space than a single-handle faucet and double-handle faucets are not suitable for sink configurations with only one pre-drilled hole.
- Touchless faucets save users the trouble of turn a tap or lifting a lever to turn on the water. This means that you don't need to worry about trying to turn on the water without making a mess when your hands are dirty. The drawback is that these faucets come at a premium price.
- Stationary spout faucets can still move side to side, but they do not have a pull-down or pull-out sprayer. Instead, these fixtures may not have a sprayer at all or they may have a separate sprayer mounted to the side of the faucet.
- Pull-down spout faucets have a built-in sprayer that also acts as a stationary spout when the sprayer function isn't being used. The spout pulls down from the faucet head on a hose and when you are done using it; the hose retracts back into the faucet.
- Pull-out spout faucets are similar to pull-down spout faucets except that they have shorter spouts and the hose is longer. These faucets also have a built-in sprayer that pulls out from the faucet head or acts as a stationary faucet when the sprayer isn't in use.
- Straight spout faucets extend out horizontally from the body of the faucet. They come in varying lengths and can be used for small single sink setups or larger double sink setups, depending on the length of the spout.
- Gooseneck spout faucets extend up vertically from the body of the faucet, then curve until the spout faces down into the sink, similar to the rounded shape of a gooseneck. This style of faucet requires a higher clearance above the sink, so if you have low hanging cupboards, then this may not be the right choice for your kitchen.
The cost to install a new kitchen faucet can vary greatly depending on whether you decide to install the faucet yourself or have a professional plumber complete the job. If you have the skills and all the tools required to install the kitchen faucet, then you will only need to worry about paying for the new faucet, which can cost about $50 to $2,000. However, if you don't have the tools for the job, you will need to purchase them before you can begin. This includes an adjustable wrench ($10-$40), channel locks ($10-$30), basin wrench ($15–$20), tape measure ($5–$20), plumber's putty or tape ($5–$10), and flexible supply lines ($3-$10).
On average, installing a new kitchen faucet will cost about $50 to $2,000, but if you hire a professional plumber for a more complicated installation, it can cost as much as $3,200 according to HomeAdvisor. The bulk of this price is due to the labor costs, which can range from $100 to $200 per hour, depending on the company, location, and difficulty of the installation.
With this in mind, if you can't handle the installation on your own and want to try and cut installation costs, it's recommended to opt for a simple stationary straight spout faucet with a chrome or stainless steel finish.
Where to Shop
The first place that typically comes to mind when you need a new kitchen faucet is the local home improvement store, but you can find a wider selection of products online from reputable dealers, so you aren't limited to the products in your area. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of buying a kitchen faucet in-store or online to figure out which method best suits your needs.
One of the best reasons to buy a kitchen faucet in-store is that you can usually find an experienced professional to help you choose the right fixture for your home. You also get to see the product with your own eyes instead of being limited to pictures or videos online. Just make sure that you have all the necessary information on hand before you head to the store, or you may be making multiple trips to pick up your kitchen faucet.
When you choose to shop online for a kitchen faucet, you can find a wide variety of types, styles, and finish options that can help customize the look and feel of your kitchen. Online stores also tend to provide a lot more information on the product than the simple listings in-store and you can always check any information you need without having to leave the house. However, you are limited to pictures and videos when you are shopping online. Additionally, you could run into shipping problems, like the faucet getting lost in the mail.
Where to Buy a Kitchen Faucet
Some people don't like the idea of using their financial information online or relying on a shipping company to deliver their products safely, while other people may not feel comfortable speaking to store employees or trying to find a new kitchen faucet in-store. Ultimately, there isn't a significant difference between purchasing a kitchen faucet online or in-store, so whether you decide to buy a kitchen faucet from the local home improvement store or from a reputable online store comes down to personal preference.
How long does a kitchen faucet last?
On average, a kitchen faucet will last about 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that a faucet can encounter problems within this time period, but making simple, effective repairs can extend the life of the fixture.
How do you know if you need a new kitchen faucet?
There are several ways to tell if your kitchen faucet needs to be replaced. Examine the current faucet for visible mineral deposits that could be restricting the flow of water through the faucet and check for leaks. While you can repair a leaking faucet, repeated repairs are evidence that you need a new faucet. Rust is another sign that indicates the faucet is in rough shape and should be replaced.
Do you need a plumber to install a kitchen faucet?
Replacing a kitchen faucet is a task that can be completed by a DIYer, so you don't necessarily need a plumber to install your kitchen faucet if you are experienced enough or willing to learn the proper steps to complete the installation on your own. Keep in mind that leaks can quickly create costly water damage, so if you don't have the experience or the time to learn, then it's better to hire a professional plumber to get the job done right.