Buying the right kitchen faucet depends on largely what existing plumbing you have to work with. Buying a new kitchen faucet can be overwhelming and frustrating if you haven't considered the details before you begin shopping.
Start With the Sink
There are many different kitchen faucet and sink designs available, but they are not always compatible. Start by taking a look at your kitchen sink to determine how many faucet mounting holes are available. This applies if you are installing a new faucet in an existing sink or if the new faucet is also being joined by a new kitchen sink.
If your existing faucet has a mounting plate on it, check under the sink to see how many holes the mounting plate covers. Each new faucet will indicate on the packaging how many mounting holes it needs for installation. Kitchen faucets are available in 1, 2, 3 and 4 hole versions. Some faucets give you multiple options in one to accommodate different sink configurations. If the faucet you buy will only use two holes and your sink has three, you’ll have to figure out what to do about that third opening.
The location of the sink mounting holes is another thing to keep in mind. Often, the faucet is located close to the center of the sink, but this is not always the case. If the faucet will be mounted on one side of the sink, the spout needs to be long enough to reach the opposite basin for it to be of use. A tall spout with a pull-down spray nozzle is another option for a sink with corner mounting holes.
Check the Water Lines
Making sure that your new kitchen faucet is compatible with the water supply lines is the next step. Before you go shopping, take a look under the sink and make a note of the existing water line size and the shutoff valves. Then, as you select a new faucet, see if it comes with 3/8" flex lines attached, as many newer faucets do. If the existing water shutoff valves are 1/2", you will need to change out the shut-off valves to 3/8” valves before you can install the new faucet. It is usually a good idea to replace the shut-off valves when installing a new faucet since an old valve is more likely to fail should you need to shut off the water. Just be aware of the size of the water pipe and the size requirement for your new kitchen faucet.
Know the Finish
Although this is just for aesthetics, it is an important consideration when replacing any plumbing fixture. Make a note of what finish you have or want to have, for your kitchen hardware. The kitchen faucet should match the finish of sink accessories, such as the air gap, soap dispenser, and sink-hole cover whenever possible. A shiny chrome finish will look out of place if the rest of the fixtures are a dull, brushed nickel finish, for example.
Having these three pieces of information will narrow down the choices and make your buying decision easier. Once you narrow down the seemingly endless options, it is simply a matter of picking a look for your new kitchen faucet.