Faucets & More

Introduction to Faucet

A kitchen faucet's function is simple: dispense hot and cold water. But a kitchen faucet's form can be rather complex: When it comes to finish and to shape, it should match your kitchen's style. Do you want a brushed nickel, an oil-rubbed bronze, or something else? Maybe you want a short and stout faucet, or perhaps you prefer something tall and thin with an arch. One handle or two? Then there's the matter of deciding how it should dispense water. Do you like side sprays, pullout faucets, filters or none of the above? Clearly you have plenty of options when it comes to dispensing water into your kitchen sink. The following pages will help you figure what is right for you.

Finish Options

Most kitchen faucets come in a range of finish choices, typically some color of metal. In the silver family, options include chrome, nickel, stainless steel, platinum and pewter. For a warmer tone, you can try brass, gold, bronze or copper. Metallic finishes can be either polished, brushed or satin, depending on whether you want a bold shine or more muted gleam.

Non-metallic options include white, black and biscuit in either enamel or epoxy.

The 2008 Style Barometer survey by the National Kitchen & Bath Association found that satin nickel was the most popular finish for kitchen faucets, according to a panel of kitchen and bath dealers and designers. Stainless steel and bronze came in second and third, respectively.


Nickel has all the durability of chrome, plus it stands up to scratches and water spots a little better than its shinier counterpart. It also provides a more toned down, softer look. Nickel finishes are generally more expensive than chrome, and work well in transitional style kitchens. Satin and brushed nickel generally have a similar appearance; manufacturers simply use different terminology.


Chrome is durable, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Polished chrome provides a shiny, lustrous look that fits in well with contemporary kitchens-in fact, chrome has become more popular in the United States as contemporary kitchen styles have gained ground. You can also find softer chrome finishes, such as matte or brushed, which can go with most kitchen styles.


Oil-rubbed bronze has had a surge in popularity, and this finish is a little darker than brushed bronze. (In fact, oil-rubbed bronze varies in shade from brand to brand, being nearly black in some lines.) Bronze finishes are usually a little more expensive than nickel and brass, and are often used in country, rustic, Old World and traditional style kitchens.

Stainless Steel

Like chrome, stainless steel is durable and easy to maintain. Stainless doesn't show spots as easily as chrome, but it also costs more, typically comparable to nickel. Stainless has the advantage of matching and blending with a stainless steel sink and stainless steel appliances.

Types and Settings

Picking the perfect faucet requires sorting out a few important factors that affect not just look and function but also installation:
1) Number of handles.
2) how it will be mounted.
3) compatibility with your sink and countertop.


Do you prefer to have separate handles for hot and cold water, or just one handle? Separate handles offer a more traditional look, but single, lever-style handles are popular because they are easy to use with just one hand or even the side of your hand. Handles can be located on the faucet or off to the side. A faucet with a lever handle will require either a single- or a double-hole setting, depending on the location of the handle. If your sink has more holes than required, you can use escutcheon plates-metal discs-to cover the extra holes.

Faucets with separate hot and cold water handles located on either side of the faucet require a triple-hole setting. They may be either centerset, widespread or mini-spread.

Centerset Faucets

In a centerset model, the spout and handles are placed together on a single base. This type of faucet setting has three holes, one in the middle for the spout and one on each side for the hot and cold water handles. Most centerset kitchen faucets place the handles 8 inches apart, although some intended for use with bar or prep sinks have the handles 4 inches apart from each other. Centerset faucets are more affordable and easier to install than other types of faucets.

Widespread and Mini-Spread Faucets

As the name implies, the handles for these faucets are spread apart from the spout. The spout and handles sit directly on the sink or countertop, not on a base. Handles are 8 inches apart for widespread faucets; 4 inches apart for mini-spread faucets. What you want to avoid is buying a faucet that needs more installation holes than your sink or countertop currently has. While it is possible to drill extra holes into certain sinks and countertops, this costs more money and generally is something you want done during fabrication, not when the products are being installed in your kitchen.

Wall-Mount Faucets

Most kitchen faucets are deck mounted-that is, they are installed on a horizontal surface (your countertop). Wall-mount faucets, however, are installed into a vertical surface (usually the backsplash behind your sink). Although more common in the bathroom, wall-mount faucets add style and help conserve countertop space in kitchens as well. Potfiller faucets are an especially popular type of wall-mount faucet. Before buying a wall-mount faucet, make sure your kitchen is plumbed properly: You will need a water supply line that extends up the wall behind your sink (or your cooktop, in the case of a potfiller).