In this second installment on how to select a kitchen faucet we will explore function.
Will the faucet fit your kitchen environment? How does the on/off lever or handle work? If the sink is large and the faucet will be installed near a thick back splash, window sill or other feature then make sure the handle will work easily without hitting the back splash or wall. On many faucets the handle can be positioned in the front instead of the side if the throw will hit an obstacle. It may appear that this would make it difficult to use the handle without getting your hand wet but all faucets are made to swing from left to right so they can reach both sides of a divided sinks. The faucet is either right or left when turned on and not in the center.
Most but not all kitchen faucets have a spray function either as a separate stand alone accessory or built into the faucet with a button to switch from flow mode to spray. This function can be on a fixed faucet or as part of a pull out hose. If the sprayer is on a hose check out the length of the hose. Will it reach all areas of the sink. If you select a gooseneck faucet how is the head held in the neck of the faucet when the hose is not in use. Some faucets use magnets. These work well if the head is light but the magnet can wear out over time. Some faucets rely on a weight system to hold the head up. See the following discussion on weight vs. spring retractions systems. Many have a mechanical retaining clip that mecanically holds the head in the neck. Make sure the magnet or mechanical system can be replaced if it fails and the whole faucet does not need to be replaced.
If the faucet you are considering has a pull out hose make sure the hose retracts easily. There are a several different retraction systems and each has benefits. The most common is the weight system where a weight is placed on the hose to draw the head back into the neck. The benefit of this system is that the head will return automatically to the neck and will not hang down. The problem with the weight system is because the system works on gravity the area under the faucet must be clear. If the area under the sink is not clear the weight can bang on the waste or supply pipes. Boxes or other suppliers can block the weight so it does not pull the head back.
Less common is the spring retractions system where the hose is installed through a spring that aids in the retraction. In this system the head needs to be push back into the neck but the spring aids in the retraction. The benefit of this system is that there is no weight to bang on the plumbing and the system is not dependant on gravity so it works even if there is a soap box under the faucet.
In our next article we will look at finish, maintenance and warranty.