Things to look for while buying a touchless kitchen faucet
1. Number of sensors and sensitivity
Most touchless faucets come with 2 sensors; one on top of the spout and the other on the stem. Yet there are some models that have only one sensor which is placed on the stem. For me, the ones with two sensors are more convenient and controllable than the latter.
Sensitivity/accuracy of the sensor is the most important thing to look for while buying a touchless faucet. A faulty sensor will make the faucet damn useless. Some sensors may be oversensitive causing the faucet to work when you just walk by. For some others, the faucet may not work on just one wave. Both the above cases are not good. So while considering a product, please go through its reviews and check for comments about sensor accuracy. And if possible check this from a store.
2. Flow rate
The flow rates of touchless faucets for kitchen usually range from 1.5 to a maximum of 2.2 gallons per minute. You won’t find any with more than 2.2 gpm because that’s the maximum as restricted by the law.
While you may be tempted to go for one with the highest flow rate that may not always be the best choice. Because according to studies we usually open taps to only an average of 1.5 gpm level, so unless you have to fill pots regularly go for one with a lower flow rate. This will save a considerable amount of water in the long term.
3. Pull down/fixed type
Touchless faucets come with fixed as well as pull-down spout. Pull down ones allow you to ‘pull down’ the spout to use it as a hand sprayer. These are usually docked to the spout magnetically. They also retract easily due to the installation of a counterweight on the extra length of the hose under the sink. Pull down faucets offer better ergonomics and convenience while filling pots and washing the sink. It is easy to use frequently and is also recommended if you have a deep sink.
Pull down faucets are convenient to rinsing soapy dishes or washing the food wastes down to the garbage disposal.
Fixed spout faucets are useful if the sink space is low. In such cases, a pull-down faucet is not of much use, so go for the latter as they are usually less pricey.
4. No. of holes
These faucets come with 1, 2, 3 or 4 holes installations but the most common ones need only one hole. Most people who buy automatic faucets use them to replace an existing faucet which may belong to any of the above-mentioned categories. Since this is the case try to choose a faucet that can match the existing number of holes.
In case you can’t find an ideal choice, don’t worry. Simply use a deck plate to cover the extra holes.
5. Hot water control
People like to get an optimum temperature which is neither too hot nor cold. A faucet with easy temperature control is preferred by most people.
Like all traditional kitchen faucets, the automatic ones also mix hot and cold water to deliver an optimum temperature. In the case of the former, this could be done by manually using the hot and cold knobs.
But sadly for touchless models, the temperature needs to be set from a control box under the sink, which is inconvenient for users who want to change them frequently. However, for most new models the temperature can be controlled via their handles.
6. Finish and build quailty
Finish and build quality are two of the many things that control our buying decisions. The faucet should be aesthetically pleasing and built to last long. The ones made of brass last longer and are considered of the highest quality but these can be really pricey as well.
Generally, a touchless kitchen faucet will cost from $150 to $400 depending on make and brand. Cheaper ones are mostly made with zinc and top end ones are of brass. Most of them are chrome or nickel plated for looks and durability. The design and size of the spout is an important factor adding to the cost.
Generally speaking, those faucets made in the USA cost more where are those made in China are cheap. Quality wise both make are somewhat the same but getting warranty coverage and services may be difficult for the latter.
8. Hose length
Since many of the touchless faucets used in the kitchen are pull-down type they come with extra long hoses. The lengths of this hose are different for different models. So, make sure the faucet you buy comes with an ideal hose length. A short hose will prevent you from pulling down the spout lower enough, while a longer one will reduce the free space under the sink and also add to the cost.
9. Power source
Both the solenoid valve and the sensors work using electricity. They either use batteries or can be connected to the AC power supply using a transformer. For some kitchen faucet models, you can use both AC supply and batteries.
For a normal motion sensor kitchen faucet, the batteries will remain for around two years. So I don’t think to have one with AC power source has many advantages here.
10. Auto-switch off time
All touchless kitchen faucets automatically shut off after a specified time. This can be from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the brand and model. If you have an ideal time in mind looks for that in the manual before you buy.
This is a no-brainer. The longer the warranty the better. Just make sure that you will get the promised warranty. Buying from a well-known brand is a good solution. Also, check for customer experiences in reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to experts; No.
Unlike conventional faucets, a touchless one opens all the way when triggered. This means the water flows in its full capacity. But when you used manual faucets have you ever opened them fully? Studies show that people usually open them only to a 1.5gpm level. This means more water is actually lost while operating a touchless faucet.
If you take into account the number of people leaving without closing the tap in public restrooms or kids leaving them ON in our homes, automatic faucets save more water.
The worth of any product is measured in terms of money; is it worth the money. Touchless faucets always cost more than regular ones. But the price difference isn’t that huge. Given that you need a faucet anyway, it is worth investing in a touchless sink faucet just for the convenience it offers.
Most touchless faucets for the kitchen come with a handle. This handle can be used to manually turn on and off the water flow just like a traditional faucet. You can also control the temperature and flow rate of water using this handle.
Cleaning your faucet and sink may unnecessarily activate the motion sensors. In such cases, you may want to deactivate them. Some manufacturers like Moen and Pfister allow you to turn off the sensors by holding your hand in front of them for 5 seconds. You can later reactivate the sensor by again holding your hand in its vicinity for another 5 seconds. For some models, there is a knob on the control box which you can turn to deactivate the sensors. Once the sensors are off you can turn on the water using the faucet handle.
Touchless faucets use sensors for detecting movements to switch ON/OFF water flow. Their working is simple. Once a sensor detects movement it activates a solenoid valve that activates water flow. Once the input from the sensor is lost the solenoid valve switches off the flow.
Some of them use two motion sensors, one at the stem and another at the top of the spout. The one on top of the spout is a motion sensor while the one on the stem is more like a ‘presence’ sensor. The top sensor detects hand movement and switches on/off the water flow accordingly. Just wave your hand to turn ON the water and wave again to turn it OFF.
On the other hand, the sensor on the stem detects the presence of our hands or any objects and keeps the water flowing as long as they are there. Water will shut off as soon as you remove the object. This is very convenient while cleaning your pots and other dishes.