Faucets: Combining Style and Function

In most cases, you'll want to replace the faucet along with the sink. If you spend at least $125 and stick with a well-known manufacturer, you're assured of quality. You'll also get nearly lead-free water delivery. A recent change in federal law now restricts the lead your sink can contribute to no more than 11 parts per billion. So what should you be thinking about? Style, finish and features.

What's hot: Single-handled models with pull-out spouts are getting the most attention. They come in different finishes, and are convenient for cleaning produce as well as the sink. Spouts with stainless-steel hoses kink less than others, and start at about $325. Faucets with water filters built into the spout, like Moen's Pure-Touch (below, $450) and Price Pfister's Pfilter Pfaucet, are hot, too. Pot fillers — cold-water taps on long swing-out arms installed near your range or cooktop — are also growing in popularity. They cost about $150, plus the cost of running the new water line.

As for finishes, chrome remains the most popular. It's durable, easy to clean and versatile. Lifetime finishes such as Moen's Lifeshine and Delta's Brilliance have also made polished-brass finishes much easier to live with. These finishes stand up to abrasive cleaners and eliminate spotting. Satin-nickel finishes are another increasingly popular option. "They're warm and soft, and blend in with just about everything," says Oklahoma City designer Faye Norton.

Features: Once you decide on a style and finish, look for the following: 1. Washerless operation: This term lumps together ball, cartridge and ceramic-disk valves. Ceramic-disk valves are likely to last longest, particularly if your water is hard or has lots of sediment. But all three should be trouble-free for years and are relatively easy to repair if necessary.

2. A long spout: If your sink has three bowls, opt for a 12- to 14-in.-long spout.

A spout that swivels at least 180 degrees, especially when buying a multibowl sink. You'll need that flexibility to reach the different bowls.
Ask TOH users about Kitchen Sinks

Contribute to This Story Below