If you’ve been reading the Q over the past three months, you’ve read about your options for countertops as well as some good picks for kitchen cabinets. So let’s talk faucets. It’s perhaps the item you use most often in the kitchen so it’s in your best interest to NOT cheap out on some low-quality product to save a few bucks. But what constitutes a good faucet? Most plumbers will tell you to look for products made with solid brass and use ceramic disk cartridges. You should also look at the metal connections (Are they seamless and buffed to a smooth finish or are they clumsily fabricated?) and test the faucet lever (Does it move effortlessly or hesitate like a rusty fence?). And always, always buy from an authorized dealer. After that, you’re on your own about design, brand, and country of origin. There are many good ones and many bad ones, but, naturally, we have some favs (in various price points):
We tend to stay away from two-handle kitchen faucets—not as efficient for working—but we like this Heritage unit from American Standard because it mounts on the wall (very cool). The product’s vintage look will fit right in with a transitional or traditional kitchen, and its high-arc brass spout will easily accommodate large pots. It comes in polished chrome and costs about $180. www.americanstandard.com.
Priced at $227, the Simplice pulldown kitchen faucet has a clean enough design to satisfy a modernist but not so stark as to be unapproachable by a traditionalist. The spout flows smoothly into the three-function sprayhead, and it has a pause button that temporarily stops water flow so the head can be moved out of the sink area to fill pots. www.kohler.com.
Don’t hold it against Danze that its parent, Globe Union, is an Asian company (Taiwan, we think) that knocks off the designs of some European and American companies (lots of other companies do that). The company does offer some strong products that use brass castings and ceramic disk valves (This Parma can even come with a hands-free electronic function). This version costs about $350. www.danze.com.
I know we’re always raving about some German brand whether it’s lighting, cabinets, or door hardware, but there’s a good reason for that: The country has a reputation for very strong design and very high-quality manufacturing. This Grohe Ladylux Cafe is a classic favorite among architects and designers. It has a single lever handle, and a pull-out sprayer with a soft-touch control. Priced at about $450, it also has a SpeedClean anti-lime system (usually found on shower heads) for easy maintenance. www.grohe.com.
Another German faucet manufacturer, Hansgrohe is known for its super premium, design-driven Axor bath collections, but the company also offers a regular collection of cool products. Priced from $478 to $598, the Talis S² faucet has a pull-down spout that swivels 150-degrees and has a magnetic head for docking. It’s made from solid brass and features a M2 ceramic cartridge. It even flows at a water-saving rate of 1.5 gallons of water per minute. Achtung, baby! www.hansgrohe-usa.com.
The epitome of German understatement and cool, the Meta .02 kitchen faucet is the second generation of the company’s product line. Naturally, it’s made from solid brass and features ceramic disk valves, but it also offers design lines that are as smooth as an Audi TT roadster. You can find them from $721 and up depending on the finish selected. www.dornbracht.com.
This ProMaster faucet will give visitors (and probably yourself) the illusion that you know what you’re doing in the kitchen—even if you don’t! Part of Kohler’s Professional line, the unit has a dramatic 27-inch spout that rotates 140 degrees for washing big pots and has a 30-inch pullout handspray. Posing will cost you $1,128. www.kohler.com.