A leaky or dripping kitchen faucet wastes a ton of water every day.
Not only that, the older your faucet gets, the more vulnerable it becomes to losing water pressure due to sediment buildup. Moreover, water corrosion might even make your water unfit to drink.
These problems are even more accentuated when you have hard water flowing through your taps as they are much more likely to accrue mineral deposits. Before any of this comes to pass, you should definitely consider replacing your kitchen faucet.
The faucet over the kitchen sink is probably the most used faucet in the house and investing in a new, high-quality faucet will surely make your life a lot more convenient.
When it comes to kitchen faucets, two-handle or dual handle kitchen faucets are a very popular choice. One of the handles dispenses warm water while the other handle dispenses cold water. This allows much more precise control over water temperature, which lets you hit that perfect lukewarm feel.
When buying a dual handle kitchen faucet, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Here’s a look through the most important features.
A Buying Guide To The Best Two Handle Kitchen Faucet
Choose a style
First and foremost, you have to decide on a style for your faucet. This is purely an aesthetic choice and the functionality of the faucet isn’t altered in any way regardless of what you choose.
You need to have at least two mounting holes for a dual handle faucet installation. The ideal number is three, but for one type of faucet, you can get away with two holes. There are primarily three types of dual handle faucets:
These is the most common type of faucets. They have three separate pieces – one spout and two handles on either side. The gap between the handles ranges from 6 to 10 inches. Each of these pieces goes into an individual mounting hole.
This type of dual handle faucet only requires two mounting holes. The two handles go into the mounting holes and the pipes from the handles form a “bridge” upon which the spout rests. A bronze or a chrome finish on these faucets look really nice.
These are like widespread faucets except all three pieces are situated on a base plate. Also, the distance between the two handles is smaller in this case.
Make sure the spout height is sufficient
The spout height is probably the most important feature of your faucet. The more room you have between the nozzle head and the rim of the kitchen sink, the more space you have for stacking up dishes. If you’re washing a particularly large pot and you are not tall enough, then the pot is bound to bump into the nozzle or the sink.
Straight spouts extend upwards for a height of about 5 inches. These spouts can usually swivel around to cover the circumference of your basin. If you have cabinets above the sink, it’s best to get a shorter straight spout.
Gooseneck spouts on the other hand form an arch and the topmost point of this arch is about 8 inches. This gives you more space to move your utensils around. Some of these spouts even allow you to pull down or pull out the nozzle heads. These retractable nozzle heads let you direct water flow to every corner of the sink and are great for washing vegetables.
Consider special features and accessories
Some faucets are loaded with a ton of features which are really helpful. The most helpful of which is getting a spray & stream alternator switch. These nifty little switches let you alternate between filling up faucets or washing dishes. Changing between them is also a great way to reduce splashing.
If you happen to have an extra mounting hole, you could put in a dedicated hand sprayer. Or instead, you can put in a soap dispenser or a faucet filler. If you have a spare hole and you really want to increase the functionality of your kitchen sink, consider putting in an all-purpose single-handle kitchen faucet as well.
Some kitchen faucets are even more high-tech. Motion-activated ones are perfect for germaphobes as you never have to touch the faucet head yourself. If you always like your water flowing at a particular temperature, some faucets even have a “remember” feature that always keeps the temperature just the way you left it.
The construction material of the spout
Solid cast brass is the gold standard of all faucets nowadays because of it’s high durability and ability to withstand erosion. As a result, most faucets are made of brass at the core and then a layer of finish is put on top. This finish could be shiny like polished chrome or silver or it could be more subdued like a black matte finish.
If you do get choices selecting the material construction, avoid plastic and ZAMAK, which is a zinc alloy. These may be cheaper than the rest but are much less durable and will definitely give out after a few years of usage. Be sure to stick with tubular or cast brass and if you see a stainless steel version, that should be a good choice too. Both choices are super resistant to water erosion.
Construction of the cartridge valves
This piece of the faucet construction is responsible for handling your water flow. A good valve will ensure your taps don’t leak and the water pressure can be easily controlled with the handles without it being too much or too less.
Most outdated systems use compression washers which tighten up like a screw to shut or stop the water flow. However, they have a rubber washer which degrades pretty easily, leading to leaks.
Nowadays, most faucet valves are constructed with bronze or plastic cartridges. They are more reliable than compression washers and with these valves, you only need to turn the handles a little to either side to get the full range of temperatures. They are also much easier to repair.
However, the most reliable and modern valves are ceramic disk valves. They are expensive and usually found in the most high-end of faucets. They are super smooth and rotate very easily. Ceramic is also an exceptionally durable material and most faucets of this type usually come with a lifetime warranty.
There are plenty of choices you have when it comes to selecting a dual handle kitchen faucet, but your main consideration should always be the height of the faucet. If it is too high, and the base of your sink is too low, there will be considerable splashing.
If it is too low, you won’t be able to wash your utensils properly. Also, make sure that the faucet reaches over at least to the center of the sink. A pull-down nozzle head will be a much better choice as it lets you cover the whole sink.