There are all sorts of new and exciting gadgets and gizmos you can have installed in your kitchen for maximum ease and style points, and kitchens are the number one priority on many people’s lists.
Homeware technology is a rapidly expanding niche, with homeowners everywhere longing to upgrade their appliances. One of the hot favorites right now is a touch activated faucet.
Whether you have seen one in somebody else’s home and now you must have one of your own but need some more information before buying, or you are simply researching modern kitchen technology in preparation for upcoming renovations, this guide will take you through all there is to know about touch activated faucets.
We will compare features, functions, design options, leading brands and, of course, the pros and cons to help you decide what is right for you.
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What exactly is a kitchen faucet, and why is it important?
A faucet is essentially a funnel connected to a tap where the water flow to your sink is controlled. This humble piece of plumbing equipment is indispensable in any kitchen with running water but is often overlooked when planning stylish upgrades. Rarely a day goes by when we don’t need to use the kitchen sink, and a lot of thought goes into picking the perfect basin- so why not do the same for the faucet?
The kitchen is arguably the most important room in the house, and its style sets the tone for the rest of your home, and every little detail counts. So, if you want a trendy modern kitchen, you need the trendy modern faucet to match.
What is the difference between touch-on and touch-free faucets?
In appearance, touch on and touch free faucets look very similar in that neither have the twistable tap handles you would find with a regular faucet. The reason for this is technology eliminating the need for said handles. The difference between the two is the way in which the water flow is activated and deactivated.
Touch-free faucets use sensors to detect movement (a hand, for example) to release the water and usually run on a timer or automatically stop the water flow when the sensors no longer register anything. With touch-on faucets, the clue is in the name- you just need to make contact and the water will start.
To turn it off, simply touch the faucet briefly once more and the water stops. Both designs are great newer versions of the traditional faucet and tap, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Today we will focus mainly on the touch activated styles, with some comparisons between the two along the way.
Why choose a touch activated faucet?
Aside from the sleek, tech-savvy look a faucet like this will bring to your kitchen, they also have many benefits in functionality and hygiene. Minimizing germ contamination while maximizing practicality is an extremely important concept in this day and age and removing the need for handles and knobs gives kitchen faucets a great push in the right direction towards both of these goals.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
It goes without saying that the more contact between your hands and your kitchen surfaces, the more germs are spread. There are all kinds of bacteria in the kitchen, from raw food or utensils people have uses for eating, which can be easily passed around even if you clean your hands.
If you need to turn a handle before you can wash up, you have already contaminated that surface. By removing the handles and activating the water with a brief touch of your wrist, back of your hand or even your elbow where far fewer germs like to hang out, you significantly reduce the risk.
Germs are not the only thing we want to keep off our faucet- dirty hands are just as bothersome. You have just finished chopping vegetables and your hands are covered in tomato seeds and garlic- I’m sure the last thing you want is to mess up your shiny new faucet! Tap the spout with a clean area of skin and you are good to go.
Of course, with a touch free faucet the need for any contact whatsoever is entirely removed, so for serious hygiene fanatics this might be an appealing option, however, many people like the control that comes with tapping on and tapping off manually.
The kitchen can be a messy place sometimes, but your kitchen faucet doesn’t have to be.
Convenience and Practicality
Good kitchen appliances are supposed to not only look good, but to make life easier- touch activated faucets certainly fit that bill. Because they operate with a slight touch, you can quickly turn water on and off with ease, no messing around trying to twist a handle when you have your hands full.
Touch automated kitchen faucets will make a big difference for anyone with disabilities affecting their arms or hands, for example, amputees or someone with arthritis. You don’t need to exert any strength or energy to start the water flow which will be helpful for children, the elderly or anyone who struggles in that department.
When it comes to convenience, there are very few downsides to a touch-on faucet. They are hassle free, easy to control and the controls are very user friendly. Touch-free faucets are the same in every respect, but if the model runs on a timer you may have to activate it more than once.
Saving water is not only eco-friendly, responsible, and good for the environment, but it can also help you save money on your water bill- what’s not to like about that?! Having a faucet with touch activation will give you more control over your water usage as you can quickly and easily shut it down mid task rather than leaving it running when you don’t really need to. It can be tricky trying to turn tap handles when you have soapy hands and a sink full of dishes, so the temptation is to keep it flowing until you are completely done- wasteful, and expensive! That won’t be the case with a touch-on faucet, you will have every opportunity to keep water usage to a minimum.
Touch-free faucets are also designed to only run water when they sense movement, so in theory this should also help save water, but if you have a shallow basin, be careful not to leave something sitting which could activate the tap when you are not there, also most high-quality models are designed to avoid that happening. A good thing about touch-free faucets is they are impossible to forget to turn off, they will stop automatically when you walk away.
Things to consider before buying.
Let’s face it, touch automated faucets sound great and there is no doubt about them being an excellent addition to a kitchen. However, like most things, it’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’. If your heart is set on this piece of home improvement technology, don’t just rush out and buy the first one you see- take time to read through the points below to help you make the best possible purchase.
Mounting Holes and Sink Configuration
If your intention is to keep the same sink you already have (as many people choose to do) and attach the new faucet, you will need to know the configuration of your sink so you can be certain your chosen model will be successfully installed. When you disconnect your current fixture, you will see holes drilled into the basin.
These are known as ‘mounting holes’ and they are where you will connect the new spout. There can be anywhere from one to four holes depending on the set up and design of your sink, and ideally you want a faucet that will cover them all for the sake of appearance. If you can’t find one you like with the same number of mounting holes don’t worry, there are ways around it.
If you need additional holes to accommodate the new fixture, a professional can drill extras into your basin, but please do not try to do it yourself!
A safe and popular option is to choose a one-hole faucet regardless of how many mounting holes you have in your sink. Pick one with the option to include a deck plate, which will cover up the spares and keep everything looking smart. This is the most adaptable solution. They are fairly easy to install and compatible with most sinks.
One possibility for using up the extra holes is to install a soap dispenser. Some faucets come with dispensers that can be mounted the same way as the faucet itself and others come with one already built in, which will require an extra mounting hole, leaving fewer to cover up. Having a compatible soap dispenser to go with your touch automated faucet can add a little flare and be the extra cherry on top of the overall look.
Style is the optimal word in any home renovations. Yes, we want everything to work well but we also want it to look good. Kitchen faucets are no exception, and you will want whatever model to settle on to merge with and complement the style of your kitchen. Touch-on faucets come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to work with any interior design theme, so no need to compromise on that front.
Shape and Size
The dimensions of your sink and the available space surrounding it must be taken into account when choosing a style of spout for your faucet. A large, ornate or arched faucet towering about a small, shallow basin will look a bit odd and will give a lot of splash back.
A small, discreet tap could be swallowed up by a traditional farmhouse sink or a large modern basin. If you have cupboards above your sink: don’t pick a spout with too much height, and on the other hand if you have a big open area: don’t go for something too tiny to shine in the space.
A good test for fit is if the faucet’s spout can swivel easily from side to side, with the water pouring into the basin at a comfortable distance from the outer edges at every point.
The finish is all down to personal preference. Some finishes are easier to keep clean than others, for example Chrome finishes are generally very easy to maintain whereas Nickel finishes are more prone to marking.
Stainless steel is good for avoiding rust and water spots and bronze finishes are the most likely to become scratched. Other than that, it’s about what you think looks best in your kitchen and what you want it to look like. The finish is the final polish on any fixture or appliance, so it’s important for you to love the one you choose.
Where and who to buy from.
So, you know what type, fit, style, size, shape and color you want your faucet to be… all that’s left is where to buy it. With modern technology, we prefer to shop with brand names we know and trust for that extra peace of mind. Here are some of the most reputable and highly rated brands manufacturing touch activated faucets:
Delta is the first choice for many and are a definite leader of the pack when it comes to making touch faucets. Their Touch 20 Technology includes features such as Magna Tite Docking Systems and Diamond Valves, making their products tough, unique and near to perfection.
This brand is very prominent in the faucet manufacturing world, and their touch-on faucets are no exception. The Metris model has the addition of a button control system, making your water flow really easy to control. It comes with an optional ‘shower spray’ setting, also controlled at the touch of a button. Hansgrohe are considered a top of the range brand and are one of the more expensive options, but they have the product quality to back it up.
Known mainly for their resilient full metal constructions, Kraus have adapted their models with the latest touch technology to create some excellent kitchen faucets.
If style is your biggest priority, Moen is in a league of its own and always at the forefront of the most fashionable interior design trends. They are also top dog when it comes to the latest technology, with motion-sense enabled functions, pause buttons and eco-friendly water pressure control systems to name a few. This brand is at the higher end of the price range, but with more positive customer reviews than you could ever count, Moen are hard to beat for customer satisfaction.
If sleek, simple elegance is the look you go for, KOHLER are undisputed champs. Possibly the most recognizable faucet brand out there: KOHLER knows what they do, and they do it well. Because of their consistency and popularity, many believe this brand is able to give Delta and even Moen a run for their money- and are often more competitive with their prices.
Are touch-on kitsch faucets worth the money?
When you compare the benefits of a touch activated faucet with the upfront cost, I would say yes, they are absolutely worth it. They are more expensive than regular faucets on the price tag but can potentially save you money in the long run. Unless your model connects to power, you will need to replace the batteries from time to time- but most users see a difference in their water bill and don’t have to spend too much on cleaning products. Let’s not forget to mention how much more convenient, stylish and eco-friendly they are! Touch faucets are easier to keep clean and minimize the spread of germs because of limited human contact, they help avoid water wastage because of built in shut off systems and fast response time and they look fantastic in a modern kitchen.
How do touch sensor kitchen faucets work?
Touch sensors have electric transmissions running from the touch spot to the controls, in this case, the water flow. These transmissions are triggered by human touch, and that’s how the signal gets sent. It all sounds very high-tech, but it works on the same principle as when you touch a surface and feel a jolt in your finger… this is electric currents reacting to your skin!
Do touch faucets use batteries?
Yes, faucets are battery powered, and usually require either six AAA batteries or an AC adapter. Most faucets can also be connected directly to power, but it’s a good idea to keep batteries installed. This way, the faucet can use the battery power if the electric cuts out or if you decide you want to disconnect it. The batteries will only be drained if there is no other active power source.
Can you bypass a touch faucet?
Yes, you can. All faucets come with a manual override mode.
How do you turn off the sensor on a kitchen faucet?
This is dependent on the model, so check the manufacturer’s instruction guide so see how to activate the manual feature.
How do I change the battery in my sensor faucet?
Before removing the battery, make sure the faucet is completely disconnected from power. After unplugging, you can remove the battery cover using a screwdriver (size depends on the model) and swap out the batteries the same way you would on most other devices.
Why is my touch faucet dripping?
If you find a drip, the culprit is probably the faucet cartridge, not the touch sensor technology, so check the faucets for any leaks which need to be repaired.
Why does my touch faucet not work?
If the sensor is not responding, the most likely cause is loss of power, a.k.a. It’s not plugged in and/or the batteries are dead. Try changing the batteries and connecting it to the main power and in most cases this should solve your problem. If it makes no difference, your sensor could be broken or damaged. This is rare but if it happens, take it for a check and possible repair.
With so much new technology being integrated into everyday home life, it can be hard to decipher between flashy toys and genuinely helpful upgrades. Touch activated faucets firmly deserve their place in the latter category. If you want to splash out and treat yourself to one new, fancy kitchen feature, these faucets are truly one of the best items you could choose. If you are modernizing your entire kitchen, a touch faucet is a perfect finishing touch to complete the sleek look. Most models come with a limited lifetime guarantee, so you can relax knowing the quality and resilience will be ensured for many years. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so every detail counts- not only for style, but for practical and time saving convenience.
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