These days, most fetching faucets—with soaring arcs in shades of stainless steel that mirror the popular appliance finish—are available from every manufacturer, with price points ranging from super-premium to extra-economy. As a result, they are just as likely to show up in entry-level production homes as in high-end custom abodes.
Not long ago, a faucet’s price stretched with the reach of its arc. But the popularity of gooseneck spigots has lured faucet makers to produce similar, more affordable lines.
Inspired by restaurant-grade faucets, these high-arc models serve a function beyond fashion. They leave ample distance between the sink’s bottom and the faucet’s nose to fill a pot with water—without needing to scoot the spigot out of the way. Plus, these products are tall enough to house a pull-down spray that allows for a natural, comfortable grip.
Still, a towering faucet won’t work well on sinks that sit under cabinets or in front of windows, warns Dominic Mincieli, manager of Thomas Somerville Co. in Richmond, Va. The lack of space isn’t an issue for a pull-out spray head, which works with faucets of any height and has been popular for years. Many makers have added swiveling joints between the spray head and the hose so the user can manipulate just the head. Most manufacturers affix magnets or weights to the pull-out hose to fortify the connection between the head and the spout, and they make the tube self-retracting so it won’t drop or dangle.
Some newer faucets allow the user to select higher or lower water volume depending on the task. And while designers say few home buyers are requesting low-flow faucets, manufacturers predict the 1.8 gpm feature soon will be standard as more states outlaw 2.2 gpm faucets and as more builders seek green certifications.
“At 1.8 gpm, consumers aren’t affected by the performance,” says Darin Heuer, group marketing manager for kitchens at Pfister.
Designers say another little-requested faucet feature is the hands-free on/off control that’s so familiar to users of public restrooms. Early motion-sensing faucets left users frustrated when they either did not respond to motion consistently or were too sensitive. Delta, whose Brizo brand pioneered motion-sensing technology in 2005, is replacing its no-touch line with Touch2O faucets that turn on and off with a brush of the elbow or hand.
Kohler equipped its new Sensate faucet with an angled sensor that’s said to minimize accidental activation. The device senses motion 200 times per second, so it can quickly and accurately read the wave of a hand or utensil as a signal to turn the water on or off, the maker claims. Jeb Breithaupt, owner of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport, La., says he’s surprised there’s so little interest in these products. “You see these one-touch faucets on the commercials and they look so cool,” he says. “But I haven’t had anybody ask for it.”
A change with broader appeal: Builders are all but abandoning faucets with separate hot- and cold-water knobs that require three holes, plus a fourth for a side spray.