How to choose a kitchen faucet that will not splash water on the floor, get dirty with finger marks, make it easy to turn on / off the water and last for many years? Follow our 6-step instructions to find out the answers to these and other questions.
Step 1. Choose a material
Most kitchen faucets are made of brass, but have a different coating.
- Made of brass. Brass mixers are the most common and demanded, as they are durable, are little affected by the aquatic environment and are relatively inexpensive. The decorative processing of brass construction can be different - from chrome plating to enameling. The vast majority of taps have polished chrome, satin nickel (stainless steel) or bronze finish. All these finishes are durable and retain their original appearance for many years. But still, some of them are more durable than others.
- Chromium is the most durable coating. True, fingerprints, culinary stains and other contaminations are very noticeable on it.
- Nickel has different variations of the finish. As a rule, it is marked with the words "matte", "satin" or "stainless steel". Nickel, unlike chromium, has a dull, not glossy shine. It is durable, versatile and easy to clean.
- “Bronze mixers” acquire their brownish tint not as a result of metallization or chrome plating, but as a result of spraying, for example, epoxy resin or enamel. This coating is reliable, but it is less resistant to chipping or scratching.
- From silumin (an alloy of aluminum and silicon). This option comes from China and Turkey, the most budget (from 300 rubles), but also the most short-lived. Its service life is only six months or a year, then it will begin to leak and break. Especially destructive effect on silumin has hot water. However, due to the low price, silumin mixers are a great option for summer cottages or temporary housing.
Keep in mind that in the store you can find, for example, a brass mixer with silumin parts, so check the chosen model for weight - lightness should alert you.
- Of steel. Stainless steel faucets are less common, as they are more expensive than brass models. Otherwise, they are good and reliable: do not rust, resistant to the effects of the aquatic environment, easy to maintain and environmentally friendly.
- From granite, stone, ceramics. As a rule, granite, ceramic and stone mixers call brass / steel taps with a decorative (synthetic or natural) coating. They are good because they are perfectly combined with ceramic / stone sinks and countertops, as well as ease of care, because water drops and stains from fingers on the matte surface are hardly noticeable. There are disadvantages to this group: high price and fragility of the coating.For the most demanding customers, some manufacturers offer mixers that are completely made of stone / ceramics. True, they are expensive and require careful handling.
Briefly tell about another type of mixer - plastic. This faucet is worth a penny, is lightweight and is not afraid of any rust or chemicals contained in the water. The only negative is fragility and unsightly appearance. To buy such a mixer is only for giving or rented apartment.
Step 2. Select the type of control
There are the following types of faucets for the kitchen:
- Two-valve - These are traditional mixers with two rotating valves on the sides of the spout. Today they are less popular than single-lever cranes due to their lower ease of operation. The fact is that in order to turn on the water and adjust its temperature, you have to use two hands. And two-valve mixers are a bit more expensive. But on the other hand, they use water more economically (due to a more precise setting of the water supply), they are easily repaired on their own and fit better into classic interiors.
- Single lever - their advantage is more convenient one-capture management. This means that in order to adjust the intensity of the flow and the temperature of the water, you need to use only one hand, a finger or ... an elbow. While cooking this is often helpful. Single lever faucet lever can be located on top (with low spout) or side (with high spout).
What kind of faucet is better to choose for the kitchen - two-valve or single lever? In our opinion, the two-valve will be an ideal choice for interiors decorated in a classic style (including the “village” ones). like provenance or country music). In all other cases, it is worthwhile to prefer a single-lever design.
- With thermostat - on the market there are also electronic mixers with a thermostat. They are controlled through a special sensor installed in the body of the mixer itself or in the body of the sink. If you bring your hand to it, the water will flow the temperature that you set in advance. The advantage of the electronic mixer is obvious - thanks to the thermostat, it uses less water. Cons: high cost and the need to bring a hand to the thermostat several times to get water in a large pot.
Step 3. Understand the shut-off valves
The main difference between one and two lever mixers is that they have different shut-off valves (the inner part responsible for closing-opening the flow of water):
- Single lever models are equipped with a so-called cartridge. It can be ceramic, ball or plastic. Ceramic valve is the most durable (service life - up to 10 years) and reliable. However, he is afraid of the solid particles contained in the water - because of them, ceramics gradually wear out and allow leakage. To prevent this from happening, the system should be supplemented with filters, and these are additional expenses and efforts. The ball cartridge is less demanding and not bad either, but over time it starts to “stick”, especially if the mixer is rarely used. Plastic valve is not long, but it is quite inexpensive.
- Two-valve models have a crane box and rubber gasket. It is on the rubber gasket often depends on the condition of the crane. It is ceramic or rubber.
The ceramic seal is more wear-resistant and “locks” the water almost immediately (just turn the valve 90 degrees). How, standing in the store, to determine which gasket is installed in a particular device? Just twist the valve in 1-2 turns - if it turns easily, then the seal is rubber, if with difficulty, it is ceramic.
Step 4. Determine the optimum height and type of spout
Much depends on the spout, for example, whether you can get water in large pans, and whether it will spray all over the floor and countertop. It can be high and low. What kind of height the spout of the mixer is optimal depends on the depth of the sink bowl.
High spout is suitable for bowls whose depth is 200-205 mm. If the depth of your bowl is 171-195 mm, such a sink will be suitable for a mixer with both high and low spout heads.
Another important point - the mixer spout should be located approximately above the center of the bowl. If you place it closer to the inner wall, there is a risk that water will accumulate behind the sink. If the spout is too close to the edge of the tabletop, water will splash onto the floor.
- By the way, about the mixer for two-section washing - it must have a swivel spout, allowing you to divert and direct the stream of water to one or another bowl. And for a regular kitchen sink, a wide angle of rotation of the spout will be only a plus.
Step 5. Evaluate additional functions.
So, we have dealt with the main characteristics, now let's think about "bonuses". Here are some additional options a modern kitchen faucet can have:
- Supply of drinking water (without additional small tap). Today, many kitchen models are equipped with an integrated filtration system that allows you to supply clean drinking water, even without installing special equipment and an additional mini-tap. As a rule, any filtration systems are suitable for such mixers.
- Retractable spout. A mixer with a retractable flexible spout, ending with a shower head - this is a really useful option in any kitchen. After all, it allows you to fill the pots and other containers that are not in the sink, but somewhere in the working area, which is very convenient. Flexible external hose facilitates and care for the sink itself. The hose length is usually 70-80 cm.
By the way, semi-professional faucets with a spring are very similar to devices with a retractable spout, but the difference is that the spout with a spring is completely flexible and it is easier to switch to a “shower head”. In addition, the “semi-professionals” have a special swivel holder for the watering can.
Step 6. Appearance
And finally, a couple of design tips:
- In order for the duet “mixer + sink” to be compatible not only in color, but also in material and look beautiful, it is best to choose these components of the wash from one series.
- Mixers also have styles. Here are some tips on how to fit plumbing into the interior:
- For a modern kitchen, let's say in high-tech style, fit a concise, geometric single-lever device with chrome plating or a thermostat mixer.
- For classic kitchens (in Provence style, classic, chebbi chic, country) suitable bronze, copper or gold two-valve mixer.
- For Scandinavian interior - in stone or stainless steel.
- How to choose the color of the mixer? In addition to the color of the sink, the color of the handles on the front of the kitchen, the color of the fronts of household appliances, or just any of the nearest accents that are available in the interior is also important. And they should be guided.
- For a round sink it is worth picking up a mixer with a rounded spout as in the photo below. For a square sink fit model with L-shaped spout.
- The most versatile color of the faucet is matt stainless steel.
And some more tips
- Keep in mind that the price of kitchen faucets is strongly influenced not only by materials and functional characteristics, but also by design. Often the same designs differing only in appearance may have a difference in the price of several thousand rubles.
- The average price for a really high-quality and functional kitchen faucet ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 rubles.
- Buy only in serious hardware stores or online stores that have already established a positive reputation.
- Choose products from well-established brands. Remember - the miser pays twice. However, only the high price is still not a guarantee of product quality and a sign of its long operational qualities.
- Always check the mixer for weight - the harder it is, the more reliable.
- Pay attention to the presence of instructions, guarantees, recommendations for care and operation.
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