The Best Touchless Kitchen Faucets Are a High-Tech, Hygienic Upgrade
Our picks blend in, whether you prefer modern or vintage.
Published Jun 18, 2022 1:00 AM
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The kitchen is the heart of the home, and at its very core is the kitchen sink: That’s where you gather to wash your vegetables and prepare ingredients for every meal. But with all that action—which includes doing dirty dishes on the regular—come germs a little too close to your food for comfort. Wesley Ward, vice president of marketing and merchandising at Hausera, previously told us that minor changes like opting for an under-mount sink (messes fall right into the drain) and a hands-free garbage bin can ward off bacteria. But our favorite hygienic hack? Installing one of the best touchless kitchen faucets.
Washing your hands via a voice command or motion-activated sensor offers a better chance at keeping your space sterile—but purely from a cleanliness perspective, of course. No matter how high-tech these new plumbing fixtures proclaim to be, we made sure to find those that are still lovely to look at, coming in a range of finishes and spout styles to fit into your farmhouse cottage or clean-lined contemporary abode. The best touchless kitchen faucets, in other words, boast tons of other qualities beyond not having to lift a finger to use them.
- Best for a cooking cheat sheet: Delta VoiceIQ Kitchen Faucet
- Best for a maxed-out budget: Ridgeway Pull-Down Touchless Faucet
- Best for a matte black finish: Moen Align Touchless Kitchen Faucet
- Best for a vintage look: Kohler Artifacts Touchless Faucet
Best for a Cooking Cheat Sheet: Delta VoiceIQ Kitchen Faucet
Finishes: Stainless, black stainless, champagne bronze, chrome, and matte black | Mounting: Single- or three-hole deck mount | Flow rate: 1.8 GPM | Spout height: 15.6 inches
What we like
- Magnetic docking sprayer
- Batteries included
- Available with a soap dispenser
- LED light reveals temperature of water (red to blue for hot to cold)
- Under-sink outlet is a must as a power source
Why we chose it: “Alexa, pour two cups of water” is all it takes to turn this one on.
A simple wave of your hand will get this faucet pouring water, or you can connect it to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and it’ll quickly put on a sous chef hat. For instance, you can ask it to dispense just about any metered measurement, perfectly filling whatever vessel you place beneath it. This means you don’t have to scrummage through your kitchen drawers for that exact cup or worry about spilling from the sink to your mixing bowl (or doing that math from ounces to cups). Other standard commands include filling your coffee pot or simply powering on and off.
Best for a Maxed-Out Budget: Ridgeway Pull-Down Touchless Faucet
Finishes: Brushed gold, chrome, matte black, stainless steel | Mounting: Single-hole | Flow rate: 1.75 GPM | Spout height: 9 inches
What we like
- Less than $350
- Sleek silhouette
- Automatically shuts off after 3 minutes
- Low battery indicator
- No hot and cold indicators
- Some finishes cost extra
Why we chose it: Save your money for where it counts (countertops, cabinetry) and stick with this pick.
A full-blown kitchen renovation can quickly add up—there are things you’re probably inclined to prioritize dollars-wise, and we don’t blame you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a touchless faucet. This little number, available at Signature Hardware, ticks all the boxes: a wave sensor, a sleek modern handle, a variety of options for finishes (though we’re partial to the brass), and a pull-down top that will make post-meal cleanup a breeze—and you can always throw in an accessory or two to level up your sink’s elegance. Extra change back in your purse means being able to add on a grate or perhaps a chic soap dispenser, especially when you realize all the room this single-hole faucet will free up.
Best for a Matte Black Finish: Align Touchless Single Handle Kitchen Faucet
Finishes: Matte black, black stainless, stainless steel, chrome | Mounting: Single-hole, deck mounted | Flow rate: 1.5 GPM | Spout height: 21.75 inches
What we like
- High-arch spout
- Spot-resistant finish
- Free delivery
- 360-degree spout swivel
- No other powder-coated options
Why we chose it: For an industrial-meets-modern vibe.
So, yes, though there are some super-metal-looking finishes offered by Moen’s Align line (it is the classic choice, after all), it’s the matte black that we found to be the real star (and it just so happens to be the most affordable—a win-win). The sleek, shine-free ebony adds a modern touch to this commercial-style faucet, giving home cooks a restaurant look and feel to their kitchens. The tall, gooseneck style offers a bit more uniqueness in design, too, with an exposed spring that doesn’t distract, but adds to the industrial nod of this fixture. Plus going with a matte black finish makes it easy to pair up with appliances in similar shades and cleaning less stressful, since water spots and food splatter are all less noticeable and you won’t have to worry as much about tarnishing down the road.
Best for a Vintage Look: Kohler Artifacts Touchless Faucet
Finishes: Brushed brass, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, polished nickel, vibrant stainless | Mounting: Single hole, deck mount | Flow rate: 1.5 GPM | Spout height: 9.6 inches
What we like
- Traditional, vintage style
- 5-year warranty
- Magnetic docking
- Made in the U.S.
- A serious splurge
Why we chose it: No one will suspect this brushed-gold version is high-tech.
While we can’t help but swoon over the vintage fixtures found in cottages in the English countryside, with all of their Victorian flair, a less-than-consistent water flow or sticky knob system sometimes isn’t the most convenient in a heavily trafficked kitchen. If you want old-time elegance with modern convenience—like, say, touchless activation!—then Kohler’s Artifacts line is for you. Traditional decorative details are deceiving, so much so your guests will never know it’s a huge help with everyday tasks: a precision sensor, intuitive response technology, and a three-function pull-down spray head.
How We Chose These Products
We spoke with Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms at Ferguson—an expert in all things kitchen, bath, and lighting—to walk us through the important aspects of a touchless kitchen faucet and how it may differ from other options on the market. (Spoiler alert: The sensor is really the only differentiator). And while this technology has been around for quite some time, it has taken a while to make the transition from public spaces (think: airport bathrooms and offices) to the privacy of our homes. That’s why it was important for us to find options that fit a range of styles, even if we were limited to the standard gooseneck arch (the sensors are usually installed below, so other spouts aren’t exactly conducive to hand waving). We took into consideration finish variation (and its durability), knob and lever styles, reasonable price points, and how easy models are to install when putting together our final running of the best touchless kitchen faucets available today.
Our Shopping Checklist
Like any faucet, touchless faucets fit a range of styles, from traditional to contemporary. While you’re limited in terms of size (most of these options are going to be a single-hole faucet, perfect for freeing up square footage on your kitchen counters and around your sink), you will have a say in spout or knob style whether you prefer traditional, transitional, or modern. In other words, if the French country look is what you’re after, Danielson says you will be able to find a gooseneck—the tall, wide arch typical to a touchless (or touch!) activated fixture is actually the most popular—and you won’t find it sandwiched between two side handles in a bridge situation; this design doesn’t exactly lend itself as well to a sensor-based mechanism, she adds.
Part of what adds to that variety are all the finish options. “There’s a million different finishes,” says Danielson. “So even if you’re doing two sinks—a prep area and a main one—you can match styles up really well.”
If your goal is to play up a modern vibe, matte black is a great option. Brass is incredibly durable, hence its higher price tag, and lends itself well to a traditional look, though polished nickel is pretty tough and can still offer that timeless luxury (of course, nearly all metals are likely to patina a bit over time). Danielson’s pro tip on that note: Keep warranties in mind. Sure, you’ll want your fixture to age gracefully, but if something goes awry or tarnishes, you’ll want to buy from a manufacturer that will back up its product. Lifetime-guaranteed finishes, in other words, are a no-brainer. “Faucets take a beating,” notes Danielson. “It’s your most-used kitchen appliance. Not only does it have to look good, it has to be a workhorse.”
Power and Activation
“Most of the time touchless kitchen faucets are battery operated; there’s just a little battery pack that hangs out underneath the sink; it’s very easy to change it out,” explains Danielson. While there are hardwired options, those are usually found more often in a commercial setting. If it does need to be plugged in, there’s likely an outlet already below your sink if you had a garbage disposal installed.
For the sensor to work without reaching for a knob, all you have to do is wave your hand or give a flick of the wrist underneath the spout, though always keep in mind where your sensor is located. Touch-sensitive faucets, on the other hand, only need a brief tap to (still hands-free!) where its sensor is located.
Q: Since we know it’s not magic, can a touchless kitchen faucet work manually?
“Let’s say the power goes out or the battery does. It’ll operate like a normal faucet. Just turn it on or off with the lever or knob,” offers Danielson, who adds her mother prefers not to take advantage of the touch-activated situation in her home and goes straight to using the handle when she visits. Some models, she mentions, may come equipped with a light near the sensor that will indicate your battery is getting low and should soon be replaced, typically a blinking or red light that will turn on until the battery goes.
Q: Do I need a professional to install a touchless kitchen faucet?
Not necessarily! If you’ve ever installed a sink before, this will likely be just as easy. If you’re conducting a renovation, however, pay attention to the holes. Not all faucets are single-holed; there are plenty of three-hole sinks, too, whether it’s a center-set or widespread setup, so it may require some extra parts and finessing where you’d benefit from calling in the pros.
Q: What does flow rate mean, and is it important?
That’s the GPM number you’ve probably been noticing. GPM stands for gallons per minute, or how much water is leaving your faucet. Danielson has previously shared when talking about the best bathroom faucets that if low consumption is important, look for low-flow models or the government-certified WaterSense Logo. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency (which is behind the WaterSense program), you don’t need more than 1.5 GPMs, and that number doesn’t necessarily impact your water pressure (how hard water comes out versus how much of it comes out).
The Last Word
The best touchless kitchen faucets don’t have to appear out-of-this-world high-tech; our favorites are designed with looks in mind first (no eyesores for the sake of your latest kitchen reno). And they make washing hands and dishes a total breeze with one single wave.
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