Kitchen Faucet Trends

Take a look at the latest kitchen faucet trends — plus, get advice to help you sort through the new styles, finishes and features.

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When it comes to functionality, the trendiest word in faucets today is "touchless." These new hands-free faucets turn on and off with a tap, or simply by placing your hands under the spout or moving them away. (Kohler's Wellspring uses the same technology as auto-focus cameras, which measures the distance between your hand and the faucet .) Not only do these models save water by automatically switching off the flow when you turn away from the tap, they're more sanitary as well. "Bacteria, salmonella and E. coli really can be an issue with food preparation, so if you're washing a raw chicken it's helpful not to have to touch the faucet knobs," says Susan.

Though pull-out spray nozzles have been standard for several years now, newer faucets feature flexible pull-down spray heads that are integrated into the main faucet (instead of a side sprayer that requires a separate hole to be drilled in the sink or countertop). Buttons or toggles on the nozzle itself allow you to switch between stream, vegetable spray, needle spray, pause and other water patterns with the touch of a finger. Swivel joints at the end of spray heads let you direct the water flow without having to pull out and hold the nozzle. And magnetic locking mechanisms allow you to lock the spray head back in its dock with a quick snap.

Other new and novel faucet features: LED-lit nozzles to assist with getting that late-night glass of water. Integrated water filtration that lets you pour your drinking water straight from the tap (some models even have indicator lights right on the faucet to alert you when the filter needs changing). Elegantly slim, ergonomic joystick-style levers — which have steadily replaced clunky dual-handled models — that simplify water delivery and that may even swivel from one side of the base to another to accommodate both right- and left-handed users. Folding spouts that can be positioned out of the way when they're not in use. Temperature and volume controls at the end of the faucet rather than the base.

Downside: The more technology, parts and fancy features in a faucet, the more likely it is that something will eventually break — and the greater the need for regular maintenance (like changing the battery packs on touchless faucets) to prevent problems. "Whoever thought we'd have a battery powered faucet?" asks Richard.

Photo: Bridge by