Your kitchen faucet plays an important role in clean, hygienic food preparation. But at the same time, it can become a hotspot for cross contamination and germ growth in general.
We touch our faucets with dirty hands, but if we aren’t cleaning the faucet after washing our hands, before even turning off the water, we’re putting those germs right back on our hands when we’re done.
To solve that problem, a lot of us try to turn the faucet on with a wrist or elbow, but even with modern single lever handle faucets, that can be tricky.
And even beyond bacteria and cross contamination, touching the faucet in general can make it messy, even more so if our hands are greasy, sticky, covered in flour, or otherwise messy from normal kitchen activities.
Touchless kitchen faucets provide a solution, though. Faucets with motion sensors have become a standard feature in public restrooms and they’re becoming more and more common in home kitchens for the same reason: they ensure that the faucet stays cleaner, both in terms of bacteria and in terms of gunk and other build up.
In this guide, we’ll talk about everything you need to know to choose a touchless kitchen faucet for your home.
We’ll start by going over some background so you know what you need to consider before making your choice. Then we’ll finish up by detailing our picks for the top five best touchless kitchen faucets on the market.
What Are Touchless Kitchen Sink Faucets?
Touchless faucets, also sometimes called touch-free faucets, are exactly what they sound like: faucets that don’t have to be touched in order to start or stop the flow of water.
They allow manual control with the faucet handle, but also have other methods of hands-free control.
Most touchless kitchen faucets are single handle faucets that install directly to your sink or countertop with one hole.
If you’re replacing a two or three hole faucet, don’t worry. Many come with a deck plate (also called an escutcheon) that can be used to cover any other holes that are present from old faucets.
For faucets that don’t come with a deck plate, the manufacturer will virtually always sell a compatible deck plate separately.
Touchless faucets are good for keeping the faucet clean by minimizing germ contamination as well as by preventing build-up, fingerprints, water spots, and more.
However, they also help minimize wasted water. Since the water turns off automatically or can be dispensed in fixed amounts, you’ll never accidentally leave the faucet on when you’re not using it.
Keep in mind that the electronic components of a touchless faucet mean that it will require some sort of power source.
Most frequently, that’s in the form of an AC adapter plugged into an outlet. However, some touchless faucets can also use batteries, most frequently AA batteries.
What Are The Different Types of Touchless Kitchen Faucets?
Most, touchless faucets use motion sensor technology. If the sensors pick up motion, like hand movement, in a certain space, usually above the faucet or in front of its base, the water turns on automatically.
When they no longer detect motion, the water is turned back off.
However, most smart faucets also fall into the category of touchless faucets. These faucets generally have motion sensors too, but also work with a smart home assistant, such as a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, to allow for voice activation.
In many cases, that goes beyond just turning the water on and off.
Most smart faucets will also allow you to dispense a certain amount of water or dispense water for a specific amount of time.
You can even create custom settings, so you can tell your sink to dispense enough water to fill the dog bowl or coffee maker without having to remember how much each container holds.
Some smart faucets even allow you to specify the water temperature or have specific commands for helping you with timing for washing your hands.
What Do You Look For In The Best Touchless Kitchen Faucet?
When choosing a touchless kitchen faucet, some of the things you need to consider are the same as when choosing any kitchen faucet, but there are also some additional considerations that are more specific to touchless kitchen faucets.
One of the biggest considerations is the sprayer. Having the right one for you makes a huge difference in the functionality of the faucet.
Most touchless faucets have pull-down sprayers, but you’ll also see some with pull-out or side sprayers. Which one is best for you just depends on personal preference.
On top of the sprayer type, you’ll also want to look at the spray modes offered.
At a minimum, your faucet should offer an aerated stream for normal washing and filling and a higher pressure spray for rinsing and spraying off stubborn messes.
Some faucets will have additional functions like a pause to temporarily stop flow or a boost to temporarily increase flow.
They may even have entirely different spray modes, like a gentle spray for washing delicate produce or a powerful blade-shaped spray to help with washing dishes.
Whenever you get a kitchen faucet, you want to make sure it can stand up to years and years of heavy use, but since touchless kitchen faucets are more of an investment, it’s especially important to make sure that you’ll be able to get your money’s worth.
Look for a faucet that’s well constructed, with a metal body, preferably brass.
Some faucets are designed in a way to create fewer possible leak points, such as by integrating the water supply lines. This is a big advantage.
The valve cartridges are traditionally one of the most common leak points for faucets, so they should also be made from a durable material that resists wear and corrosion.
Ceramic cartridges are best, but if you’re on a budget, brass or plastic can do the job.
Regardless of material, you should be able to replace the cartridges fairly easily if they do begin to leak.
And don’t forget the outside. A kitchen faucet needs a rugged finish, even if you don’t plan on touching it all that much. Look for a faucet with corrosion and tarnish-resistant finishes.
Functionality and durability are important, but so is your faucet’s appearance. You want it to look great, so choose a design and finish that matches the rest of your kitchen’s style.
Consider the style and color of your cabinetry, countertops, floors, walls, backsplash, appliances, hardware, and other kitchen fixtures and choose a faucet that works with them.
Your faucet doesn’t need to match perfectly, but it should at least coordinate well.
Fortunately, touchless kitchen faucets are available in a huge variety of styles and almost all of those come in at least a few different finishes to choose from, so there’s sure to be a high-quality option that fits your style.
If you want a touchless faucet primarily to keep it looking clean, going with a spot-resistant finish will provide even more help for that.
Types Of Controls
Another major consideration is the controls for the faucet. Do you want the extra features of a smart faucet or are you fine with just a motion sensor faucet?
Skipping the smart faucet will save you a lot of money, so it’s a good way to go if you’re on a budget or just don’t see yourself using the voice activation too much.
Either way, you’ll also want to pay attention to the motion sensors.
They can only start and stop the faucet if there’s motion in front of them, so are they in a location where you’ll be able to use them effectively?
At a minimum, you’ll want one in front of the base of the faucet, but many homeowners like having a second one directed above the spout as well.
And even though we’re focusing on the touchless capability here, you do also want to like the manual controls. Is the handle easy to use? Is it comfortable?
Do you have enough room for it to rotate without it bumping into the wall or backsplash behind the faucet?
Don’t forget the controls for the sprayer either. Are the buttons or switches for the spray modes intuitive and easy to use?
Finally, you need to think about the power source that the touchless faucet uses.
Some faucets rely on an AC adapter plugged into an outlet, some use batteries, and some allow you to choose between each.
There are benefits and disadvantages to both options.
An AC adapter requires a wall outlet close to the sink, which can be a problem depending on your kitchen’s layout.
You can’t use the one for your garbage disposal, or else the sink will only be touchless when you’re running the disposal.
On the other hand, with an AC adapter, you don’t have to worry about changing batteries (and making sure you have the right one on hand.
The faucet will continue to have power as long as the outlet it’s plugged into does.
That does mean that if you lose power, the faucet’s touchless capabilities won’t work.
That said, the faucet will still be able to be used manually and, during a power outage, your faucet’s touchless capabilities are probably a relatively minor concern anyway.
If your faucet uses batteries, you don’t have to worry about having a plug to use and your sink will function even if there’s no power going to the outlet.
The downside is that you’ll have to change the batteries every so often.
Once the batteries are dead, you won’t be able to use it hands-free until you replace them.
Best Touchless Kitchen Faucet Reviews
Now let’s get to our reviews of the best touchless kitchen faucets!
1. Moen Align One-Handle Pre-Rinse Spring Pulldown Kitchen Faucet
Our top pick is the Moen Align One-Handle Pre-Rinse Spring Pulldown Kitchen Faucet. It’s a commercial-style motion sensor kitchen faucet that uses Moen’s MotionSense Wave technology.
The pull down sprayer uses Power Clean technology to provide 50 percent more spray power compared to Moen faucets without Power Clean.
At the same time, it has a 1.5 GPM flow rate for water efficiency.
This faucet is available in Matte Black, Spot Resist Stainless, Black Stainless, and Chrome finishes. A deck plate is sold separately.
The faucet uses 6 AA batteries (not included), but you can also purchasea separate AC adapterto power it.
Duralock quick connect system
Five year warranty on electronics, limited lifetime warranty on trim
The Pfister Stellan 1-Handle Touchless Kitchen Faucet has a sleek, modern design but an affordable price.
This faucet has a 360 degree swivel spout and a powerful 1.8 GPM flow rate. The pull down spray head has spray, stream, and pause modes. In order to avoid water waste, the aucet will automatically shut off the flow of water after three minutes if it does not detect motion.
The Pfister Stellan is available in Matte Black, Polished Chrome, and Stainless Steel finishes. It comes with an AC adapter, but Pfister also sellsa battery pack for itto give you an alternative.
Like the Moen Align, the Moen Arbor One-Handle High Arc MotionSense Pulldown Kitchen Faucet features MotionSense Wave technology, a Power Clean pull-down spray head, and a Duralock quick connect system for easy installation.
The Moen Arbor is available in one and two motion sensor versions, as well as a version with voice controls. The two-sensor version can also be purchased in a bundle with a matching soap dispenser (which is alsosold separately).
The faucet comes in Matte Black, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Spot Resist Stainless, and Chrome finishes, and an optional matching deck plate is included.
Five year warranty on electronics, limited lifetime warranty on trim
5. Kohler Sensate Touchless Kitchen Faucet with Pull Down Spout
Kohler Sensate Touchless Kitchen Faucet with Pull Down Spout is another high end touchless kitchen faucet.
The pull-down sprayer uses Kohler’s DockNetic magnetic docking system to stay securely in place, even years after you purchase the faucet. It also has a MasterClean spray face that makes it easy to remove build up.
The motion sensors are also lightening fast, starting water flow just 20 milliseconds after they pick up on motion. For an even higher tech option, there’s also a version that allows for voice controls.
The faucet comes in Matte Black, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Vibrant Stainless, and Polished Chrome finishes. All finishes resist corrosion and tarnishing.
Limited lifetime warranty
1.5 GPM GPM for water efficiency
Some buyers report that the solenoid may die after about a year, but also that Kohler customer service is helpful for getting it replaced