Informational Guide

Pros & Cons Of Touchless Kitchen Faucets

We find out if touchless models are worth the money.

by PlumberJohn

Touchless faucets, also called automatic or touch-free faucets, are now a common fixture in commercial and residential kitchens. There are many perks that come along with going touchless, which explains why so many people are installing them in their kitchens.

So is it time to start browsing around for the best touchless kitchen faucets, or should you go with a traditional faucet design or touch free faucet instead?

That’s exactly what we’ll be exploring here in this guide to the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets and how they compare to other types of faucets on the market.

A touchless faucet works by delivering a stream of water when motion is detected. It seems like a relatively simple concept, but it’s actually very intricate and technical.

In Hunker’s guide to how touchless faucets work, the source says not to “be deceived by the touchless faucet's sleek, simple and user-friendly design. The fixture's complicated interior includes rubber controls to monitor the flow of water, an electromagnet and a power source to make the flow of water seem so effortless.”

Pros & Cons Of Touchless Kitchen Faucets

To better understand the inner workings of touchless faucet technology, it’s best to have an understanding of the main components. Here’s what they are:

  • Solenoid Valve
    This piece is attached to the faucet’s motion sensor. It works as an electromagnetic, and it’s controlled by the positive or negative signals sent by the sensor. Whether the signal is positive or negative determines whether the solenoid will pull the faucet valve open and deliver water (positive signal) or push it to shut and cut off the water supply (negative signal).
  • Sensor
    The sensor’s main job is to detect movement. When movement is detected, it sends the appropriate signal so that the solenoid valve can do its job. Most sensors use infrared light detection; when a hand is waved in front of the sensor, it detects infrared light, sends a signal to the solenoid, and water is delivered.
  • Power Source
    The sensor requires power to operate. Some faucets have a battery-powered design, while others can connect to the power supply through a wall socket. Either way, power is a necessary factor for touchless faucet operation.
  • Spout
    The spout of the faucet is where water travels through to reach the faucet head. Spouts come in a variety of materials, finishes, and designs, catering to all kitchen styles. You can even find pull-out and pull-down faucets where the spout extends out or down into the sink.

Pros & Cons of Touchless Faucets

Touchless faucets come with a lot of benefits, but they’re by no means perfect. The best method for weighing the benefits with the drawbacks is to make a list of the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets, and we’ve done that for you:

Pros
  • Less waste/better for the environment
  • Easy to operate
  • Automatic water temperature and flow settings
  • Less spread of germs
  • No smudge/streaks on the faucet’s finish
  • Added convenience of touchless design
  • Variety of designs/styles/finishes to choose from
  • Easy to install, even DIY
Cons
  • Requires batteries/AC power
  • Cost tends to be slightly higher
  • Changing flow/temperature settings can be difficult
  • Risk of sensor malfunction

Things to Consider When Choosing a Touchless Faucet

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets, there are a few more buying considerations to factor in before you decide on one.

  • Faucet Activation
    Since these faucets are activated by motion sensors, the more sensors, the better. Having too few sensors or low-quality sensors often leads to an annoying faucet that won’t turn on, even after vigorously waving your hand in front of it. There’s a balance between finding a faucet with sensors that are sensitive enough to pick up on movement, but not so sensitive that they’re constantly being triggered.
  • Faucet Power Source
    There are 4 different options for powering a touchless faucet’s sensor: battery-powered, wall outlet, solar-powered, or turbine-powered. The first 2 are the most common, so you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of a battery-powered faucet and one that connects directly to a power source.
  • Faucet Material & Finish
    Cheaper faucets are usually made from zinc, while more expensive fixtures are made from brass. While brass faucets cost more, they’re also much more durable and sturdy. You’ve got plenty of options for the finish that goes on top of the faucet’s core material - chrome, stainless steel, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, etc.
Touchless Faucet Finishes
  • Extra Features
    Modern-day faucets come with modern-day capabilities. Some of the coolest additional features you could have with your faucet include voice activation and LED nightlights.

You can find more details on the faucet buying process in our review of the best kitchen faucets on the market today.


What’s the Difference Between a Touch & Touchless Faucet?

When comparing these two common types of kitchen faucets, Mr. Rooter says that “touch and touchless faucets may sound like opposites, but they are actually quite similar… touch and touchless faucets minimize the action required to turn the tap on and off.”

Touch Vs Touchless Faucets

There is one big difference between these faucet types, though. While a touch faucet requires actual physical touch in order to deliver water, a touchless faucet does not.

For touchless faucets, all you have to do for water to flow is wave your hand in front of the sensor. When you’re ready for the water to turn off, wave your hand again.


How to Install a Touchless Kitchen Faucet

Installing a kitchen faucet is a relatively easy task, which is why many homeowners choose to DIY this project. The most challenging part of the process is usually removing the old faucet, so once you’ve got the old fixture out of place, it’s easy-going from there.

To install a new touchless faucet, the first step is to gather your tools and make sure they’re within easy reach during the installation process. You will need a pipe wrench, a basin wrench, tongue and groove pliers, an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, a bucket, supply lines, plumbing tape, a flashlight, and some WD-40.

We won’t go into too much detail for each step (you can click on that link above for a step-by-step installation guide), but here’s the general procedure for installing your faucet:

  1. 1
    Turn off the water
  2. 2
    Disconnect the supply line
  3. 3
    Remove the old faucet fixture
  4. 4
    Clean the work area
  5. 5
    Mount the new faucet
  6. 6
    Reinstall the supply lines
  7. 7
    Turn the water supply back on
Installing A Touchless Faucet

People also Ask (FAQs)

Do touchless faucets save water?

Yep! A Pennsylvania company called David Leroy Plumbing says that one of the benefits of touchless faucets is “instead of using a few extra seconds of water to turn off the faucet with your hand, a touchless faucet conserves water by shutting off the valve once you’ve left the sink. Over a few years, you can save hundreds of gallons of water with a touchless faucet.”

Can a touchless faucet work manually?

It depends on the specific faucet, but most kitchen faucets are designed with a handle so that you can manually turn on the water if you need to. Most come with a manual sensor override mode, so you can still turn the faucet on and off if you experience a power outage.

Do touchless faucets have batteries?

Many models use batteries to run the motion sensor, but some use an AC transformer as the power source.

Does Home Depot install faucets?

Yes, Home Depot offers faucet installation. The website’s faucet replacement page says that “whether you purchase a faucet from a Home Depot store or on homedepot.com, we can install it for you. Just call or visit the Service Desk or ask an associate at your local store about our faucet installation service.”

What are the top brands of touchless faucets?

Moen faucets are some of the most trusted if you’re looking for a touchless design, but Kohler, American Standard, Delta, and Grohe are also respected brands. 


Conclusion

Now that you know the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets, the decision on whether to go with a touchless design, a touch faucet, or a traditional handle-operated fixture should be much easier.

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