Informational Guide

Pull Out Vs Pull Down Faucets

We help you choose between pull out vs. pull down faucets. Here, you will learn the distinctions between the two, and the benefits of each.

by Ian Haynes

A quick internet search demonstrates how many kitchen faucet designs there are—a wide range of aesthetic and functional features for every kitchen, household, and budget. Of course, this makes choosing a kitchen faucet very exciting at first, but finally, when you must really decide, it is tedious.

This guide will help you choose between pull-out vs. pull-down faucets. Here, you will learn relevant distinctions between the two and how one is currently trendier than the other.

Pull-out and pull-down faucets are two versions of the same basic idea: The nozzle is attached to a hose that can be manually pulled out to extend the reach of the faucet. However, pull-outs work by allowing you to extend the nozzle up and out rather than downwards as pull-down faucets do.

Neither is inherently better than the other, but people with smaller/shallower sinks generally do better with pull-outs since they allow upward maneuvering to avoid excessive splashing against the sink. Also, since they are easier to pull up and sideways, it is probably a little easier to fill a container on the nearby counter with a pull-out.

Because they are usually shorter faucets, pull-outs give those with smaller, more conventional kitchens the modern convenience of extension. Furthermore, some people prefer the feel of grasping the pull-out extension to maneuvering the pull-down nozzle.

Pros
  • Works with shorter faucets
  • Easily allows upward and sideways motion
  • Better for smaller sinks/sink areas
  • More traditional residential look
  • Easier to grip the extension
Cons
  • Harder to aim directly downwards
  • Bigger, more clunky extension
  • Not as glamorous (in popular opinion)

What Is A Pull-Down Faucet?

Pull-down faucets work by a hose strung through an arched/gooseneck faucet. Pull-downs allow large sink/faucet setups to work for any size task. The nozzle can be pulled down to get to something on the sink bottom or pulled up to accommodate larger containers and tasks.

Directing the nozzle to a container on a nearby counter is possible, but might be more tedious than with a pull-out.

Generally, pull-down faucets are taller and larger overall, and it has become increasingly trendy to have an industrial-looking faucet in one’s home kitchen.

That said, there are an increasing number of small residential pull-down faucets, many of which have a more relaxed arch shape: These give a clean, trendy look, in a build that is practical for most home kitchens.

Difference Between Pull Down And Pull Out Kitchen Faucets
Pros
  • Spraying down and around sink is easier
  • Allows small, gentle tasks in large sinks
  • Small, simple nozzle extension
  • Contributes to a cutting-edge aesthetic
  • Great feature on a large gooseneck faucet
Cons
  • Harder to direct up and sideways
  • Extension gives less to grasp during use

Pull Out Vs Pull Down: Which Should I Buy?

Style and Design

Pull-out/-down extension is ubiquitous in good kitchen sink models. Commercial faucets have gotten trendy for home kitchens, but some are as tall as 2 feet and have the industrial-looking springs containing the pull-down hose—not the best look for every kitchen. Aside from commercial models, which can get expensive, pull-out and pull-down faucets are similar in price.

Faucet height is arguably the biggest difference between pull-down and pull-out kitchen faucets: Do you have the space to have your faucet extend up a foot or more from the counter? Would this look funny in your space? Would it get in the way? Fortunately, however, there are more and more residential pull-down models with shorter, more gently sloping arches.

Ease of Use

Many users find that faucet swiveling is helpful, and fortunately, many models, both pull-out and pull-down, swivel—in most cases 360⁰.

More specifically, to choose between a pull-out vs. pull-down faucet, consider how you would ideally like to use your faucet and sink: Would it help to be able to fill containers on the counter beside the sink? If yes, a pull-out might work better for you. 

Do you want to fill large or tall containers sitting in the sink? Do you mostly aspire to clean fruits and vegetables and/or wash dishes with the faucet? If so, a pull-down will likely make you happier.

Faucet Wand

Because pull-out faucet wands are essentially the whole forward extension of the faucet coming off, there is more to grasp with your hand. In contrast, pull-down faucets have little or no wand to hold on to—you really just grasp or toggle the nozzle itself.

Hose Retraction, Size, and Locking Method

In a pull-out vs. pull-down faucet comparison, performance and mechanisms in these areas are generally similar—it just depends on the brand or model.

Similarly, hose length is independent of price or design: Surprisingly, there are modest residential models with a whopping 70-inch hose length, while most commercial and residential faucets have 18-24 inches of extension.

If you are mistrustful of the various brands’ advertised retraction and locking mechanisms, consider a design with a separate pull-out extension sprayer beside the main faucet (reminiscent of a soap or hot water dispenser.)

Spray Type

Traditionally, pull-downs are more compatible with relatively large/deep sinks, since usually, the faucet is larger and the nozzle higher up; however, there are more and more residential pull-downs that are reasonably sized, and many brands claim to have splatter-proof sprays.

Also helpful: pull-down faucets tend to have more spray modes than pull-out faucets do. Some even have a gentle mode, which offsets splatter, while some have high pressure modes, too. This is in addition to the more basic stream, spray, and pause modes, which many pull-out faucets have. (The majority of pull-outs just have stream and spray.)

Touchless Features

Touchless features are increasingly common in residential kitchen faucets, even in very affordable models. Moreover, some standard models have this as an optional add-on feature, so you do not have to give up manual control just because you go touchless.


Installing or Replacing a Kitchen Faucet (The Easy Way)

  1. 1
    If your faucet replacement requires fewer holes in the mount (as many modern kitchen faucets do), just use an appropriate mounting plate (usually included) to cover the holes. If you need more holes, perhaps to get a retro look, or to add a soap dispenser or separate pull-out extension, then the replacement might get more complicated.
  2. 2
    While faucets are becoming increasingly easy to install, you still need basic tools on hand, especially if you are replacing an old faucet—a basin wrench, in particular.
  3. 3
    Regardless of whether you are replacing, repairing, or installing: shut off the water supply, and get the area clean before starting work.
  4. 4
    Take note of your water supply line connections before you disconnect them so that you know how to put things back in place.
  5. 5
    Follow any installation instructions included.

People also Ask (FAQs)

Do touchless faucets need electricity?

Yes, but most touchless faucets are powered by a battery pack of 4 or 6 AA batteries; however, some work with optional/backup AC connections.

Can you put a water filter on a pull-down or pull-out faucet?

Practically speaking, no: Even if the hose retraction mechanism can handle the added weight, a filter would add bulk to the extension wand, which would make pull-down/pull-out features more cumbersome to use.

Is there a way to fix a pull-out or pull-down faucet in which the hose retraction has gone lax?

Often, the counterweight that allows the hose to retract is thrown out of position over time, and you just have to put it back in place, as demonstrated in the video below:

Can you hook up a portable dishwasher to a pull-out faucet?

Generally, yes. The biggest issue is that, in some cases, the hose cannot handle the water pressure build-up. Also, sometimes it is complicated or impossible to make the dishwasher-faucet adapter work with a given faucet head; however, this is more likely to be a problem with pull-down faucets. 

What would cause a faucet to turn on by itself?

The seller usually has troubleshooting steps for touchless faucets that turn on at random; many times, it is as simple as clearing debris from the sensor. Alternatively, very old faucets can sometimes slip on by themselves as their on/off mechanisms wear down. (This probably has generated some ghost stories.)

Why does my faucet drip after I turn it off?

This indicates worn or flawed parts—often, a lousy cartridge—but it can also be wear on the washers that stabilize the mechanism. It can also be leaks in the extension hose of a pull-out or pull-down faucet.

Which is better, Moen or Pfister?

Both are very well-established companies that offer an extensive selection of affordable faucets and fixtures. Both have kept up with modern expectations, such as touchless sensors and easy-DIY-install features. However, most people would probably say Moen faucets are slightly higher quality and a little better looking than Pfister faucets.


Conclusion

For people who do serious work in the kitchen, a pull-down or pull-out faucet is the way to go. However, if you are stumped by the pull-out versus pull-down question, consider first the size, structure, and aesthetics of your kitchen, then consider which of the two (pull-down vs. pull-out) you think would be more comfortable for you to use.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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