There are many different types of kitchen faucets on the market these days, but one of the most popular is the touchless kitchen faucet.
As the name suggests, these faucets do not require any physical contact in order to operate. Instead, they rely on sensors to detect when your hand or an object is placed under the faucet and automatically turn it on and off accordingly.
While touchless faucets offer a number of advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider before making a purchase. In this article, we will take a look at both the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets
What exactly is a touchless kitchen faucet?
A touchless kitchen faucet is a type of faucet that uses sensors to detect a wave or a slight touch to automatically turn on and off accordingly.
There are actually two types of touchless faucets. The first type is a true touchless faucet that simply requires a wave of your hand or an object in order to turn on.
The second type is a semi-touchless faucet, which still requires physical contact anywhere on the surface of the faucet for both on and off operations.
While the mechanism is not completely touchless, industry insiders and homeowners alike refer to them as such. Therefore, we will use the term touchless for both types of faucets for the purposes of this article.
It’s also important to note that this technology can only be found on a single hole kitchen faucet with a pull out spray. While it’s not impossible to introduce it to other types of faucets, manufacturers have yet to do so.
Pros of Touchless Kitchen Faucets
There are several advantages that touchless kitchen faucets have over traditional ones. The first is that they are much more convenient and easy to use. Secondly, they can help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Lastly, they can help reduce water usage in the kitchen and offer flexible options should you not want to use the function often.
Convenience and Ease of Use
The biggest advantage of a touchless kitchen faucet is that it is extremely convenient and easy to use. All you have to do is place your hand or an object under the sensor and the water will automatically turn on. For semi touchless, a simple touch of the hand, arm or elbow will do the job.
Additionally, the faucet will shut off automatically based on a preset timer. This is a practical feature as most people tend to have their hands preoccupied after turning on their faucet. Think of someone filling up a pot, who needs to carry it to its destination without the need to turn the faucet off. Or better yet, someone washing dishes, who would rather not get the handle messy with their soapy hands.
Reducing spread of germs and bacteria
Another big advantage of touchless faucets is that they can help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. The Food & Drug administration recommends to separate raw meat & poultry from other foods as much as possible (https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/safe-food-handling). Touching kitchen surfaces with your raw chicken hands is a big no no.
Using a touchless faucet increases the likelihood of the users following the proper safety guidelines as they do not have to touch the handles with their dirty hands. They can use the faucet as they need it and rinse their hands while the water is still running. For even more hygienic options, some manufacturers also offer matching touchless soap dispensers.
Reducing Water Usage
The automatic shut off function of touchless faucets can also help reduce water usage in the kitchen. Many people tend to leave the water running while they are doing other tasks, such as washing their hands or cleaning vegetables.
With a touchless faucet, not only is it easier to turn off while you’re busy, but most come equipped with an automatic shut off preset by the manufacturer. Based on our research, we found that number to be between 2-4 minutes. Additionally, some touchless technologies like the Moen Readysense, are able to detect certain task and promptly shut off the water once said task is done.
Faucet manufacturers realize that a touchless kitchen faucet is a foreign concept to many and as such, they make it easy for one to switch to manual mode when needed. For most touchless faucets, you can simply switch to manual mode just by grabbing the handle to adjust volume, temperature and turn it on and off.
Additionally, many models also give you the option to turn off the touchless functions by using a manual override or by simply switching it off in the box underneath the sink. This is great for those who do not want to use the touchless function often and those who want to have that option off when they have guests over.
Cons of Touchless Kitchen Faucets
While they offer many benefits, hands-free faucets also have a few drawbacks. One of the major disadvantages is that they are more expensive than traditional faucets.
Additionally, they may require more maintenance as the sensors and mechanisms can cause problems down the line.
Another downside is that touchless kitchen faucets often have limited features that are standard using manual mode. Lastly, they are prone to false triggers, meaning that faucets may inadvertently turn on or off when the user does not intend to.
Touchless Faucets are more expensive
The added convenience of hands free technology comes at a cost for most consumer goods these days, it’s no different for touchless kitchen faucets.
Based on our own survey of the top brands in the kitchen faucet category, Touchless faucet are listed at price ranging from 45% to 75% higher than its standard kitchen faucet equivalent.
We compiled the prices of touchless faucets from the top 3 brands of touchless faucets: Moen, Delta & Kohler. We then compared their prices to the standard kitchen faucets of the same collection. This means we excluded any faucet that only had one version of each type.
We did this way to see how much of a premium do manufacturers charge on average for this sought after feature.
The average list price (MSRP) of a touchless faucet was about $814.51 while the average price of a traditional kitchen faucet was about $529.88. Keep in mind these are list prices, the prices you will end up paying for this can be anywhere from 20-40% less depending on the brand and where you purchase the product.
Below is how the prices broke down by manufacturer.
|Average List Price (MSRP) Touchless Kitchen Faucets
|Average List Price (MSRP) Standard Kitchen Faucets
|Touchless feature Premium
|74.2% more expensive
|49.5% more expensive
|45.2% more expensive
|53.7% more expensive
Potential maintenance costs after purchase
While they promise greater convenience, touchless faucets may require more maintenance down the line. This is due to the fact that in addition to standard kitchen faucet parts, they come with some advanced parts, like touch and motion sensor, as well as an electrical box or battery pack.
While most kitchen faucets nowadays come with a no frill lifetime warranty, manufacturers make it a point to exclude the electrical components from this coverage. Relatively speaking, a frequently used fixture like the faucet is a rather new concept and it would be reasonable to think that down the line, we may start seeing more failures from touchless faucets than traditional ones.
As a matter of fact, some manufacturers have had some growing pains with their touchless when they were first introduced. The good news is that they used these early failures to improve the reliability of the touchless faucets over time.
A touchless faucet is more limited than a standard kitchen faucet
Touchless kitchen faucets are convenient because they allow you to easily complete tasks like washing your hands or filling a pot with water without having to touch the faucet. However, there are some features that are unavailable while the faucet is in hands free mode. These include changing the temperature of the water, adjusting the volume while engaged and changing the spray functions on the fly.
For most manufacturers, you will have to switch to manual mode in order to have access to any of these features.
In fairness, this is because as of right, the touchless concept is meant to be an added feature and not the primary mode of operation for the kitchen faucet.
When engaged, the temperature defaults to the temperature indicated by the handle at the time while the volume is set to operate at the maximum gallons per minute (GPM) which is typically somewhere between 1.5 & 2.5 GPM. The standard stream is the default spray setting for all manufacturers that we’re aware of.
Are touchless faucets worth the extra cost?
Now that we’ve explored all the pros and cons of touchless kitchen faucets, it’s time to answer the question: are they worth the extra money?
Touchless faucets are worth the extra cost only if you actually plan on using this feature as an add-on and not as your primary mode of operation. If you’re expecting to use this feature all the time, you’re going to be disappointed due to the lack of features available in hands free mode.
We would only recommend touchless faucets to those who are looking for an added layer of convenience in their kitchen rather than a full blown hands free faucet.
It’s also important to add that if you’re the type of person that likes the shiny object only to stop using it a few weeks later, then this is probably not the right product for you. The upfront cost is simply not worth it.
Touch Kitchen Faucet vs Touchless: Which is better?
There’s a lot of confusion in the market place about what actually constitutes a touchless faucet.
A true touchless faucet is one that can be turned on and off without ever touching the actual faucet. The motion sensor will detect your hand (or an object) from a few inches away and turn on. On the other hand, a touch kitchen faucet is one that requires you to physically touch the spout or handle in order to turn it on but does not require you to touch and control the handle.
Although, the true touchless faucets can make the claim that they are the only true hands free faucet who live up to the name, the touch faucets does have some clear advantages.
- Touch faucets are less likely to have false triggers
- Touch faucets are more accurate as the sensor is more likely to recognize a touch over a wave.
As a result, the touch faucet can be more a seamless experience as it just works when triggered and rarely turns on when it’s not meant to. Human errors are less common as touching is more of a straightforward action than waving with the right force and speed.
With that being said, we have to admit that nothing is more accurate than a faucet handled manually.
Touchless technology from the most reputable brands
There are many reputable kitchen faucet brands producing high quality faucets for years. However, not all have fully bought in.
Kohler, Moen & Delta on the other hand have not only many years of experience producing these faucets but also have a number of styles to choose from.
Moen MotionSense: How Moen touchless faucets work
Moen is one of the leading brands in kitchen faucet brands in the US. While they’re not the first company to introduce the touchless kitchen faucet, they were the one of the first in the US to truly embrace it and perfect the design over time.
The MotionSense faucets are true touchless faucets. Each touchless faucet is equipped with two sensors: The Ready Sensor and the Wave Sensor.
The Ready Sensor is located at the base of the spout’s neck and is able to not only detect hand movements but also cup , pot or any other object within its detection zone.
The Wave Sensor is located on the top of the spout. This sensor only detects hand movements as you don’t typically place an object above a faucet to in order to fill it.
Delta Touch20 Technology: How a Delta touch faucet works.
The Delta Touch20 is the latest version of their touch faucet technology. With a simple touch anywhere on the body, you can turn on your faucet without having to manually turn the handle.
Previous versions of this technology had issues of false activations but with Touch20 that has been greatly reduce since the it can sense the difference between a touch and a grab. It can also differentiate between the touch of human hand vs that of a pet or an object.
Another advantage of the Delta’s touch faucets is that it can be operated by 6 AA batteries, or 6C batteries. In additions, you can also elect to have it installed with an AC adapter.
Kohler’s Touch Response Technology
Kohler’s Touch Response faucets are equipped with a sensor underneath the arch of he gooseneck. Its location is strategic as it helps prevent false activations. Like the Moen MotionSense, this is a 100% hands free technology that operates with a wave of the hand or an object.
Unlike the Delta faucets, Kohler does not offer battery options. Their touchless faucets have to connect directly to your home power via an AC adapter.