These days, kitchens are getting bigger, better, more centralized, and more extensive. In fact, as dream kitchens become the entertaining heart of the home, they even become more… professional. I don’t know if it’s the rising popularity of cooking shows, a growing desire to eat better, a way to save on date night expenses, or what, but people are starting to cook at home more often, both with and without guests. The result is a big shift toward professional grade kitchenware, from high powered cooking ranges to even something as seemingly simple as the kitchen faucet.
What’s The Difference?
I’ll come right out and say, I find that the claim of “professional quality” is, more often than not, a little dubious, whether you’re talking a hair straightener or a chef’s knife. But in terms of major kitchen gear, the difference is both aesthetic and functional. While a “professional quality” kitchen range might offer faster heating or hotter burners, what that means for a kitchen faucet is durability and utility, as well as a more modern design. This Cascada Faucet from Ruvati is a good example, with a very long, flexible neck that terminates in a spray nozzle.
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The most iconic and immediately identifiable feature of a commercial quality kitchen faucet is that it has a long, long neck. These are much taller than your average faucet, and are typically enclosed in a spring-like metal band instead of having a smooth surface. Many kitchen faucets have begun to feature pull-down functionality, where a spray head pulls out of the nozzle of the faucet (much like the spray hoses previously housed off to one side). But the spring housing on this Architectural Faucet from Rohl and other faucets like it affords you much, much more flexibility.
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Pull Down Sprayer
In fact, professional style kitchen faucets like this Pull-Out Pro are essentially one great big pull down sprayer. The neck is made out of a flexible material because it isn’t really a neck at all – it’s a sheath to house the flexible metal hose inside. The nozzle attaches to a horizontal metal bar when it’s in “faucet” mode, but to use the sprayer, you simply detach it. The resistance of the spring keeps the hose up and out of your way, while allowing you to bend and flex it in any direction and at much greater heights and distances than you could with a typical pull down kitchen faucet.
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Heavy Duty Spray Nozzle
Many commercial style kitchen faucets also have something a little more hefty than the simple rubber button you’d find on a more typical residential pull-down faucet. I particularly like this Heavy Duty Faucet from Vigo, which has a hefty metal handle that activates the spray-mode with a squeeze. A little more like a very high quality hose nozzle, this gives you immediate, responsive manual control as well as a sturdy, long-lasting feel. Other models have metal push buttons (which might be preferable if you don’t have a strong grip), but plain rubber buttons are distinctly rarer.
Another feature that’s pretty common among commercial style kitchen faucets is the inclusion of… a second faucet. Astute readers will remember that I’m a huge fan of having a second water dispensing faucet, but this isn’t that. It’s simply a more traditional metal faucet, plus a professional spring-style pull-down faucet. The second faucet typically has a traditional aerator spray and is either a smaller curve that nests into the curve of the pull-down sprayer, or, like this Aquanova Fly Faucet from Ramon Soler, a flat neck that runs parallel to the bar that holds the sprayer in place. In either case, both faucets can almost always be fully articulated, moving easily to either side of the sink and around one another.
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Utility vs. Style
While professional style faucets have their own funky modern style (especially ones like this Brick Faucet from Fima Carlo Frattini), they aren’t exactly a great pair for a more traditional kitchen. Because their form really follows their function, you won’t find models with a traditional design. That said, there’s no arguing that professional style kitchen faucets are anything but the most versatile faucets on the market. After all, that’s sort of the point – they’re designed to handle high volumes and multiple tasks at maximum efficiency with the greatest ease of use possible. With a perfectly flexible neck, you can more or less just grab the faucet and direct the flow of water where you need it, often with multiple spray settings that work equally well for washing dishes, washing food, or even washing your sink…which might be worth designing your kitchen around.
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Have you ever used a commercial-style faucet? What functionality do you wish your current kitchen faucet had?