Commercial kitchen faucets supply the livelihood of restaurant kitchens: fresh water. The success of foodservice facilities depends on the right mixture of taste, hygiene, and service speed. Potable water is the central player in this mix because it touches every step of the commercial kitchen operation. It is a thirst-quenching beverage, the basic ingredient of recipes, and the primary source of sanitation.
Commercial kitchen faucets can also be a vehicle for cross-contamination and food safety issues. Each kitchen task requires a different faucet type for maximum performance and sanitation. For instance, you can reduce water consumption and improve workflow using a pre-rinse faucet to wash dishes or produce. Therefore, it would be good to know the details about commercial kitchen faucets and be careful when choosing among their abundance of shapes, styles, and features.
The Core Terminology Of Commercial Kitchen Faucets
Commercial kitchen faucets are composed of several critical parts: inlets to connect to the water line, a body with one or two handles, cartridges inside the body, a spout where the water flows, and the outlet, the tip of the spout. Variations in these components influence water flow rate, temperature adjustments, faucet operation, and function.
Commercial kitchen faucets mount to the water line through their inlets. Most faucets in the USA use 1/2-inch male or female inlets, following the NPT (National Pipe Thread) guidelines. Male threads insert into the mounting base, whereas female threads screw outside. For the proper installation, you must check the manufacturer’s specifications and may need additional fittings like elbows, supply hoses, or O-rings for a proper installation.
Commercial kitchen faucets have handles to turn the water on and off and to control the water temperature. When you move the handle, you open or close the valve and operate the cartridge to regulate the temperature. Two-handle faucets need two holes for installation. Therefore, single-lever models are becoming more popular. Below are handle options to match specific decors, installation requirements, and functions.
- Lever Handles: They are the most common types. Up/down movement controls the water flow, and the left/right turn adjusts the temperature. You may also see commercial sink faucets with blade handles. They are not different from lever handles except for the shape of the lever, which looks like a flat blade. Another option is the decorative club-shaped handles. They are often preferred for a more stylish, elegant look in the kitchen.
- 4-Arm Handles: Most double-handle commercial faucets use this type. Because of the X shape, they are also known as cross-arm handles. You control the water flow, pressure, and temperature with a twisting action rather than a levering one.
- Wrist Handles: These handles provide a more sanitary operation without using the hands. They can be a good fit in food prep areas when staff works with full hands. Besides, faucet handles can accumulate germs and be a hot spot for cross-contamination and foodborne diseases. Therefore, wrist handles can be an effective preventive measure.
Handles are one of many means of commercial kitchen faucet operation. Due to the increasing concerns about hygiene and food safety, hands-free water control is gaining popularity. Since hands and handles may contribute to the spread of germs, you can consider the restaurant faucet valves below, which can also lower operational costs by minimizing water consumption.
- Foot Pedal & Knee Valves: In single and double-lever models, foot pedal and knee valves can be more hygienic and practical. Food personnel can operate the faucet with a simple press of the foot or knee, freeing up hands for other tasks. Plus, they have a self-closing feature to limit water waste.
- Metering Faucets: The push-button metering faucets are another great alternative to faucet handles. The water flow starts with the push of a button and stops automatically after dispensing a specific amount of water for a set period. Thus, they can save gallons of water in the long run. They are often contrasted with commercial touchless bathroom faucets. Metering faucets are better suited to high-traffic businesses and public buildings thanks to their vandal-proof construction and modest prices.
- Commercial Touchless Faucets: Touchless faucets house the most innovative technology in commercial faucets. They remove the need to touch a lever or button to control the water flow, making them the most sterile option. When you move your hands under the spout, their built-in sensors detect the motion and turn on the faucet. They are most preferred in restroom handwashing sinks as they minimize contamination risks and water waste.
Cartridges in commercial kitchen faucets help to control the water flow and temperature. Seemingly, you do this with the handles. Still, faucets have an internal mechanism enabling you to adjust the amount and temperature of the water Cartridges may wear over time and need replacing to avoid causing messy leaks. Although several different types are available, manufacturers prefer ceramic or compression cartridges in their commercial kitchen faucets.
- Compression Cartridges: They have a rubber washer pressing against a valve seat. These conventional faucets have two handles for hot and cold water. Compression cartridges are less expensive to replace but more susceptible to leaks.
- Ceramic Cartridges: Single-handle faucets have ceramic cartridges to control the water volume and adjust the temperature with two ceramic discs in brass sleeves. Therefore, they are more durable and require less maintenance or replacement. Most commercial kitchen faucets have 1/4-turn ceramic cartridge valves to remove the issues associated with rubber washers in compression cartridges.
The spout is the neck of a commercial faucet. The market is replete with taps of various shapes, sizes, and styles. You should assess the spout length and height when considering which to choose. It is crucial in two respects, food safety and practicality.
A spout too long will cover all the open space above the sink. You need sufficient space to wash hands, dishes, or ingredients. However, it should also be long enough to reach all the compartments in a multi-bowl sink.
Higher spouts can mean a larger clearance between the faucet and sink, causing water to splatter. Splashes on food contact surfaces create food safety issues. Yet, you may need this large clearance if you often wash bulky pots; thus, a high-arc spout may be a good solution. Generally, installing tall spouts over shallow sinks isn’t advisable. Therefore, you must size your spout in accordance with your sinks. You can evaluate each spout type below based on these considerations.
- Standard vs. Gooseneck: Standard spouts are straight nozzles available at various lengths to fit different sink depths. Straight spouts are low-profile commercial faucets but can give you a long spout reach. They are better suited to shallow sinks. Gooseneck spouts are high-arc nozzles with a rounded shape. The unique arching neck design increases the clearance between the sink and the spout head. Besides their sleek look, they facilitate working with large pans and pots. They should be installed over deep sinks to limit water splashes.
- Fixed/Rigid vs. Swing/Swivel: Fixed spouts are rigidly fastened to the faucet body, while swing spouts can move to the right or left. Rigid spouts are often used in commercial bathroom faucets and single-compartment sinks. However, if you need a commercial kitchen faucet for your three-compartment sink, you should prefer swing spouts. The swinging flexibility makes them perfect for a wide variety of pot-filling and dishwashing tasks in a commercial kitchen.
- Double-Jointed: Double-jointed commercial kitchen faucets are composed of a long spout attached to the body and a swiveling joint. Thus, you can pivot the spout into any area over a multi-compartment sink. They extend the spout length, height, and reach, offering greater flexibility than other types. Filling up sizeable pots, kettles, or woks is much easier with them. Plus, they can be folded away when not in use.
5. Faucet Outlet
The spout head specifies how much and at what rate a commercial kitchen faucet delivers water. When you use water for many tasks in your restaurant kitchen, you will prefer to save money, wasting less of this invaluable resource. You can achieve this with different faucet outlets designed for unique kitchen tasks to help control the water amount, flow rate, and pressure.
- Aerators vs. Laminar Flow: These outlets are simple accessories attached to the inner or outer lip of the spout’s mouth, depending on whether the tap is male or female-threaded. The idea is to control the water flow, reduce consumption, and provide a non-splashing water stream. Both outlets are similar in design, yet aerators have air inlets to mix air with the water. The aerated water stream is softer and gentler, so often preferred in food prep sinks to wash fresh produce. The air-water mixture may cause hygiene problems. Therefore, healthcare institutions are recommended to use crystal-clear and smoother laminar flow.
- Spray Head: Sprayers are add-on accessories mounted to an existing commercial faucet or fitted into an additional hole on kitchen sinks as side sprayers. They create a sprayed pattern and deliver pressurized water. Sprayers feature a comfortable squeeze handle to trigger and control the spray action. They are ideal for pre-rinse faucets to remove the persistent stains on dishes besides washing down the dirt on hard-to-reach areas.
- Pull-Out vs. Pull-Down: Instead of a separate spray head, you may opt for a faucet with a sprayer built into the spout. Pull-out or pull-down spouts are extensions to a commercial faucet’s spout and provide operators with additional convenience and flexibility. Both spout heads give you spray patterns to pre-rinse greasy utensils faster and with less water. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, a nuance differentiates them. Pull-out heads are shorter and usually attached to standard spouts, whereas pull-down outlets are mostly fitted to gooseneck spouts.
Installation Considerations For Commercial Kitchen Faucets
Installation ease can save you money and labor when purchasing commercial kitchen faucets. Ensure your faucet’s mounting style is compatible with the existing plumbing setup in your facility. Otherwise, you will have to change the faucet, sink, or desktop, costing you bucks and hours.
1. Mounting Holes
Commercial kitchen faucets may require 1 to 4 holes for installation. A single-lever faucet mounts to one hole. If you want individual controls for hot and cold water, you’ll need 3 holes. You’ll have to drill more holes for additional accessories like a soap dispenser or side sprayer. Depending on your choice, you may need to cover some holes. A quick hole counting can prevent possible more serious issues.
Centers refer to the distance between the handles and the spout. These must match the pre-punched faucet holes in your sink. Or, the holes you’ll drill in the wall must comply with the center measurements specified in your faucet’s spec sheet. 4-inch centers are the standard in the market, but you can find up to 8-inch centers. The centers must precisely agree with the distance between the water lines in your current setup.
3. Wall-Mount vs. Deck-Mount
Commercial wall-mount faucets attach to your water lines through the wall or your sink’s backsplash. They increase flexibility because you can install one anywhere in your kitchen, keeping the countertop intact.
However, drilling holes, matching centers, or aligning the faucet with the drains may need expertise. If you can pair your sinks with the right spout types, these commercial faucets can do all the water delivery jobs in your kitchen. For instance, a rigid spout for handwashing applications and a double-jointed spout for 3-compartment sinks would make a perfect match.
Deck-mount faucets remove the time and effort required for the installation of wall-mount faucets. All you need is a commercial faucet with centers corresponding to the pre-drilled holes on your countertop or sink. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can easily handle the assembly. Besides, they are relatively inexpensive. The lower prices and ease of installation make them almost the standard type on the market. Therefore, manufacturers offer greater variety. You will surely find the commercial kitchen faucets meeting your expectations, completing your kitchen layout, and suiting your wallet.
Commercial Kitchen Faucet Types & Their Functions
It would also be a good idea to shop by their functions since manufacturers constantly innovate to lessen the burden on operators since there is much detailed information about commercial kitchen faucets. Manufacturers provide task-specific restaurant sink faucets to make it easy to choose the right ones among various types.
1. Pre-Rinse Faucets
Pre-rinse faucets often have a spring-action gooseneck spout attached to a spray head. They deliver high-pressure water to rub off the food and drink residue dried on tableware. They can be used with hoses of various lengths reaching over 100 inches, giving you maximum flexibility and spout reach. Thus, you can fill heavy pots without lifting them. The sprayed pattern ensures better sanitation with less time and water consumption. Research reports that pre-rinse faucets can reduce water use by up to 63% per year.
2. Pot & Wok Filler Faucets
Pot and wok fillers are functional commercial faucets for filling large containers. If you have heavy-duty vessels in your kitchen, you know how challenging it is to stuff them in sinks and carry them across food prep stations. You can rid your staff of this backbreaking task. Pot and wok fillers are characterized by their swivel or double-joint spouts. These commercial kitchen faucets generally have wrist-operated handles, but some models are automatic. Water flow starts when you swing the tap to the right or left.
3. Glass Filler Faucets & Water Stations
Water is an ingredient or a cleaning substance and a vital and healthiest drink. Therefore, you’ll need commercial faucets dispensing potable water. Glass filler stations serve this function. You can quickly fill glasses, pitchers, or tumblers with push-back operation rather than wasting time turning a lever. Some models have a drip pan and an ice bin for greater convenience. They quickly mount to a deck or wall with a 1/2-inch male or female inlet.
4. Pantry Faucets
Considering the many tasks requiring water, you should always have a backup unit. Pantry faucets can supply water for various jobs in a commercial kitchen. When other faucets are busy, a tap in your backline can fill pots and buckets or wash hands. These commercial kitchen faucets stand out with their usually high-arc design and shiny finish. They are particularly suitable for large containers that don’t easily fit in average sinks. You can increase efficiency by reducing the traffic around your central kitchen sinks.
5. Mop Sink Faucets
You can use mop sink faucets for all your janitorial tasks. These commercial kitchen faucets, also known as service sink faucets, are unique in several respects.
- They feature higher flow rates to fill mop buckets quickly.
- They are practical, with a brace attached to the wall to support the spout. Therefore, you can hang the bucket to the hook on the spout as it fills with water.
- They have built-in vacuum breakers that prevent backflow in case of low water pressure.
Final Thoughts On Commercial Kitchen Faucets
Water use is limitless in all dining outlets for many applications, from warewashing and handwashing to food prep and cooking. Foodservice and hospitality industries account for 15% of the total water consumption in American commercial and institutional establishments. A typical sit-down restaurant consumes over 2 million gallons of water each year, making water the leading cause of high utility costs. Therefore, commercial kitchen faucets are vital in delivering fit-for-purpose water to ensure cost savings and food safety.
The choice of commercial kitchen faucets will directly influence your work efficiency and water bills, making functionality your top priority. Still, you can maintain ergonomics and aesthetics. Do you need the extra clearance of high-arc spouts or the additional reach of pull-down nozzles? Where do you need greater hygiene with touchless faucets and more precise water temperature control with two-handle faucets? When you make such decisions, you can choose from various durable and stylish finishes like stainless steel, brushed nickel, or chrome.
Water is the blood of kitchens, and commercial kitchen faucets are the heart. It would help if you cuddled your faucets so they can keep pumping water to wherever needed, whenever. Failure to access water means failure to pace up meal rushes, deal with dirty surfaces, conform to regulations, and more. Reserving commercial kitchen faucet parts and accessories is a simple but wise and inexpensive precaution. Fixing leaks immediately with washers and repair kits will limit more costly plumbing calls. You can also add versatility to your faucets with accessories like wall brackets, hoses, or riser tubes.