Single-Handle Kitchen Faucets: A Homeowner’s Guide

In terms of bathroom and kitchen faucets, what could be better than two handles? The solution is one handle—if you’re Al Moen, who invented the mixing faucet. After being burned too many times by his double-handle faucet, Moen designed and manufactured the first cartridge-style, single-handle faucet in 1936. Ever since then, the Moen firm has specialized in cartridge faucets. Modern customers may pick from a wide variety of single-handle faucet types since other firms, like Delta, quickly followed suit with their designs.

You may control the water temperature and flow rate with only one hand by turning a single handle on a faucet that uses one of three internal mechanisms: a cartridge, a ball valve, or a ceramic disk. A single-handle faucet not only looks more modern than a double-handle one, but it may also be more practical by having a temperature limiter to prevent scorching and a spray head that can be pulled down or out. It’s also simpler to operate. Mixing faucets don’t exactly have a lengthy history, so that’s one thing they won’t bring to your bathroom or kitchen.

A Single-Handle Kitchen Faucets: Why Use It?

Choosing the right number of handles for a new faucet may be challenging since every handle arrangement has pros and cons of its own. Here are several justifications for choosing a faucet with a single handle:

  • It is necessary to install single-handle kitchen faucets if your sink only has one hole since most of them need one in the countertop or sink deck. You need a single-handle faucet with a detachable handle if your countertop or sink has two holes in it.
  • Single-handle faucets are common for those with pull-out or pull-down spray heads, which are growing in popularity. Double-handle pull-down kitchen faucets are available from a few manufacturers, including Delta and Pfister, although they are comparatively uncommon when compared to single-handle models.
  • If your counter space is restricted or your sink is very small, a single-handle faucet is a preferable option since it requires less room than a double-handle one. It’s an excellent option for a bar faucet.
  • A single-handle faucet is the best option if you have handicapped family members or are creating an ADA-compliant kitchen or bathroom. It saves you from needing to use two hands to manage the temperature and water flow simultaneously.

The Valves Structure That Allows Mixing Faucets

Traditional two-handle faucets with screw-down compression valves and inexpensive models with cartridge valves regulate water flow only; they do not regulate water temperature. Due to its ability to simultaneously accept water from both the hot and cold sides, mixing valves may control the volume of water that flows out the spout depending on the position of the faucet handle. To do this, the handle of the valve must be turned in a certain way, causing a sequence of holes to open or shut progressively.

Cartridge valves, which Moen popularized, are typically cylindrical. While you could find metal ones in heavy-duty tub and shower fixtures, the majority of cartridge valves used in sink faucets are plastic. When the water is turned off, the cartridge is sealed against the cartridge by gaskets and O-rings that are part of the valve housing in the faucet body. Most high-end versions, like the Kohler Rubicon, use ceramic disks as their cartridges. These disks use tightly fitting ceramic plates, which are more durable and withstand wear and tear better than plastic or metal components.

Delta created the ball valve, which is essentially a spherical cartridge in Moen’s design. The valve seat is located at the very top of the faucet’s body, and to accommodate the ball, the handle or cover of the valve is often dome-shaped. This arrangement minimizes design variation. Always install the handle above the ball so it may revolve around it to adjust the flow and temperature.

Selecting a Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet

Many people prioritize style when selecting a faucet, and fortunately, there is an abundance of stylish alternatives to choose from. While shopping for a kitchen faucet, functionality should be your priority, even above aesthetics. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Short spouts are standard on single-handle bathroom faucets—just the right length for a little sink—but other options, such as high-arc and semiopen spouts, are also available. Compared to their bathroom counterparts, kitchen faucets often have swivel spouts and high arcs, which allow for more area to wash dishes in the sink.
  • Modern European styles made possible by the single-handle design are a perfect match for under-mount sinks, stone or solid-surface worktops, and solid-color walls. There are a few more elaborate options, but none quite like the two-handle style’s contours and complexity.
  • The most popular faucet finish is chrome, and it complements a wide range of sink materials—particularly stainless steel—and surfaces. Porcelain, enameled cast iron, composite, or nickel sinks paired with tile or stone countertops may also be complemented by brushed or polished brass or nickel. You may get single-handle kitchen faucets in matte black or white porcelain to match any decor.

The Benefit of Touchless Technology

Touchless technology, which uses a motion sensor to let you regulate water flow with a wave of your hand, works particularly well with single-handle valves. Handles are another feature of touchless faucets that, depending on the type, you could require for temperature control. The Moen Arbor is a well-liked model that has a pull-down spray head and an adjustable sensor that you may turn on or off.

Touchless faucets are indeed useful, particularly in households where there are elderly or handicapped members. Remember that an ADA-compliant touchless faucet must let the water flow for a minimum of 10 seconds before switching off on its own.

Spray Heads that Pull Down and Pull Out

Better than a side sprayer in terms of usefulness and adaptability, the single-handle pull-down kitchen faucet may be installed on any sink that has a single pre-drilled hole. What’s visible is the faucet itself, with the hose connecting the spray head fitting through the spout and faucet body and connecting via flexible hoses to the water supply behind the cabinet. The sprayer has a separate control, however the faucet may be operated via the handle.

Similar to their pull-down counterparts, pull-out kitchen faucets include an integrated sprayer, but their spouts have a low arc that points outward as opposed to a high arc that points downward. This makes it possible for the sprayer to be used for cleaning or filling pots on the tabletop or stove. Additionally, it makes cleaning a double kitchen sink simpler.

Option for Wall-Mount Faucet

Although some manufacturers provide single-handle variants, wall-mount faucets typically feature two handles. These often have an attached handle, similar to the grip on a shower stall, that houses the valve. Even single-handle pot-filler faucets are available.

Set up a Single-Handle Faucet

All the parts, including the hot and cold supply tubes and spray hoses, fit into the single predrilled hole in the countertop or sink that is typically used for single-handle sink faucets. However, the manufacturer often makes one of the supply tubes longer than the other since trying to put them all together at the same time is akin to a comedic performance in which two individuals attempt to enter a room simultaneously. The sink or countertop requires two holes if the faucet has a detachable handle; a third hole, offset from the other two, is needed if the side sprayer or soap dispenser is detachable.

A standard installation process for a single-hole faucet looks like this after you’ve cleaned up the sink or countertop and removed the previous faucet, if there is one. For a comprehensive step-by-step guide on this process, be sure to check out Your Ultimate DIY Guide to Kitchen Faucet Installation, which offers detailed instructions and helpful tips.”

  1. Place the faucet on the countertop or sink deck after feeding the supply tubes and hoses through the opening.
  2. Place the washer in place, then use a hand to tighten the mounting nut by screwing it on from below the countertop.
  3. The faucet should be adjusted to the center before the nut is tightened using a basin wrench or locking pliers.
  4. Using flexible hoses, attach the supply tubes to the shut-down valves, and then use pliers to tighten the connections. Make sure to verify which tube is meant for hot water and which for cold water. The heated tube is often marked in red.
  5. Attach the hoses to the side sprayer or the pull-down or pull-out spout. These often have quick-connect fittings that you just push together while folding down a tab, but cheaper ones can need you to use pliers or a tool to tighten the compression nuts.
  6. After turning on the water, examine the faucet for leaks.

Simple Fixes for Single-Handle Faucets

Identify the Problem

Common causes of leaks in single-handle faucets include worn-out rubber gaskets, O-rings, and in the case of a ball valve, worn springs.

Get the Right Tools

Purchase a repair kit specific to your faucet model, available at local hardware stores or online plumbing supply sites.

Faucet Disassembly

After turning off the cutoff valves, unscrew and remove the faucet’s handle and the valve retaining nut. Then, extract the valve to inspect for damage.

Replace Parts

Change all damaged rubber parts and springs using needle-nose pliers. If the problem persists, replace the cartridge or ball valve even if it appears undamaged.

Model-Specific Fixes

For specific repairs, like adjusting the temperature limit, consult the manufacturer’s website for detailed instructions.

Dealing with Low Flow Rates

If the flow rate is low, check for scale blockage in the valve or aerator. To address this, remove and clean the faucet aerator, using an aerator key if necessary. Also, take off the spray head for cleaning. Soaking them in vinegar often proves effective. If this method doesn’t clear the blockage, it’s advisable to soak the valve as well, ensuring all tiny water passages are free from scale.


A kitchen faucet with a single handle gives homeowners convenience, elegance, and practicality all at once. Touchless technology, flexible spray heads, and sophisticated wall-mount options are just a few of the alternatives available to accommodate different tastes. Knowing the characteristics and benefits of single-handle faucets can help you make well-informed selections that improve your kitchen experience, whether you’re remodeling your space or taking on a repair.

What are the main advantages of using a single-handle kitchen faucet?

Using a single-handle kitchen faucet is easier because you only need one hand to control the water temperature and flow. It’s also simpler to clean since there’s only one handle. Plus, it looks modern and stylish in your kitchen. Overall, it’s convenient, easy to use, and looks great!

How do single-handle faucets differ from traditional two-handle models?

Single-handle faucets have one handle to control both water temperature and flow, making them easier to use. Traditional two-handle faucets have separate handles for hot and cold water, requiring both hands to adjust. Single-handle faucets are also easier to clean and often have a more modern design, while two-handle faucets have a classic look.

Can a single-handle faucet be installed in any kitchen sink?

Yes, a single-handle faucet can generally be installed in any standard kitchen sink that has pre-drilled holes for the faucet. It’s important to check the number of holes in the sink and ensure that it matches the faucet configuration. Some single-handle faucets may require additional space behind the sink for installation, so it’s best to consult a professional if unsure.

What should I consider when choosing a single-handle kitchen faucet?

When choosing a single-handle kitchen faucet, consider the sink’s existing hole configuration, the faucet’s finish and style, and features like sprayers or pull-down spouts. Also, think about durability, ease of maintenance, and warranty. It’s important to choose a faucet that fits your kitchen’s design, meets your needs, and is made of quality materials.

Are single-handle faucets suitable for kitchens with special needs?

Yes, single-handle faucets can be suitable for kitchens with special needs. They often offer easier operation with one hand, making them convenient for people with limited mobility or disabilities. Some models also come with features like touchless operation or extended levers, which can be helpful for individuals with special needs.

How do I maintain and repair a single-handle faucet?

To maintain a single-handle faucet, regularly clean it with a mild soap and water. For repairs, turn off the water supply, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Common issues like leaks or drips can often be fixed by replacing worn-out parts or seals. If you’re unsure, it’s best to seek help from a professional plumber.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top