I could spend hours considering the features of cookware and food products, but I’ve probably only spent about 1/100th of the same time thinking about and picking out the soap in my kitchen.
Related Article Module: The best hand soaps of 2021
That attitude is changing, though. The growing popularity of natural beauty products has me looking more closely at the ingredients in all the other products I use in my daily life. There are few products I use more every day than soap.
Grove Collaborative soap review
Grove Collaborative, an online marketplace for the best natural home and personal care products, sent me its Autumn Fig Collection ($37.95, currently out of stock) last year, which includes gel dish soap and gel hand soap.
I took to these simple and common household supplies with surprising gusto. The scent played a big role – the sweet and rich fig fragrance managed to be bright and clean rather than cloying, and it was a refreshing change from the generically “fresh” scents of most soaps. To top it off, this fragrance is all-natural, made with a blend of essential oils and other plant-based ingredients.
These soaps cleaned as well as any other I’ve tried before, so it’s not really the effectiveness itself that impressed me. Instead, it was that they were made of safe, plant-based ingredients and promoted eco-friendly practices. The soaps come in refill packs rather than single-use plastic bottles and can be used with Grove Collaborative’s Glass Dish Soap Dispenser (16-ounce, $14.95) and Glass Hand Soap Dispenser (13.5-ounce, $13.95).
The dispensers are made from sturdy, partly recycled glass, so they’re reusable and refillable. Add a silicone sleeve and they won’t slip around on your sink top. Overall, they looked much sleeker than plastic bottles.
The Autumn Fig set also came with a natural soy candle, organic cotton tea towel, and European dish cloth, but it was the soaps that I loved the most because they elevated everyday cleaning rituals and made them safer for my body.
The bottom line
Overall, the gel dish soap and gel hand soap were a great introduction to Grove Collaborative’s standards of sustainability, quality ingredients, and beautiful products. I’ve since ordered again from the site for other home and personal care items like household cleaners and they were also top-quality.
While the Autumn Fig Collection and scent are no longer being sold, there are many similar soaps and collections that also contain natural ingredients and fragrances. You can find all hand soaps here and all dish soaps here.
Glass Dish Soap Dispenser (small)Glass Hand Soap Dispenser (small)Large Hand Soap & Dispenser Set (small)
If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
The best tea kettles are easy to fill and pour and bring water to a boil quickly and consistently.
Our top electric pick has various water temperature settings, a durable design, and an accessible price.
While our top stovetop pick features drip-free pouring, large capacity, and other special features.
There’s nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea, but boiling water and safely pouring it into a mug or teacup is a surprisingly difficult task without a proper kettle. If you want to quickly and easily make boiling water – so you can relax with your tea sooner – you should invest in an electric or stovetop kettle.
Each style has its own merits, and the type you choose comes down to personal preference. Electric kettles are faster and you can heat water to the exact temperature your tea requires. Stovetop kettles have a more classic look and they often whistle loudly to grab your attention.
Pros: Affordable, adjustable temperature settings, easy to use, attractive metal design
Cons: Some users experienced leaking
If you’re serious about your tea and you like to drink all different kinds of tea, you need an adjustable temperature kettle. This 1.7-liter kettle has six preset temperature settings to ensure that you never burn your green tea leaves with scalding hot water ever again.
It’s remarkably easy to select the temperature setting you need with pre-sets for delicate, green, white, oolong, and herbal teas. If you just want black tea, hit “boil” and watch the water go up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit within five minutes or less.
Believe it or not, using the right temperature is a big deal. Whenever I make green, white, or oolong tea with this kettle, I always set it to the right temperature instead of just hitting the button. The teas’ flavors come out in full force when brewed at the right temperature, and it’s so easy to select the right temperature on the Krups kettle.
The kettle automatically stops boiling when it hits the temperature you selected or if it runs dry. The kettle will even keep your water warm for a time before automatically shutting off to protect the heating element.
The kettle is made out of brushed stainless steel, and it looks gorgeous in my kitchen. The kettle jug is unattached, so you can pick it up and pour the water over your tea, oatmeal, or cooking pot without worrying about the length of the cord. The cord is concealed in the base and you can have it as short as you need it to be.
There’s a big button on the top of the kettle, which pops the lid open when pressed. The handle is big, comfortable, and always stays cool for easy handling and pouring. There is a water window as well, so you can check how much is in there. Krups put the anti-scale filter in the spout of the kettle, and you can remove it if need be.
The best stovetop kettle overall
If you’re looking for a classic kettle that heats quickly, fills easily, and is simple to pour, the OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle is an excellent choice.
Pros: Wide bottom for quick heating, easy to fill and pour, large capacity
Cons: Can rust if not properly cleaned
The OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle has a traditional shape with its wide-bottom body that narrows at the top and a spout that draws from near the bottom of the kettle. More importantly, it has a strong whistle that alerts you when the water is boiling. Once the water boils, you open the spout cover, and the spout offers precise, drip-free pouring.
This kettle is made of high-grade stainless steel that is supposed to be rust-resistant. OXO recommends wiping the kettle down regularly to keep cooking oils from wearing away at the steel. The handle and spout have silicone touch points that resist heat for burn-free use. The handle folds to the side for storage or easy filling. The kettle holds 1.7 quarts, which is a good amount for a big pot of tea.
OXO offers a satisfaction guarantee, so the company will refund or replace your kettle if you are not satisfied for any reason.
The kettle also has a handle that folds out of the way, there’s good interior visibility, and it’s easy to fill thanks to its broad opening.
Pros: Made of durable 100% stainless steel, keeps water warm, shuts off automatically, two-year warranty, easy to clean
Cons: No water gauge to see how much is inside, no variable temperature settings
Sometimes you just want a no-frills appliance that works and comes at an affordable price point. The Original Secura Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle fits the bill as a budget-friendly stainless steel electric kettle that boils water quickly.
It may not have fancy features like variable temperature settings or a water gauge, but it does offer a full stainless steel unibody design and 1500 watts of heating power. The kettle turns off automatically so you don’t boil a dry pot and damage the heating element.
Secura’s kettle is about the same price as cheap plastic ones, but it’s completely BPA-free and no plastic ever touches your water. The stainless steel inner wall is easy to clean after each use, so you can avoid mineral buildup over time. It has a double-wall construction, so the outer layer of plastic stays cool to the touch even as the water boils inside.
As long as you don’t need variable temperatures for tea or want to see the water level inside, the Secura kettle is a real winner — especially at this price point.
Pros: Limited lifetime warranty, inexpensive, large capacity
Cons: Very loud whistle, can rust without proper cleaning
The Cuisinart Aura is a basic stovetop tea kettle, and sometimes that’s all you need. It gets the job done at a great price point, and if it breaks or rusts, it won’t break your heart.
The Cuisinart Aura features a two-quart-capacity solid stainless steel body — enough for eight cups of tea. The large capacity is also handy for boiling water for oatmeal, instant noodles, or anything else you need to quickly boil water for. This kettle notifies you that your water is boiling and ready with a whistle that increases in intensity. Sometimes it’s a bit too intense and you’ll find yourself running over to the stove to make it stop.
To pour the water, there’s a lever on the handle that you push to open the spout cap, ensuring you’ll never have to put your fingers near hot steam or boiling water to remove a cap. The handle is stationary and made of plastic, and the wide lid allows for easy refilling of the kettle.
To top it off, the entire setup is backed by a lifetime limited warranty.
Pros: Fun 1950s-inspired design, stainless steel, automatic shut off, removable stainless steel filter, water level indicator, lots of color options
Cons: You’re paying for form more than function
Smeg’s ’50s Retro-Style Electric Kettle adds much-needed flair to the traditional kettle with its ’50s color palette and fun design aesthetic. You can get it in multiple color options, including cream, blue, green, red, black, chrome, and pink.
The kettle is made of stainless steel that’s powder-coated for added durability and protection from mineral buildup. If anything goes wrong, Smeg offers a one-year warranty.
Inside, there’s a removable, stainless steel limescale filter that you’ll need to clean every now and then to prevent too much of a deposit from building up. If you have hard water, you’ll have to clean the filter more often. It also has a water level window so you can check how much water is inside.
You are paying a premium for the design, but anyone who loves well-designed appliances or has a retro-inspired kitchen will love this kettle.
Pros: Heat-proof handle folds down, loud whistle, can be used with any stove type, including induction
Cons: Expensive, may dribble
The enamel-on-steel body of the Le Creuset Zen Teakettle makes it more resistant to rusting and thus more durable than its counterparts. The kettle holds 1-5/8 quarts of water and has an inverted bowl shape, which helps it heat quickly. The arched handle folds down for storage and filling, and the lid is wide for easy cleaning and filling.
Though the enamel of the kettle is “chip-resistant,” Le Creuset warns that repeated banging may damage the exterior enamel. The Zen Teakettle comes in ten colors, including Marseille, cherry, dune, and palm. Plus, each style comes with a limited five-year warranty.
Additional nice features are its heat-proof handle, loud whistle, and the fact that it can be used on any type of stovetop. However, the price is a bit steep for a kettle.
Electric kettles vs. stovetop kettles — which should you buy?
Electric kettles: For real tea fanatics, it can be difficult to get just the right temperature water for your brew, and nuking H2O in the microwave is simply out of the question. That’s where electric kettles come in. They boil water faster than a watched pot on your stove, and the best ones even offer adjustable temperature settings to ensure that the water is just right for your delicate tea leaves.
You can also use electric kettles to boil water quickly for any cause. No matter your needs, it’s good to have a dedicated appliance in your kitchen that boils water quickly.
Stovetop kettles: The hardest part of making tea is remembering that you’re making tea. An electric kettle won’t notify you when the water is ready. Conversely, the whistle of the stovetop kettle demands attention more intensely — you can’t forget you’re making tea with something that whistles
What are kettles made of?
Most kettles are made of stainless steel, plastic, enamel-on-steel, or some combination of these materials. There are a few glass kettles available, but they receive low marks for performance from both buyers and experts.
Due to research linking bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates to cancer, many people are a little squeamish around kettles made out of plastic, especially since heating plastics can cause chemicals to leach into liquids or foods. However, the plastics that have been shown to cause cancer are used to make clear, hard containers or soft, flexible products. Tea kettles don’t fit into either of these categories.
But, if you are concerned about drinking hot water that has come into contact with plastic, make sure you choose a tea kettle that avoids this problem. Each of the kettles in our guide uses plastic sparingly, but never in the main part of the kettle.
What’s the best way to prevent rust or mineral buildup in your kettle?
Though the name may suggest otherwise, stainless steel tea kettles are susceptible to rusting. The best way to combat this is to regularly wash your kettle and dry it completely. If you do notice rust, fill your kettle with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, boil it for a few minutes, empty it, and then wash your kettle per the manufacturer’s specifications. Rusting is less common with enamel-on-steel kettles.
Even if you have a dishwasher, there are some kitchen items that aren’t dishwasher safe. For instance, you should always wash your knives by hand. And, you will extend the life of your cookware by cleaning it with old-fashioned elbow grease.
Aside from bamboo knife blocks and silicone mats, the most popular dish rack materials are stainless steel and hard plastic, though both have their pluses and minuses. Some cheaper brands use stainless steel that may rust, while plastic dish racks are more likely to break. For the most part, you’re unlikely to experience these problems with the dish racks we recommend below.
We rounded up dish racks that are foldable, roll-up, and are ideal for different counter spaces so you can simply wash and dry.
Pros: Holds a lot of dishes, several different configuration options, rust-resistant, one-year warranty if ordered on company’s website
Cons: Difficult to assemble
What sets the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack apart from other racks is its customizability. You can choose where to place the cutting board and three cup holder attachments, microfiber mat, knife and wide utensil holders, and the two drainboards. Also, the top shelf is removable and can be positioned either front to back or side to side. However, the customization can also make it tricky to assemble at first.
Because of the rack’s material, it typically resists rust and other oxidative elements, a plus if you live in a coastal area. Though it can hold many dishes and does a solid job of keeping water off the counter, it may not be fit for smaller kitchens.
In addition, PremiumRacks offers a one-year warranty on all of its dish racks if you order from the company site.
Pros: Can be stored away when not in use, ideal for small spaces, heat-resistant, non-slip silicone design, lifetime warranty
Cons: Small capacity, may not be able to use the sink while dishes are drying
Let’s face it — dish racks are essential for washing and drying dishes, but most take up more counter space than you’d like. The Surpahs Over the Sink Roll-Up Dish Rack combats this with its flexible design that rolls up for storage.
Surpahs‘ silicone construction keeps the unit slip-free and heat-resistant up to 400 degrees. It’s also easy to clean and stays in place, though you may not be able to use the sink when it’s set up atop your sink.
For extra protection, Surpahs backs its roll-up dish drying rack with a lifetime warranty when shopping on Amazon or from the company site.
Pros: Folds up for easy storage, holders for several different kitchen items, rust-resistant; replacement or refund options with OXO Better Guarantee
Cons: The side drain spout makes it difficult to expel all water
The feature that sets the OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack apart from competitors is that the spout, legs, and side walls fold up for compact storage either vertically or horizontally. The rack has two utensil holders that are divided into three compartments each, which keeps flatware separated for easy organization. There are six slots for standing plates and cutting boards. Finally, there is also an array of tines for cups and glassware. Water drains directly into your sink thanks to its side drainage spout, though its location may make it difficult for all of the water to be expelled.
For people with limited kitchen space, this is a great, versatile option. Additionally, its various compartments fit most items in your kitchen and make it easier to put them away once they are dry.
Pros: Angled design for easy draining, compact enough to fit in a sink
Cons: Water tends to drip on the counter, limited capacity
The Chef’n DishGarden Dish Rack has a circular design and angled layout that’s ideal for almost any nook and cranny in your kitchen. There are five legs: two front legs that are an inch high, two middle legs that are 1.5 inches, and a back leg that is two inches. This allows water to drain out of the spout, though the dish rack tends to leave water on your counter space.
The prongs are shorter in the back and longer in the front to give the illusion that the whole unit is flat. As a bonus, the rack is small enough to use in-sink, or you can opt to use it with a drying mat.
Pros: Space-saving design, rust-resistant, can hold up to 110 pounds, adjustable feet, comes with three water trays
Cons: May be too tall to fit under kitchen cabinets, no warranty
If you’re looking to save space and maximize the amount of kitchenware you can dry at a time, the iSPECLE Stainless Steel Two-Tier Dish Rack is one of our most unique picks. It’s able to hold 17 plates and pots on top and 18 bowls at the bottom.
The drying rack comes with three water trays (one underneath the top tray, one at the very bottom, and one underneath the utensil holder on the side) to ensure no water spills onto your countertops. The easy-to-assemble adjustable feet make it ideal for uneven surfaces, too.
Though it’s a great space saver, it may not fit spaces where overhead cabinets hang lower than usual because of its height. And, though there’s no warranty, it’s durable and built to last.
Check out our other dishwashing guides and roundups
We’ve also selected efficient and high-quality electric, manual, and portable can openers.
Can openers are an essential part of every kitchen. Yet, from your dollar store find to high-end options at department stores, there are a lot of terrible can openers on the market. Fortunately, with a little bit of research, you can find a device that is durable, sanitary, and simple to use.
Cons: Leaves sharp edges, manual can opener might not be ideal for those with limited mobility
The Made in USA Can Opener features a skip-proof feed wheel, is gear driven, and is made from carbon steel. The gears, wheel, and cutter are all zinc plated and heat treated.
It works like a traditional manual can opener: Press the cutting blade on the top of the can along the lip, hold the thick handle pads, and turn the crank until you have almost completed a rotation. Use a butter knife to flip the lid up. Empty the contents, then press the lid down into the can.
This method of opening cans isn’t ideal for those with limited mobility, but we have an electric option that might suit their needs better.
Pros: Easy to use, leaves smooth edges, works for cans of all sizes, strong magnet
Cons: Requires electricity, might have trouble with thick-rimmed cans
For those who want or need a can opener that requires little effort, an electric one is a good option. This one from Hamilton Beach operates with just the press of a button.
To operate, you just press the large ergonomic lever until the can has made a complete rotation. The magnet holds the can in place as it cuts along the sides instead of the top, so the lid won’t fall into the food. The cut leaves smooth edges, and the blade of the opener, which can collect harmful microbes if you don’t wash your cans, doesn’t make contact with the food, either.
The best ergonomic can opener
When you have to open several cans to cook a meal, the OXO SteeL Can Opener‘s large ergonomic knob means you won’t tire out.
Pros: Feels comfortable in your hands, long track record
Cons: Hard to clean, the handle may slide
What sets the OXO SteeL Can Opener apart from the other models on this list is the large, soft turning knob. The large-size makes it more ergonomic than other manual can openers, and the grips are helpful if you’re operating the opener with wet hands too.
The opener is made of sleek stainless steel. The blade is sharp and makes cutting easy to manage, and there is also a handy built-in bottle cap opener.
Unlike the Hamilton Beach or Made In USA models though, this can opener is not intuitive to use and would require reading the manual.
To use this opener, you should place the tool on top of the can with the two half circles lined up with the can’s rim. Once you twist the knob, the opener will grip the lid and cut. You will feel less resistance after a full circle. You should stop at this point and remove the top using the mini-pliers push button. If you try to do more than one revolution, you may get slivers or burrs of metal in your food.
The best compact can opener
If you’re preparing for stuff to hit the fan or just want an easy way to open cans while backpacking, the P-38 Can Opener and P-51 Can Opener are inexpensive and lightweight options.
Pros: 75-year track record, compact, inexpensive
Cons: Works slowly, requires a little elbow grease, leaves sharp edges
Though it is not an official US Army-issued item, the P-38 and P-51 can openers have been used by our armed forces since they were first introduced in 1942. Nicknamed the “John Wayne” and manufactured by the US Shelby Co. in the United States, these can openers get their name for how long they are. The P-38 is 38 millimeters long and the P-51 is 51 millimeters (or about 2 inches), and both are popular among survivalists and veterans.
These durable slabs of steel fit on a keychain. There are many websites devoted to celebrating this can opener, and the list of uses is virtually endless. US Shelby advertises the P-38’s ability to clean fingernails, clean grooves, open cans, open seams, screw drive, and cut items.
For can opening, you rotate the cutting edge 90 degrees from the stowed position. You then hold the can opener with the blade directed downward and rotate the can with your other hand as you cut the lid off.
The P-38 takes about twice as long to open cans as their cranking counterparts, and there appears to be a little bit of a learning curve and a need for elbow grease. Yet, once you get the hang of using this can opener you’ll appreciate its simple but useful design.
How should I clean my can opener?
Keeping your can opener clean and free of rust is imperative as a dirty or rusty opener can create unsafe food conditions. We recommend wiping your can opener down with a cloth and hot water or vinegar to clean it. It is best practice to clean your can opener immediately after using it.
What should I look for in a can opener?
With so many options out there, it can be hard to pick a can opener that is both easy to use and good quality. First, we recommend assessing your kitchen counter space. If your counters are cramped, your best bet will be a manual can opener that can fit nicely into a utensil drawer. If you have more space and prefer a more hands off approach, an electric can opener is a great option. Many can openers have multiple functions, such as being able to open jars and other items, so it can also be helpful to think about what you would like to use your can opener for before purchasing.
When using manual openers, a good grip ensures that you can open cans quickly and efficiently. The handle grips on your can opener should always be comfortable to use, even if you have to open several cans at once. So when looking to purchase a new can opener, make sure that the handle grips feel comfortable in your hands.
Stainless steel is extremely durable and resistant to water damage and rust. But it can also show every fingerprint, smudge, and water spot that is not properly wiped away. If you use the wrong type of cleaner, there is no way to restore the finish.
Ammonia, chlorine bleach, and oven cleaner are all particularly damaging, as are scouring powders and steel wool. And if you live in an area with extremely hard water, the minerals will leave spots. In other words, despite its hardiness, stainless steel requires a high level of upkeep.
For tougher stains, I need to call in backup. Luckily, I’ve tested enough stainless steel cleaning products to determine which ones get the job done.
Here are the best stainless steel cleaners in 2021
Pros: Wipes conform to tight spaces, useful for quick clean-ups, disposable, removes fingerprints and smudges
Cons: Darkens some types of metal like aluminum, wipes will dry out quickly if the canister is not properly closed
Any surface is easy to clean if you do it frequently, and this rule applies to stainless steel. In between deep cleaning, Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes are perfect for quick, everyday cleanups like cooking splatters and fingerprints on refrigerator doors.
The wipes are offered in a convenient, resealable pop-top canister to keep them from drying out — similar to other household cleaning wipes you may already have. To use, simply wipe in the direction of the metal’s grain and then buff with a soft, dry cloth to prevent streaks. Smudges, water spots, and stains will be gone.
I also love to use these wipes to remove greasy smears and splatters on my outdoor grill. And nothing will fit into the tight spot where handles join a stainless-steel panel like Weiman Wipes. When I attempt to clean those spots with some liquid cleaners, the cleaner runs down the panel before I can get my cloth in there to clean.
Pros: One-step cleaning, works well to remove smudges
Cons: Petroleum-based product, should never be used near a gas flame or hot appliance
Almost every stainless steel cleaner recommends using the product to clean away smudges and stains and then coming back with a soft, dry cloth to buff away any streaks the cleaner has left behind. With CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner, the second step is eliminated — no buffing is needed.
My microwave is mounted at eye-level which means the top of the appliance is above my head. Cleaning anything above my head is not a favorite chore so I like a one-step process. Just a good shake of the can, a quick spray with the cleaner, and one pass with a microfiber cloth leaves the finish shiny and streak-free.
While the product is scented, it is very light and dissipates quickly. The steel can is also recyclable.
Pros: Plant-based formula, safe to use around children and pets, leaves appliances clean and streak-free
Cons: Most expensive stainless steel cleaner per use, not readily available in mass-market stores
With a gentle herbal scent and plant-based ingredients, Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish is an excellent choice if someone in your home has chemical sensitivities. The company makes one of the few stainless-steel cleaners that actually list every ingredient on the label: filtered water, coconut oil, sorbitan monooleate (emulsifier), lavender vanilla essential oil blend, acrylates copolymer (emulsifier), and methylisothiazolinone (preservative).
The starter kit includes a 16-ounce spray bottle of the cleaner and a 14-by-14-inch microfiber cloth. Simply spray on the solution and, working with the grain of the metal, wipe away grime and smudges. Finish by buffing with a dry area of the microfiber cloth. After cleaning, a bit of the coconut oil remains on the surface to protect the shine and repel fingerprints.
Therapy is formulated to use on refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, sinks, outdoor grills, and microwaves. It should be noted that Therapy is slightly more expensive than the other cleaners on this list.
Pros: Cleans stainless steel using natural ingredients, inexpensive to use, can be used to clean many other surfaces around the house
Cons: Vinegar aroma
Is there anything that vinegar can’t clean? If you don’t mind the scent of vinegar and have a little leftover oil in the kitchen, your stainless-steel appliances will gleam after using this simple mixture.
I’m recommending Heinz Cleaning Vinegar because it is slightly more acidic than regular white distilled vinegar, which makes it more effective in removing grease and food splatters. I keep it in a labeled spray bottle to make cleaning easier. Just spritz the vinegar onto the surface of the stainless steel and wipe the appliance down using a microfiber cloth (following the grain of the metal, of course). You will be amazed at how clean it looks.
Then, to help protect the finish from holding onto every single fingerprint (and nose-print from the dog), use just a teeny bit of Pompeian Pure Olive Oil on a soft cloth for a final coating. You can actually use any type of oil you have on hand; mineral oil, vegetable oil, even WD-40. The key to success is using as little oil as possible (and, again, buffing it in with a microfiber cloth).
Tips for keeping stainless steel appliances clean
Wipe appliances down regularly between deeper cleanings
Since equipping my kitchen with stainless steel appliances, I have been testing various cleaning products and techniques. One tip I swear by is wiping down the appliances daily with just a dry microfiber cloth; often, this allows me to skip other cleaning products altogether.
Wipe with the grain
Like wood, stainless steel has a grain so always wipe with it, not against it.
Always use a microfiber cloth
Using a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels is also another helpful tip as these cloths reduce streaks and pick up small food particles and dust. Simply spray the cleaner directly on the appliances surface and wipe for an easy streak free shine.
The workhorse kitchen faucet is often taken for granted – until it breaks. Just think of how frequently you and other household members use it to wash your hands, get a drink, scrub vegetables, rinse dishes, wet sponges, and more. Ideally, you want one that stands up to everyday use.
As a residential contractor, I’ve been replacing and installing different types of faucets for years. From large commercial kitchen models to simple bathroom faucets, I know the mechanical red flags to avoid (like plastic ball valves that leak) and unreliable brands to stay away from.
Using this knowledge – and after reviewing each option’s installation and design specs – I visited several appliance showrooms and hardware stores in my area to analyze my top choices. Once I got a hands-on feel for each model’s functionality and mechanics, I landed on these options as my top picks for the best kitchen faucets.
Even if you don’t end up going with one of our picks, there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for a new kitchen faucet. For a short explainer of things to consider, read here.
Here are our top picks for the best kitchen faucets in 2021
Pros: Stylish, lifetime warranty on parts and finishes, design reduces valve wear and tear.
Cons: Electronics only have a five-year warranty, batteries need to be replaced every 2 years.
The Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet doesn’t just pack a ton of features into a single faucet, it also looks good while doing it. From the sprayer wand to the integrated LED temperature indicator, it all comes together to make a nice, solid faucet.
What really sets the Delta Leland apart from competitors is the functional design of its pull-down spray-head. It’s got a nice ergonomic tulip-shape that is easy to get a grip on, and its magnetic locking system connects it to the spout nice and tight.
The spray head itself has a rocker-style switch for toggling between settings — standard and sprayer — without having to hold a button down the whole time. A separate button controls the Spray Shield setting, which is one of those things that sounds like a gimmicky feature but is actually pretty useful. Basically, the Spray Shield focuses the water into a thin, extra powerful stream to blast off stuck-on food, while also creating a cone of water around the area to prevent splashing.
I was really surprised by the flexibility of the connector hose. Usually, these are stiff and rubbery, but even with a braided nylon covering, the Delta hose didn’t affect my control at all. The 22″ hose, plus the 15.4″ faucet height make it great for tasks like filling up a big pot of water on the counter, instead of having to place it in the sink.
The Touch2O technology is the main feature of the Delta Leland Faucet, and it really shines here. This allows you to turn on the water by touching anywhere on the spout or handle. I can control the water with my elbow through the entire process of rinsing off the meat, breading it, tossing it in the pan, and then washing my hands.
A handy LED display on the base of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet tells you the current temperature, transitioning from blue to red as it moves from cold to hot. Keep in mind though; this LED only turns on when the water is running. This means that you’ll have to be a little more self-aware when using the touch feature, and confirm via the LED that the temperature is what you think it is.
The drawback of any touch-activated faucet is the need for a power source, and this model requires four AAAA batteries — or you could use the included AC adapter if you have an outlet in your sink cabinet. If you have a garbage disposal you probably do.
In my personal experience replacing faucets — and several plumbers that I spoke with agree — single handle faucets like this are eventually going to wear out and begin to leak. It’s inevitable. Which is why touch activation is a great way to extend the lifespan of your faucet.
That being said, if you don’t think you need the touch activation, Delta does make the same faucet in a standard style for a bit cheaper. That model still includes everything else, the Spray Shield, etc.
Even with the solenoid needed to power the sensor, installation of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet is pretty straightforward if you have a couple of adjustable pliers on hand and an Allen key. Delta did a nice job with the instruction manual, and also has some helpful videos that supplement it nicely.
Pros: Good price, nice appearance, three-way spray setting, and easy installation
Cons: Zinc alloy is less durable, brushed nickel requires more maintenance than stainless steel
Typically, lower-priced faucets look nice on the surface but skimp on components behind the scenes. The WEWE Single Handle Faucet delivers on both fronts, with braided supply lines for durability, an ABS plastic aerator (think of the tough plastic used to make Lego bricks), and ceramic disk valves.
With no rubber caps to wear down over time, this faucet’s ceramic valves prevent leaks more effectively than ball valves and are pretty much mandatory for a quality faucet. (Though they are susceptible to cracking if you apply too much pressure to them, so keep that in mind.)
In addition to the standard stream and sprayer settings, the WEWE Faucet also lets you pause the water with a button on the spray head, which I really appreciate. You do have to continuously hold down the button while pausing, but it’s still a useful feature for preventing over-spraying while moving back and forth between the sink and countertop, for example.
All of its components are solid metal, which gives the WEWE Faucet a nice solid feel to it. This faucet definitely doesn’t have a flimsy or “cheap” feel you might expect from a budget option.
That being said, the zinc alloy and nickel finish are probably the reason for its low price. Cheaper than stainless steel, and not as resistant to water spots, brushed nickel will need a little more maintenance to stay clean. A soft cloth and soapy water should do the trick, just remember to stay away from any abrasive cleaning pads that can scratch the finish, as well as any cleaners that contain ammonia.
The WEWE Faucet has a high-arc (15.7-inches tall) neck that swivels 360 degrees. The spout hangs 8.5 inches above and reaches 8.5 inches across the top of the sink. The sprayer head hose is 71 inches in total length, and 23 inches when pulled out of the faucet.
Just like the higher-priced options on this list, installation is simple and should be doable for anyone willing to crawl under their sink and spend 30 minutes down there. You’re not getting the “quick-connect” technology that pricier models have, so you’ll be tightening the supply lines the old-fashioned way (with your fingers and a couple of wrenches).
Cons: Expensive, motion sensors may need to be re-calibrated routinely
Marrying form with function, this faucet model offers convenient, hands-free operation with just the wave of your hand; the Wave Sensor (on top) and Ready Sensor (in front) initiate and stop water flow when either one detects motion.
By adjusting the control box under the sink, you’re also able to control the default temperature of the water when the sensors activate the faucet. The Moen factory setting is lukewarm, but if you’d rather have it be warmer for rinsing dishes, or colder for drinking water, it couldn’t be easier to adjust.
And if you ever feel like disabling one or both of the sensors, that’s simple too. Just hold your hand in front of the sensor for 5 seconds and it will stop registering until it’s activated again. While they’re disabled you also can use the lever handle to turn the water on and off manually, as well as adjust the water pressure and temperature.
The Moen Arbor MotionSense Faucet has a 100-degree-rotating high-arc spout (15.5 inches) — great for filling and cleaning large pots. The spout with a pull-down spray head offers three functions: an aerated stream, a strong “PowerClean” spray for heavy-duty cleaning, and a pause that temporarily stops the water flow (1.5 gallons per minute maximum). The spray head’s hose is 68 inches in total length and retracts smoothly to dock into place.
When it comes to installation, don’t let the intimidating control box fool you, Moen’s are among the easiest faucets to install. Their “Duralock Quick-Connect” installation system makes it easy to attach the hoses and lines to the control box, and their one-way connections basically make them impossible to install incorrectly.
Pros: Available in multiple finishes, easy to clean, quick installation
Cons: A little pricey, plastic components can make it feel “cheaper”
The Moen Brantford Single-Handle Pull-Out Sprayer Kitchen Faucet shouldn’t be confused with the pull-down Moen Arbor MotionSense that we profiled above, but you could consider it as the baby brother. If you have a small sink or you don’t have a lot of vertical clearance, this faucet may be the right fit.
What I love about pull-out style faucets is that without all that extra spout length — the Moen Brantford Single-Handle Pull-Out Sprayer Kitchen Faucet is only 12.9 inches high — you gain a lot of maneuverability. By pulling it “out” instead of down, you avoid wasting any hose length on the bend of the faucet spout, giving you more range of motion.
The 68-inch hose itself is especially flexible, and can be easily maneuvered around any sink. This faucet does technically have a plastic spray head, but its stainless steel finish and easy installation make it a great faucet option.
The Moen Brantford Pull-Out Faucet spout swivels 360 degrees and has several functions in common with the Moen Arbor MotionSense, including an aerated stream, and a strong “PowerClean” spray for heavy-duty cleaning.
The installation of the Moen Pull-Out Faucet also uses Duralock Quick Connect hoses, allowing the water lines to be connected without a lot of twisting and turning. To make things even easier, this faucet also includes a cool little installation tool that basically acts as sort of a basin wrench, which makes tightening those mounting nuts a lot easier (especially if you don’t have much space between the wall and your sink basin).
The Kohler Sous Pro-Style Faucet has a magnetic docking arm that the spray head firmly attaches to when not in use. Unlike other commercial-style faucets, the docking arm swivels out of the way when you’re working.
Something I’ve come to notice about these commercial-style faucets is that sometimes their height makes them look out of place in some kitchens. That’s not the case with the Kohler. Its 22-inch vertical is still short enough to look great on most counters. I’ve even seen this on a kitchen island — usually a no-no for taller faucets — and it looked great.
The spring-loaded design of the pull-down spray head has the perfect amount of tension to it. Not so tight that it restricts movement, but solid enough to have a feeling of control while you’re using it. The downside of any spring-type tension mechanism is that debris can become lodged in the gaps of the spring. What’s great about the Kohler Sous Pro-Style is that the entire spring is simple to remove and you can just spray the whole thing off on the sink.
In addition to the standard stream setting, the faucet also features “Sweep Spray” technology, turning the stream into a linear broom-style pattern. This is great for “sweeping” away food from dishes, instead of just blasting it around with a standard sprayer. This setting is also excellent for cleaning out the sink itself.
If you are installing this faucet to a stainless steel sink, you will need to add a small 1/2-inch plywood support piece under the counter. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s an extra step that most other faucets don’t have.
What to consider when shopping for a kitchen faucet
Choosing a kitchen faucet may seem like a mundane task, but it’s actually important. You want the right kind to fit your needs and your kitchen’s decor, and you don’t want to simply opt for the cheapest model. So before you shop for a new kitchen faucet, think about where (the existing space, pre-existing hardware) and how you plan to use it. Consider each model’s specs:
Valve Control: This is the mechanism that turns your faucet on and off, and adjusts the temperature of the water. Single-handle designs use one lever to control both temperature and flow, while double-handles have two (each handle controlling either the hot or cold water supply). Touch and motion-activated designs are convenient in a lot of ways, but they are dependent on a power source for their sensor. Note: Double handle styles are less common and are generally bought for their aesthetics over practicality — which is why we don’t have any featured here. That said, I definitely value their durability: dual handles tend to be sturdier, and less easily yanked on than single handles.
Spout style: Choose from revolving or stationary, regular (steady stream) or two-mode (regular and spray), low arc (3 to 8 inches above the top of the sink), or high arc (also known as gooseneck, which is more than 8 inches above the top of the sink) models.
Spray head: The sprayer can be separate from and next to the faucet, or at the end of the spout. The latter type is either pull-down (often on taller faucets) or pull-out (which sometimes includes much of the spout itself).
Finish: Whatever material comprises the faucet’s finish (chrome, stainless steel, bronze, copper, brass, nickel, etc.) affects its appearance, cleanability, resistance to spotting and rusting, and price.
Arc and spout height and reach: Do you have ample clearance for a high-arc faucet or a cozier kitchen better suited to a low-arc model? Will you need to maneuver pots and pans under the faucet in order to wash them? Do you care how far the spout reaches across or extends over the sink?
Flow rate: Do you want adjustable water pressure? Do you need just a stream (for filling pots or washing vegetables) or also a spray (to add oomph to scrubbing sticky or burnt-on food off of dishes)?
Installation requirements: How many holes does your sink have for fitting a faucet? Some sinks have only one hole, and faucets requiring more than one hole can’t be used (unless you plan to drill more holes … which may be inconvenient, costly, or structurally impossible). If your sink does have extra holes that the faucet doesn’t need, you can cover them with an escutcheon or deck plate or use them to fit accessories like a side sprayer or soap dispenser. It’s also worth checking to make sure you have enough clearance between the faucet and the wall behind – to ensure your handle can rotate as far as it needs to.
No matter which kitchen faucet you pick, choose a model that helps save water. A faucet aerator efficiently reduces the flow rate while still maintaining water pressure, thus conserving water and saving you money. Also, fix (or replace if necessary) the faucet when you notice any leaking. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons (726.8 liters) per month … 2,304 gallons (8.7 m3) per year.” To calculate your household’s potential water waste from a leaky kitchen faucet, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Drip Calculator.
If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
Buying refurbished doesn’t have to be a risky endeavor, so long as you know what to look for.
Below is a checklist of what to look for when buying these items, along with the most common products you can find reliably refurbished.
It can be scary to buy refurbished items, but with certain products, from certain manufacturers, it’s as good as buying brand new.
Refurbished items are generally returns, faulty open-box products, or brand new units with minor cosmetic flaws that have been returned to “like new” quality by the manufacturer. We’re a fan of them here at Insider Reviews – we’ve even written reviews of our personal refurb purchases from Apple and Nintendo.
Buying refurbished has its benefits. For most shoppers, the most convincing benefit is the lower cost. Depending on the item and the manufacturer, a refurbished item can cost you up to 50% less than a brand new one. Another perk is that it’s a bit more environmentally friendly: you’re essentially buying a recycled item. In the end, both refurbished and new items will ideally deliver the same user experience, likely with some differences in packaging and cosmetics, so long as you do your research before adding to cart.
When determining a refurb’s worthiness, it comes down to two major factors to make the judgment call: who refurbished the item and who is selling it?
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
The best refurb deals available right now
When shopping refurb deals, we keep an eye out for items that are discounted compared to typical refurb pricing, which is generally much less than brand new. Therefore, original prices noted are considerably less than that of items in new condition.
AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Refurbished 13-Inch MacBook Pro (Apple M1 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage) (medium, Preferred: Apple)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Sonos)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Sonos)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Who should I trust to refurbish an item?
When it comes to buying an item refurbished, there is no source more reliable than the manufacturer. Year-round, manufacturers like Dyson, Nintendo, and Apple offer refurbished goods for considerably less money than in new condition. I, personally, bought a refurbished Dyson V6 cordless stick vacuum 3 years ago during Black Friday, and not only did the item arrive looking new, but it also still performs well despite daily use.
Manufacturer refurbs can also come with pretty hefty warranties. Dyson, for example, provides a 6- or 12-month warranty with every order, along with expert support and the promise of genuine Dyson parts in your item.
If you’re a frequent online shopper, you’ve surely come across a few items marked as “seller-refurbished.” Our advice: outside of a few exceptions, don’t risk it. While you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to only buying from manufacturer storefronts, buying an item refurbished by anyone other than the manufacturer is dubious. Certain special cases like Geek Squad Certified Refurbished and Amazon Renewed are worth considering, but these have less specialized support and notably shorter warranty coverage (typically, only 90 days).
Where can I buy refurbs from?
The easiest, most reliable places to find refurbished items for sale are from the manufacturer’s storefronts. Here are a few brands that sell certified refurbs directly from their sites:
Nintendo: Nintendo consoles, controllers, and more
Sony: Professional broadcast, production, corporate, and educational products
In addition to buying straight from the maker, many big-box retailers are also trustworthy sources to get refurbs from. Sellers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Newegg have the goods, year-round. Some manufacturers even have storefronts elsewhere, like the Jabra and Dyson storefronts on eBay.
We also highly recommend making the purchase with a credit card, no matter where you’re buying it from — there are often routes to getting extended purchase protection. Depending on your card, you can get up to a year of additional coverage on items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
What items are usually good to buy refurbished?
Tech dominates the refurb market, but if you keep a lookout, you can often find small home appliances reliably refurbished. Vacuums (both cordless and upright), fans, heaters, stand mixers, blenders, and the like are pretty dependable refurbished, and they arrive in like-new condition.
Laptops, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and accessories are typical to find refurbished, and they’re often worth considering. Check out our buying guides to find the best option for you.
As mentioned above, don’t bother with refurbs done by anyone who isn’t the manufacturer. The warranties never last as long, it doesn’t guarantee the use of genuine parts, and the product support you receive will never be as good — if you get any at all.
Much older generation tech is also not worth buying refurbished. It’s 2020: buying a refurbished iPhone 7 is a moot investment in an item nearing obsoletion.
Finally, don’t bother with anything that can’t have its battery replaced, like truly wireless earbuds and headphones. It’s a mixed bag getting these in any condition other than new; you’ll never know the battery’s remaining lifespan. With tech like tablets, smartphones, and computers, you can always bring them into a store for a battery replacement.