Touch vs Touchless Kitchen Faucets

Heather Asiyanbi - 2/2/18 3:12 PM

Touch and touchless faucets can be extremely handy in the kitchen, making both meal prep and clean up easier and faster. The primary difference, of course, is that with touch faucets you’ll still need to touch it to turn it on and off, and touchless faucets require just a wave of your hand or placing an item under the spout to activate it.

Delta Faucet introduced the first touch faucet to the residential market in 2008, and touchless faucets followed shortly after years of almost exclusive use in commercial settings like airport lavatories. Faucet technology has only continued to evolve and improve since then, and choosing what works best for you depends on which technology appeals to you more.

Touch Faucets

How Touch Faucets Work

Touch faucets rely on sensors built into the spout that measure the human body’s natural electricity, or capacitance. Increases in capacitance turn the water on and a second touch turns the water off.

Additionally, sensors are sophisticated enough to differentiate between a touch and a grab, so you won’t have to worry about the faucet turning on and off if you change your hold on it while rinsing veggies or cleaning pots and pans.


Meal prep, crafts and clean up usually mean messy hands. Until the introduction of touch faucets, the sticky, icky messes you cleaned off the table, counters and dishes were also on your faucet.

Now, though, you can touch the neck of your faucet with the back of your hand or even your elbow to get the water flowing, eliminating the need to turn the faucet on with the tip of whatever finger is the least icky and then clean it off with everything else.

Not having to continually clean mess off your faucet also helps preserve its finish. Most finishes, no matter if they’re polished or brushed, require little more than a damp cloth and mild soap to keep them clean, but not having to scrub them certainly doesn’t hurt.

The Downside

Installation can be a little tricky depending on the power source; batteries or A/C power. Batteries can last anywhere from two to five years, depending on if you install six, AA batteries (two-year life span) or 6, C batteries (up to five years).

Electricity can be the better way to do in the long run, but does add to your home’s overall energy usage albeit not in huge amounts.

Touchless Faucets

How Touchless Faucets Work

Touchless faucets rely on sensors typically positioned under the neck and at the base of the faucet to detect the movement required to operate it.

Like its touch faucet counterpart, the sensors have been designed to avoid accidental operation when you’re working around the sink.


Not having to touch your kitchen faucet at all to activate water flow doubles down on cleanliness. Not only will you not have to wipe off any residue from preparing meals, crafts or school projects, you’ll also prevent the potential spread of germs.

By eliminating the need to touch your faucet to run the water, touchless models also help you contain messes; no more crumbs of this and that scattered across the counter after twisting your hand to turn on your faucet with the least amount of contact.

Touchless faucets also go a long way in keeping your finish looking fabulous. Instead of worrying about how to get that spot of crusty whatever off the handle, now you’ll just need a damp cloth and a spot of dish soap to keep your faucet looking new.

The Downside

Touchless faucets can also run on both battery and A/C power. Most models include the AA batteries required, and you have the option to order the electricity kit separately.

If you aren’t into changing batteries, then spending a little extra for the A/C power adapter will be well worth the money in the long run.

Decision Time

Both touch and touchless faucets offer benefits beyond cool kitchen tech you can show off to friends and family. With so many similarities between them, your decision is really going to come down to whether or not you prefer a truly hands-off approach to operating your kitchen faucet.

Have you installed a touch or touchless faucet in your kitchen or bathroom? Tell us in the comments what you like most about it.

Topics: Kitchen- Faucet- Decision Guide

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