How Does a Touchless Kitchen Faucet Work?

Of all kitchen fixtures, one of the most used in any given household is the kitchen sink and kitchen faucet. We all know that things can get a little hectic and/or messy in a kitchen, which makes a touchless kitchen faucet a convenient feature for any kitchen.

Touchless kitchen faucets use technology that allow you to start the flow of water without touching the faucet. Instead, just placing your hand under the spout will start the water flow, and the water will stop when you take your hand away.

Automatic kitchen faucets or touchless faucets are both convenient and enhance hygiene. For more details on touchless faucets, keep reading.

Parts of a Touchless Kitchen Faucet

There are four main parts that make up a touchless or automatic kitchen faucet. These parts include a spout, a sensor window, a solenoid valve, and a power source.

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1. Sensor

The sensor on an automatic faucet is usually placed at the lip or base of the faucet’s spout. Instead of having a motion sensor, these kitchen faucets use presence sensors, which are designed to detect the presence of a hand under the spout, Hunker explains. When the sensor detects hands under the spout, it turns the faucet on. Removing your hands will trigger the sensor to turn the faucet off again.

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According to Hunker, most automatic faucet sensors have a small infrared light, which sits next to an infrared detector. The sensor works to signal the faucet valve to turn on when your hands come within a few inches of the lip of the spout, bouncing the infrared light off of your skin and to the detector.

While this is a common method, other automatic faucet models will use an ultrasonic field sensor. An ultrasonic field sensor turns on the faucet valve when your hands make movement in the field, disrupting the sensor.

2. Valve

The solenoid valve is usually controlled by a faucet sensor. According to Hunker, “the solenoid is an electromagnet that can push or pull,  depending on electric polarity”. Water flow is controlled by a rubber-like disc in the diaphragm valves. The valve stays closed until it receives a signal from the sensor, indicating that hands are present. When this happens, the solenoid pulls the valve open, allowing water to flow. Then, the solenoid pushes the valve closed when the sensor detects and signals that hands are no longer present.

3. Power source

Every touchless or automatic faucet needs a power source in order to work, though the power sources can vary. While some models get their power from dry-cell batteries, other faucets will use a low-voltage current from an AC transformer, Hunker says.

4. Spout

The spout of an automatic faucet holds all the working parts. You can find spouts of different materials. Less expensive models are often made of zinc, while higher end faucets are available in brass or copper. For durability and appearance purposes, you will likely find nickel or chrome-plated spouts.

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Delta touch-on faucet, available at Kitchen & Bath Classics

Touch-on Faucets

In addition to completely touchless faucets, you also have the option of a simple touch on faucet. Touch faucets have sensors in the spout and handle of the faucet that allow you to tap the faucet to activate water flow.

While these faucets can be turned on with the quick touch of a finger, forearm, or hand, they also have manual modes.

Cost of Touchless Kitchen Faucets

According to Houzz, touch faucets normally start at about $350 for the cost. However, prices can reach $600 and more. You can find touch faucets at Kitchen & Bath Classics, and where you buy the faucet and the kind you choose will determine the price. Installation shouldn’t be a big problem either, as most faucets come with a complete installation kit. This generally includes a battery pack, according to Houzz.


For more information on touchless faucets, or to choose a kitchen faucet of your own, head to a Kitchen & Bath Classics showroom where you’ll find Moen Canada kitchen fixtures and more!

Featured Image: Delta kitchen faucet, available at Kitchen & Bath Classics

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