The aesthetic beauty and strength of stainless steel makes it a popular choice not only for utility sinks, but also for sink accessories and faucets. Some sink models have their accessories pre-mounted for your convenience, but others do not. Choosing your own stainless steel faucets and sink accessories gives you the flexibility to customize your space to fit your exact needs.
Whether you're searching for the perfect accessories for your new stainless steel sink or looking for replacement sink faucets, it's likely you'll initially feel overwhelmed by the vast number of options available on the market when you begin browsing. Today's manufacturers produce a wide variety of sink accessories and use a specific set of terms to describe their products. Sometimes, differences between two faucets can be subtle, making it hard to determine which is preferable for your needs. Also, you may be unsure what purpose or benefit some accessories may have in your home or business.
To take the guesswork and frustration out of shopping, we've developed our Buyers' Guide to Accessories and Faucets for Stainless Steel Utility Sinks. The guide reviews the major types of accessories available for today's models, explains their benefits and defines the terms used in their specifications. Read over the guide in total and then keep it handy as you shop as a quick reference to answer questions as they arise.Faucets
The faucets on your sink have a great impact upon how useful the fixture is for performing all of the tasks for which you need it. Some of the features of your faucets will be decided by your preferences, while others are dictated by the nature of your plumbing and the construction of your utility fixture.Mounts
One of the most noticeable differences between faucets is the mount or how the accessory is placed on or near your sink. Four types of mounts are common in sinks. What type you choose will be based primarily on whether or not your sink or its blacksplash has predrilled holes to accommodate the faucet, or if you will need to place the faucet on the wall.
- Deckplate mounts are single units that contain the handles and the spout of the faucet. This mount of faucet appears like a solid bar with the spouts and handles rising out of it and sits atop the utility sink, behind the bowl or bowls. Deckplate mounts fit down into the pre-drilled holes in your work sink fixture and usually cover three holes: one for each faucet and one for the spout.
- Nondeckplate mounts are single pieces, such as one handle or one spout. Like deckplate mounts, nondeckplates also drop down into the holes in your work sink fixture, but do not have the solid steel bar connecting their pieces. In some cases, you may add nondeckplate accessories like a sprayer or an extra separate spout to use alongside a deckplate faucet or over a separate bowl in your work sink.
- Wall mounts are attached to plumbing in your walls rather than to the sink itself. Typically, wall mount faucets for work sinks feature two handles flanking a central spout with a steel tube connecting them.
- Splash mounts are faucets that slide into pre-drilled holes on your work sink's backsplash. This mount of the faucet resembles the wall mount. In fact, many wall mount models are dual purpose and can be used on backsplashes as well; however, always carefully read the product descriptions as some models of splash and wall mounts are not dual purporse.
After you've determined the correct type of mount for the faucet for your stainless steel utility sink, you're ready to start examining the overall sizes of the available faucets.O.C. sizes
The most important size consideration for faucets is the on center, which you will see referred to as O.C. The measurement corresponds to the distance between the center of the handle to the center of the spout. For deck mount, nondeck mount and splash mount faucets, you'll need to use the distance between the holes in your sink or backsplash to determine the necessary O.C. size for your faucet. For wall mount faucets, the O.C. distance is determined by the distance between the water supply pipes in the wall.Weight
Typically, the weight of faucets is not that important for deck mount, nondeck mount and splash mount faucets; however, you should keep the weight in mind for wall mount faucets. The heavier the wall mount faucet, the more securely the accessory must be attached to the wall to prevent it from coming loose or shaking when you use the faucet.Spout Style
The spouts that you choose for your stainless steel utility sink are largely determined by your own preference. Three main types of spouts are commonly used for utility fixtures.
- Swing spouts give you the flexibility of being able to move the arm of the spout from left to right. This allows you to provide water to two bowls with just one spout or to wiggle the stream of water back and forth to help you as you clean or rinse the bowl. In addition, swing spouts can be moved out of the way to place large items down into the sink bowls.
- Double-jointed spouts are swing spouts with two arms, one that fits into the other and gives you two points of articulation rather than one. Though only a few styles of faucets feature double-jointed spouts, those that do make it even easier for you to reach ever corner of the bowl with water.
- Gooseneck spouts are shaped like a "U" and are fixed in place. One gooseneck style spout is needed for each bowl, decreasing their versatility as well as their flexibility. If you will be washing very large items in your sink or using it to fill large vessels with water on a regular basis, the gooseneck provides extra clearance that makes it easier to move these large items in and out of the sink.
The spout size is simply the measure from where the spout begins to where it dispenses water. Most faucets come in a variety of spout sizes with 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 inches being the most standard. The length of your faucet determines how far into the sink bowl the faucet will reach. Typically, splash mount and wall mount styles require longer spouts, while deckplate and nondeckplate mounts are better suited to shorter spouts.Spout Hangers
A spout hanger is a steel bracket that is mounted to the wall and supports a steel rod that travels downward from the bracket at a 45 degree angle to connect to the top of the spout. The purpose of the spout hanger is to provide extra strength and support for the spout. For most sinks, spout hangers are not necessary, but for those used in janitorial and custodial services or other areas where heavy and awkward equipment, like large mops, is being used, the hanger is often a great additional feature. Hands-Free Accessories
Even if you regularly clean the handles on your sink, germs still linger there. In fact, the average sink handle is home to more than 200,000 germs. In food service and medical settings, hands-free pedals and levers help prevent your workers from re-contaminating their hands after washing them, preserving sanitary conditions. Even if you work in an industry where sanitation is not a concern, hands-free accessories for sinks are useful to begin the water flow prior to lowering large items into the sink.
Both foot pedals and knee levers are available for hands-free access to water. Foot pedals rest on the floor and require you to step on them to initiate the water flow. Since their construction makes them difficult for handicapped individuals to operate them, you may not be able to use foot pedals to make your sink practical for your entire workforce. Knee levers are a good alternative for use in such instances.
Knee levers are mounted at the bottom of the sink. To initiate the water flow, you simply lean against them with your knee or lower abdomen. Typically, handicapped individuals can operate knee levers with ease; however, some sink designs cannot be modified for the addition of a knee lever.Pre-rinses
The pre-rinse is a popular accessory for sinks in commercial settings, where it is used to wash off food particles from flatware, tableware and cookware during scraping to remove heavy waste before soaking and scrubbing. Pre-rinses are available in both hose sprayers and spouts. You will also find deck mount, splash mount and wall mount styles available.
When selecting spray pre-rinses, two features greatly increase the utility of the accessory, the first of which is a locking hook. The locking hook is a metal hook that extends from the arm of the mount. When not in use, the hose can be tucked into the hook to prevent it from swinging. This keeps the hose out of the way and protects both it and your utensils and equipment from becoming bumped and scraped.
Spring loaded hoses have metal springs coiled around their bodies. The coil keeps the hose straight and prevents kinking. This ensures that you receive a steady stream of water every time you use the pre-rinse and also extends the life of the hose, as kinking is one of the primary reasons that holes develop in sprayers.