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Faucet Flow Rates: Average, Max, and Myths Busted

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When designing a functional kitchen or bathroom, a high-quality faucet is essential. 

There are a number of important criteria and decisions to make when getting a new faucet:

  1. Style of Faucet – Types of Kitchen faucets or Types of bathroom faucets
  2. Faucet Material – Popular faucet finishes
  3. Brand – Best faucet brands
  4. Price

Here at PlumberSpot, we’ve covered it all.

Another critical factor though are the faucet flow rates.

Your faucet flow rate is how fast the water comes out of the faucet. Most faucets have an aerator that restricts the flow of water from coming out at full speed.

What is the average flow rate of faucets? The average faucet flow rate is 1.5 GPM (Gallons Per Minute). Research has shown that on average, people open the faucet to a flow rate between 1.0 GPM and 1.5 GPM. Federal regulations have a set maximum flow rate of 2.2 GPM at 60 psi (pounds per inch).


Quick Summary on Faucet Flow Rates

MYTH BUSTED!

There are a bunch of articles out there advertising “faucets with the best flow rate,” but that’s deceptive. Faucets are not allowed to go above 2.2 GPM so anyone claiming to have the “highest faucet flow rate” is lying. People in the industry do this for marketing, but it’s a scam.

Flow rates maximums are set by the Federal government to conserve water and protect the environment.

Even though the maximum is 2.2 GPM, the average faucet flow rate is 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute).

What is a Good Bathroom or Kitchen Faucet Flow Rate?

Faucets will perform well with at least 0.8 GPM, but we recommend a flow rate of at least 1.5 GPM with the capability to go up to the maximum of 2.2 GPM. This will give you the best performance.

Thankfully, most faucets can be tweaked to improve the minimum and maximum flow rate. This is an easy adjustment to make, especially if you don’t fully understand the ins and outs of your home’s existing apparatus.


How to Test Your Faucet Flow Rate

If you aren’t sure what your faucet is capable of, it’s super easy to test the flow rate4 of a kitchen faucet.

The easiest way to figure it out is simply doing an actual test.

How to test the flow rate of a faucet

  1. Place pitcher under water

    Place a large pitcher or container under the faucet. Find one that can hold at least 2.5 gallons.

  2. Start water and timer

    Turn the faucet on full blast and start a timer for one minute. Make sure to use both the hot and cold water handles if you have both.

  3. Wait

    Wait a full minute for the water to fill up.

  4. Measure

    Measure how much water is in your pitcher. This is your flow rate.

Pro-tip! If you don’t have a big enough container, you can use a smaller one and only run the water for 10 seconds, then multiple by 6x to convert the number.


How to Increase Your Faucet Flow Rate

Most kitchen faucets boast a maximum flow rate of 2.2 GPM. The average kitchen faucet flow rates are around 1.5 GPM.

Most new faucets come with a built-in aerator. In a nutshell, this is a tip that can be screwed onto the bathroom or kitchen sink faucet’s nozzle. There are various sizes of faucet aerators which can impact GPM.

Remember, flow rates are standardized so most faucets are similar in flow rate.

This means that if you have weak water pressure, there’s likely another issue.

There are a number of ways to fix low water pressure.

  1. Clean your clogged aerator
  2. Replace your broken faucet cartridge
  3. Check for leaks in your water lines
  4. Remove clogs in pipes

I’ve outlined each of those in detail in the article I shared above. If none of those work, then you’ve got other issues and I recommend calling a plumber!


How to Reduce Kitchen Faucet Flow Rates

Higher flow rates will certainly perform better for washing your hands or cleaning dishes.

But if you’re trying to conserve water, then reducing your faucet flow rate can help.

The easiest way to save water is to just not turn your faucets up to full speed. Run them at half power. The downside of this is that sometimes you’ll just end up running the faucet for longer and not actually save any water.

If you want to truly lower the flow rate, then you can install a new faucet aerator.


Do Kitchen Faucets Have Flow Restrictors?

The majority of traditional faucets boast flow rate restrictors in the shape of aerators. All contemporary kitchen faucets, which have been on the market since the year 1994, must feature flow restrictors. Why? To save water.

Hard water specifically can result in blocked restrictors. Federal laws necessitate that faucets have a maximum flow rate over 2.2 gallons per minute GPM.

To meet these regulations, both sink aerators and faucets are treated meticulously to ensure they perform at a rate of 1.5 gallons per minute GPM.


FAQs

How does a faucet aerator work?

The aerator acts in the same manner as a sieve, setting apart the single water flow, creating numerous minuscule streams.

This in turn establishes air to the water’s flow, be it from kitchen sinks or showerheads. The flow is reduced as there is less space for the water to filter through. The result? You save water, which in turn ensures savings on your water bills.

Is a 1.5 GPM flow rate sufficient for a kitchen faucet? 

Federal American standard regulations recommend that all modern kitchen faucets should boast a maximum flow rate of 2.2 GPM. This is dependent on the state, with numerous areas, such as Georgia and California boasting further restricted flow rates of 2.0 GPM.

Quality faucets and sink aerators are trialed to perform at a rate of 1.5 GPM or less In order to meet these regulations.

What is the average flow rate of a kitchen faucet?

The average flow rate of a kitchen faucet is 1.5 gallons per minute. For best results, pick a faucet that boasts a water flow rate between 1.5 GPM and 2.2 GPM.

What is the Highest Flow Rate Kitchen Faucet?

The federal government regulations require that all bathroom and kitchen faucets have a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM) or 60 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. Two states, California and Georgia have lower limits of 2.0 GPM.


Final Thoughts

From testing the standard faucet flow rate to learning more about the additional faucet accessories you can invest in to better your device (be it a kitchen sink faucet or bathroom faucets) when choosing the perfect kitchen faucet, it’s important to research this piece of apparatus in depth.

Knowing the ins and outs of modern faucets will help you to pick a kitchen faucet complete with a water sense label, best suited to your needs, your home, your water usage, energy policy act, and your budget.

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