Touch vs. Touchless Faucets – What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

The very first touch faucet was manufactured back in 2008 and soon afterward, touchless faucets began to take over the market.  Since then, faucet technology has been growing, evolving and improving steadily.

If you’re tired of the traditional faucets and looking to upgrade your kitchen with a new, more modern option, you might want to consider a touch or touchless faucet instead.

In case you’re not sure which option to go for, we’ve got you covered! Here’s all the information you need to know about touch and touchless faucets including what they are, their pros and cons and how to choose between the two.

What Are Touch Faucets?

Touch faucet

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Most people mistake touch faucets for traditional faucets, but this isn’t correct. Touch faucets look the same as touchless faucets but have sensors integrated into their spout. These sensors can measure your capacitance, which is capacity of our body to store electrical energy.

The faucet also maintains an electrical charge and when the capacitance increases, the water will turn on. When you touch it a second time, it will turn itself off. Since the sensors work by detecting the electric current generated by our bodies, you can touch the faucet with your hand, nose, elbow or foot and it will detect your charge. This will activate the faucet.

In terms of technology, the sensors in touch faucets are quite sophisticated since they can actually understand the difference between a touch and a grab. This makes it convenient to use since it allows you to do tasks like cleaning your pots and pans and rinsing vegetables without turning the faucet on or off by accident.

It’s also smart enough to sense whether you’re touching it to turn it on or just to adjust its position.

Pros and Cons of Touch Faucets

Touch faucets come with many benefits as well as a few disadvantages. Let’s take a look at what they are.


  • Conservation of water – these faucets help you to save water. There is a global shortage of water and especially in metropolitan areas, the scarcity is increasing, making it even more expensive. Installing a touch faucet in your home is an excellent way of cutting down on your water bills while doing your bit for the environment by saving as much water as you can. 
  • Convenience – the best thing about having a touch faucet is that it’s so easy to use. It’s very simple to turn on and off and it’s also easy to avoid scalding temperatures that can sometimes occur with more traditional sinks. If there are young children or seniors in the house, they would also find these faucets much easier to manipulate and you won’t have to worry about dropping whatever you’re holding in order to turn the faucet on or off.
  • Cleanliness – since you don’t have to touch this faucet with your hand to turn it on/off, you can easily wash your hands without spreading any grime or germs around the kitchen. Faucets can become really grimy due to constant touching with dirty hands which is something you can easily avoid with a touch faucet.

The Cons:

  • The faucet is costly – touch faucets can be quite costly compared to traditional faucets which is the reason why some homeowners don’t consider them.
  • Complicated installation – installing a touch faucet is not an easy thing to do and you’ll probably need to get an professional to have it installed. The faucet needs a power source (either batteries or A/C power) and if it’s not installed properly, you might end up having a boatload of problems in the long run.
  • Additional costs – since touch faucets need electricity or batteries to work, you’ll find yourself with some additional expenses. Batteries are a good option, but if you’re using AA batteries, you’ll need to replace them every 2 years. C batteries are a longer-lasting options since they’re good for up to 5 years after which you’ll need to replace them.

Touchless Faucets (also called Touch-free faucets)

Touchless faucet how it works

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Like touch faucets, touchless faucets also depend on sensors that are usually positioned just below the neck of the faucet, typically at its base.

These sensors are not designed to detect physical touch. Instead, they have the ability to sense the presence of something in front of them. It doesn’t always have to be your hand. Even waving a pot or pan that you’re holding will turn the faucet on.

Most touch-free faucets do this with the use of an infrared detector that’s paired together with an infrared light. When you move your hand or something else in front of the sensor, the infrared light bounces off it and back into the detector. This means that you only have to move your hand in front of the faucet to turn it on or off.

These faucets have other types of sensors as well such as ultrasonic field sensors. When your hand moves in front of one of these, the sensor disrupts the field and signals the faucet to turn the water on or off.

Pros and Cons of Touchless Faucets

Weighing the pros and cons of touchless faucets would be useful in helping you make your decision of which faucet to choose. You will notice that the pros and cons of both touch and touchless faucets are almost the same with only slight differences.

The Pros:

  • Water conservation – like touch faucets, touchless faucets are also great for saving water in the long run. They are designed to deliver a low flow rate of water and are made to prevent leakage. This is a plus point since it means that you’ll be able to save a considerable amount of water. The flow rate won’t affect the performance of the faucet, however.
  • Hygiene – both types of faucets are similar in their benefits but when it comes to cleanliness, touchless faucets definitely score one over touch faucets. Since you don’t have to touch it AT ALL, you’re not going to get any mess on the faucet so there’s no risk of spreading germs. Just a simple wave of your hand is enough to operate the faucet.
  • Convenience – just like touch faucets, touchless faucets are very convenient to operate. If anyone in the house has trouble reaching or manipulating a traditional faucet, these would work perfectly. They are also excellent for little children who won’t need to reach all the way up to touch it and turn it on as they would with a touch faucet.
  • The finish will last longer – since the faucet is completely touch free, it won’t get dirty and will require minimal cleaning, keeping it looking new for longer. It’ll also be much easier to clean than the touch models.

The Cons:

  • Accidental operation – touchless faucets can be triggered accidentally. This isn’t something that would happen all the time since the optical and motion sensors can ‘see’ movements and are smart enough to differentiate them however, there is always a possibility that the faucet will suddenly turn on and shoot water out if you’re nearby even if you’re doing something else. This is one of the main differences between these two types of faucets since a touch faucet won’t be turned on unless you touch it on purpose.
  • Cost – touchless faucets are usually more expensive than touch faucets.
  • Complicated installation – as with touch faucets, touchless faucets are also complicated to install and need professional oversight for installation.
  • Additional costs – touchless faucets require hard wiring into a power source or batteries. This can add to the total cost of operating the faucet over time.

How to Choose Between Touch and Touchless Faucets

Best touchless kitchen faucets

Now that you know the difference between touch and touchless faucets, you’re probably wondering how to choose the right one for you.

While both faucets are great upgrades in comparison to the traditional ones, you might want to think about what would be the better option that would your home and your lifestyle. Evaluate the pros and cons of each type of faucet carefully before you make your decision.

If you or your family members do a lot of cooking in the kitchen and need to frequently turn on the faucet with messy hands, you may want to go for a touchless faucet which is the best way to get water without any mess.

On the other hand, if you feel like you’d rather have more control over it and prefer an option that won’t turn on or off by accident, a touch faucet would be the better option since you’d actually have to touch it in some way for it to turn on.

However, both faucets are excellent choices and whichever you choose you can’t really go wrong, provided that you’ve researched thoroughly before purchasing and have the faucet installed correctly.

Learn more:

The Best Touchless Faucets on the Market

How to Choose a Faucet Filter

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