Different Faucet Aerator Sizes (with Photos)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Indoor plumbing is a convenience we seldom appreciate for the modern miracle it is. Open a tap, and water flows through a faucet into our sinks and tubs for washing, cooking, and drinking. But have you ever considered what directs and controls that flow from the spigot?

Most indoor faucets have an aerator attachment, either built-in or as an additional screw-on device. The faucet aerator adds tiny air bubbles to the water stream that helps minimize splashing and aids water conservation. Much like the faucet assemblies themselves, faucet aerators come in a variety of sizes.

A faucet aerator consists of three major components: the housing, an insert, and a rubber washer. They are inexpensive and relatively small parts but are environmentally friendly and substantial money savers. In addition to water flow and conservation, they are also helpful with added water filtration.

What Does a Faucet Aerator Do?

A faucet aerator’s primary function is guiding the incoming water flow into a straight stream with even water pressure. Depending on the aerator model and area water pressure, an aerator can boost lower water pressure to seem stronger. In molding the water flow by diffusing the stream, it reduces the water volume to minimize splashing and faucet noise.

An aerator draws air into the water stream and combines with the stream to create smaller droplets within the flow. As the water and air mixture passes through a screen, the droplets spread further out within the main water stream. This allows the water to flow more evenly as it falls to the sink’s surface.

Varieties of Faucet Aerators

Faucets aerators get classified by how you install them (type) and how they function once installed (style). The thread placement on the faucet tells you the aerator type, while how and whether they move independently indicates the style. Let’s detail the different types and styles of faucet aerators more extensively.

One way aerator types get determined is faucet thread placement, or where and how the aerator connects to the faucet. Faucets with external threads require female aerators, whereas internally threaded faucets call for male aerators. Dual aerators can fit either male or female faucet heads and produce a high-pressure flow.

Aerators are also classed according to how and whether they move in conjunction with the faucet spout. Stationary aerators remain fixed once threaded into the faucet head and can only move with the faucet itself. Swivel aerators, once threaded onto the faucet, can independently direct the water flow without moving the faucet arm.

Source: Conservation Warehouse

Styles of Faucet Aerators

Once you’ve decided what type of aerator to install, you’ll need to select the style of the aerator. This choice mainly hinges on the desired flow rate and the type of water stream it will produce. Additional features can include Microban antibacterial protection, color, or finish of the aerator itself.

Aerator flow streams fall into three different categories: standard, spray, and laminar. Standard and laminar are most similar in that they both flow straight, but laminar is a more non-aerated clear stream. Spray aerators disperse the water streams further apart so that it flows as a showerhead would.

Aerator Flow Level

Aerator flow rate sets the appropriate task function by restricting water flow at different volume levels. A lower-volume aerator is suitable for everyday handwashing and dishwashing, whereas filling pots or kettles would merit a higher volume. A typical flow rate for standard aerators is 2.2 gallons-per-minute (GPM) and varies as flow rate increases or decreases.

Source: Home ALQU

Sizes of Faucet Aerators

By measurement, faucet aerators range from 16 mm-ex (Tom Thumb) to as large as 24-28 mm-ex (regular). Mid-range aerators fall under the classification of junior (20 to 22 mm-ex) and tiny junior (18 mm-ex). Which size you use depends on the diameter of the spout opening on the faucet arm.

A handy rule of measurement that helps with sizing faucet aerators is the coin comparison. For example, regular-sized aerators are roughly the size of a quarter, and juniors tend to be nickel-sized. For the smaller diameters, the tiny junior replicates a penny’s size, while the Tom Thumb is closest to the size of a dime.

Check out the standard faucet hole size.

Source: Conservation Warehouse

Does My Faucet Need an Aerator?

The faucet’s design is to not only allow for water flow but to direct said flow in a specific direction. As such, a faucet aerator is not necessary to achieve this task; however, there are practical reasons to use one. An aerator directs the water flow more stringently to get it exactly where you want it.

Two other excellent reasons to use aerators on your faucets are water conservation and “flow feel.” Aerated water streams can allow for higher and lower pressure rates while restricting the amount of water used. The optimized flow fulfills the desired tasks with less water, which in turn saves you money on utility bills.

“Flow feel” consists of how heavily or softly water strikes a surface and is most noticeable when washing and bathing. For example, the champagne spray of a showerhead has a strong flow with a whisper-soft feel thanks to aeration. Conversely, the targeted jet spray concentrates that same amount of water into a stronger, more forceful stream.

How Do I Know What Size Aerator to Get?

We have already established that your faucet aerator size will correspond with the diameter of the faucet spout. How to more specifically narrow that measurement down, however, may call for more than the coin comparison method. You will likely need to measure your faucet spout and aerator apertures according to their threading.

Confirm whether the threading on the aerator is male or female first before measuring the diameter. For female threads, you will calculate the diameter according to the interior edges since the threading is inside. Likewise, you will reverse the process for the male threads and take your readings from the coupling’s outside edges.

You may have flow and volume needs that an aerator may conflict with your faucet type. Typically, faucet manufacturers will have size and part recommendations included in their product’s user manual. It is important to check for suitable and suggested accessories before installing an aerator.

Source: Alkaway

Specialty Aerators

The most basic faucet aerator directs the water flow to minimize splashing and strain some impurities flowing in from outside. These are often built into the faucet assembly and intended for simple everyday functionality. But there are add-on aerators with bonus features you can install onto an existing faucet that can enhance its functionality.

Some aerators control the flow pattern of water, directing it into a jet stream or a shower spray pattern. You can install it simply by unscrewing the original aerator and screwing the new one in place. This is an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to add a sprayer to the sink without installing a new assembly.

For high-tech functionality at low-tech prices, there’s an aerator that uses LED lighting to indicate water temperature. As the water temperature rises, the lighting shifts from blue to green to red. Not only is it a helpful visual safety feature for kids and older adults, but it’s a cool light show.

Related Questions

Do I need to clean or maintain a faucet aerator?

Both the faucet and faucet aerator have screens built in to help strain impurities from the water flow. Over time, these impurities can build up and create clogs that block water flow or even calcify limescale on fixtures. It is important to regularly check your aerator for film or blockage that could interfere with its function.You can clean an aerator filter by gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush, like a small toothbrush. Use the brush to dislodge any foreign particles, then rinse thoroughly to flush them out. More stubborn debris or calcification may call for an acidic soak, which is as simple as using vinegar and water.Proper and regular maintenance will help extend the life of your aerator and optimize its function. Eventually, your faucet aerator could wear down to the point of needing replacement. Fortunately, aerators are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to replace.

How do I choose a faucet aerator?

The faucet aerator you use will depend on what you’ll want to use it for. While the aerator’s main purpose is to streamline the water flow, some feature several extra functions. These functions may enhance a faucet’s use beyond its basic construction.Additionally, you’ll need to confirm the diameter of your faucet’s spigot to know which size will fit properly. Checking the thread position is also a good idea, so you’ll know if you need a male or female assembly. Most replacement aerators are universal, but some manufactures have parts created exclusively for their products.

What are some other benefits of using a faucet aerator?

The main benefits of faucet aerator use–flow control, stream direction, and conservation–are clearly obvious. However, there are some other benefits to using an aerator that you may not have picked up on. Aerated water enhances water’s performance as a cleansing agent and serves as a flavoring asset.It’s well known that water softeners can treat water to improve how water interacts with soaps and cleaners. But using an aerator alone helps improve sudsing ability, allowing soaps to lather faster and work more efficiently with less. As a result, you’ll use less soap when bathing and washing dishes, saving both product and money.Faucet aerators can also inherently improve the overall taste of tap water with the addition of air bubbles. Much like with carbonated or sparkling water, the added bubbles give a lighter taste and texture to tap water. This is especially helpful in getting people to drink their daily allotment of water and sufficiently hydrate their bodies.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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