1.2 vs 1.5 gpm Faucet [Which Water Flow Rate Should You Choose?]

What are GPM Faucets?

When shopping for a new kitchen, bathroom, or utility faucet, you’ll inevitably come across the term “GPM” along with various flow rate numbers. GPM stands for gallons per minute – this measures how much water flows out of the faucet over the course of one minute.

Faucet flow rates are commonly rated at 1.2 GPM, 1.5 GPM, 2.0 GPM or higher. But what do these numbers really mean, and how do you decide what GPM is right for your faucet?

Why GPM Matters for Faucets

The GPM of a faucet determines the force and quantity of the water stream. Higher GPM means stronger water pressure and faster filling of containers, while lower GPM conserves more water over time.

Many factors go into choosing the right GPM for your needs and preferences. Striking the right balance can ensure you get the performance you want while being mindful of water usage and efficiency.

Quick comparison table between 1.2 GPM and 1.5 GPM faucets:

Specs1.2 GPM Faucet1.5 GPM Faucet
Water Flow Rate1.2 gallons per minute1.5 gallons per minute
Water UsageConserves more waterUses more water than 1.2 GPM
Water PressureProvides adequate pressure for most household usesProvides stronger water pressure than 1.2 GPM
Washing PerformanceSuitable for washing hands or light dishesBetter for washing lots of dishes or large pots
Rinsing PerformanceMay require more passes to rinse off foodRinses more thoroughly in fewer passes
Fill SpeedTakes longer to fill sinks or potsFills sinks and pots faster than 1.2 GPM
Environmental ImpactLower, reduces energy and water wasteSlightly higher due to more water usage
CostTypically more affordableSlightly higher cost than 1.2 GPM models
Water Efficiency StandardsMeets most green building codesMay exceed water efficiency codes in some areas
Recommended Use CasesLight duty household use, 1-3 people, guest bathsLarge households, busy kitchens, low water pressure
Sample ModelsKohler K-R10651-SD-VS, Moen 5923EWSRS, Delta Trinsic 5553TKohler K-780-VS, American Standard Colony Soft 565LF, Hansgrohe Talis C

Overview of 1.2 vs 1.5 GPM Faucets

1.2 GPM faucets dispense 1.2 gallons of water per minute from the faucet. This lower flow rate helps conserve water.

1.5 GPM faucets dispense 1.5 gallons per minute, giving higher water flow and pressure. They use more water than 1.2 GPM models.

The difference seems small, but it can have an impact over thousands of uses. Let’s look deeper at how GPM works and the pros and cons of each flow rate.

What is GPM?

GPM, or gallons per minute, measures the water flow rate from your faucet. It tells you how many gallons pass through the faucet in one minute’s time when the valve is fully open.

The higher the GPM, the faster the flow and the more water comes out. Typical GPM ratings for household faucets are:

  • Low-flow: 0.5 GPM to 1.5 GPM
  • Standard flow: 2.0 GPM to 2.5 GPM
  • High flow: 3.0+ GPM

Many factors determine your faucet’s GPM – the size of the water supply lines, water pressure, valve and aerator design. The GPM can also vary depending on whether it’s measured with the hot or cold water.

Knowing the GPM helps you choose a faucet suitable for your needs. It also informs product decisions to conserve water and lower your utility bills over time.

Next let’s look at the specific benefits of both 1.2 and 1.5 GPM faucet flow rates.

Benefits of 1.2 GPM Faucets

1.2 GPM faucets offer some important benefits, especially for eco-conscious homeowners looking to reduce their water usage.

Save Water and Money

The lower 1.2 GPM flow rate can save a meaningful amount of water over time. Reducing water use cuts down on your utility bills too.

Compared to using a standard 2.2 GPM faucet, you could save over 800 gallons per month with a water-efficient 1.2 GPM model. That’s nearly 10,000 gallons saved per year for tasks like washing dishes and hands.

Meet Green Building Standards

Many green building codes and conservation initiatives now require 1.2 GPM or lower on bathroom and kitchen faucets.

Choosing a 1.2 GPM fixture may help you meet the sustainability requirements for LEED or other green programs.

Reduce Environmental Impact

Conserving water with a 1.2 GPM faucet also reduces the energy needed to supply, heat and treat water. This saves an extra amount of electricity, natural gas and wastewater treatment.

So a low-flow fixture limits your environmental footprint. Many homeowners appreciate this added eco-benefit.

Benefits of 1.5 GPM Faucets

While 1.2 GPM faucets are considered low-flow, 1.5 GPM models balance water savings with added pressure and flow. There are situations where the extra 0.3 gallons per minute can be beneficial.

Provides Stronger Water Pressure

At 1.5 GPM, you get 25% more water flow over 1.2 GPM models. This results in stronger pressure for tasks like rinsing off plates.

The added pressure can make cleaning stubborn dirt and food more efficient.

Fills Large Pots Faster

Filling large stock pots, pasta pots or canning pots is faster with 1.5 GPM versus 1.2 GPM. The higher flow rate gets the job done with less waiting around.

Rinses Food Easier

Rinsing soap or food debris off dishes is easier with the higher 1.5 GPM force. The water has more muscle to clear away stuck-on gunk.

Over time, the extra pressure and flow of a 1.5 GPM faucet may lead to noticeable time savings when washing dishes.

This covers the main pros and cons of both 1.2 and 1.5 GPM faucets. But which is better for your home? We’ll now go over key factors to help you decideFactors to Consider

When choosing between 1.2 vs 1.5 GPM faucets, there are several factors to take into account:

Water Pressure

Homes with low water pressure may benefit from 1.5 GPM for adequate flow. But for normal or high pressure, 1.2 GPM should suffice.

Test your faucet’s current pressure by timing how long it takes to fill a 1 gallon jug. 40-60 seconds indicates good pressure for a low-flow model.

Water Usage Needs

Think about how you use your faucet. If you frequently wash large pots or need to rinse tough food gunk, the extra flow of 1.5 GPM can help. Go for 1.2 GPM if you mainly wash hands or small dishes.

Applicable Regulations

Your local regulations may mandate 1.2 GPM or lower on new bathroom and kitchen faucets. For example, California’s Title 20 compliance has this requirement.

Cost Difference

1.2 GPM faucets are now the norm, making them more affordable. 1.5 GPM may come at a slight premium for the added flow. Consider your budget tradeoffs.

Faucet Controls

Many newer faucets have flow rate controls, spray modes or touch-activated functions that can compensate for lower GPM. Leverage these to help a 1.2 GPM faucet perform well.

Taking these factors into account will help you pick the right flow rate for the faucet uses in your home.


Based on your needs, here are some recommendations for choosing between 1.2 and 1.5 GPM faucets:

When to Choose 1.2 GPM Models:

  • If you want to conserve water and reduce utility bills
  • If your local building codes require 1.2 GPM or lower
  • For households with 1-3 people and typical sink usage
  • When you have adequate water pressure from supply lines
  • For guest bathrooms or powder rooms with minimal use

When to Choose 1.5 GPM Models:

  • If you have low water pressure from supply lines
  • In households with 4+ people needing more flow
  • For heavy usage kitchens that wash lots of large pots
  • For busy kitchens in restaurants or commercial settings
  • If you need to rinse tough food gunk off plates easily

Best Options for Each Flow Rate:

For 1.2 GPM: Kohler K-R10651-SD-VS Simplice, Moen 5923EWSRS Align, Delta Trinsic 5553T

For 1.5 GPM: Kohler K-780-VS Cruette, American Standard Colony Soft 565LF, Hansgrohe Talis C

Look for faucets that include modes like “sweep” or “boost” for temporary high-flow when needed. This offers flexibility within a lower 1.2 GPM model.

Homes with low water pressure may need to go up to 1.5 or 1.8 GPM to have adequate flow. Consult with your plumber if issues persist.

Using the recommendations above, you can zero in on the right flow rate and faucet to suit your household needs.


What are low-flow faucets?

Low-flow faucets dispense 1.5 GPM or less. They conserve water by reducing the flow rate compared to standard 2.2 GPM faucets.

Do low-flow faucets work as well?

Yes, modern low-flow faucets are engineered to provide great performance despite less flow. Features like spray modes help concentrate the water pressure.

Do I have to change my pipes for a low-flow faucet?

Usually not, unless your pipes are very old or deteriorated. Supply lines that worked well with higher flow faucets should be fine.

How can I increase flow on my 1.2 GPM faucet?

Some options are to clean the aerator, switch to a lower-restriction aerator, or enable any special flow-boosting modes on the faucet.

Is 1.5 GPM low flow or standard flow?

1.5 GPM is on the border between low-flow and standard flow. It conserves more water than a 2.2 GPM faucet but offers higher flow than most 1.2 GPM models.


The choice between a 1.2 versus 1.5 GPM faucet ultimately comes down to balancing water efficiency with performance.

In most households, a 1.2 GPM low-flow faucet provides satisfactory results for washing hands and dishes while conserving water. This meets green building codes and reduces utility bills over time.

Situations with low water pressure, large families, or heavy pot washing needs may call for 1.5 GPM. This provides 25% more flow for faster filling and better rinsing with slightly higher water usage.

New faucet technologies like selectable flow modes give added flexibility. With smart product choices, you can achieve both water savings and functional performance from your kitchen or bathroom faucet.

Consider your specific needs and choose wisely between the standard 1.2 GPM and slightly higher 1.5 GPM flow rates. This will ensure your new faucet works great while aligning with your eco-values.

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