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faucet aerator adapter guide

The ultimate faucet aerator guide and why you need one

What is a faucet aerator? What are the standard tap aerator sizes? How do you find the right adapter for your new water filter, water saving device or sprayer?

Is your tap’s flow beginning to slow or giving a poor spray? This could be due a dirty or simply old faucet aerator.

Most people have never heard about faucet aerators even if they have one. But if you’ve thought about buying a water filter or you have already purchased one then the concept of a kitchen sink aerator might have come up.

In this guide to faucet aerators we will try to answer all your questions and help guide you through to finding the right aerator adapters if needed.

Why do we have faucet aerators?

Faucet aerators were invented in the 1940s together with the modern kitchen faucet. Originally it was added as a feature of most faucets to give the water a smoother flow. But today there are many other advantages.

Today a faucet or tap aerator can be found at the tip of most indoor water faucets (kitchen and bathroom). Aerators can simply be screwed onto the faucet head, creating a non-splashing stream delivering a mixture of water and air.

What are some other benefits of faucet aerators?

  • Conserve water – although this wasn’t the original purpose, the main advantage today of aerators is that they reduce water consumption by about 20-30% (there are some specialised ones such as Altered that may reduce it with up to 90%)
  • Reduce energy costs – by reducing the amount of water needed to do the dishes for example it also reduces your energy bill for heating up water
  • Filter debris – the aerator may catch some larger particles from your pipes but won’t actually filter the water.
  • Saving soap – Bubbles activate soap faster and thereby reduces the amount of soap needed when you do the dishes
  • Perceived water pressure – The aerator increases the perceived water pressure and thereby helps in homes with low water pressure
  • Bubbles improve taste – Gives drinking water a lighter, fresher taste. Combine this with a TAPP Water filter and you will have great tasting tap water
  • Water stream – Shape the water stream coming out of the faucet spout, to produce a straight and evenly pressured stream
  • Reduce faucet noise – by providing a consistent stream of water and less splashing it reduces the noise of water splashing

According to the EPA, installing high-efficiency faucet aerators can save the average family 2500 L (700 gallons) of water per year, which is approximately the amount of water needed for 45 showers.

How to replace or install the aerator

A faucet aerator can usually be removed without tools but sometimes requires a plier and a towel. Faucet aerators are comprised of three main parts — a screen, a flow restrictor and the mounting piece that screws onto the faucet and uses an aerator washer to prevent leaks.

Step 1:

Identity what kind of aerator it is. The three most common types are:
A. External / female aerator
B. Internal / male aerator
C. Internal Cache or Recessed aerator

Read more about this below.

Step 2:
First, plug the sink in case any small parts slip down the drain.

Step 3:

removing faucet aerator

Twist the aerator off with a clockwise hand turn. If you need pliers (groove-joint ones are best), wrap a cloth around the aerator to prevent scratches. If it’s a recessed aerator then see more information below.

Here are some examples of other aerator removal tools.

How to change a Cache or Recessed aerator

When you purchase a faucet with a cache aerator (for example Kohl), you get a key for removing the aerator in the box. But let’s face it, how many people save this stuff? The key is small and unimportant-looking, and you may have thrown it out with the box. Later you discover that the aerator is blocked, and you cannot remove the aerator from the faucet without it.

recessed aerator cache aerator change key

A cache aerator has male threads. When you screw it in, it disappears inside the spout, so you may need to look inside the spout with a mirror to verify that it’s even there.

But don’t worry, the keys are available to buy for about €5 or you may be able to remove it with normal household tools. Here’s an example from Leroymerlin for €1.50.

Faucet and aerator size guide

Most of the time this is very simple. There are 3 basic sizes in Europe and the United States for faucet aerators. However, it can get a bit complicated with sizes, male/female if your faucet doesn’t belong to one of these.

TAPP Water filters generally fit all faucets in Europe and the US except the shower faucets and a few other odd designs. By default TAPP Water filters use the same connection as a standard female aerator (see below)

Note: When we refer to aerator size or measuring an aerator, we always refer to the outer diameter of the aerator, including all housing, rings, or other components of the aerator. We did not choose male/female to describe adapters.

The two most common faucets in Europe and US are:

  1. Male M22x1 (Europe) / 55/64″-27 (US size also referred to as Regular)
  2. Female F24x1 (Europe) / 15/16″-27 (US size also referred to as Regular)

Here’s a complete guide of the different sizes and how to identify the size of your aerator

Aerator ModelAerator DiameterCoin size approx
EUR or USD
Female (Internal threads)
We refer to these as Fxx
but they are sometimes
also referred to as Mxx (Female)
The coin should fit just inside
the aerator.
F16 (M16.5×1)15-15.5 mm2 cent (EUR)
F18 (M18.5×1)17-17.5 mm5 cent (EUR)
Dime (USD)
F20 (M20.5×1)19-19.5 mm
3/4”
20 cent (EUR)
Nickel (USD)l
F22 (M21.5×1)
Referred to as Regular in the US
21-21.5 mm
55/64″ (US size)
50 cent (EUR)
1 Quarter coin (USD)
F24 (M23.5×1)23-23.5 mm2 Euro coin (EUR)
F26 (M25.5×1)25.5-26 mm
F28 (M27.5×1)27.5-28 mm
Male (external threads)The coin should reach the
edges of the aerator.
M16 (M16.5×1)
Referred to as Tom-thumb in the US
15-15.5 mm
M18 (M18.5×1)
Referred to as tiny junior in the US
17-17.5 mm2 cent (EUR)
M2019.5-20 mm10 cent (EUR)
Dime (USD)
M22 (M21.5×1)
Referred to as junior in the US
21.5-22 mm5 cent (EUR)
Nickel (USD)
M24
Referred to as regular in the US
23.5-24 mm1 Euro (EUR)
Quarter (USD)
M2827.5-28 mm

With the help of this guide and our adapter wizard customers can easily order an extra aerator adapter for free from TAPP Water.

How to Clean a Faucet Aerator

One you’ve detached the aerator you can easily just clean it by spraying water on it and using your fingers to get dirt out. If there’s limescale and you want it really clean then let it soak in vinegar for a while.

Example of a dirty tap aerator
Example of a dirty tap aerator

Signs that you need a new aerator

signs that a faucet aerator needs to be changed

If your water flow is restricted to a trickle, it may be clogged with sediment. It is possible to clean a clogged aerator by soaking it in vinegar for a few hours. But because aerators are so inexpensive, it may be time to install a new aerator.

See our guide above about how to remove it but normally it’s as simple as unscrewing it, either with your fingers or by using pliers. When the aerator is off, you can either clean it in vinegar or replace the screen with a new one.

An added benefit is that your faucet will receive a new neoprene gasket. Since gaskets can begin to crack and fray over time, a new gasket also will improve the flow of water.

Now you’ve learned everything about aerators in our ultimate faucet aerator guide.

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