Are Kitchen Faucet Aerators Universal? (All You Need To Know)

Kitchen faucet aerators are used to save water and to save money. The main reason for using a faucet aerator is to cut down the water usage and lower the utility bills.

And if you are planning to buy an aerator, then it is very important to know exactly which size and style to get. So, are kitchen faucet aerators universal? 

All faucet aerators are not universal. Basically, there are two different types of aerators male and female. An aerator can either be male or female depending upon where its threads are located.

A male aerator will fit a female faucet while a female aerator will fit a male faucet. There is also a dual aerator which has threads on both inside and outside, so it can fit both faucet types. Also, aerators come in two sizes: regular (55/64” F, 15/16” M) and junior (3/4” F, 13/16” M).

Now choosing the right aerator for your kitchen faucet is not a straightforward task. So it’s important to do a little research because you don’t want to end up with the wrong decision.

Here we had mentioned some points that need to be kept in mind. So, let’s discuss this in detail.

How To Know Which Aerator I Need?

Basically, the faucet aerator comes in 2 varieties: male and female aerator. So, if your kitchen faucet has threads on the outside, it is a male faucet – which means you need to buy a female aerator.

Similarly, if your kitchen faucet has threads on the inside, it is a female faucet and you’ll need a male aerator.

Once you’ve determined whether you need a male or female aerator. Now you’ll need to check the size of the aerator.

How Do I Know What Size My Faucet Aerator Is?

Usually, faucet aerators come in three sizes – Junior, Regular, and Tom Thumb. The regular size for a faucet aerator is 15/16” inches for male aerators or 55/64” inches for female aerators,

while the junior size is 13/16” inches for male aerators or 3/4” inches for female aerators and some faucets use a smaller Tom Thumb size which is M18 for male aerators or M16 for female aerators.

To know the size of your aerator, you need to remove the existing aerator from the faucet. Just unscrew it, maybe you need a wrench if the aerator is tight.

Now use coins to check the size! Simply get a nickel, a quarter, and a dime.

Place the coins over the aerator. If your aerator is about the size of a quarter, you will need a regular-sized aerator. If the aerator is about the size of a nickel, you will need a junior-sized aerator.

While on the other hand, if your aerator is approximately the size of a dime, you will need a Tom Thumb size aerator.

Faucet Aerator Size Chart

Below we mentioned a chart so that you can easily understand the size and type of aerator you need.

Male Female
Regular 15/16 inches 55/64 inches
Junior 13/16 inches ¾ inches
Tom Thumb M18 M16

Things To Check Before You Buy A Kitchen Faucet Aerator

Here are some following factors that need to be considered before you buy a kitchen faucet aerator. The factors that need to be kept in mind are size, style, usage, and the difference between male and female aerators.

Also, consider the goals that you have in mind for the faucet aerator.

Let’s get into it!

What Are Aerators And What Do They Do?

First, you need to be aware of what a kitchen faucet aerator is and how it works. An aerator is a small part attached at the end of the faucet.

It has a small mesh screen that breaks down the flow of water into small streams, adding air in between.

By dividing the water stream with air, an aerator reduces your water usage while still maintaining the feeling of high water pressure.

The other function of the aerator is to reduce splashing in sinks. Also, an aerator can reduce your water consumption by up to 50-60%.

Male/Female Threads

Aerators come in two different varieties “male” and “female” and which one you need depends on your kitchen faucet. First, you need to take a look at your kitchen faucet and check the threads where it is located.

If your faucet has threads on the outside, get a female aerator. If your faucet has threads on the inside, get a male aerator.


Generally, faucet aerators are available in two sizes: regular and junior. The regular size of a faucet aerator is 15/16” inches for male aerators or 55/64” inches for female aerators,

while the junior size is 13/16” inches for male aerators or 3/4” inches for female aerators. Also, some faucets use small Tom Thumb size which is M18 for male aerators or M16 for female aerators.

To check the size of your aerator, you will need 3 coins a quarter, a nickel, and a dime. First, remove the faucet aerator and then place the coin on the top of the aerator.

  • If your aerator is about the size of a quarter, you will need a regular-sized aerator.
  • If the size of the aerator is similar to nickel, you will need a junior-sized aerator.
  • If your aerator is about the size of a dime, you will need a Tom Thumb-sized aerator.

Usage and GPM

Since different aerators have different flow types. So when you are buying a faucet aerator, first you need to understand which flow rate is the best for your need.

Generally, aerator flow rates are measured in GPM (gallons per minute). Now let’s look at which type of aerator you need because it all depends on what task you’ll be using the faucet for.

Aerator with high volume has a standard flow rate of around 2.2 GPM. These types of aerators are better for those activities that require a large amount of water such as filling large pots or watering your garden.

On the other hand, a lower volume aerator has a flow rate of around 0.5 to 1.0 GPM which is perfect for kitchen activities such as washing dishes, cleaning hands, etc.

Also, a lower volume aerator can save up to 75% more water in comparison to a standard flow.

Aerator Style

The five main aerator styles are laminar, spray, aerated, rain spray, and Mikado. Now, what style you need depends on the task you’ll be performing and what are the main uses of your faucet.

Let’s look at each style and its uses.

Aerated Stream

An aerated stream is the only aerator that truly mixes air into the water to produce a larger and whiter stream that is soft to the touch and non-splashing.

These types of aerators are mostly used in homes and apartments. They are the usual choice for residential applications.

Laminar Stream

Laminar flow aerators produce a non-aerated water stream and also non-splashing. It gives you a crystal clear and 100% water stream which means no mix of air with water. It is mostly used for high-flow applications or healthcare facilities.

Spray Stream

If your faucet has a low water pressure problem and is unable to produce an aerated or laminar stream then a spray aerator is a go-to option.

Spray stream aerators are used to produce a miniature shower pattern to provide full coverage during hand washing and are generally used in public restrooms.

Rain spray Stream

Rain spray Stream gives you a special washing experience. It has numerous little nozzles that force to produce an extensive, abundant and wider stream of water. Thus it offers a higher coverage – feels like a shower sensation for your hands.

Mikado Stream

Mikado Stream has a unique design that turns the water into an eye-catcher when washing hands.

It produces an extraordinary spray pattern that is formed by individual water jets. These water jets help to create a delicate and harmonious design.

How Much Water Does Faucet Aerators Save?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average faucet flows at about 2.2 gallons per minute which means if you wash your hands for 20 seconds you will use three-quarters of a gallon.

But, if you invest a small amount in a faucet aerator then you can lower your household water usage from 15 liters per minute to 6 liters per minute.

A low-flow aerator can reduce the rate of water flow from 2.2 to 1.5 gallons per minute or less.

Therefore, installing a low-flow aerator can save about 700 gallons of water per year which is equal to the amount of water needed to take 45 showers.

You can find various types of aerators in the market – 0.25 GPM aerators can save extreme water, whereas the 1.5 GPM aerators will do a moderate level job. A good flow rate has a range between 0.5 to 1.5 GPM (gallon per minute).

Kitchen Faucet Aerators Maintenance

As your faucet gets old the aerator needs maintenance. While maintaining the aerator is not a difficult task and does not take a ton of effort.

In this section, we will learn how to maintain your faucet aerator, so that it lasts for a long time and doesn’t cause any problems in the future. But “how do I know when I need maintenance for my aerator”.

So the answer is very simple if you notice that the water pressure has decreased or the stream pattern has been changed in your faucet, the aerator may be the reason.

Sometimes the tiny mesh of the aerator can get clogged with debris, or with the build of minerals from the water. However, this is a quick and easy fix. First of all, you need to remove the aerator and then clean it.

In the below section we are going to discuss how to remove and clean your faucet aerator.

Let’s get into it!

Removing a Faucet Aerator

You can easily remove both male and female aerators by just turning the aerator in an anticlockwise direction.

If the aerator is stuck inside there, you can use pliers to remove the aerator. Make sure to use a towel between the pliers to avoid scratches.

Note – if your faucet has a cache aerator, you will need a specific tool or key to remove it.

Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

  • Firstly, remove the aerator by turning it in an anticlockwise direction.
  • Leave the aerator inside the bowl of white vinegar. The vinegar solution will dissolve all the mineral or calcium deposits build up inside the aerator.
  • Wait for an hour.
  • Now clean the inside of the spout by using a rag. Dip the rag in the vinegar and push it inside the spout with the help of a screwdriver.
  • After cleaning the spout, clean the aerator with the help of a toothbrush and wash it with clean water from the faucet.
  • Assemble the aerator and install it on the faucet.
  • Now turn on the faucet and check the pressure of the water.


A faucet aerator helps to reduce your water usage and lower your utility bills. There are some low-flow aerators that can save a large amount of water, whereas some save less.

We had discussed that faucet aerators are not universal. There are different categories of aerators in terms of size, shape, and gender. So, keep this in mind before buying an aerator.

We hope this guide helps you and thank you for reading this article.