There are so many taps on the market today that you’re bound to find something to suit your kitchen and bathroom, as well as your pocket! But it doesn’t just come down to style and type. You’ll want to consider the water pressure, the finish, how easy they are to clean and what type of sink you have too. We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right tap:
Style – There are five main types of kitchen taps:
Pillar taps are a more traditional style of tap used n two-hole baths and basins. They have two separate faucets, one for hot and one for cold water, and are suitable for households where there’s low water pressure. They come in three handle styles – knob, lever and cross, though they’re not suitable for people with arthritis or hand mobility issues.
Monobloc taps are often known as mixers (because they ‘mix’ the hot and cold water inside the body of the tap). They have a single spout and two separate flow control handles for hot and cold water, which are moved left and right for temperature, and up and down for water pressure. They’re usually fitted to sinks with one hole. They come in the same three handle styles – knob, lever and cross, but you’ll need to check your water pressure because some mixers require a high pressure water system to work properly!
Single Lever taps have a single spout and one easy-to-use lever. The same handle controls
the water pressure flow, the temperature and turns the water on and off. These taps are
very convenient and well suited to kitchen sinks and bathrooms.
Freestanding taps rise up from the worktop or floor and are perfect for roll-top baths and wash basins. They’re available in a variety of styles.
Materials & Finish
When choosing the finish for your taps you’ll want to take into consideration the overall style of your bathroom or kitchen.
The majority of kitchen taps are finished in brass or a brass-effect, which adds a real warmth and a touch of luxury. These taps can also be enamelled or plated in a high gloss or matt to give a chrome, nickel, polished brass, pewter, silk steel or antique gold finish.
Chrome is particularly popular in more contemporary settings and though chrome taps will need more frequent cleaning, they’re very stylish.
You can even go for a solid stainless steel tap with a high shine or brushed finish. These are the most expensive option, but they’re also more hard-wearing and need cleaning less often.
How to clean your taps
Whatever taps you choose they’ll need regular cleaning to keep them looking smart and shiny. Use a soft cloth, a gentle cleaning product and some warm water. Rinse the tap, wipe dry with another clean soft cloth and voila, shiny, sparkling, good-as-new taps. Just make sure you don’t use any harsh chemicals, cloths or creams as they can scratch and cause permanent damage.
How to fit your taps
To get the best finish and the best result, we recommend you have your taps fitted by an experienced, professional plumber.
Which tap for which sink?
Traditionally, taps are mounted on basins and baths with built-in tap holes. You’ll need to check what pre-drilled holes your sink or bath has to make sure you buy a tap that will fit.
Remember, if you have a sink with two bowls, a mixer tap with a movable spout is best.
If you’re thinking of installing mixer taps, it’s very important to check what your household water pressure is first before buying to make sure it’s high enough to accommodate them. You can check your water pressure by asking a plumber, or by completing this simple test at home with a 1-litre jug and a timer.
Make sure all your taps and appliances like washing machines and dishwashers are turned off completely.
Turn your cold kitchen tap all the way on. Now time how long it takes to fill your 1-litre jug with water. It should take around 7 seconds.
If it takes longer than 7 seconds to fill the 1-litre jug, you have low water pressure.
There’s a lot of innovation going on in the tap world. Taps aren’t just an essential element of any kitchen or bathroom anymore. Here are some of the best new taps on the market:
Brita offers unfiltered hot and cold water as well as fresh filtered drinking water all from the same tap. You’ll need to change the cartridges regularly, which are are sold separately and last for approximately 3 months, depending on the hardness of the water.
Boiling Water Taps
You can now install a tap in your kitchen sink that can boil you a cup of tea and parboil your veggies with the flick of a lever. Smeg offer a 3 in 1 (boiling water, cold water and standard hot water) and the Insinkerator Hot & Cold offers this plus an additional water filter feature.
Pull Out Spray Taps
These are super stylish, very practical and look at home in any professional kitchen. It’s a flexible tap that offers a range of washing and rinsing options. Leading brands offering these include Grohe, Cooke & Lewis, Blanco and Franke.
Minta Touch Tap
Grohe’s Minta Touch Tap only needs a simple touch of the back of your hand to turn it on and off. It’s perfect for those with messy hands who like things germ free!
The Quick and easy Simplifit is a brand new style of tap that anyone can fit without formal plumbing training! With 4 available designs, you simply insert the hoes onto the surface of the sink, tighten with an allen key then position the tap body and spout. Plus, if you change your mind you can swap it for one of the other 3 Simplifit styles with a simple clip.
So whether you’re adding a traditional twist to a bathroom or a contemporary accessory to minimalist and modern kitchen, there are so many taps on offer. The choice is yours!