The Different Types Of Kitchen Taps – A Complete Guide
There are a lot of types of kitchen taps and mixers on the market, and it’s sometimes difficult to know which one is best for you. Often making you feel a little drained… (sorry!)
In this post, I’ll go over the different types of kitchen taps, their various features and what to look for when choosing one. As well as answer some popular questions about the topic.
Let’s dive in!
How to choose a kitchen tap
- Type – This is the construction of the tap. Do you prefer a single monobloc design, a bridge tap or even a wall-mounted tap? I’ve broken it down into 8 main types of kitchen taps below.
- Features – These are things like boiling water, filtered water and even sparkling water. It’s just a shame they haven’t come out with that elusive champagne tap yet!
- Spout Style – This is the shape and design of the spout on your kitchen tap. Do you prefer a more contemporary square spout, a taller swan neck spout or something more traditional and ornate?
- Finish – Chome, brass, gold, copper and stainless steel to name a few. What colour and texture finish do you want for your tap?
- Water Pressure – Don’t forget not all households have the same water pressure. If you have low water pressure in your home you may be a little restricted in your tap choice. Check your water pressure before falling in love with a tap that won’t perform in your kitchen.
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Types Of Kitchen Taps
Ok, so let’s take a look at each of these types of kitchen taps and learn which one (or ones) might be right for you. There’s such a wide range on the market, so I’ve broken them down into eight main types.
Single Lever Mixer Taps (Monobloc)
The single-lever mixer tap is the most popular tap found in kitchens across the UK today. The hot and cold water supplies are connected under the sink to the mixer valve. One hole is cut into the worktop or sink to allow for the monobloc to pop through.
You have one spout that likely swings across the sink. The single handle controls the water pressure by lifting it up. Swing it to either side to make the water hot or colder. It may also have a pull-out nozzle that replaces the old spray hose tap that helps to rinse out the sink.
Twin Lever Mixer Taps (Monobloc)
If you see a single hole tap on a kitchen sink with a lever on each side of the pillar, it is the twin-lever mixer tap. The separate handles control either the hot or cold water supply which then combines in the spout to deliver a nice even flow of water.
The neck of the tap swings to each side for ease of use. It may include a pull-out nozzle but is more likely to have a fixed nozzle.
Your grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen may have pillar taps. There is a separate tap and spout for hot and cold water. While you can still buy pillar taps, it is an old-fashioned solution for washing your dishes.
You always seem to be moving your hands back and forth between the two flows of water trying to find the right temperature.
A bridge tap is the next generation past the pillar taps. A pipe runs between the hot and cold tap and connects with the central spout. It looks like a bridge at the back of your sink.
Modern bridge taps allow the single spout to swivel, but many still lack anti-scalding valves and it can be difficult to find the right water temperature.
Three Hole Taps
If there are three holes cut into the back of the sink or the countertop needed to mount your kitchen taps, then you have a three-hole tap. Three holes are needed for the hot and cold handle and the spout.
You can convert this dated design into a monobloc tap by adding an escutcheon plate to the top of the sink.
Wall Mounted Taps
Wall-mounted (sometimes called deck mounted) kitchen taps can be found on both ultra-modern and retro kitchen designs. The hot and cold water supplies are fed up behind the wall and pop out right over the kitchen sink.
The taps can be lever handles or crossheads. The older designs will use a three-hole or bridge approach, but some modern versions will be monobloc levers. Just be aware a little bit of extra plumbing work may be required ahead of time to install these types of kitchen taps.
Push / Handleless Taps
Push taps are like a monobloc design without the control lever. A pressure-activated button at the end of the spout opens the valve to dispense water at a pre-selected temperature. This is a popular choice for handwashing sinks in commercial kitchens.
You can change out the button for a motion-activated sensor valve for a truly hands-free experience. These may not work in a kitchen that is focused on cooking and washing dishes.
Pot Filler Taps
Pot filler taps are popular in luxury chef-quality kitchen designs. The tap is mounted to the wall next to or behind the hob. The spout is on an articulated arm that can be positioned over a pot sitting on the hob.
Flip the lever to fill your pots and pans with water. It’s a time saver for cooking, and you don’t have to carry heavy pots across the kitchen.
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Kitchen Tap Features
Boiling Water Taps
The item on nearly every client’s wish list, a boiling water tap! Instant boiling water at the touch (or twist and pump) of a button. These taps are becoming more and more popular and for good reason.
They’re super convenient, they save time, reduce countertop clutter and can save on energy and water consumption in the long term. Available as a 3in1 tap (like the image below) or a stand-alone separate tap. There are lots of styles and finishes to choose from.
The installation will require a bit more effort as you’ll need power nearby or in the sink cabinet itself to power the water tank. Also worth noting that the tank itself will take up space in your cabinet. Different makes and models have varying tank shapes and sizes.
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Filtered Water Taps
Perfect for homes that are located in hard water areas where your sink and tap always seem to suffer from limescale build-up. A filtered water tap does exactly what it says on the tin. It will have a built-in water filter as part of its design. Giving you beautifully clean filtered drinking water at the push of a lever.
Available as a 3in1 or additional stand-alone tap. A filtered water tap can be a great way to cut down on plastic waste if you rely on bottled drinking water. And can be much more convenient than having a filter jug in your fridge you have to keep refilling.
Filtered water taps will have filter cartridges that will need to be replaced periodically to keep the water fresh and fully filtered. They are usually located in the sink cabinet and can be easily changed when the time comes. No plumber is required.
Sparkling Water Taps
If you want to go one step further than a filtered water boiling water tap you can now get a sparkling water tap. And you can even have instant boiling, filtered and sparkling water all out of a single tap!
The Quooker Cube lets you have all three (as well as your normal hot and cold) making it the ultimate tap!
Available as a 3in1 or separate tap. Many sparkling water taps will also be filtered water taps too. And similar to a filtered water tap, they will also require cartridges of CO2 to create those wonderful bubbles.
A pull-out spray can be a great addition to any tap and may not cost much more than a standard tap.
Simply pull down on the nozzle to release the end from the spout and you have a flexible spout you can move around your sink to really get into the corners and wash those larger items. On top of this, push the button on the nozzle and it turns from your regular water flow to a more powerful spray. So you can really blast that lasagne dish.
If the particular style of tap you like doesn’t come with a pull-out spray a separate side sprayer could be just what you want.
Mounted alongside your kitchen tap a side spray is there ready to be pulled out and used to spray down last night’s dinner off your plates. They’ll have a flexible hose attached to them, so you’ll be able to really get into every corner of a large sink.
Kitchen Taps Spout Styles
Swan Neck Spout
A swan neck spout is probably the most common spout style and likely what you think of most when you think about a kitchen tap. A bit like an upside-down J. Its high spout is curved at the top leaving plenty of room underneath to get that big kettle filled up.
Usually associated with more modern or contemporary style kitchens. A square spout has more of a 90° angle at the top of the spout and near the nozzle creating that more square look.
Traditional / Ornate Spout
Not nearly as popular these days is the traditional or ornate spout style. Characterised by its intricate shaping and often curved spout.
Kitchen Taps Handle Types
The most popular handle type for kitchen taps these days. You can get lever handles as single or twin designed as slim sticks, flat panels and anything in between. Lever handles are simple and easy to use. Especially handy for little ones or anyone suffering from arthritis in their hands or struggling to grip.
A crosshead handle is much more traditional and something you’ll likely find in victorian style homes. Usually only found on twin handle taps, most commonly bridge taps. The handle with have a cross + on the top of it, sometimes displaying the words hot and cold.
While they can look lovely, crosshead handles can be a little harder to grip and operate.
You’ll very rarely see a twist handle kitchen tap these days, they’re more common in the bathroom. They tend to be very much on the budget end of taps and are usually available as pillar taps or twin handle monobloc taps. It’s that classic blue and red handle you twist to open the valve and let the water through.
Kitchen Taps Finishes
Chrome, brushed steel, matt black, bronze the list goes on! There are dozens of different finishes you can get for your kitchen tap these days so you’re sure to find that perfect finish to match the rest of your kitchen colour scheme and aesthetic.
A little tip when it comes to incorporating more than one metal finish as part of your kitchen interior décor. The popular design choice is to match with any other hardware (handles/hinges) or appliances.
However, If you are having a different finish, make it intentionally different. ie if you have stainless steel handles go black or brass for the tap, not chrome. A close matching finish that isn’t an exact match looks like a swing and a miss. Be intentionally different when using different metal finishes.
Water Pressure And Kitchen Taps
Before you order your new kitchen taps, it is wise to test your home’s water pressure. Not every kitchen tap design will work well with low water pressure.
Any home with a water flow rate of fewer than 10 litres per minute has low water pressure. If you have low water pressure, you likely have a cistern hiding in your loft and a hot water tank in the kitchen.
Monobloc taps with mixer valves have difficulty working with lower water pressure. You will likely need a pillar, bridge, or three-hole tap for best performance.
High Pressure Vented
If you have a combi boiler in your home, you have a high pressure vented water system. The pump in the combi boiler ensures that all of your taps receive proper high pressure at all times.
You can use any kind of kitchen tap that appeals to you.
High Pressure Unvented
When you have a hot water tank, but no cold-water tank in your home, you have a high-pressure unvented water system. Your water pressure will always be at the pressure provided by the local council.
High-pressure unvented systems work well with any type of kitchen tap. At the same time, not every water district manages to deliver high pressure to every home. Test your pressure even if you have an unvented system.
What kitchen taps are most popular?
The highest selling kitchen tap across the UK is the single-lever mixer monobloc tap. While finishes like gold and brushed nickel continue to come and go, the stainless steel kitchen mixer tap remains popular. It is the one most likely to match your other existing taps throughout the flat.
Homeowners also typically select a monobloc tap with a tall curving spout that easily fits over your largest pot sitting in the sink. The most recent models include a pull-out spout that eradicates the need for a separate spray nozzle mounted at the back of the sink.
Popular kitchen tap brands include Franke, Blanco, Perrin & Rowe, Grohe and Quooker.
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What types of kitchen taps resist corrosion?
Kitchen taps have been designed for decades to avoid corrosion. If your taps are filled up with white crystalline deposits, it is a result of hard water. No kitchen tap design can help with this problem.
You need to invest in a water softener to help prevent the buildup of limescale in your taps. You can reduce visible signs of white scale by using a solution of vinegar or lemon juice.
Corrosion indicates metal breaking down due to oxidation. All kitchen taps use brass and stainless steel which are not subject to corroding under normal conditions.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about the different types of kitchen taps and how to choose the best one for you and your kitchen.
There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to the type, style and finishes you choose for your kitchen tap. Everyones home and style are unique and the features and look you want from your kitchen tap will also be unique to you. Just check your water pressure before you fall in love with a tap that won’t work with your home’s water pressure.
So, which type of tap will you go for in your new kitchen renovation? Remember to take your time with your decision, you don’t want to faucet.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.