Bathroom Taps Buying Guide

While bigger items such as your bath and shower are important to overhauling a bathroom, smaller fittings should never be neglected, especially bathroom taps.

The appeal of a room can be defined by the finer details rather than the big and expensive fittings like showers and baths. That’s why items, such as taps, shouldn’t be a second thought.

Choosing the right taps for your bathroom can be difficult because of the options you have. To help make things easy, we've made this buying guide to take you through the types of bathroom taps.

Read on to find out what you need to consider when buying the perfect bath and basin taps…

What are the types of bathroom taps?

Bathroom taps come in a range of sizes and styles, with many modern choices being monobloc as opposed to two separate pillar taps. Many options include pillar taps, wall-mounted taps, mixer taps, waterfall taps, and tall basin taps.

Pillar taps

Park Lane Winchester Basin Taps

The once go to tap choice in UK homes, basin and bath pillar taps. These are usually supplied in pairs for two tap-hole sinks and split into hot and cold taps.

Pillar taps feature two separate taps and are often seen on traditional basins and roll-top baths. One tap will draw hot water while the other will draw cold water. The hot and cold water flows separately into your basin or bath.

Bathroom pillar taps are often available in two styles - crosshead and levers. Crosshead taps often have rounded spouts and traditional lines for a classic look. Levers can come in a range of designs. Traditional styles will feature ceramic handles, whereas modern designs could have chrome levers that can be pulled upwards, sideways, or have sharper lines.

Mixer taps

Bathroom mixer taps combine both your hot and cold water into just one tap, with one control allowing you to find your ideal water temperature.

Simple and minimalistic, bathroom mixer taps are a more modern alternative to pillar taps. They do the job of two separate bathroom taps effortlessly and look great while doing it. The mixer ensures flow and temperature are easily controlled using a single lever. 

Bath mixer taps and basin mixer taps are mainly available in modern designs, either rounded or with sharp lines, but you can still get traditional-looking mixer taps to match your decor. If you have young children, these taps are ideal for controlling the temperature and avoiding burns, scalds, and even damage to your basin.

Waterfall taps

Visually stunning, these taps are a type of mixer tap. An open-top spout sees water cascade to look like a waterfall.

Read more: Design Inspiration: Waterfall Taps

Extremely stylish, this evolution of the tap sees water cascade from a single, open-top spout, unlike other mixer taps, to look like a waterfall. Waterfall taps come in a range of widths and sizes and are often controlled by a single, easy-to-use handle.

Tall mixer taps

Another type of mixer tap that looks like a tall basin tap, making it ideal for mounting to a worktop with a countertop basin.

These stunning bathroom taps look fantastic alongside countertop basins, which have become a popular combination around the UK. Incredibly stylish, you can find rounded and angular designs to match the rest of your bathroom.

Tall basin taps can also feature open spouts, making them high-rise waterfall taps. This makes for a much more dramatic version of a gorgeous, eye-catching fixture.

Wall-mounted taps

One of the most modern and sleek taps available, they provide a contemporary and streamlined look. Attached to the wall, you only see the spout and controls.

Wall-mounted taps are a fantastic alternative to a deck-mounted tap - those that sit on your bath or basin - as they give you more flexibility with your design.

They are also a great choice if you’re looking to have a countertop basin, wall mounted basin taps provide a wonderful alternative to high-rise options.

A statement fixture, wall-mounted bathroom taps can create a feature aesthetic in your bathroom, as well as providing an on-trend minimalist feel.

Bath shower mixer taps

Bath shower mixer taps or simply bath taps with shower, come in a variety of designs from traditional sit-on installation to contemporary freestanding options, creating an option for every bathroom style.

Another great feature of this style of tap is the clever additional hand-held shower head, perfect for swilling out the bath or washing your hair. What's more, you can also find waterfall options too. Again with the additional handheld shower head but with a luxurious waterfall tap too instead of a standard mixer tap.

Freestanding bath taps are an ideal match for a contemporary freestanding, or roll-top bath.

What do I need to know when buying bathroom taps?

Besides aesthetics, there are some key considerations when looking to buy new bathroom taps, and we’ve outlined them below...

Basins and taps

This is all about how many holes are in your basin, which will directly impact the type of bathroom taps you can buy.

If you have one tap hole, you can choose between monobloc and mixer taps. As the names suggest, these sink taps use a single lever to control the flow of both hot and cold water from one spout.

Monobloc bathroom taps will also have one spout but can feature two handles to independently control the hot and cold water. Mixer taps will have a mixer fitted in the system to safely mix the hot and cold water to avoid burns or damage to the ceramic sink.

Read more: Contemporary Bathroom Design Tips

If you have two tap holes, you’ll need to opt for pillar taps. These bathroom taps are available in a wide variety of styles. Both traditional and modern taps may include knobbed handles, lever and cross-shaped handles. Each tap controls either warm or cold water.

Obviously, if you are replacing taps but keeping your basin, you’ll be limited in the bathroom taps available to you.

Think about spouts

When you’re looking for new taps, always measure your basin and the dimensions your new taps will need to fit. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to squeeze your hands under the running water. 

You need to think about the depth of the basin - how far away from the edge of the basin are the tap holes? How big is the basin? Do you have any bathroom furniture that could make leaning over a basin difficult? Are you using the basin just for handwashing?

A simple rule for most basins is this: look for taps that extend as far as the plug hole. 

Lower spouts are good for smaller, cloakroom bathrooms where space is tight. Higher spouts make it easier to wash and shave. Longer spouts are suitable for larger bathrooms and basins where space isn’t an issue.

Water pressure

Another consideration you need to have when buying bathroom taps is water pressure. You want your new sink taps to perform properly with your water system.

Low-pressure water systems are often gravity-fed and have less than 1.0 bar. Just as an example, one metre of vertical distance between the tap and the bottom of your cold water storage tank will give you 0.1 bar of pressure. If you have this type of water system at home, you will need basin taps specifically designed for low pressure.

Many homes in the UK feature a low-pressure water system, many without a pressure-boosting system. They are gravity-fed, with water coming from a tank in the loft.

If you have a high-pressure water system, you’ll be able to choose almost any basin tap. Mains-fed, pumped and combi boilers are all referred to as high-pressure systems. Each bathroom tap will state its minimum requirement for water pressure.

Rule: low pressure is usually up to 0.5 bar. 0.5 bar to 1.0 bar is classed as medium pressure. Anything above 1.0 bar is classed as high pressure.

What colour tap?

Gone are the days when everyone had classic chrome taps. These days there are plenty of options from brushed brass, to gold and even black bathroom taps.

If you're looking to add a touch of elegance to your bathroom then brushed brass basin or bath taps are a great option. However, if you want to achieve a monochrome or contemporary look, matt black taps are the perfect choice.

If you're looking for more bathroom tap or basin inspiration or advice take a look at the following posts - How to Replace Basin Taps Step By Step - What are the Different Types of Bathroom Basins? - Space Saving Basins Buying Guide.

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