Thinking that styles of kitchen taps are pretty much the same as each other is a reasonable mistake to make. Most of us aren’t plumbers, and most of us don’t spend our days considering the features and benefits of different types of kitchen tap. However, if you’re thinking about replacing the taps in your kitchen, or are installing the latest innovation in kitchen sinks and are facing a dilemma about which taps to buy, here are some pointers to get you started.
To Mix or Not to Mix?
If you’re replacing taps in an existing kitchen sink, your decision about which taps to choose is going to be constrained by what you have already as your replacement taps are going to have to fit in the same holes. Similarly when buying a new sink unit, you might have to rule out certain types of taps as they will not fit. If you have a free choice, your main decision is between having two separate kitchen pillar taps, or one tap which mixes the water. Mixer taps allow you to more closely regulate the water temperature coming out of the tap and are usually a more convenient choice than having two separate taps.
Turning the Taps On
You also have a few options when it comes to how you are going to switch your taps on and off. The traditional twist mechanism works fine, but levers can be a better option if you often find yourself struggling to turn on the taps with dirty hands. Lever taps can give your kitchen a more modern look, and their flat surfaces mean they’re easier to keep clean too. Touch taps, where you just knock the tap with any part of your hand to turn it on, and taps which switch on when you wave your hand in front of a sensor are also becoming more commonplace but are still relatively expensive.
There are a lot of different taps to choose from, so be sure to have a proper look before you make your final choice.
Don’t think there’s no change in the kitchen tap world, there are some modern innovations too, and one of the best for those living in a hard water area is the filter tap. These taps combine the functions of a standard tap and a water filter, which helps remove a lot of the minerals which cause limescale build up in your kettle. The filter part of the system sits underneath your counter out of sight, and the tap looks like any other kitchen tap. If limescale is a problem in your area (here’s a few tips for getting rid of limescale), then consider one of these dual function taps as they represent fair value for money
Hot Water Taps
For around £350, you can install a tap in your kitchen which will give you boiling water on demand and allow you to dispense with the kettle entirely. The two main brands to look out for are InSinkErator and GROHE Red, although as these taps are growing in popularity many other manufacturers are getting in on the act too. A hot water tank will be installed beneath your countertop and this will then dispense boiling water at the touch of a button.
It’s pricey but practical.
Pull Out Taps
If you’re going for the “professional kitchen” look for your home kitchen, then look at pull out spray kitchen taps which have a nozzle on a long hose which can be pulled out and then used to supply water or clean down across the kitchen. Pull out taps are great for washing up and rinsing off surfaces and utensils, and are very useful in a busy family kitchen. This sort of tap doesn’t have to be very expensive either; prices start at around £60 and all of the large bathroom retailers will carry a selection.
A new set of taps for the kitchen can cost you anything from £20 for budget models to £300+ for top end Franke kitchen taps. Remember that if you are buying a complete fitted kitchen you might be in a better position to negotiate on the price of the taps than if you are only making one purchase.
Plumbers will charge around £100 to fit a standard set of taps in the kitchen, but installing special taps such as filter taps or those with a hot water tank may cost more, and it is always best to get someone in to fit them who has successfully worked with them in the past.