Your guide to buying taps
Our tips here will help you select what's right for your home's style. There are tons of tap designs to choose from - you can even get one that serves tasty filtered water. Some need a higher water pressure so check your pressure before you buy.
Check your water pressure
Most taps work fine with standard water pressure but shower mixer taps need a higher pressure to perform. So your first step is to check out that pressure. If you're not sure, get advice from a plumber or your local water company. If you're replacing your bathroom or kitchen, choose sink taps and bath taps at the start of your planning - it's much easier to adjust plumbing before fitting than after.
Deciding on a style
Here's a simple rule to start you off when deciding on bathroom taps or kitchen sink taps...
Match the size of tap with the size of your bathroom suite or kitchen - smaller taps for small basins and larger taps for bigger fixtures. All the styles here come in a range of finishes, and in contemporary or traditional designs.
Suitable for two-hole baths, basins and kitchen sinks, the pillar style comprises a pair of taps, one for hot water and one for cold. They're cheap, simple to fit and come with traditional cross head or lever handles. Taps with shrouded heads of plastic or metal covering most of the body are also easy for gripping - excellent for elderly users.
This single-body style mixes hot and cold water in the body of the tap. Two handles either side of the tap control water flow, making it easy to regulate temperature and prevent burns. Check your water pressure before buying mixer taps as they need relatively high pressure to work well.
The dual flow provides a single stream of water, but prevents unequal pressure by keeping the hot and cold water flows separate within the body of the tap. Dual flows are ideal when you want a mixer tap but have unequal pressure between your hot and cold supplies.
A single lever controls the hot and cold flow through one mixer tap. Monobloc taps are very neat, offer ease of control and minimalist fans will love the pared-down design. Check your water pressure before fitting, as the Monobloc only works if the pressure in your hot and cold water supplies is almost equal.
The mixer set's special diverter mechanism directs the water supply to a showerhead fitting into the tap. Simple! You can place your showerhead telephone-style over the mixer tap for a period look, or hang it over the bath from a wall bracket.
This is a great-value over-bath shower tap as you don't need extra plumbing or a shower pump. An ideal choice for family homes, the mixer fitting is great for bathing children or washing hair. Find out more in our buying guide to showers.
Pull-out spray mixer
Similar to a shower mixer, but featuring an extendable hose. This is perfect for kitchen taps as the pull-out dual spray heads give unbeatable control for rinsing and washing food.
Water filter taps
Health-conscious? Then try the filter tap. It gives you great-tasting water with reduced chlorine, lead and sediment. Available in plenty of styles and finishes.
Forget the plug and chain! A neat control on the mixer tap opens and closes the waste, with the mechanism hidden behind the bath or basin.
Choosing your finish
Choose the tap style that best complements your sink and overall kitchen or bathroom design.
This finish has a warm, inviting look that can turn a plain sink into something special - a fitting style for Victorian or country themes.
A gleaming favourite, but needs effort to keep it pristine. If your bathroom is used more by children than adults, this may not be right for you.
Brushed, matte and satin finishes
These are easier than shiny chrome to clean and give a fresh, sleek look to modern rooms.
Advice on fitting taps
There are two ways to install kitchen and bathroom taps. The conventional approach is to mount taps on your sink or bath, or for a modern look, taps can be placed behind the fixtures. This gives a clean, uncluttered look to fixture surfaces. Remember: fitting taps is a job for an experienced plumber!
Keeping taps clean
Clean using only a soft cloth and warm soapy water to make your taps sparkle. Rinse and wipe dry with a dry, clean, soft cloth. Don't use abrasive compounds, pads, cloths or creams as they damage the surfaces.
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