Whether you’re trying to create a new, updated look in your bathroom by replacing your existing basin taps, or whether you’re choosing all new fixtures and fittings, finding the right kind of tap couldn’t be more important. Brand new taps can add a touch of style that really enhances any bathroom, and thanks to the wide variety of options on the market today, you’re sure to find ones that are ideal for your home. In this complete buying guide, we take a look at the different basin tap options out there and look at what you need to bear in mind while making your purchasing decision.
The different types of basin taps
There are many different kinds of basin taps to choose from, so here, we’ll look at some of the most popular models on the market today:
Basin Mixer Taps
Basin mixer taps are very popular these days. Easy to fit, they need a single tap hole in the basin. This type of tap mixes the cold and hot water inside the tap’s body, with the mix controlled by the user who operates the single lever to find the perfect temperature blend. Some models of basin mixer tap come with two separate levers or knobs so that each tap can be controlled separately to produce either only hot, only cold, or a warm mix of water.
Thermostatic basin mixers
This type of mixer tap is very similar to a standard basin mixer, but comes with thermostatic control technology. This means the water is unable to exceed a set temperature in order to prevent scalds. For this reason, thermostatic mixer taps are typically found in rented properties owned by landlords and in care facilities.
Their ability to maintain a more constant water temperature is, however, making them a more popular choice in private homes too, and many people where elderly people or young children use the basin prefer to have a thermostatic tap for safety reasons.
Basin Pillar Taps
A basin pillar tap is the perfect way of creating a more traditional aesthetic in a bathroom, cloakroom, or ensuite. This design has two separate taps, one that supplies cold water and one that supplies hot. Each one is controlled individually with a lever or a knob, and the hot and cold water flows separately into the basin. This tap style is the classic look for UK homes, and these taps are usually sold in pairs, being used on two hole basins.
You can find both crosshead and lever pillar taps on the market. The crosshead tap comes with a round spout and traditional lines for a more classic look, while lever taps are supplied in numerous designs, with traditional ones coming with ceramic handles and more contemporary versions featuring chrome levers that go upwards or sideways to control the water flow.
Pillar taps are often the best choice if you suffer from low water pressure on either your hot or cold water feed.
Wall Mounted Basin Taps
Wall mounted basin taps are an exceptionally stylish option for any bathroom, and can be used with most kinds of basins. It’s important, though, to check the placement of the tap as it can be all-too-easy to accidentally misplace the tap and end up with water flowing straight out of the basin!
A wall mounted basin tap achieves a contemporary and streamlined, sleek look. Fixed onto a wall, they’re an ideal alternative to the more traditional deck mounted basin tap since they not only give you more space around your basin – ideal in a compact cloakroom or cluttered bathroom – but they also create an especially eye-catching feature in your room.
You can find both 2 and 3 hole wall mounted options with a spout and one or two handles. Both operate in the same way as a mixer tap but with a more contemporary aesthetic. This is the perfect style to opt for if you’re keen to make a statement in your bathroom, and it looks especially good with a vessel basin.
Freestanding Basin Taps
Freestanding basin taps are high rise taps that look the same as standard basin mixer taps but with extra height. They’re designed to be mounted next to a vessel basin. This tap creates a dramatic style statement in your bathroom, and requires a three tap hole basin. Although the style of these taps is usually traditional, there are some more modern versions on the market to choose from.
Infrared Basin Taps
Typically infrared taps are used in commercial environments for hygiene purposes however they’re becoming increasingly popular in private homes thanks to their high-tech good looks and hygiene benefits that they provide. Infrared taps can be either mains or battery operated, with the water temperature being either fixed or controlled via an integrated temperature dial.
Basin tap styles
Basin taps come in a wealth of different styles ranging from the traditional taps to the modern. Whether you’re looking for something to complement your period-style bathroom, or whether you need streamlined and modern waterfall taps, you can take your pick from an extensive range.
You can find both round and square basin taps on the market, so you can easily find the right shape to complement your existing bath taps, shower head, and other fittings. You can also choose from a variety of finishes including chrome, brushed brass, and the ultra-modern matt black.
Although the chrome finish is the most popular thanks to its ability to work in every type of bathroom from traditional to modern, brushed brass is often a top choice in older properties.
You can choose from crosshead taps, knobs, and handles as well as levers which are perfect for children and people who have mobility issues.
Other basin tap features
One feature of basin taps that you may need to be aware of depending on where you live is suitability for low pressure systems. If you live in a property that has a gravity fed system, there’s a chance that you could suffer from poor water pressure. In such cases, you’ll need to invest in a tap that is designed to work with this type of system. Low pressure taps function effectively even under low water pressure.
Another basin tap feature to be aware of is ceramic disc cartridges. Most taps today feature these, which allow you to only turn the handle through a range of 45 degrees or less. These taps are harder wearing and are less prone to leakage problems.
Will any tap fit any basin?
In most cases, you’ll find that all taps fit all basins, but of course, you’ll need to consider how many tap holes your chosen basin has. You can’t fit a tap that requires three holes into a two hole basin! It’s also possible to choose between standard and mini-sized taps. Mini taps are perfect for use in compact bathrooms and cloakrooms where a smaller basin is needed to fit in the space. Any basin that is over 400mm in width will require a standard sized tap.
Is it easy to replace a basin tap?
Replacing a basin tap is actually one of the simplest bathroom jobs as long as the bottom of the tap can be accessed. If you’re trying to replace a basin tap in a vanity unit, that may be more difficult, especially if the basin needs to be removed. Nevertheless, the job shouldn’t take any longer than an hour. If you have any concerns about doing the job properly, though, it’s always best to engage the services of a professional plumber to ensure the job is done correctly.
How do I know which tap to get?
When deciding which tap to get, you’ll first need to check how many tap holes the basin has. You’ll need to choose a tap that is compatible with that number of holes. For example, if your basin has just one tap hole, you need to select a monobloc or single lever tap. If it has two holes, you can select a pillar tap or mixer tap. If, on the other hand, your basin comes with no holes at all, you will need a wall mounted basin tap that requires no hole.
Your second consideration when choosing a tap is your water pressure. If you live in a property that suffers from low water pressure, you will need to select a tap that is compatible with a low pressure system. Often pillar taps are the recommended choice.
Once you have considered both of the above aspects, it’s time to decide the style you want. Are you looking for a modern or traditional tap? Would a square or round shape work best with your existing fittings? What type of finish do you prefer?
Once you’ve come to your decision, it’s time to browse through the range and select the right tap for you.
Are UK basin taps a standard size?
There are two main sizes of basin taps in the UK. The standard size fits all basins, but there is also a mini basin mixer option that is used for small basins. These have a shorter spout.