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Mixer Taps Buying Guide: What Are They and What Types Can You Buy?

Posted on Wednesday 17th March 2021 by Richard Roberts


Mixer taps can be used in different parts of the house and come in a variety of styles, finishes and sizes. If you are in the market for a new bathroom tap, then you may be considering purchasing a mixer tap. However, there are a lot of questions - from what a mixer tap is to how much they cost - that you may need answering. As such, we have created this guide to help you understand the jargon, find out more about mixer taps, and to also help you in your research ahead of buying.

Crosswater Kai Lever Mono basin mixer tap chrome

What is a Mixer Tap?

The best place to start is to understand what a mixer tap or faucet is and to do this we have to take the name literally. A mixer tap – quite simply – combines hot and cold water together through one spout, and the user alters the temperature by either one or two controls. This is different to other taps where you may have two separate taps each with their own spout for separate hot and cold water.

You can get them for numerous locations in the bathroom, including basin mixer taps, bath mixer taps and bidet mixer taps. You can also get mixer taps for the kitchen too. They come in both modern and traditional styles with handles to match, whether by lever or twist tap heads, like crosshead designs, for example.

How Does a Mixer Tap Work?

In terms of how mixer taps actually work, the inside of the tap units contains small holes, also called valves or butterflies (due to their shape). When you turn the tap on these holes move from a closed position to a partially or fully open position, depending on the flow rate and temperature you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are just wanting hot water, the cold handle will be off meaning the valve is completely closed, while the hot water will be partially or fully open.

This makes mixer taps very responsive to the temperature the user wants, making them great for family households.

How Does a Bath Shower Mixer Tap Work?

A bath shower mixer tap works in the same way as any other mixer tap. However, while you can get standalone bath mixer taps like your basin or kitchen, a bath shower mixer comes connected to a shower handset. To operate between the taps or shower, there is a diverter valve or switch that can alter between either function. The shower handset can be deck-mounted or wall-mounted providing easy storage and access.

What Different Types of Mixer Tap Can You Get?

So now we know about mixer taps and how they work, what are the different types you can get? Firstly, let’s look at different parts of the bathroom, focusing on basins, bath and bidet mixers:

Basin Mixer Taps

Bath Mixer Taps

Bidet Mixer Taps

1. Mono Mixer Tap

Vado Altitude Mono Basin Mixer Tap

A mono mixer tap features a single or two controls and spout all together in one unit. It requires a single tap hole. While bath taps and basin taps come in multiple designs, bidet mixer taps are usually always mono taps by design. 

Shop & buy from our range of mono taps

2. 2 Hole, 3 Hole, 4 Hole & 5 Hole Mixer Taps

Arcade 3 tap hole basin mixer chrome traditional

As stated in the name, these taps require multiple tap holes. For basin taps, they usually only include 2 tap hole and 3 tap hole mixers. This features a spout and a single on/off temperature control or separate on/off controls for hot and cold water.

Shop & buy from our range of basin mixer taps

For bath taps, as well as 2 tap hole bath mixer taps and 3 hole bath mixers, they can also come with 4 or 5 tap holes. This can include – but each set can vary - an on/off control or separate controls, a spout (not necessarily included for 4 tap hole sets), a diverter to switch between functions, and a shower handset.

Crosswater MPRO 5 tap hole bath shower mixer

Shop & buy from our range of bath mixer taps

3. Waterfall Mixer Taps

Crosswater Waterfall Tap closed spout

Waterfall mixer taps relate to the flow of the water out of the tap. They have been designed to cascade out like that of a waterfall. They can come in both closed-spout and open-spout designs and they are available for both basins and baths.

View our range of Waterfall Taps

4. Deck-mounted Mixer Taps & Bath-mounted Mixer Taps

Crosswater belgravia 2 tap hole traditional bath shower mixer with shower handset

Deck-mounted mixer taps are usually those that are fixed to the unit itself or a countertop, such as to accompany a freestanding basin. In terms of baths, they can be referred to as either deck-mounted or bath-mounted mixer taps.

5. Wall-mounted Mixer Taps

Victoria & Albert Wall Mounted Staffordshire Traditional Bath shower mixer tap

Wall-mounted mixer taps work in the same way as deck-mounted mixer taps, except the spout, controls and diverts are mounted and concealed into the wall. This is great if you want to have a cleaner appearance and free up space.

Select a wall-mounted tap for your bathroom

6. Freestanding & Floorstanding Bath Mixer Taps

Crosswater Kai Lever Freestanding Bath tap

Freestanding or floorstanding taps are mounted and connected to a water connection under the floor. These are usually quite tall as they accompany freestanding baths. Units usually comprise controls, spout and two standpipes to connect to the water supply.

Buy a stylish freestanding bath tap here

7. Cloakroom and Tall Basin Mixer Taps

Vado Life Cloakroom Basin Tap in chrome

Finally, we come to the variations in size, with cloakroom mixer taps smaller to accompany cloakroom basins or washstands, and perfect for more compact spaces.  

Crosswater MPRO Unlacquered Industrial Brushed Brass Tall Basin Tap

Tall mixer basin taps are extended in height and they usually stand alongside a countertop basin.

8. Bridge Mixer Taps

Crosswater Kai Bridge Bath mixer tap chrome

Bridge mixer taps are essentially mono mixer taps. However, instead of requiring just a single tap hole, they require two tap holes. This is because they are mounted to hot and cold water connections separately, however, the design of them connects them together as one unit with the spout in the middle like a bridge, as opposed to standing alone

9. Kitchen Mixer Taps

Crosswater Cucina Svelte Swan Neck Mono kitchen tap chrome

When it comes to kitchen mixer taps, the vast majority of designs are mono taps with a single spout and joined controls all in one unit on either side. However, the differences between kitchen taps and bath/basin taps comes in the neck design. Some kitchen taps have a long spout that loops over on itself, which is also called a ‘swan neck’. You can also get pull-out spouts, and flat swivel spouts amongst many other choices.

What Styles of Mixer Taps Are There?

Mixer taps come in both traditional and modern styles, which cover all types of colours from standard chrome to metallics including stainless steel, nickel, brass, bronze and gold. Coloured mixer taps in black or white are also available and are riding the crest of a wave at the moment in terms of popularity.

Traditional mixer taps tend to feature more eccentric, curvy edging reminiscent of Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian periods. They often feature art-deco style handles with crosshead or lever indices including another finish such as ceramic or mother of pearl detailing.

arcade crosshead chrome mono traditional basin mixer tap

By comparison, contemporary mixer taps feature more simplistic designs with either squared edges or cleaner curves. Some also come with modern features such as no-touch technology.

Vado synergie waterfall open spout tap modern design chrome

What Size Dimensions of Mixer Taps Are There?

As referenced in the types of mixer taps section above, there are many different variations of mixers and each varies in dimensions depending on location, style and function. However, as a rough guide:

  • Deck-mounted basin taps/Cloakroom Taps: H: 90mm+, W: 50mm+
  • Wall Mounted Basin Taps: Spout projects out at approximately 100mm +
  • Bath Mounted Mixer Taps/Bridge Mixer Taps: H:100mm+, W: 200mm+
  • Tall Basin Mixer Taps: H: 150mm+, W: 50mm+ and spout projection 100mm+
  • Freestanding Bath Taps: H 800mm+, W: 100m+, and projection of 150mm+

Can I Change Two Taps to a Mixer Tap?

If you have a basin or bath with two taps, also called basin pillar taps or bath pillar taps, then you may want to change them to a mixer tap. So can you change two separate taps into one? In short, the answer is yes. However, you will have to consider your existing water pressure, so it is worth checking in advance or seeking expert advice. If you have two tap holes on your basin, then you can purchase a bridge basin mixer tap that will work in the same way as your previous taps only with a single spout.

However, if you are looking to change to a mono mixer tap, your plumbing system may need changing for hot and cold water to feed through a single tap, and you may also want to look at changing your basin to a single tap hole so as not to look odd.

Can I Use a Mixer Tap With Just Cold Water?

If you have an isolated water system with cold water only, for example, you may want to know whether you can use a mixer tap with it. In principle, the answer to this is yes, however, if not capped off or blocked correctly, this could lead to water leaks if anyone tries switching the hot water on. As such, if you have a single feed system, always seek professional advice and ensure you get it fitted properly, or look to connect to a hot water system as well if you can.

Do Mixer Taps Have Washers?

Not all mixer taps have washers. In fact, more modern types operate with ceramic disc technology instead. Inside the tap, two discs sit alongside each other with holes in them – as mentioned in our section about mixer taps. One of the discs moves with the handle to open, while the other remains fixed in place. This combination is what allows the control of flow and temperature of the water.

How Much Do Mixer Taps Typically Cost?

As there is much variation in respect of brands and designs, typical costs vary with a lot of mixer taps being affordably priced. You can get a decent mixer tap for anything from £40 and above for a basin mixer tap, £70+ for a bath mixer tap, and £150-£250 as a starting price for freestanding/floorstanding bath taps.

Shop our full range of taps

Mixer taps are an incredibly popular choice in modern homes. They can be both space-saving as well as functional, and they come in a broad range of styles and designs for whatever bathroom theme you are designing. Our expert team is also available to answer any questions you may have about mixer taps, and if you have a question you think should be answered in this blog, please contact us and we'll add it in.

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