How To Buy A New or Replacement Tap

Close up product lifestyle image of JTP Hugo Chrome Single Lever Basin Mixer
Published: 13th November 2020
Author: Mark Fullilove

Choosing new taps, whether for the bathroom or kitchen, can be quite daunting with a variety of styles, designs, and finishes available for every taste. Below, we’ve covered the complexities for you, using our expertise to help you decide:

Different Styles of Taps: Traditional v Contemporary

Product Lifestyle image of Crosswater Water Circle Anniversary Edition Basin Monobloc

It’s important to consider the theme and style of your bathroom, as you don’t want anything to look out of place.

If you’re replacing a tap, it might be as easy as getting one of a similar style, but if you’re upgrading or remodelling, consider the following:

  • Do you want a traditional or contemporary look?
  • What is the layout of the room, and will it need to change?
  • Will it fit in with existing features and fittings?

Always seek advice before purchasing taps to make sure that it will fit in with the existing layout and plumbing, and also to understand if you need to purchase new wastes or fixings.

Traditional Bathroom Taps

Close up product image of Burlington Kensington 3 Tap Hole Basin Mixer

If you are working on a traditional style or Victorian-style bathroom, these traditional bathroom taps stand out due to their elegant and luxurious designs. The stylish curved design makes for an aesthetically pleasing addition, and some units feature mother-of-pearl handles for a quality touch. Crosshead handles are commonplace on traditional basin taps and usually feature two separate taps for hot and cold water.

Traditional bath taps retain a matching similar look and feel but do come with slightly more variety in that they can be single spouted for both hot and cold water and suit a range of locations. So, whether you want a wall-mounted, deck-mounted, or freestanding model, there’s an option to suit everyone.

Contemporary Taps

Close up product lifestyle image of Crosswater Dune Basin Monobloc

Modern bathroom taps, in contrast, come with all the quirkiness and fun elements you would expect without compromising on the look or quality. Whereas traditional basin taps tend to be in pairs, their contemporary siblings offer practicality such as a single tap for both hot and cold water, lever handles, and streamlined designs.

How Many Tap Holes Do You Have Or Need?

How many tap holes you have, or your new basin and bath have, will determine the type of tap you require and what is available to you. Basins can feature anything between 0-3 tap holes, whilst baths can stretch up to 5 tap holes to accommodate shower mixer units and extra fillers.

Mixer Taps

Mixer taps are what their name says: they release both hot and cold water through the same spout. Basin mixer taps and bath mixer taps are both available, as well as bidet mixer taps and kitchen mixer taps. This means that you can get one of these fantastic faucets for any area of your home. 

Kitchen taps and bidet taps will nearly always be single mono mixer taps requiring one tap hole. In terms of basins, those on single hole basins are usually an all in one unit with a lever-handle; three tap hole units feature separate hot and water controls and a spout. Basins with no tap holes can use a mixer tap that is either a countertop tall tap or wall-mounted tap

The same applies for bathtubs, however, in the main these start requiring 2 tap holes and above for deck-mounted mixer taps, such as bridge mixer taps and bath shower mixers. If the bath cannot be drilled or does not have tap holes then, like basins, wall mounted taps will be required or a floorstanding bath mixer (more commonly used with freestanding baths) will be needed.

Pillar Taps

Pillar taps come as a pair with a tap for hot and cold water each. You will see these featured more with traditional style designs, usually with lever or crosshead handles. You can get both basin pillar taps and bath pillar taps. They are also still a possibility for kitchen spaces, however, much more traditionally-focused in design and style.

Bath Fillers and Overflow Bath Fillers

Bath taps, also known as bath fillers, can be broken down in the following ways:

  • 0-hole fillers – Freestanding bath taps and fillers
  • 1-hole fillers – single hot and cold water function and spout
  • 2-hole fillers – separate hot and cold filler joined by one spout
  • 3-hole fillers – these can be for separate hot and cold water taps, and an independent spout either deck-mounted or wall-mounted bath tap.  Alternatively, they can be as with a 2-hole filler but with a separate shower handset.
  • 4-5-hole fillers – these feature the same as 2 and 3 tap hole bath taps but have separate holes for shower handsets

Some bath units also feature space for Overflow Bath Fillers. These allow for filling the bath with water from a waste overflow but require additional fixings such as manual valves, to control temperature and water flow, instead of taps. Alternatively, they can be connected to a shower system that uses a diverter to switch between shower and bathtub.

If you need additional holes or want to add additional holes to an existing bath, read our guide on how to drill tap holes into your bath.

What Are The Different Types of Taps?

Image of a selection of different tap finishes in a bathroom showroom

After determining the tap holes and whether you are going modern or more traditional, the next stage is to pick the type of tap you want based on their function and water release.

Taps by features

  • Monobloc (Mono) TapsMonobloc (or Mono) taps are mixer taps that are single tap and spout all in one.
  • Waterfall TapsWaterfall taps release water in a cascading style than the standard downward spouts of conventional taps.

Close up product image of Vado Synergie Extended Mono Basin Mixer

Taps by fixings

  • Wall-Mounted TapsFix these taps to the wall, and they come with a dual-temperature control and a spout, or separate wall controls with a spout
  • Deck-Mounted Taps: These are taps affixed to either the sink or bath and either joined as one unit with controls and spout or separate taps and spout.
  • Freestanding Taps: These are taps that are fixed to and under the floor. They feature both modern and traditional designs and come with both thermostatic and manual variants.

Are Taps a Standard Size, and What Size Taps Can You Get?

Taps do not always come in a standard size due to the fact they vary by design, function, and location.

While a lot of mixer and pillar taps will be of a similar nature or comparative, there are a variety of different height taps.

Cloakroom taps, mini taps, or small taps are better suited to smaller basin units or where space will be limited.

By comparison, tall taps are larger and better suited for larger countertop basins and kitchen sinks where they offer more space and easier access.

Product Lifestyle image of Crosswater Fusion Single Lever Freestanding Bath Shower Mixer

These are some of the maximum top-end ranges of taps within our range.

  • Basin Taps:  Height: 399mm x Length:299mm x Width:299mm
  • Bath Mixer Taps: Height 199mm x Length:199mm x Width: 299mm
  • Freestanding/Floor-standing Taps: Height up to 1199mm x Length: 399mm x Width up to 399mm
  • Tall Taps: Height 399mm x Length: 199mm x Width: 199mm
  • Mini Basin Taps: Height 199mm x Length 199mm x Width 99mm

What Water Pressure Do I Need for Taps?

It is important to check what water pressure you currently have in your home as this will dictate which tap is suitable for your needs. Read our handy guide on how to measure, check, and improve your water pressure if you don’t know where to start.

There are plenty of taps that can cope with low pressures of 0.1 bar, so if you have a lower water pressure or can’t improve it, then options are available. At the other end of the scale, some taps can cope with higher water pressures of around 3 bar. Be sure to consult the product details first but if you really aren’t sure, or have any questions, a plumber or expert will be able to help and direct you to the best one for your bathroom layout.

What Materials Are Taps Made From and Do They Come in Different Finishes?

Image of a basin mixer tap finished in matt blackImage of basin mixer finished in brushed bronze

Taps can come in a variety of colours and finishes. Usually, taps are made from cut brass before being coated in a metallic finish.

Most taps are available in a Chrome finish, however, a variety of other options are available, including stainless steel, nickel, and brushed brass. A contemporary trend with bathrooms is to have taps of a different colour. Particularly in vogue at the moment are matt black taps or even white taps.

How Much Do Taps Cost?

The cost of taps can vary based on design, brand, and style. More affordable basin taps can be around £50 per pair. The more contemporary designs can reach up to the £650 mark for something like a mono mixer lever tap.

Bath taps vary in cost depending on the location and feature. Freestanding bath taps are more expensive due to the wide range of functionality and luxurious designs, usually priced anywhere between £400-£2,500. Wall or deck-mounted taps come in at a similar range with a top-end price of around £1,000.

Shop the Tap Range and Get Some Inspiration

We have around 1,000 taps in our range from the biggest brands in the industry. Get some inspiration with style and designs. Click on the links below to be taken to the taps you are looking for:

Alternatively, if you are planning your bathroom and want some ideas, book a 3D bathroom design appointment with our expert team to discuss and design.