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Kitchen tap buying guide
Kitchen advice

Kitchen tap buying guide

Posted by Adam Chard in Kitchen advice | 7 months ago 15 min read

If you’ve ever had to pick a product from literally hundreds of choices, you’ll know that sinking feeling all too well. So, when it comes to selecting the perfect kitchen taps, let us offer you a helping hand…

Whether you’re remodelling your entire space or simply looking for a quick and easy replacement, choosing the right kitchen tap requires a little bit of homework on your part. And, when it comes to taps, you can always turn to Victoria Plum for all the help and advice you’ll need. While we are better known for our bathrooms, did you know we’ve been designing and supplying kitchen products for over 20 years? In this handy guide, we’ll use all those years of expertise to help you find your perfect kitchen tap.

A key part of designing a kitchen, your sink and tap set-up will be determined by your own personal needs and preferences. For example, if you work from home, you may want instant boiling water on tap (well, we all need a bit of caffeine to get us through the day!). Perhaps you do a lot of cooking and accumulate plenty of dirty pots and pans? A tap with pull out spray will help you blast through them in next to no time. Whatever your wants, needs and desires, read on, as we guide you through your kitchen tap options.

In this in-depth guide, we cover the following topics. To jump to a relevant section, simply click on any of the links below:


What is a kitchen tap? And what is the difference between a kitchen tap and a bathroom tap?

A kitchen tap is designed exclusively for use with a kitchen sink. Usually larger in size than bathroom basin taps, the most common design comes with a U-shaped swivel spout, allowing you to move items in and out of the sink with ease.

And, what is the difference between kitchen taps and bathroom taps?

Really, it’s just a matter of size and design. We’ve put a kitchen mixer tap and a bathroom mixer tap side by side (see below), to demonstrate the differences.

Differences between kitchen taps and basin taps

Left: The Schön Islay kitchen mixer tap. Right: The Orchard Eden basin mixer tap

As you can see, the differences between kitchen and basin taps are quite obvious. First off, the kitchen tap is much larger, and the shape of the spout provides greater clearance space between the spout and the sink. And, when you think about it, this design difference makes complete sense. While you may need to fill your kitchen sink up with cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, the only thing you really need to place in your basin would be your hands. This is why basin taps don’t usually require a swivel spout.

However, like anything in life, it’s not always as straightforward as this. You may find bathroom taps which look a lot like kitchen taps and vice versa! While it may sound obvious, the best way to tell the difference is to check that the word “kitchen tap” is in the name of the product.

In the next section, we’ll take a look at the different types of kitchen taps you can buy at Victoria Plum, explain what the differences are and where they might benefit you.

Schön traditional kitchen tap with black ceramic handle

Designed with tradition in mind: The Schön traditional kitchen tap with black ceramic handle


What are the different types of kitchen taps?

Going from the most common to the slightly less conventional, we’ll explain which kitchen taps are available.

Kitchen mixer tap

By far and away the most common type to be found in UK households, kitchen mixer taps, as the name might suggest, mix the hot and cold flows, which come out of a single spout. This means you can choose the optimum temperature for whatever it is you’re doing. For example, you might want to use the cold water flow for making drinks, the hot water for washing up and a comfortable mix for washing your hands. Sometimes referred to as monobloc taps, kitchen mixer taps come in a wide range of sizes, finishes and designs, to suit most any style of kitchen.

Many kitchen sinks come with pre-drilled holes for a kitchen mixer tap, which means this is an automatic choice in most cases.

Schön chrome lever handle kitchen tap

A popular design for modern kitchens, the Schön chrome lever handle kitchen tap is a stylish choice

In fact, most of the varieties of kitchen tap are mixer taps, as you’ll see below. So, unless you specifically want separate pillar taps (more of which we’ll speak of later), it is highly likely you will need a mixer tap.

While the basic shape remains the same, you’ll find plenty of variation in kitchen mixer taps, with one of the main differences being the handle design. Some taps, like the Schön chrome lever handle kitchen tap (pictured above) come with 2 handles, so you can control hot and cold flow separately. Meanwhile, other designs, like the Schön Eigg kitchen mixer tap (pictured below) feature just a single handle, which you turn one way for hot and the other way for cold, allowing you to find a comfortable mix between the two. These single handle designs are great if you do plenty of cooking or washing up, as they allow you to carry something in one hand, whilst fully controlling the tap with the other.

Schön Eigg kitchen mixer tap

The Schön Eigg kitchen mixer tap comes with a single handle for easy control of your water flow

As we previously touched upon, most kitchen mixers feature a swivel spout, so you can move it around the sink and move it out of the way when necessary. You’ll find U shaped spouts, L shaped spouts and other, slightly more unusual shapes. Some also come with additional features and we’ll talk about these below.

Pull out spray kitchen taps

Gaining popularity in more recent times, pull out spray kitchen taps are ideal if you get through plenty of washing up on a regular basis. The pull out spray allows you to deliver a high pressure jet of water exactly where you need it, helping make short work of dirty pots, pans, crockery and cutlery. To control the spray function, there is usually a handy button on the side of the nozzle.

Schön Barra pull out kitchen mixer tap

If you're serious about entertaining, the Schön Barra pull out kitchen mixer tap is a great choice

What are the advantages of pull out spray kitchen taps?

  1. You can easily rinse items without having to move them

Need to dislodge food residue from the corner of a saucepan? No problem. Direct the jet spray as and where you need it.

  1. Control the water with one hand

If you’re busy cooking up a storm, the pull out spray is designed to be used with one hand. So, you can keep stirring that sauce or prep your plates. It’s multi-tasking at it’s very finest.

  1. It’s great for filling pots or buckets

If you need to fill a receptacle with water, the pull out spray makes life much easier. Whether you’re washing the car or simply making some pasta, you can quickly and easily direct your water exactly where you need it.

  1. You can breeze through your washing up

With a more powerful water jet on hand, doing the washing up becomes a quicker and easier task.

Kitchen bridge taps

Merely a variation on the kitchen mixer tap, kitchen bridge taps are usually quite traditional in design. Rather than a single fixing point, they come with 2 separate entry points for the hot and cold water flows, which then combine in a “bridge” (hence the name!) before flowing out of the same spout.

Rangemaster Traditional dual lever bridge kitchen tap with white handles

The Rangemaster Traditional dual lever bridge kitchen tap with white handles is perfect for traditional or country style kitchens

Bridge kitchen taps are suitable for sinks with 2 tap holes or for situations where you may want to drill your own tap holes into the kitchen worktop.

Instant boiling water taps

If you get through a lot of hot drinks throughout the course of your day, or boil water regularly on your stove, you may want to invest in an instant boiling water tap.

Whilst you can find out all about them in our instant boiling water tap buying guide, put simply, this type of tap delivers boiling water on demand, alongside both regular hot and cold flows.

Schön Ramsey chrome 4 in 1 boiling water kitchen tap

Enhance your kitchen experience with the Schön Ramsey chrome 4 in 1 boiling water kitchen tap

And how does it work? Well, you’ll need to connect it to a boiler tank, which is usually situated beneath your sink. This is plumbed into your cold water supply and also requires an electrical connection.

For hot and cold water, it works just like a conventional kitchen mixer tap. However, if you require boiling water, you will need to activate the safety lock (a standard feature which helps prevent accidental scalding—especially important in households with children).

What are the benefits of an instant boiling water kitchen tap? Again, we do cover this in more detail in our instant boiling water tap buying guide, but you’ll find it quicker than waiting for the kettle to boil, more efficient and more eco-friendly (as you only use what you need). You can also enjoy better-tasting water, as most boiling water taps come with a filter that removes impurities, plus, with no need for a kettle, it’ll help you declutter your worktops.

Kitchen filter taps

If you spend money on expensive bottled water or simply don’t like the taste of the tap water in your home, why not consider fitting one of our kitchen filter taps?

Supplied complete with a high quality filter kit which fits neatly beneath your sink and removes impurities from your water supply, you can enjoy the taste of bottled water any time you like.

If this sounds like something you need, you’ll be pleased to know that many of our most popular kitchen mixer taps are supplied with a filter kit. Our filter cartridges provide around 30,000 litres of purified water and are tested for microbiological safety and structural integrity.

Do you live in a hard water area? Find out how to save money on energy bills and household appliances with the NoCalc limescale inhibitor.

Kitchen pillar taps

Once a common sight in British kitchens, these days, separate pillar taps are becoming increasingly rare. Indeed, here at Victoria Plum, we only stock a small selection to satisfy demand from our customers.

They can, however, be a great choice if you’re looking to complement a traditional kitchen style or searching for something easier to operate (especially if you have restricted joint mobility or find conventional taps difficult to use).

Leisure lever handle kitchen pillar taps

For those with restricted mobility, separate kitchen pillar taps, like these from Leisure, are a good choice

Unless you’ve purchased a sink which specifically comes with 2 tap holes, you may need to drill into your worktop to fit kitchen pillar taps.


What styles of kitchen tap are available?

So, now you know the difference between different types of kitchen tap, it’s time to consider your chosen style. In general terms, there are 2 types of style to choose from:

  1. Contemporary (also known as modern)
  2. Traditional

We’ll explain more about the differences between these styles below.

If you do prefer a contemporary style, there are plenty of options to choose from. You may even wish to go for a designer tap which complements a specific theme.

Contemporary or modern kitchen taps

Contemporary kitchen taps are by far and away the most popular when it comes to stylistic choice. Often referred to as “modern”, contemporary taps are designed with current trends in mind.

You should be able to easily identify a contemporary kitchen tap from the following characteristics:

  • Simple, unfussy design
  • Clean lines
  • No intricate embellishments
  • The perfect balance of form and function

Schön chrome dual lever kitchen tap

With a simple shape and unfussy design, the Schön chrome dual lever kitchen tap is a good example of a contemporary kitchen tap

Traditional kitchen taps

With tried and tested designs that have stood the test of time, traditional kitchen taps will never go out of fashion. Whilst not quite as popular as contemporary style taps, the vintage-inspired designs are ideal for those with rustic, country or classical kitchens.

So, how do you recognise a traditional kitchen tap? Look out for the following characteristics:

  • Intricate design
  • Cross head or ceramic handles
  • Added embellishments and flourishes

Schön traditional bridge kitchen tap

The Schön Traditional bridge kitchen tap comes complete with a classically-inspired shape and elegant cross head handles

Designer kitchen taps

Looking for that extra-special something? Why not browse our range of stunning designer kitchen taps?

With unique designs from brands such as Bristan, Grohe, Tuscan, Rangemaster and The Tap Factory, you’re bound to find just the right tap for your designer kitchen.

Bristan Amaretto Easyfit kitchen tap

With an ultra-modern cubist design, the Bristan Amaretto Easyfit kitchen tap is ideal for designer kitchens


What colour kitchen taps are available?

Whilst the vast majority of kitchen taps come in a chrome finish, there has been a move towards other colours and metallic finishes in recent years. Nowadays, you’ll find a great choice of coloured kitchen taps, including black, white, grey, gold, brushed nickel and copper, not to mention combinations of some these too.

Chrome kitchen taps

Chrome is the most popular choice for kitchen taps and there’s a good reason for this. With a mirror-like finish, chrome reflects light and sparkles when kept clean. Many fixtures and fittings in modern kitchens come in chrome, from kitchen unit handles to accessories, meaning chrome is a go-to finish for taps.

Schön Islay kitchen mixer tap

Bring that sparkle back to your kitchen with the Schön Islay kitchen mixer tap

Black kitchen taps

With the rise in industrial style interiors, black accents have gained popularity, not just in kitchens, but bathrooms too. And, what better way to bring black accent to your kitchen, than through your choice of kitchen tap. At Victoria Plum, you’ll find a fabulous selection of black kitchen taps, including both contemporary and traditional styles.

Schön Unst matt black kitchen mixer tap

Bring fashionable black accent to your kitchen with the Schön Unst matt black kitchen mixer tap

Gold kitchen taps

Another increasingly popular metallic finish, gold kitchen taps help bring a real sense of opulence to your overall design theme.

Other kitchen tap colours

If you’re looking for something that little bit different from the norm, we stock a superb range of metallic finishes, including brass, copper and brushed nickel. Depending on your chosen style and colour palette, a metallic finish could really lift the look of your kitchen.

Schön Skye brushed nickel L spout kitchen mixer tap

Add an on-trend metallic finish to your décor with the Schön Skye brushed nickel L spout kitchen mixer tap


Which kitchen tap brands are good?

At Victoria Plum, we only stock high quality kitchen taps which have been fully tested and meet our own rigorous standards. Schön is an excellent tap brand, exclusive to us, offering the widest choice of designs, styles and colours, which you won’t find anywhere else. Schön kitchen taps each come complete with a free extended guarantee of up to 5 years for added peace of mind.

In addition, you will find many other established brands, such as Bristan, Grohe, Tuscan and Rangemaster, giving you a huge variety to choose from.


Are your kitchen taps eco-friendly?

All our kitchen taps are designed and manufactured in accordance with current water regulations. Why not find out more about saving water in your home?


How to fit a kitchen tap

While we’d always recommend hiring a professional Tradesperson to carry out any plumbing, if you’re a confident and experienced DIYer, fitting or changing a kitchen tap is something you should be able to do yourself.

For full step-by-step instructions, check out our guide to changing a kitchen tap.


How much does it cost to fit a kitchen tap?

After seeking advice from kitchen fitters throughout the UK, we’ve estimated the cost of fitting or replacing a kitchen tap at somewhere between £100 to £110. Of course, this can vary for different reasons, including geographical location.

Find out how much it costs to install a kitchen in our latest guide.


What about kitchen sinks?

Well, you can’t have a kitchen tap without a kitchen sink, can you? Thankfully, at Victoria Plum, you’ll discover a huge range of kitchen sinks, available in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and designs. For more information, read our kitchen sink buying guide.

As well as the kitchen sink, did you know we supply high quality fitted kitchens at Victoria Plum? Take a look at our full range, including kitchen cabinets and worktops. And, when it comes to walls and floors, we’ve got you covered with stylish kitchen tiles and flooring, plus those other kitchen essentials heating and ventilation.

Chicago white kitchen furniture range

Razzle dazzle ‘em… with the Chicago white kitchen furniture range, exclusively from Victoria Plum


More expert tap advice

With over 20 years’ experience designing and supplying kitchen taps to both the British public and trade customers, you’ll find all the tap advice you’ll need, right here at Victoria Plum. Check out our kitchen advice section for more handy hints and tips.


Shop kitchen taps at Victoria Plum

To see all the kitchen taps featured in this buying guide, and many more besides, simply click on the image below.

Shop kitchen taps

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Kitchen advice | 7 months ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 9 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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