Bathroom taps come in all shapes and sizes, which may leave you scratching your head when trying to choose the right one for you.

However large or small your bathroom project may be, it certainly pays to think long and hard about the type of taps you want, instead of simply letting your bathroom installer choose for you. In this expert guide, we'll carefully explain the differences between the different types of bathroom taps available, explaining the benefits of each one, before considering style.

Pillar taps

Pillar taps generally take the form of two separate taps. One draws hot water and the other cold and the two flow separately into the bath or basin. It's as simple as that.

Coniston basin pillar taps

Traditional style Coniston basin pillar taps

Mixer taps

Mixer taps also draw water from both the hot and cold pipes but mix the two flows before they emerge from a single spout. It's generally far easier to achieve the correct temperature using a mixer tap and they can help prevent drawing water that is scalding hot or too cold.

Some bath mixer taps also incorporate a shower mixer, allowing you to switch the water flow from the taps themselves to a shower attachment.

Mixer taps are generally better for those who use their baths frequently, as you can mix the flow to the desired temperature before allowing your bath to fill up. This is a safer option for families with small children, where filling the bath with scalding hot water first could be dangerous. To improve safety even further there is the option of a thermostatic bath mixer tap, ensuring a consistent water temperature.

Escala waterfall bath mixer tap

Escala waterfall bath mixer tap - a contemporary waterfall style bath mixer tap

Monobloc mixer taps

Some mixer taps come in a style that is known as a monobloc. Basically, this is a single built-up unit containing one or two tap handles and the spout. They're suitable for deck mounted taps on baths or basins that have a single hole for the taps. They can also be used with countertop basins.

Escala waterfall basin mixer tap

Escala waterfall basin mixer - a monobloc tap

Wall mounted taps

Some contemporary taps are wall mounted and protrude over the bath or basin. These can look incredibly stylish and striking but they can be slightly more challenging to install as the pipes and plumbing are hidden within the wall itself.

Alexa wall mounted basin filler tap

Wall mounted basin taps like the Alexa can look incredibly stylish

Deck mounted taps

Deck mounted taps are attached to the bath, basin or unit itself through drilled holes. They can be pillar taps coming through two holes or monoblocs coming through a single hole. These are far more common than wall mounted taps as they are generally easier to plumb in.

Osca bath shower mixer tap

A deck mounted bath shower mixer from the Osca tap range

Freestanding bath taps

With the trend for freestanding, roll top baths on the increase, more and more of us are in need of guidance on taps. Generally, this type of bath cannot accommodate deck mounted taps, so a freestanding bath tap or standpipe has to be used. At there’s a wide selection of freestanding bath taps, from contemporary to traditional. Some also come with a shower mixer, giving you all the modern bath/shower options you could ever want.

Matrix freestanding bath filler tap

The Matrix freestanding bath filler is a contemporary mixer tap for freestanding baths, where taps cannot be deck mounted

Traditional or contemporary

Taps of all kinds are available in a wide range of styles to suit any taste. Many contemporary bathroom taps are more angular in their design and frequently have lever handles that can be lifted or lowered to control the water flow. Classic or traditional taps are often curved or arching.

Rotational handles can also come in different styles themselves. Cross handle taps, with the four distinctive knobs, can be easy to grip and bring a wonderfully classic look to any basin or bath.

The wide range of taps on offer can sometimes seem bewildering and there's no single type of tap that's right for every person, family or bathroom. By combining your own personal tastes with the functionality you require however, you can find the bathroom taps that are perfect for you.

For more information, please see our taps buying guide.