Water mixer taps are quite sophisticated devices differing in structure, design and functions. What is the best way of choosing a kitchen mixer tap? What should you look out for in order to get a reliable, durable, functional and nice-looking device? We will cover all of this in the following article.

1

CONTENTS:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1. Which type of kitchen mixer tap will best suit your needs?
  2. The best spouts suitable for kitchen mixer taps
  3. Which spout nozzles are the most practical?
  4. Kitchen mixer tap mounting types
  5. Which tap material is the most durable?
  6. Mixer tap manufacturers
  7. Video: How to choose a mixer tap

Which type of kitchen mixer tap will best suit your needs?

First of all, decide on the model. It may seem a difficult task at first, but we will  explain it for you.

Twin lever kitchen taps

This tap is essentially a traditional or modern-looking device with two valves for mixing hot and cold water streams.

2
Twin lever cross-head kitchen tap.

Twin lever kitchen taps can be of two types of shut-off mechanism: compression valves or ceramic disc valves. Fitted inside the tap, they are visually similar, but their structure is significantly different.

COMPRESSION VALVES

  • 1. Stem;
  • 2. Gland rings;
  • 3. Sliding ring;
  • 4. Piston;
  • 5. Shut-off O-ring (rubber, silicone);
  • 6. Casing;
  • 7. Oil chamber;
  • 8. Protection shell;
  • 9. Shut-off O-ring screw.

3

Operation principle of this device is quite straightforward. By turning the tap knob 3–4 turns, the user presses the shut-off O-ring against the valve seat inside the mixer turning the water off. This type of valve has the advantage of being easily repaired. In most cases, all you need to do is replace the shut-off O-ring, which you can either cut out of a rubber sheet by yourself or these are readily available to buy from DIYa a shops.

CERAMIC DISC VALVES

  • 1. Clip;
  • 2. Stem;
  • 3. Sound absorber;
  • 4. Upper ceramic disc;
  • 5. Valve casing;
  • 6. Lower ceramic disc;
  • 7. Rubber ring;
  • 8. Ceramic disc valve assembly.

4

The two ceramic discs have matching slots. One of them (the adjustment disc) is turned over the other one (inlet), fixed inside the casing. The flow rate is determined by the degree to which the slots match up. This kind of tap has better usability as you only need to rotate the valve by 180º (half-turn) or 90º (quarter-turn). Yet in spite of being reliable, such arrangements are less durable. In case of a fault in the valve, you will have to replace the valve itself.

l1

+ advantages of twin lever taps

  • Simple mechanism and easy repairs. Replacing their parts on your own is not difficult;
  • Due to design twin lever taps will work better than single lever taps in low pressure environment.

b1

 disadvantages of twin lever taps

  • In order to replace a valve you might need to check numerous shops while carrying the broken sample with you, as there are quite a few models of these mechanisms with no unified standards.
  • Overconsumption of water. During the temperature adjustment, a certain amount of water is wasted.
  • Inconvenient control of the tap.

Single-lever mixer taps

Also known as monobloc or joystick taps. Having been recently released to market, the single-lever mixers have quickly became popular. As manufacturers offer a huge number of single-lever kitchen tap models, what is the best way to choose a reliable one?

5

Single-lever kitchen mixer

There are two types of single-lever mixing mechanisms: the ball valve and the cartridge valve.

BALL VALVE

  • 1. Control stem.
  • 2. Adjusting collar.
  • 3. Ball seal.
  • 4. Alignment seal.
  • 5. Water inlet (а - cold, b - hot).
  • 6. Water output.
  • 7. Rubber seat.
  • 8. Ball sleeve.
  • 9. Hollow ball.

6

The ball has several holes. By turning it, the flow rate of both cold and hot water, as well as temperature is being adjusted.

The main disadvantage of this model is its complexity. The failure of the valve is  caused by worn out collars, rings and the loosening of springs that support the alignment seal, causinge a tap to.

CARTRIDGE VALVE

It has the same operating principle and design as the ceramic disc valve.

It comprises two ceramic discs with openings. The lower disc (А) is fixed, with cold and hot water flowing in and out, while the upper disc (В) is moving.

Water temperature and pressure are determined by the alignment surface of the slots in the two discs.

7

Mixer taps can be two types:: monobloc and bridge taps.

  1. Monobloc (cast body) mixer taps.

8

The mixing mechanism is inside the solid cast body. The control lever is attached to the side of the body, at an angle of 45º–90º. A swivel spout is used for ease of controlling the direction of the stream. Among the advantages of this model are its high robustness and ease of use. The most common issues with this type of tap is loosening of the spout, as well as the need for periodic replacement of sealing rings and tightening of the fastening ring.

  1. Bridge taps.

9

The main advantages of swivel bridge mixer taps are usability and traditional looks that complement traditional kitchen design. The securely fixed spout moves smoothly at a moderate height.
Its main disadvantage is the need for the periodic replacement of the sealing rings for the revolving part of the tap.

l1

+ advantages of single-lever kitchen mixer taps

  • Easy to operate.
  • Functional design.

b1

— disadvantages of single-lever kitchen mixer taps

  • O-rings wear out quickly.
  • High complexity of design and, therefore more, difficult to repair.
IMPORTANT! Regardless of the mixer type, single -lever taps are very sensitive to solid particles that could potentially be in the water. In order to make taps last longer, it is highly recommended to install a filter on the water feeding pipes.

10

Electronic mixer taps

This is a cutting-edge technology in the plumbing market. Such devices are substantially different in their design from the traditional mechanic taps. There are power-dependent models that require connecting them to the electricity mains through a 12 V adapter and standalone models that can operate on a battery for several months, yet the latter have a very limited set of features. Their major drawback for electronic mixer taps is their steep price.

11

The primary function of electronic mixers is water temperature control. They maintain a preset temperature of the output water regardless of the input.

A PIR sensor acts as a proximity switch. Just wave your hand to turn water on at pre-set temperature.

12

Such devices have obvious benefits, such as significant water conservation and ease of usability. However, it is advisable to choose a model supporting both sensor and manual water flow modes.

13

One of ways to save on a water bill is to attach a water saving aerator instead of a regular one.
According to manufacturers of this product, it can help save up to 20% of water. This device powered by a battery that needs to be replaced approximately every six months.

It is up to you which mixer tap to use in your kitchen. Make your choice based on the features, as well as advantages and disadvantages listed above. Single -lever mixer taps seem to be a more favourable option, but twin lever mixer taps are offer better flow rates in low pressure environments..

 The best spouts suitable for kitchen mixer taps

Based on their proximity to the sink, there are the following types of spouts:

low spouts

14

high spouts

15

The spout size is determined by the sink depth – the deeper the sink, the higher the spout bend can be. Water rushing down from a height may splash around, therefore it may be not the best choice for low-depth sinks. On the other hand, when using low-spout taps, it could be hard to fill large pots.

This problem was addressed by designing several options of moveable telescopic spouts with adjustable height.

16

They consist of several tubes joined together. Their biggest flaw is their structure, with lots of joints and sealing rings. The more joints, the more chances for a tap to leak.

Another type of taps is pull-out spray. Their design remind of shower head used in a bathroom. A short flexible hose of 1–1.5 m in length is hidden inside a tap  spout.

17

This kind of mixer tap is very versatile. Some models feature extra controls on the pull-out head, providing with additional water saving option. When choosing a pull out tap, it is important to examine the material of the spout itself. The spouts can be made of plastic, or solid brass.
They may also have a spray button providing spray option, or may only have a pull out option.

18

They are functional and robust, come in various designs to match your kitchen décor.

 Which aerators are the most practical?

De spite of their small size,aerators make a very important part of a mixer tap. Pull-out sprays and water saving aerators are the most popular options. Water saving aerators utilise the cavitation effect by mixing up water with air. This helps save water significantlym, with the water consumption reduced by up to 8 l/min.

The aerators can either have a fixed or variable mesh that can adjust the density of the air and water mix. Many mixer tap models are supplied with adjustable direction aerator. This idea turned out to be so successful leading to improved designs of aerators with a wide range of water aeration parameters and spray patterns that will fit most kitchen mixer taps.

19

Kitchen accessories keep advancing. While many design ideas are just bells and whistles, some of them can be really useful.

Conventional or LED taps?. LED kitchen taps add style and allow  to do a more thorough washing-up.

20

The colour of light indicates the temperature of the water preventing your skin from scalding and also help you save water. One of the LED tap features is its power independence. It receives the energy it needs from the water jet – no batteries required.

21

 Which tap material is the most durable?

A mixer tap consists of multiple parts, each of which is made of various materials. The body is usually made of different alloys. The most popular ones are brass and stainless steel. Mixer taps made of those materials are considered top quality. Copper and bronze mixer taps are equally good, but they are quite expensive.

Low-budget models are made of zinc alloys (an alloy of zinc, aluminium and copper) and so are neither robust nor durable.

Many modern manufacturers experiment with high-strength heat resistant plastic and metal ceramics. They show excellent operational characteristics, yet a lower resistance to impact compared to full-metal mixer taps.

Choosing plating for a metal mixer tap could be another challenge. Chrome plating is the most durable, but it is susceptible to limescale. Enamelled taps have a wider range of colours, but the plating itself is less durable as washing liquids can make it peel off or change its colour. Always follow manufacturer guidelines on how to clean and maintain appearance of your taps.