Choosing a Kitchen Sink Tap
When it is time to buy a new tap for your kitchen sink, or to replace an old or leaky one, there are a number of
things to consider. Do you want separate taps for cold and hot water, or do you want one tap that mixes the two? If
you choose the latter, do you want two separate handles to turn on cold and hot water? What materials are most
pleasing aesthetically, and which ones are most durable?
There are four basic types of taps, which can be divided into two categories. Ball, cartridge, and disc taps are
classified as “mixing” taps. They generally have one tap through which both cold and hot water flows and mixes to
achieve the correct temperature. Mixing taps can have either one handle or two, depending on your preference.
Compression taps are less common, and require two taps, one for cold water and one for hot.
The best way to determine which type of tap is right for you is to think about the way you use your kitchen
sink. Do you often need cold water for washing vegetables or rinsing dishes? Do you intend to put a filter on the
tap for drinking water? If so, a compression tap may be right for you. If you use your sink mostly for washing
dishes, then a mixing tap is a convenient and practical choice.
Generally speaking, compression taps are easier to repair, as it’s usually just a matter of replacing a worn
washer. Cartridge taps are simple to repair as well, but replacing a faulty cartridge can sometimes be an expensive
proposition. Disc taps tend to be the most reliable, as they have the fewest parts that can wear down and leak.
Ball taps have the most parts, and as a result are the most likely to wear down and leak over time.
Whatever type of tap you choose, you will most likely want a sprayer attachment. This will prove invaluable for
cleaning vegetables, rinsing dishes, and even watering plants. It’s well worth the small additional investment for
the time you will save.
Most kitchen taps are made of brass and then finished in a variety of coatings, ranging from gold-plate to
brushed chrome or enamel in a rainbow of colors. You can even elect to keep the original polished brass finish,
though it will take a bit more care to keep it shiny. Choose a tap that goes well with your existing kitchen decor
and cabinet hardware. Most importantly, choose a tap you feel comfortable using on a daily basis.