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Bathroom tap buying guide

Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

175 guides

Sink, bathtub and shower taps are essential to any bathroom. Choose the efficiency that goes with a thermostatic mixer or the aesthetic qualities of a single flow mixer, modern or waterfall, with a spout or aerator to dispel the water! Here’s a guide to choosing your bathroom faucet!

Important features

  • Mixer
  • Single flow
  • Aerator
  • Spout
  • Material
  • Finish

Price

from £9.00 to £1,061.00

Bathroom taps: why replace them?

ManoMano

When it comes time to refurbish the bathroom or finally stop that leaky faucet, it is sometimes necessary to repair or even change the faucet of the sink, also referred to as a basin, shower or bathtub.


To be equipped with a more efficient faucet, replacing your old high flow mixer with an ernergy efficient thermostatic mixer, for example, is also an excellent reason to replace your taps.


Cheap bathroom faucets seldom have an elaborate design, a good finish and are often the first to leak. The first thing to remember when choosing a bathroom tap, especially if you want to avoid changing it every 2 years, is to choose a brand that guarantees the product at least 5 years.

Bathroom tap: What is the difference between single flow and a mixer?



Bathroom mixer tap

The mixer is distinguished by its two handles dedicated to hot water and cold water. To obtain the right temperature , you twist the two water valves: adjusting the flow of cold and hot water. The handle of cold water is recognizable by the blue indicator, whereas the hot water by the red indicator.


Bathroom mixer taps have two heads, hot and cold water, which can be of two different types:

  • The jumper valve closes the water circuit by means of a rubber seal placed at the end of the mechanism. The valve head seal is a spare part that can easily be change. At the first sign of a leak, disconnect the water supply, disassemble the screw hidden under the color indicator to remove the head cover and unscrew the valve head. You will recognize the seal as its is mounted on a disc. Be sure to replace it exactly the way you found it.

  • The ceramic disk is more comfortable to use because it does not require the handle to be tightened all the way in order to close the water circuit, a half turn is sufficient. The ceramic head has a longer service life, however, it is still replaced when a lead is detected.



Single flow tap

The single flow tap only has one controller, operated from left to right to adjust the temperature and from top to bottom to get the right flow of water. The single flow tap is more practical because it requires only one hand and is more efficient due to it's memory effect in respect to temperature.


Some mixing valves are equipped with an anti-scald valve - limiting the ouput of hot water thanks to a ring. Anti-scald valves are especially practical for infants and the elderly - however, your best bet is still the thermostatic mixing valve.

Optionally also the flow controller. This a notch, installed about halfway up the tap's handle,which reduces the flow of water by 50%. Simply add pressure to adjust it and benefit from a normal flow.

Cascade mixers are being equipped in more and more balneo bathtubs and the more modern one are LED cascade mixers .



Thermostatic bath mixer

The thermostatic mixer ensures true comfort, allowing for an accurate adjustment, in degrees, of the water temperature. The thermostatic bath mixer has two handles:

- A first one for adjusting the temperature;
- The second to set the flow rate.


A thermostic mixer's handle is graduated. By simpling setting it once, you will benefit from the temperature selected at each use.

Thermostatic mixers offer a temperature lock of 38 ° C which avoids accidental burning and favors them for the elderly or small children.

Thermostatic mixers also have a hot water-cut off  if the mixing with cold water is not being done properly.

A thermostatic mixer is not recommended when the hot water is produced by an instantaneous water heater. The best use of the thermostatic mixier is with storage water heaters such as cumulus heaters. 

For maintenance reasons, it is recommended that cold water be periodically used- so as to lower the temperature to a minimum - to trigger the integrated temperature sensor .

In the event of an incorrect configuration, the temperature setting (or the relationship between the graduated handle and the water temperature) is adjusted by manipulating the thermostatic cartridge. Under the handle's cover is hidden notched ring, to be rotated until you have reached the correct temperature- water temperature is then simply taken with a conventional thermometer.

Bathroom tap: which tap to choose for what use?


Besides its water distribution technology - single-flow and mixer - a bathroom tap can offer different sanitary elements:
  • sink, washbasin and handwasher;
  • shower;
  • bathtub;
  • bidet.

The tap can be placed directly on the sink, washbasin or bathtub, in which case they are pierced or pre-cut. Taps can also be installed on a toilet tank, wall or shower enclosure.


Depending on the faucet, one or two holes are needed to attache it. Mixers and singl washbasins and mixers are monohole, while shower and bath faucets generally have two holes.


The installation kit for a sink or washbasin tap consists of a threaded rod, a nut, a half-moon washer and its seal. Installed next to the connecting hoses, the threaded rod uses the half-moon washer, which is fixed to the sink or basin thanks to the nut, stabilizing the tap. It is often necessary to obtain a fitted allen screwdriver with a hexagon socket to complete the installation. 


Sink and washbasin tap 

The tap must take into account the ergonomics of the sink or washbasin and its height should allow to wash your hands without straining. The depth of the spout is directly related to the drainage of the sink or washbasin, in order to prevent the spilling of any water.

The height of the spout is variable and is linked more to the aesthetic quality and style. A high-faucet tap offers a more comfotable handwashing experience, while a lower spout tap provides more discretion and optimized the space about the sink or washbasin.  

Sink and washbasin taps can be equipped with an infrared system that removes the need for any manual opening. The water temperature is set during installation, so the user simply needs to pass his hand under the tap for the water to start. Infrared valves are equipped with a sensor that can be powered by battery or electricity.


Bathtub Faucet

The bathtub faucet has an inverter, operated from top to bottom, which gives the user the choice between water diffusion via the spout or the shower.


The spout is used to fill the bathtub with water while the shower, connected by a hose, allows the user to shower - depending on the type and models, it can be composed of several jets. The spout on the other hand can be set with a traditional round jet or a waterfall jet - especially for the balneo bathtub.


Bathtub faucets generally have two horizontal holes - corresponding to the water connections - which makes it perfectly suitable for wall attachment. To installation directly on a bathtub, be sure to use  columns - a 90 ° chrome finished joint. The installation is then covered to ensure the finish.


When renovating, or if the pipes don't match the tap's holes, eccentric fittings make it possible to adapt any faucet to the installation. Like the small columns, the tap fittings are chrome plated.


Shower tap 

The shower tap only allows the connection of a shower head via a hose.


The shower tap is attached to the wall or shower enclosure via two holes. It can be built-in or be fitted with a plate for a better finish.


The use of eccentric fittings solves any issues with matching or distance between the installation and the tap.



Bathroom tap: installation advice and accessories

For conveniency and a reduced water consumption, a cut off valve can be installed between the shower hose and the shower head during installation.


Be sure to identify the center of the shower or bathtub valve to avoid using off-center fittings .

The water intake on shower and bathtub faucets can be either male or female and is often 15 x 21 (½ ’’) in length. Choose a faucet that is adaptable to your configuration or obtain the necessary connections.

Bathroom tap: what quality difference is there between two single flow and two mixers?

 

As with any product, single flow and mixers are no exception to the rule, the difference between the basic and the top level product is based on on the choice of materials and level of finish.


These two criteria directly affect the life span of the tap, the comfort of use and more often than not, the warranty.


Other than the NF standard, the brand and the length of the warranty - 2 years, 5 years or 10 years - you should also consider the following when comparing:

  • The joints and the connection hoses are of good quality, prolonging the time in use without leaks;
  • The availability of joints and, in particular, valves for jumper mixers and replacement heads;
  • To obtain the best resultsit is highly recommended to routinely maintain chrome or any other surface of the heads and the  spout;
  • The parts are molded with a high degree of quality, which limits the formation of deposits on the assembly, provides a better seal and reduces the pressure on the tap's nozzle - essentially on the mixers;
  • The guarantee that no harmful materials such as lead or other heavy metals were used;
  • The quality of the temperature probe, when dealing with a thermostatic mixing valves, and the availability of optiosn such as the flow controller on the mixers.



Guide to Bathroom Taps

Type of bathroom taps

Entry-level brand

Mid-range brand

Brand new

Sink tap

Ideal standard, Alexis Robert

Rousseau, Ideal standard, Jacob Delafon, Roca, Anconetti

Grohe, Axor Hansgrohe, Jacob Delafon, Porcher, Roca, Anconetti

Shower tap

Bathtub tap

Bathroom tap: What's an aerator used for?


Located at the end of the spout, the aerator is a screwable part consisting of a sieve. It's purpose is to aerate the water and to direct the jet in a fixed point thus avoiding any unwanted projection of water.

The aerator also has a filtering action and will prevent pebbles from showing up in your drink when the water line is being worked on. 


If you ever notice a drop in pressure in your tap after work on the water line, first thing to do is to unscrew the aerator: it may simply be partially clogged.


Easy to assemble and disassemble, it is advisable to descale the aerator periodically to remove hard water traces or after observing a reduced flow. Use a descaling household product or simply  try white vinegar.


The aerator directly influences the flow of water by the size of its sieve. For the sake of efficiency, go with an aerator with strong expulsion power.

Bathroom tap: what are the different styles of faucet?


From the classic bathroom tap we all know to the retro bathroom tap through to the modern and sleek tap, there is a faucet for every bathroom.


For aesthetics' sake, compare your sink faucet with that of your shower and try to match them- especially if they are colored!

Although the vast majority of bathroom taps are treated with chrome, gloss or satin finish, you can always opt for a brushed stainless or rustic copper model. The choice of material directly impacts the tap's style, the mixer is often used for the retro style, for example.

Bathroom tap: advice to properly maintain and choose your water works?


Saving water

Without an infrared valve, a mixer would be recommended if you want to reduce your water consumption or even better, a thermostatic mixer.


Opt for a strong aerator with equal flow, to get a larger jet with increased pressure. If you're hoping not to see any leaky heads or loose  spouts, forget about the lowest priced models. Yor tap's drip-drip can cost you a whole lot at the end of the year.


Choose a tap with a low flow - average flow of 12l / min. Add a cut-off switch to your shower tap. 


The C3 rating certifies that the bathroom faucet is efficient in the water saving domain. As always, the best thing to do to save water: close the tap!

 


Maintenance of valves

The aerator should be descaled periodically and the exterior of the faucet regularly cleaned to prevent deposits from forming. Household products are designed to reveal the brilliance of the chrome fittings and others still are anti-limestone.

The mixe's valves can be changed in case of leak. Examples of this include the head and the cartridge on a mixer, in case of malfunction. Hoses can always leak over time. While their connection to the faucet is standardadized (8x13 connection), their attachments can vary (15x21 female connection or male,20x27 female connection or male).

The mixer head covers can be changed. Often in chrome-plated ABS, the corners of the mixer heads may lose their color over time.

In the event of loss, the blue and red indicators are also sold separately.

 

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter 175 guides écrits

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.
Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.
Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.
Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check.

The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job!
What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!

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