What to consider when buying a kitchen tap

I recently moved into a new house. There were many things that needed to be fixed. Small things, like replacing the door handle on the bathroom door and replacing the kitchen tap. I've never replaced a kitchen tap before so in this article I am going to share what I learned during the process.

When you think about your kitchen tap, it really is quite astounding how often you use that silly piece of hardware. Filling the kettle, filling the pot, getting a glass of water and washing your hands. These are all things that you couldn't do without your kitchen tap.

Things to consider before buying a kitchen tap

Before you buy a kitchen tap there are a few things that you need to consider, the last thing you want to do is buy a kitchen tap and regret it. So, here go:

Practical Considerations

Budget

The first thing you need to consider is Budget. Taps can range from R100 to R100 000 in South Africa. Yes you heard that right, R100 000 on a Kitchen Tap. Why buy a car when you can by a tap? The old adage is true here: "It is expensive to be cheap". Keep in mind when it comes to taps, you do unfortunately get what you pay for. The more expensive kitchen taps will last longer and require less maintenance, but the real value is in the finish and added features like instant-boiled-water-and-on-demand. Think carefully about how much you are willing to fork out for your new Kitchen Tap. The sweet spot is R1200 - R2500 in South Africa.

Repair, Maintenance and Installation

The second thing you'll need to think about is Repair, Maintenance and Installation. Some Brands like hansgrohe don't actually sell spare parts, but this is offset by their whopping 25 Year Warranty. Most other brands will supply spare parts like Ceramic Cartridges that allow for DIY maintenance. We'll talk more about Ceramic Cartridges later.
If you're willing and prefer to do maintenance yourself, brands like Cobra, Blanco, Teka, Franke and Grohe are perfect for you. As previously mentioned some brands don't allow you to do maintenance on your product and they'll send out a service specialist instead.
Lastly, when it comes to installation, installing your kitchen tap is actually quite simple, but if you prefer to get a plumber to do it, you'll need to factor in that cost as well.

If this all sounds very overwhelming contact our product specialist, they'd be happy to answer all your questions and give you some free advice.

Number of holes in your sink (32mm or 35mm)

Now you may be thinking: "My sink only has two drainage holes", but actually we're talking about mounting holes. Some sinks ship with a hole already drilled for you, but most sinks don't. Perhaps, you previously had a kitchen tap that required two holes for mounting, you'll want to think carefully about getting a mixer that only requires one hole. It may mean you'll have to replace your entire sink.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your new tap may be smaller than your previous tap. Again if you are uncertain, contact our friendly product specialist team and they'll answer your questions.

The type of handles you'll need

Screw Type Handles Vs Levers

Now, this is where it can get a bit confusing. A mixer can have either a lever or a screw type handle. Often if you have two holes in your sink, you'll need a mixer with two screw type handles. Lever handles are great because they're not difficult to open which means if you only have one hand available, or if you hand is dirty you can still open the lever mixer with relative ease.

Elderly people especially appreciate the ease in which a lever type tap or mixer can be operated.

Mixers Vs Taps

There is a difference between Mixers and Taps (Faucet if you are American). As the word implies, a mixer has two water sources but only one water outlet. It mixes the hot and cold water in the outlet. Taps on the other hand, typically have one water source and one outlet. This means you'll have one tap for hot water and one tap for cold water. The two tap configuration is become increasingly rare as mixers become more common.

Does your kitchen tap need a sprayer?

Kitchen taps with sprayers or spray hoses used to be reserved for professionals. Now, a couple of brands have released kitchen taps with a sprayer in a price bracket that makes it accessible to the general consumer. These types of kitchen taps are ideally suited to the avid home cook. Sprayers make washing vegetables and pots just a fraction easier. Definitely not a necessity, but absolutely handy.

 

Filtration System

If you get your water from a rainwater tank or borehole you may have to consider a filtration system. Or perhaps, your municiple water supply is a tad suspect, you'll want to filter all those nasties out of your drinking water. A filtration system can be purchased to filter the water that specifically goes to your kitchen tap.

Bonus: Boiling and Sparkling water kitchen taps

You can purchase a kitchen tap that can produce boiling, chilled or sparkling water. These taps aren't cheap, the cheaper ones start at about R27 000. Yep, that is correct, that third zero is there on purpose. The higher end boiling/chilled water taps can go for as much as R100 000. If R30 000 sounds like pocket change, then kitchen taps like these are the perfect addition to your kitchen. You will be able to wow your guests, when you produce a glass of sparkling water and a mug of coffee from the same tap within 30seconds.

View Zip Hydrotap Range

Stylistic and Aesthetic considerations

Colour & Finish

95% of kitchen taps come in either stainless steel or a chrome silver finish, but don't let the masses stifle your creativity. Kitchen taps can also come in colours like Black, Copper, Gold, Gun Metal Grey and even White. If you're feeling a little creative or looking for a mixer to compliment your kitchen's accent colour then spicing things up with an unusual kitchen tap colour could be the way to go.

Fun fact: Some copper kitchen taps are unprotected from rust on purpose. This causes the tap to oxidise over time and get a green/blue colour. If you would like your copper kitchen tap to stay copper, you may want to double check that it is protected from oxidization.

Material

Most kitchen taps are manufactured using DZR Brass. DZR is an acronym for "dezincification resistant". Dezincification is a corrosive process which can cause a lot of damage to your kitchen taps. DZR brass is resistant to this corrosion.

In the First World War, more Royal Navy boats were put out of action due to dezincification than by the German Navy!

Luckily, most kitchen taps in South Africa are dezincification resistant. All taps with a SABS certification are made from DZR Brass.

Design

Design is personal. And your kitchen is your personal space, so you should have a kitchen tap that matches your personality. Kitchen taps come in many different styles. At the lower budget range of kitchen taps you will find taps that look more traditional and are designed to be functional. However, when you start to look at mid to high end kitchen taps you'll notice more variety in style and design. For example there are kitchen taps that are modern. These kitchen taps have sharp corners and are masterpieces of symmetric poetry. Other kitchen taps have the farm house look and feel, while others are curvy and timeless. Regardless of your style preference is, there is probably a kitchen tap that is 'so you'.

DIY

Most taps can be installed by anyone who knows their way around a toolbox. Unlike electrical installations, if you consider yourself the next Riaan Garforth-Venter (Diy Met Riaan), then you'll have no problem installing your kitchen tap by yourself. Most kitchen taps and mixers only require a plumbers wrench to install. All you need to do (in most cases) is detach the old kitchen tap from the angle valves, detach the tap from your sink and then install your kitchen tap. Mount the kitchen tap to the sink, and then reattach the angle valves under the sink. This entire process shouldn't take you longer than 15 - 30min.

Note: If your tap mounting hole is too small for your new tap you would need whats called a chassis punch to open the hole. Or you can file it open with a metal file. If you have a tap mounting hole left exposed after changing your tap, inquire with us about a stopper that can be purchased to fill the unsightly hole.

If you are uncomfortable with doing this yourself, or your kitchen makes installing the kitchen tap difficult for some reason, then consider contacting a certified plumber to do the installation for you.

What to expect in the box

Most kitchen taps and mixers come with everything you need to install them. The manufacturer assumes that you already have two angle valves installed. Some oversees brands like Blanco, include angle valves in the box because they are the European standard and not the South African standard. Livecopper does it's best to indicate what comes in the box on our product pages, so if you are unsure please consult the product pages. If you are still unsure after that, speak to one of our helpful projects assistants. They will give you helpful advice for free.

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