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1 October 2020

How to buy the best hot water tap

Hot water taps are a permanent and expensive addition to your kitchen, so find out if they're right for you, and how much you need to spend, before you commit.
AW
Alice Williams

Do you dream of steaming hot water at the touch of a button? A hot water tap could make this a reality, but they're not the right choice for everyone.

A boiling water tap will provide instant hot water without the need to wait around for the kettle or boil a pan on the hob, but it's a much more permanent addition to your kitchen than a conventional kettle or plug-in hot water dispenser. 

It needs to be plumbed in alongside, or instead of, your standard kitchen sink taps.

Our expert guide can help you decide if it's worth the investment.

You can also skip straight to our round-up of the best and worst hot water tap brands, based on a survey of owners.

Should you buy a hot water tap?

The main advantage of these taps is that they provide hot water much more quickly and easily than a kettle.  They also make it simpler to use just the amount of water you need, as you can fill your mug or pan directly from the tap. If you want a minimalist kitchen, they can streamline the amount of gadgets on your surfaces tool.

However, they are pricey and require maintenance, so it's best to weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you decide to invest:

Pros of hot water taps

  • Speed. Even the quickest kettles take nearly two-and-a-half minutes to boil water, which just can't compare to the instant touch-of-a-button service you'd get from a hot water tap.
  • Efficiency. Filling your mug or pan directly from the tap means you'll only ever use the exact amount you need.
  • Looks. If counter space is a premium in your kitchen it's a good choice for a streamlined aesthetic.
  • Safety features. With childproof handles and insulated sides they're arguably safer than a kettle 
  • Usability. People who would struggle to fill, lift and pour a kettle may get on better with a hot water tap.
  • Filtered water. Most models have filters that remove harsh-tasting chemicals and soften and aerate the water.

Cons of hot water taps

  • Cost. Even the cheapest hot water taps will set you back over £500, and you're looking at nearly £2000 for the priciest models.
  • Installation. Our research shows that installation can be a pain. It may not be covered in the cost and you might need to do it yourself or call in a plumber.
  • Maintenance. You may get rid of a kettle, but limescale can still be a problem in hard water areas. You'll need to clean the tap and tank regularly and buy replacement filters, which can significantly add to the ongoing cost.

How much do you need to spend on a hot water tap?

There's no getting round it - hot water taps are a pricey purchase.

But prices do vary depending on several factors, including the size of the tank, the tap's finish and the added features.

Whatever the price, you'll need to factor in the ongoing cost of filters, which can vary significantly by brand. 

Is a boiling-water tap cheaper to run than a kettle?

You'd expect anything that keeps hot water ready to go would be expensive to run, but if leading brands such as Quooker, Grohe and Franke are to be believed then hot water taps can be more economical than your average kettle.

Quooker claims that its taps cost 3p per day on standby. The cost of boiling a litre of water in a standard kettle is just over 2p. So if you boil your kettle several times per day, then you do stand to save on your energy bills.

However, the high upfront cost of hot water taps - and the cost of maintenance - means that in practice it would take you several lifetimes to recoup your investment. We've done the maths, comparing upfront and ongoing energy costs to our cheapest Best Buy kettle.

If saving money is a priority, choose an energy-saving kettle instead. Their low minimum fill (usually as little as one cupful) means you only have to boil the amount you need, and they'll switch off as soon as they're boiled, saving electricity. See our guide to the best energy saving kettles for models we recommend.

Hot water tap features to consider

Think carefully about the features you do and don't need. Added extras can push up the price, and only 5% of respondents  in our November 2019 hot water tap owners survey wish they'd bought a tap with more features than the one they chose.

Tap combinations

If you want to replace your taps rather than adding to them, choosing a multi-function tap can clear up space on your sink.

  • Two-in-one taps - dispense boiling and cold water
  • Three-in-one taps - dispense boiling water, cold water and standard mains hot water
  • Four-in-one taps - dispense boiling water, filtered cold water and standard mains hot and cold water

Some top-of-the-range taps also dispense fizzy water.

Capacity

Boiling water taps come with different sized tanks. The smallest hold around 2 litres, while the largest hold as much as 11 litres. A larger tank gives you the convenience of having lots of boiling water ready in one go, though you'll need to find the space for it under your cupboards.

Tap finish

Stainless steel is likely to be the more cost-effective option, though you can choose different colours to fit in with your kitchen decor, along with chrome, brass or gold metallic finishes.

Child safe features

Red-hot water in an instant could be dangerous, especially if you have children who are used to getting cold water when they use the tap. 

Look out for taps with safety buttons that make it difficult to turn it on by accident. Some also have childproof handles and insulated sides that won't get hot even when the water is flowing. 

Flexible hose

Some models from Fohen and Quooker have a pull-out flexible hose. This could be useful for reaching beyond the sink to fill up large saucepans.

Temperature

Most 'boiling water taps' are more likely to come out around 98-99°C, so brands that do reach 100°C, such as Quooker, have it as a key USP.

This might appeal to you, but if you're mainly using your tap for cooking and making drinks you're unlikely to notice the difference.

Hot water tap brands

Brands that make hot water taps include Abode, CDA, Franke, Grohe, Insinkerator, Roux, Quooker and Zip.

Cheaper options are CDA and Insinkerator, while Franke, Roux, Grohe, Quooker and Zip are pricier.

See how the brands compare in our guide to the best hot water tap brands.

Maintaining your hot water tap

Hot water tap filters come as standard, and they're a handy accessory, removing harsh tasting chemicals from the water, as well as protecting the tank from potentially damaging limescale and sediment.

You'll need to change filters regularly though, particularly if you live in a hard water area. This can be expensive, and you're at risk of invalidating your warranty if you don't do it as regularly as you should.

See below for the costs of filters from major brands and how often you should change them.

 

As well as changing your filters, you'll have to clean your hot water tap like you would any tap in your home, paying particular attention to limescale around the nozzle.

Some manufacturers also recommend using a descaling solution every so often to clean the inside of the tank.