1. The different elements of your bathroom should go together, so if you have a period-style room, you need classic taps to suit, and if the look is modern, contemporary taps work best.
Try the taps with the bathroom suite to check they’re the right style and size. It’s especially important that the basin tap is in proportion to the basin and won’t project water over the lip. Most bathroom taps are chrome these days, but other finishes are available. And don’t forget ease of use, especially for the youngest and oldest members of the family, who may have difficulty operating some types of tap.
2. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get good taps, but it can be a false economy to buy cheap ones because a tap has working parts and they can fail if they’re poor quality. If you soon end up having to get the taps repaired or replaced, you’ll wish you’d spent more on a product designed to last. “The quality of the materials and finishing of a tap is very important when it comes to good water flow, ease of cleaning and maintenance, and long-term value,” says Simon Browning of Mira Showers (www.mirashowers.co.uk), which has its own range of taps - Aspects. “You can judge the quality of a tap by the warranty that comes with it, as well as aesthetic values: look for perfect symmetry and flat lines on the edges of the tap.”
3. Mixer taps, which have one spout, are a popular choice because they make it easy to get water at the desired temperature. They mix hot and cold water before it comes out of the spout, but some people prefer separate hot and cold taps - your bathroom basin will either have two holes for separate taps or one for a mixer. If your bath has two tap holes, you don’t have to have separate taps - most bath mixers are designed for two holes. However, not all baths come pre-drilled with tap holes - to avoid drilling them, go for wall-mounted taps, or floor-standing taps, which are often used with freestanding baths.
4. There’s nothing worse than a tap that produces little more than a dribble, so consider your home’s water system before you buy - something many of us forget to do. “This tends to be more important if you have a low-pressure water system,” says Browning. “If the tap isn’t suitable and the water flow is poor, it will take a long time to fill a bath.”
5. Good water pressure is especially important for bath-shower mixer taps. These taps are a cost-effective way to have an over-bath shower because you need bath taps anyway, so why not pay a bit more for taps that connect to a shower head and hose? Bath-shower mixers are useful for washing you, your hair, the dog and the bath itself, but good water pressure is needed for a satisfactory showering experience, so they can’t always be used instead of a separate shower.