Boiling taps integrated directly to a hot/cold mixer (three-in-one), have become a staple in new builds and renovations. With multiple talents from blistering the skin from a tomato to speeding pasta, and offering one cup of coffee at a finger tickle, they are compactly delivered and essentially, quite safe in adults hands.
All should feature a childproof safety mechanism that has to be off-set for the tap to work.
Priced from €249 to over €2,200 for high end finishes, they require a small boiler unit (professionally installed) set under your counter and will kick the kettle into touch, cleaning up the configuration of a smaller kitchen. In terms of energy, you can expect hot water service for the cost to run a 40W lightbulb. It’s a matter of price. Pin code protection for the hot unit and full digital features can bring prices to €3,200.
My choice is the well-respected and pioneering InSinkerator 3N1, an American-designed steaming/hot/cold tap with filtration. Now, take note, steaming is 98 degrees (set on a touch-screen on the two-litre tank from 88 degrees to 98 degrees). Not being boiling water is not an issue for tea which is best made off the boil. The design of the 3NI is crisp and un-fussed twin-lever, 360-degree swivel spout, with one lever for hot/cold and one for steaming water. I like the extra bit of grip tooled onto the steaming water lever. €857 with solo steamer models from €475, multiple suppliers, insinkerator.ie.
Hot German alternative Groe Red and Blue lines offer boiled, chilled & even sparkling water units. Kettle-hot water three-in-one examples start around €1,060. For dealers and prices, grohe.ie.
The latest must-have for an executive-level wet bar is the four-in-one. It’s a monobloc boiler and hot/cold tap all filtered for heavy metals, minerals and other impurities that can spoil the water’s taste and health benefits. Having your own filtered water can reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles you use too.
Franke’s Omni was the first four-in-one on offer and comes in at a dream quenching €1,449.99, which while expensive, is on-par with some high-end 3-in-1 taps including the Quooker. Omni suppliers include KAL, kalorders.ie. Look for CoolTouch technology that keeps the surface of the tap safe, digital signals for filter changes and investigate just what litres the unit will deliver at one spurt (2.4l-3l is about right). Looking for sparkle? The Quooker line can dispense chilled and bubbling filtered water by attaching the Quooker CUBE to your 3-7l tank serving Flex, Fusion, Classic or Nordic taps. POA for customised pricing and installation from €99, quooker.ie
Altering the flow and position of the tap rinsers allows you to reach over whatever outline and number of bowls you have to comfortably perform any number of tasks around cooking and clearing up. If you don’t want a grand commercial tap holstered on an over-arching, visually-interrupting prong, you can still have a multi-tasking, discreet tool on hand.
Choose from either pull-out flow/spray taps integrated directly into the fixed mixer spout, silicone hoses that form part of the tap itself detaching from a fixed position via a simple bracket, and the familiar stand-alone side-sprayer – a separate flexible hose-fed tap that retracts into your counter or sink surround. A rinser married to a single lever tap that can run through temperature and flow at a single finger touch — very adept.
Wenken solid brass taps in a polished gold finish deliver this second style - a classic gooseneck profile with a flexible silicone hose. This brand offers considerable quality and detailing for a fraction of the price of many European names like Gessi, and you’ll easily find it offered online. Great for manoeuvring over large pans for a serious, grot moving blast, I love the pull-away action, released by swinging the brass fixing bar to one side. Deck mounted with a single lever, around €90, amazon.co.uk. For a no-nonsense, pull-out spray in a smaller kitchen, try the Grohe single-levers in its elegant Eurosmart and Minta ranges, well-engineered units with smooth docking, spray/shower-jets, and flow rate limiters, from €175 from multiple suppliers.
For more muscular, commercially inspired rinsers, start with the budget Hydra models, or B&Qs Cooke & Lewis Ithica. Deck or sink mounted, the Ithica floats out a full height of 536cm of glittering chrome, with a chef favoured spring-neck, dual function spray head, two nicely extended quarter turn levers and a Neoperl water-saving aerator (high or low pressure). €120, B&Q. Crosswater’s Cook Lever Control tap is more expensive but more visually finessed with a more acute angle off-duty, and similar in-hand dual spray control.
You will need at least 1bar pressure to enjoy it. €216.40, suppliers include taps4less.ie. The bigger you go, the more over-bearing your articulated tap will be and potentially the more cleaning it will demand. Magnet assisted docking systems are useful for effortlessly placing these rangier, glittering beasts back in position. Ensure these higher set taps are accessible to wheelchairs users in the family.
With colour and architectural twists the 2022 tap is no mundane choice. Hats off again to B&Q for its Kamut two-wheeled monobloc mixer tap, which delivers witty scarlet stop-cocks to a polished angular faucet. It’s gentled industrial at its best and includes adjustable aeration to save you on your water bills if they ever do turn up. Spookily similar in a popular, pure black, trip on over to IKEA online and pick up a Gamlesjon tap with durable ceramic discs that can handle the high friction that occurs when you change the temperature of the water. Yours for just €120, ikea.ie.
Franke, with taps to cover every budget, has a fabulous Maris Free Swivel tap in a distinctive matt Black or silk-steel PVD finish. The Dror line designed by New York based Dror Benshetrithas, includes a built in “perlator” for water flow with a champagne-like fizz. The mixer’s twisted unicorn horn fantasy sculpt is one of the most unusual offerings in domestic taps in some years. Shop around. Online prices from €350, franke.com. For devoted minimalists, Grohe’s SmartControl does away with levers in place of a “volume” button at the end of the spout to turn the water on/off, up/down. Use a finger or an elbow to operate the tap and slide your hand down to the base to adjust the temperature. From €340 from online suppliers.
For hot colour including a return to a 1970s ice white, the Dublin retailer Fohen offers a huge range of DIY install 3-in-1 mixer/boiling water systems from €563, including a trending satin white and an eye-watering pink, fohen.ie. Spirale from the firm 1810, are a sexy line for a family kitchen, similar to the sleek and popular Pegler Jeroni (€204, plumbingproducts.ie) with dozens of delicious pop colours in smart chrome/silicone rinsers. From €402, taps4less.ie.
Smeg does a line in 50s pastels (MDF50) — but its black version really rocks the look, €568, hafele.ie. Don’t complicate the aesthetics and function of the tap if your dishwasher is handling just about everything, and the kitchen is hovering in a broken or open-plan space. I’m still a little in love with the understated Carron Phoenix Reno, with its chic cylindrical body and single Bauhaus lever, fixed, pouring water — that’s it. Multiple suppliers with prices from €285, carron.com.