The Different Types Of Bathroom Basin Taps | Ultimate Guide

Did the basin taps in your family bathroom finally break? Should you just find an exact duplicate or is it time to upgrade? There are more than just a few choices for basin taps out on the market.

In this post, I’ll go over the different types of basin taps on the market as well as some of the considerations when choosing a bathroom basin tap. So you’ll know exactly the right tap to choose for your bathroom.

Let’s dive in!

What To Consider When Buying Bathroom Basin Taps


With so many options on the market, there are plenty of choices when it comes to the style of your basin taps. Not only the different types (which we’ll get on to in a minute) but various styles, shapes and different finishes available. From a shiny modern polished chrome waterfall tap to an art deco aged brass pillar tap, the choices of style are endless. Inject some of your own personality and pick a style that you love.

Water Pressure

Check your current water pressure and look for basin taps suitable for it. Some taps require a minimum water pressure. Purchasing a tap that requires a higher pressure will only lead to disappointment.

Ease Of Use

Consider who will be using the basin tap. Do they have any additional needs to help turn the tap on and off? Old school pillar taps can prove difficult for many, especially those suffering from arthritis or those with a weaker grip. If that’s the case, opting for a simple single-level tap or infrared could be a better option.

You May Also Like:
The Different Types Of Bathroom Basins | An In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

The Different Types Of Bathroom Basin Taps

There are seven popular bathroom basin taps found at your local home improvement store. They include the single, pillar, triple-hole, wall-mounted, small, infrared, and tall taps. Each is designed to work in a particular application. Which one belongs in your home?

Single Taps

Single Taps bathroom basin

Single taps can also be listed on a home improvement website as a mixer or monobloc tap. It is the tap that you most likely see in your own home or your neighbour’s flat. There is a single hole at the back of the basin for the combined spout and tap. It has one knob or lever to control the flow of water. The knob serves as a mixer valve that combines the hot and cold water as you turn it from side to side. 

These taps are great for washing hands or filling the basin to handwash small items. 

If you are replacing an old two-hole tap with a single, you will need a decorative escutcheon plate to cover over the unused holes. 

Installing a single mixer tap is fairly straightforward if replacing another single tap. Flexible connecting hoses under the basin run between the tap and the copper or PVC supply pipes.  The tap is held into place with a screw and bolt.  Use a putty knife to cut away any old caulk or silicone.

You may not want a standard single tap if you are planning a contemporary bathroom upgrade using a vessel sink or for a small cloakroom with a tiny basin. 

They are budget-friendly and run between £25 and £100.

Pros for Mixer Single Taps:

  • Standard design is readily available
  • Easy to use, even for kids and those living with disabilities
  • Easy to install
  • Works with most types of bathroom basins
  • Affordable

Cons for Single Mixer Taps:

  • Not designed for deep, vessel, or small sinks
  • Only works with single-hole basin designs

You May Also Like:
The Different Types Of Bathroom Basin Waste | A Complete Guide

Pillar Taps

Pillar Taps bathroom basin

You may have encountered a pillar tap when you visited your friend’s old farmhouse. These are two tap designs with the cold and hot taps positioned on opposite sides of the basin or as part of a two fixture at the back of the basin. Each tap has its own spout. There are more modern versions that feature a bridge between the pillars and ends in a single spout.

They are not particularly practical for today’s bathroom habits and are not suggested for use in a home with small children. You may opt to switch out an antique set of pillar taps with new ones to maintain a vintage bathroom. This helps you to avoid adding ugly decorative plates and drilling new holes.

Installation is no more complicated than a single mixer tap using new flexible lines and connections. However, you may need a plumber if you are upgrading from 80-year-old pipes.

Pricing is comparable to mixer taps starting at around £25 and soaring into the hundreds if you opt for one with a bridge and single spout.

Pros for Pillar Taps:

  • Maintains the authentic vintage aesthetic
  • Get just piping hot water when you want it
  • Works well with antique basins
  • Can be extremely affordable

Cons for Pillar Taps:

  • No anti-scald technology means they are dangerous for small hands
  • If replacing or upgrading antique plumbing, you need to pay a professional.
  • Not suitable for people that struggle to grasp and turn handles
  • Simply not functional as part of a modern bathroom

You May Also Like:
10 Art Deco Style Bathrooms | Ideas And Inspiration

Triple Hole Taps

Triple Hole Taps bathroom basin

Triple-hole taps are the logical follow-up to the pillar tap. You still have a separate knob for hot and cold and a spout in the middle, but the basin must have three holes drilled in the back to accommodate the unit. The taps are sold as a single piece. The stopper for the drain is often part of the middle spout.

These taps were used in most homes up to the 1990s when they were phased out by the monobloc.

It is convenient to simply change out a broken triple-hole tap with a new version to save on the frustration of drilling new holes or locating a plate to hide the old holes.

Installation is easy, and they work well with most vanities and pedestal sinks. They are a poor solution for small cloakroom basins or vessel sinks.

Three-hole taps tend to be a bit pricier than a monobloc since they are less popular, but there is still a good range of affordable styles available on the market.

Pros for Triple-Hole Taps:

  • Provide an easy replacement for older basins with existing three-hole taps.
  • Sold and installed as a single unit, which saves time and frustration
  • Includes the waste as part of the unit
  • Able to adjust water flow for both hot and cold

Cons for Triple-Hole Taps:

  • More expensive than a single tap as they are less popular
  • Fewer design options are available
  • Not the best choice for young families or for people with arthritis
  • Not for small basins

You May Also Like:
Bathroom Vanity Countertop Materials | Pros, Cons & What To Consider

Wall Mounted Taps

Wall Mounted Taps bathroom basin

Wall-mounted taps are the modern solution for traditional plumbing challenges. Instead of installing your taps on a beautiful piece of granite or antique porcelain, these taps are screwed right to the wall. The pipes are completely hidden, which makes it a fabulous upgrade for pedestal basin designs. Most come with a single lever to mix hot and cold water, but some are three-hole designs.

This is truly an upgrade and likely an expensive option when renovating a bathroom. The taps start at about £60 and rapidly climb into the hundreds. Not only are you likely hiring a plumber, but you will also need to worry about wall repair and tile or paint as part of the installation.

It does give you added space on the vanity and there is no doubt that you are living in the 21st century with this choice. It’s also a wise option for tiny bathrooms and small basins.

Pros for Wall-Mounted Taps:

  • Sleek, modern, and sexy
  • Easy to use with controls designed for the whole family
  • Leaves extra space on the basin or vanity
  • Hidden supply pipes

Cons for Wall-Mounted Taps:

  • Much more expensive due to increased labour and demolition
  • Harder to service when it breaks
  • Less variety in tap design available

You May Also Like:
Bathroom Vanity | Heights, Sizes & Everything Explained

Tall Taps

Tall Taps

Tall taps are also described as high-rise taps when cruising through home design centres and websites. The most common reason to opt for tall taps in a modern bathroom is for the installation of a vessel sink. It sits on the countertop of your vanity and requires a taller tap to reach over its edge while leaving enough room to get your hands under the water.

Most designs mimic those of the shorter single tap versions but include a height of around 300mm instead of the 150mm associated with smaller cousins. Installation and function are comparable, also.

You may opt for a tall tap even on a traditional basin if you expect to use the bathroom to fill buckets or pitchers of water.

Expect to pay about £70 to £150 for the tall tap that matches your beautiful new vessel sink.

Pros for Tall Taps:

  • Fits over the high sides of a vessel sink
  • Single tap design provides easy use
  • Affordable versions are available
  • Installation is comparable to smaller units

Cons for Tall Taps:

  • Not as many options available on the market compared to standard taps
  • Disappointment when you grab the wrong tap at the DIY store and end up with something that you didn’t expect.

You May Also Like:
Vessel Sinks | Pros, Cons & Things To Consider

Small Taps

small basin tap

Is there a small closet under the stairs that you are converting into a cloakroom?  A small tap is engineered to fix in such tight spaces while delivering all the function needed for a quick wash before dinner.

Small taps are a bit shorter, only require a single hole, and generally complement the small sink fitted into the corner. You may pay a little more for the small size, simply because they are less common.

Should you choose to add one to your standard bathroom, you may get frustrated by the inability to get your hands under the water for a good scrub. It’s really for a quick hand wash, not for scrubbing clothes or other chores.

Pros for Small Taps:

  • Sized just right for your small cloakroom basin
  • Works just like the larger single tap

Cons for Small Taps:

  • Slightly higher price and smaller selection
  • Not suited for busy bathrooms and full-sized cleaning jobs

You May Also Like:
Narrow Bathroom | Advice, Info & Ideas

Infrared Taps

Infrared Taps

Do you love those taps in public restrooms where you just wave your hand, and they start pouring out water? You can add infrared taps to your own bathroom. The infrared light detects the motion of hands in the basin and opens the valve using a battery or hard-wired electricity. The temperature is preset, so there’s never a worry about scalding hands and the water shuts off when it no longer senses motion. Better yet, nobody’s germs are left on the knobs and levers.

Now on the downside, you can’t get just hot or cold water. You won’t be able to fill up the sink to soak a blouse. And you will need to have it wired in or change the batteries to keep it working. 

What about the price? These units start around £150 and up.

For a busy cloakroom, it’s a great investment. For your master suite, it might not be the best option.

Pros for Infrared Taps:

  • Preset temperature prevents scalding little hands
  • No need to touch the tap and leave behind bacteria
  • Save water as it always shuts off when you are done

Cons for Infrared Taps:

  • There is no adjustment for hot, cold, or even flow.
  • Requires power–an added cost and maintenance
  • Pricier than all other types of traditional taps

Are Bathroom Basin Taps A Standard Size?

Yes and no. Basin taps come in all shapes and sizes for the hardware themselves. However, basin taps typically all use a 1/2-inch pipe to connect the tap to the water supply. So from a plumbing connection point of view, yes, there is a standard size.

GOOD TO KNOW: The type of sink waste you need will depend on the type of basin you choose. If your basin has an overflow built into it, then you will need a slotted waste If it doesn’t have an overflow, you will need an unslotted waste.

You May Also Like:
Are Basin Taps The Same As Bath Taps? Everything Explained

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about bathroom basin taps and the different options available.

With so many styles available there’s no right or wrong choice, it’s all down to your personal style and what options your bathroom design allows for.

So, what type of basin tap will you pick for your new bathroom renovation?


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.