Are Boiling, Filtered and Cold Water Taps Worth it?
When the first hot water taps hit the markets years ago, everyone felt like it was time to say goodbye to kettles and make space on kitchen worktops for other more interesting appliances. Nowadays, smart taps deliver more than just perfectly boiled water. But are they really worth the money and which ones are the best entry level taps if you want one for your existing or new kitchen?
What are Instant Boiling Water Taps?
Instant boiling water taps are supplied together with a mini boiler (usually anything between 2-5 litre capacity) that can heat water to a specific temperature in seconds.
If you love tea or coffee and don't want to wait for the kettle to do its thing, then all you need is one of these taps in your life. And yes, they are quick and simple to use: press a button and boiling hot water is immediately dispensed.
A boiling water tap is definitely a feature in any kitchen. And no matter what style your kitchen is, you can be sure to find a boiling water tap that matches the design as they are available in many colours and finishes such as gold, brass, platinum and even bright colours like pink and white.
Importantly, with the average person boiling a kettle 4 times per day at an average boil time of 85 seconds, an Instant Boiling Water Tap would save 1.4 days every year by simply waiting for the kettle to boil.
Above: a QETTLE boiling water tap
What are Instant Chilled Filtered Water Taps?
"4 in 1 taps are ingenious" says Alex Rowe, Director at QETTLE. "They’ll give you boiling water, filtered drinking water, plus normal hot and cold flows. So, you have one kitchen tap that does everything ".
"A chiller is a great addition", she continues. "It’s especially lovely in the summer, but chilled filtered water is pleasant all-year round and for many people, is actually the difference between drinking 1-2 glasses of water a day and the recommended 5 plus".
FRANKE from £1,400
CAPLE from £1,252
BRISTAN from £1,003
GROHE from £945
PRONTEAU from £649
ABODE from £649
LUSSO STONE from £595
QETTLE from £495
INSINKERATOR from £479
FOHEN from £439
AQUA from £399
HANSTROM from £319
FAHREN from £295
INTU from £219
Are Instant Boiling Water Taps safe to use?
If you have young children, you may reasonably be concerned about the safety of instant boiling taps. After all, the water that comes out can scold young and adult hands alike. But fear not. These concerns have been well thought of and manufacturers use all sorts of locks in their taps to make sure that simply turning on the boiling water function is not going to happen.
In addition, research published in the journal 'Nature Food' shows that boiling water in a traditional plastic kettle could contain more than 10 million micro-plastic particles which can be harmful to your health. Read more about why you need to give up plastic kettles here.
Alex Rowe, Director at QETTLE says on the subject of safety:
“Used correctly, a boiling water tap is arguably much safer than a kettle. It’s fixed – usually to the rear of the work surface – and there are no cables that can be grabbed or pulled. It’s also likely you’ll be dispensing relatively small volumes of boiling water – there isn’t a situation where you’ll have a vessel containing up to 1.5 litres of boiling water that could fall, from a height".
Above: a QETTLE Signature Brass boiling water tap
3 in 1 Boiling water tap by LUSSO STONE
Are Instant Boiling or Filtered Water Taps expensive to maintain?
Before installing a fancy tap, make sure you understand how regularly you might need to change any filter it comes with and the cost for that new filter. A replacement carbon pure water filter for Fohen boiling water tap for example costs £45. Here are questions to ask:
Does my tap come with a filter when I buy it or is the filter an extra cost?
How often should I replace the filter?
How much is a replacement filter?
Does the tap accept 'universal' filters that you could buy cheaper on say Amazon?
As for whether they are more expensive to run than kettles? Take the Fohen Instant Boiling Water Tap system as an example: it costs as little as 9p per day to run, which is a saving of 3p per day based on the average number of times a kettle is boiled per day. This excludes the number of times a kettle is re-boiled as it has cooled down or to boil a pan of water for cooking (source: Fohen).
Quooker maintains that a Quooker tank only uses 10KW of standby energy, which is about the same as a modem and less than a kitchen boiler.
What type of filter will my tap have?
There are two typical types of filter, one to improve only the taste of water and the other may have an ion exchange resin which has scale and taste control. Some boilers (like the Pronteau tap ones) are supplied with a filter as standard rather than optional extra, to help increase the lifespan of the product.
On the other hand, filter taps also may have huge differences when it comes to the size and type of filter. Franke's Vital Capsule System (shown below) claims to have the world's smallest water filter. It is the first system ever to combine activated carbon with a high-tech membrane which is so ultra-fine that it retains microplastics and removes harmful germs.
Activated carbon can remove impurities such as chlorine, pesticides and hormones; it also removes unpleasant tastes and odours.
Franke's Vital Capsule system - replacement filters cost only £30
Qettle's Director, Alex Rowe, says:
“Replacement filter cartridges vary enormously in efficiency and cost. Understand whether you’ll be disposing of just the filter cartridge, or its housing/canister, too. The latter are often manufactured from plastic. Is it recyclable – or destined for landfill? It might be one of your final considerations prior to purchasing your boiling water tap – but it’s still one of the most important.”
Do Instant Boiling and Filtered Water Taps Need a lot of Extra Space?
Not on the countertop they don't! But they will take up some under sink space. This depends on whether you are opting for a small or large boiler and whether you new fancy tap can also cool water (4 in 1) or make fizzy water too (5 in 1). The more functions a tap has, the more space it will take up in your under sink cabinet.
Example: Above, the Pronteau tap boiler from Abode. Below: All the compartments of a Quooker 5 in 1 tap.
Can the boiler be serviced and de-scaled?
It's important to find a tap that comes with a boiler that can be serviced and de-scaled. Some boilers are unfortunately just sealed tanks with a heating element inside and cannot be easily cleaned or de-scaled so may ultimately end up in landfill.
Are instant boiling water taps worth it? The Final Verdict
An instant boiling or filtered/cold water tap is an investment that is worth making. If you are due an upgrade/ change of your old kitchen faucet, then getting a smart tap that delivers more than just hot and cold water is definitely something worth considering in our view.