Don't bother putting the kettle on - the best boiling water taps will fix you a brew in a heartbeat
Kettles are so last decade – what you need is a boiling water tap. All right, nobody actually needs one, but if you’re going to invest you would do well to get the best boiling water tap money can buy.
A boiling water tap provides instant boiling water – and near boiling water with some models – on demand. Yes, they’re expensive and need professional installation, but their running costs might surprise you. In fact, the running costs could easily be cheaper than your kettle. Not least because you will never run a boiling tap and then forget about it, unlike the kettle you put on half an hour ago before you were distracted by your phone.
So, if you fancy splashing out and want to make your domestic life a whole lot easier, we’ve got reviews of several of the latest models, as well as a buying guide that answers all the questions you might have about these devices.
Once you have one in the kitchen you may wonder how you managed without it.
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How to choose the best boiling water tap for you
What’s involved in fitting a boiling water tap system?
Every boiling water tap comes with its own mini-boiler and (usually) a replaceable water filter that must be installed under the sink. Your existing kitchen tap will also need to be replaced, but this is an easy task for any plumber.
The biggest issue with installation is that more piping is required, not to say the extra space required for the boiler and filter. Usually a single-door under-sink cupboard will suffice, but it will almost certainly be at the expense of storage space. Even double-doored under-sink cupboards may lose the shelf that stores all the cleaning products.
The first thing any decent online retailer will ask for is a photograph of your under-sink cupboard to check if it’s feasible to fit a boiling water tap system in the first place. They will also ask you whether you have an electricity source under the cupboard or nearby, so they can route a spur under the sink.
If your cupboard space meets all the criteria, you will be given the go-ahead to arrange an installer (around £180) who will remove your existing taps and mount the boiler, which is usually only 30cm high and 15cm wide. You may also need extra piping under the sink, which is where you may lose most of your space.
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Aren’t boiling water taps dangerous?
Having boiling water come out of the same tap as your mains supply is ripe for catastrophe. This is why all boiling water taps come with failsafe systems that make it very difficult to scold yourself.
Some models use a sleeve on the main shaft of the tap that you have to tap down twice and then turn before any boiling water is dispensed. Others use a lever on the other side of the mains water supply lever, which you have to push down and pull forwards or push backwards to activate the boiling water.
With these in place, the chances of accidentally scolding your hands are very slim, although caution is still needed when using the tap.
Is the water literally boiling?
Not all models dispense water at 100˚C and sometimes that can be a good thing. A model that dispenses fully boiled water is best for sterilising items such as baby bottles, but you don’t really need water at 100˚C for most domestic uses. A maximum temperature of 98˚C is perfectly hot enough for the vast majority of applications, including filling saucepans and making tea. Just below boiling is always best for brewing coffee and delicate herbal teas.
Are boiling water taps expensive to run?
Ah, the million-dollar question. Most manufacturers state that a boiling water tap costs about 3p/day to run when in standby mode (although electricity prices have changed dramatically since such claims were made). A kettle, by comparison, costs about 2p to boil a litre of water.
So, if you boil a kettle twice a day on average, a boiling water tap will cost less in the long run. This is because the boilers are small, well insulated and very energy-efficient. However, if you include the cost of the unit plus installation, a kettle will almost always be cheaper.
Convenience is the main reason people buy boiling water taps. Treat energy-efficiency as a nice bonus.
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Why buy a boiling water tap?
- Instant pre-boiled water for teas and coffees
- Fill saucepans with instant boiling water for speedier cooking
- Rinse cutting knives under boiling water and wipe clean
- Preheat espresso cups under the tap
- Preheat your espresso machine’s portafilter
- Sterilise babies’ bottles in a thrice
- Regular use of a boiling water tap helps keep drains clean
- Save water by not waiting ages for the house boiler to reach temperature
- Zero chance of young children pulling a hot kettle off the worktop
Now you know a bit more about the subject, read on for our guide to the best boiling water taps you can buy in 2023.
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The best boiling water taps you can buy in 2023
1. InSinkErator 3N1: Best near-boiling water tap for safety and function
Price: £644 | Buy now from B&QInSinkErator is best known for its sink disposal systems, but it has branched out into boiling water territory, and very successfully too. This model’s small boiler heats water to between 98˚C and 99˚C. It can also be adjusted to a temperature as low as 71˚C.
Honestly, one or two degrees below boiling point isn’t a bad thing unless you insist on sterilising baby bottles at boiling point. The slightly lower temperature has no adverse effects on a cup of tea and is a perfect temperature for coffee and filling saucepans.
If you’re worried about burning yourself, this model has an excellent safety mechanism. On the right there’s a standard mixer tap lever that dispenses cold mains water and hot water from the home’s boiler. On the left there’s an identical lever for the near-boiled water system. To activate it, you push down on the lever and pull it towards you, holding it in position to keep the flow going.
This is an especially safe system because the locking mechanism prevents users from accidentally pulling the wrong lever. Moreover, the water is dispensed in a thin stream that can be adjusted by releasing the lever a little. This makes it the best system for pre-heating small items such as espresso cups without splashing.
The Italian-made InSinkErator 3N1 is available with a square-style stainless-steel tap that looks swish. It’s keenly priced, too, so if you’re after an ace system that’s easy to use and with great safety features, stop right here.
2. Quooker Classic Fusion: Best boiling water tap for high-end kitchens
Price: £1,350 | Buy now from QuookerQuooker invented the boiling water tap, and its army of contented users swear by its reliability.
The Classic Fusion is available in two styles – Round and Square. We’re looking at the Classic Fusion Square model here, which comes in five finishes – polished chrome, stainless steel, black, gold and, for those after an attractive rustic look, patinated brass.
The boiler section is available in two sizes – 3 and 7 litres. Cold water and scale-control filters are optional extras, as is the “Cube” (another £1,150), which allows you to dispense filtered sparkling water directly from the tap.
The Classic Fusion Square model has received a raft of positive user reviews because it’s not only stunning to look at – especially the brass finish – but it dispenses steaming-hot water at 100˚C. The dispensing mechanism isn’t the most intuitive, however, because it requires tapping the knurled centre sleeve down twice and turning anti-clockwise. This is a good safety mechanism but it’s something that would need to be explained to visitors.
The water stays on once your hand has left the activation sleeve – a good thing for filling saucepans – and it gushes out pretty forcefully, which means it’s not ideal for pre-heating a small espresso cup.
3. Qettle Original: Best-value boiling water tap
Price: £495 | Buy now from QettleUK-based Qettle is another brand that’s well worth considering. This model dispenses 100˚C boiling water from the tap using a knurled knob on the right that’s fitted with a safety button that must be pushed down to activate the system.
Like the Quooker, water is steaming hot and it gushes out, which doesn’t make it a great choice for heating small items, though it’s perfectly safe for filling a tea or coffee mug (a separate model with a progressive valve is also available for the same price). The hot water continues to run even when you take your hand off the controls, which is handy when filling a large saucepan as it allows you to use both hands to hold the pan steady.
This model will also dispense filtered cold and filtered 100°C boiling water, and it’s available in three boiler tank choices: 2, 4 or 7 litres. The two-litre tank is good for up to four cups of boiling water, while the larger seven-litre option delivers around 14 cups’ worth.
If you’re in the market for a versatile boiling water tap that can also provide filtered drinking water, put this one on the shopping list.
4. Grohe Red Duo: Best premium boiling water tap
Price: £995 | Buy now from B&QGrohe is one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the plumbing world.
The company states that the Red dispenses “kettle hot” water, so it’s unlikely to be lower than 98˚C. Like all boiling water taps, the Red has a mixer lever on one side that uses mains water and water from the home’s boiler to provide day-to-day water. On the other side there’s a touch-sensitive switch with a built-in safety mechanism. To activate boiling water, you must press in the lock and wait for a red LED to flash. You then move your thumb to the lower button and press. Voila, instant kettle-hot filtered water.
Like the InSinkErator, this model dispenses the water in a thin stream that is perfect for pre-heating small cups. However, it will take a while to fill an entire saucepan.
The Grohe Red is available with two sizes of titanium-coated boiler – 3 and 5.5 litres. Bear in mind that Grohe’s boilers are quite large, so carefully measure your sink cupboard and choose the smaller boiler if necessary.
If you want to keep your existing taps, Grohe also produces a Red Mono version without mixers that sits next to your current tap.
5. Etal 3-in-1 Instant Hot Water Tap: Best near-boiling water tap for smaller budgets
Price: £300 | Buy now from Screwfix
The Etal 3-in-1 is one of the cheapest ways to get near-boiling water out of your tap. Available through Screwfix, the square-shaped Etal heats water to temperatures between 75˚C and 98°C. To change the temperature simply tap the boiler’s digital touch control.
Water dispensation is very similar to that on the InSinkErator 3N1 – on the right there’s a mixer tap lever and on the left another lever for the near-boiling water. To activate, simply hold down the button and twist back on the controller. The water is dispensed without any splashing or spurting.
This model comes with a 2.4-litre insulated boiler tank with integral replaceable cartridge filter for silt-free water. It can also be self-installed if you’ve got the experience.
Granted, some owners have said that it sounds like a kettle when its boiler fires up to maintain optimum water temperature, but the vast majority are really happy with their purchase. And at a shade under £300, it’s not going to burn through your bank balance.