Taps: A Monologue on Monoblocs

Taps, faucets, valves – call them what you will – this post is about basin monobloc mixer taps and how to make the choice when manufacturers all produce very similar designs.

Being in the process of renovating my bathroom, I’ve spent countless hours, nay weeks (could even be months) trawling through catalogues of basins, baths, screens, showers, radiators, toilets, taps – and don’t even get me started on tiles!

Then one day things came to a head: I was beginning to see double, triple, quadruple (you get my drift) because when it comes to brassware, and in this case basin taps, manufacturers seem to be producing almost the same designs.

For the larger bathroom items, like ceramics and furniture, these tend to vary across manufacturers. For example, Villeroy & Boch designs are quite different from Catalano, and both are quite different from Crosswater (not only in design but also in price). There is, understandably, less variation when it comes to our loos. But taps…well…I have come across virtually the same set of designs in the many different product catalogues I’ve opened.

So I thought, what’s the difference? Should I buy the cheapest or (why) should I buy the most expensive, if all these taps look so similar?

Simple design

Take the twelve chrome monobloc basin mixer taps below. I’ve picked just a handful of all the basin mixer taps that have this particular simple shape. The taps in the images are branded or manufactured by Abacus, Crosswater, Dornbracht, GroheIdeal Standard, Mode, Sagittarius, Saneux, Tre Mercati, Vado, and VitrA. There are others on market with very similar shapes, but I’ve limited it to twelve and have not indicated which tap is which at this stage:

Images: Abacus, Crosswater, Dornbracht, Grohe, Ideal Standard, Mode, Sagittarius, Saneux, Tre Mercati, Vado, VitrA.

I am focusing on this particular simple cylindrical design based on the results of my own very simple survey of the shape of basin mixer taps that people seem to like the most – which is based on what they seem to like the least.

A simple survey

In my highly unscientific and non-rigorous piece of research, I came up with the following:

People don’t like having to wipe water and splash off their basin tap every time they use it – and worse, if they don’t wipe the water off every time, it dries to water marks and limescale which is even more annoying. This ranked above all other factors including quality, guarantee, weight, noise (water hammer from slamming it off too vigorously), limescale forming inside the spout, and up-styling the bathroom (or how long they’ve kept it before voluntarily choosing to go through the whole process of choosing another tap again).

Part of my survey technique was to ask bathroom showroom assistants which basin tap they have at home and whether they are happy with it. For those who said they are not happy with the basin tap they have at home, the reason most cited was wiping it clear of water.

The thing is, it seems that if your basin mixer tap has a beautiful, sleek, flat, ribbon-like lever handle which rests flush onto a flat spout to give the appearance of the metal merging into one in your minimalist bath sanctuary, you’ll be wiping water off that spout for the rest of your life. These flat spouts are like ledges and the water just sits there, whereas if the tap has some kind of curve, like a cylindrical spout and a cylindrical lever, the water can roll off. Unlike these:

Images: Crosswater Pier, Vado Kovera, Crosswater KH Zero 2

This simple piece of information was incredibly helpful for me and made the chore of choosing a basin tap design very simple. Do I want a spout like a ledge and risk wanting to throw myself off one like a lemming, or do I want a cylinder?

I want a cylinder and so I went with one of the dozen cylindrical designs above.

Simple details

The problem is, having chosen the basic design of my mixer tap, I was met by another hurdle, which sounds very much like my original dilemma: which one?

On the face of it, the set of twelve cylindrical taps above look very similar, but when I started to compare them there are more choices to make. For example, where the spout is located on the body, the length of the spout, where the curve starts on the spout, as well as slight differences in the length of the lever handle. And that’s just the things you can see; the internals are a whole other ceramic and brass ball game.

Choosing between the minutiae of design variations between the different taps might simply translate into how much I want to pay, which in the case of this particular cylindrical design means paying anything from £70 to £460 based on the recommended retail price (RRP). So back to my original question: should I buy the cheapest or (why) should I buy the most expensive, if they all look basically the same?

It’s interesting to see which of the tiny differences sway the superficial choice. Before you read on, based on looks alone, rank the twelve basin mixer taps in order of which one you would like to see on the basin in your bathroom (don’t say none of them, just play along).

It’s in the detail

Most of the taps are stated to be solid brass and most seem to have ceramic cartridge internals but the technical data on the manufacturers’ websites don’t always specify. Some have aerators, flow regulators and temperature limiters, but not all. Again, it’s very difficult to find out some of the details, but if certain details are left out I can only presume the function is left out too. What also varies is the pressure range, guarantee and price.

Below are the main details for each tap, along with the manufacturer’s RRP. Of course, you can find many of these same branded taps at much cheaper prices in the cornucopia of online bathroom supply stores, sometimes at up to 50% off, but I’ll use the RRP to compare them.

I have also noted where on the tap the logo sits, because if you are anything like me, you might prefer the logo not to be obvious, but some people like to show it off. I’ve also indicated whether there are hot/cold indicators on the tap either in the form of red/blue markers or H/C letters – again, I prefer not to have these on my taps, but some people like the reminder.

1. Crosswater – Design Basin Monobloc Mini

Crosswater Design Basin Monobloc Mini Tap
  • RRP: £189
  • Guarantee: 15 years
  • No logo, no H/C indicators
  • Pressure: low (0.2 bar)
  • Flow rate: not given
  • Unclear if aerator, flow regulator or temperature limiter

2. Crosswater – MPRO Basin Monobloc

Crosswater MPRO Basin Monobloc Tap
  • RRP: £199
  • Guarantee: 15 years
  • No logo, no H/C indicators
  • Pressure: medium
  • Flow rate: 4.9 l/m at 3 bar
  • Aerator, but unclear if flow regulator or temperature limiter

3. Vado – Origins Basin Monobloc Slim

Vado Origins Basin Monobloc Slim Tap
  • RRP: £230
  • Guarantee: 12 years
  • Logo: front at base
  • Red/blue bars under lever
  • Pressure: min 1 bar
  • Flow rate: 5 l/m at 3 bar
  • Flow regulator, aerator, but unclear if temperature limiter

4. Abacus – Iso Mono Basin Mixer

Abacus Iso Mono Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £119
  • Guarantee: 15 years
  • No logo, no H/C indicators
  • Pressure: 0.2 to 6 bar
  • Flow rate: 17 l/m at 3 bar
  • Aerator, but unclear if flow regulator or temperature limiter

5. Saneux – COS Basin Mixer 

Saneux Cos Basin Monobloc Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £175
  • No logo, no H/C indicators
  • No details stated online

6. Sagittarius – Ergo Lever Monobloc Basin Mixer

Sagittarius Ergo Lever Monobloc Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £114
  • Guarantee: 10 years
  • No logo, no H/C indicators
  • Pressure: 0.2 to 6 bar
  • Flow rate: 17 l/min at 3 bar
  • Aerator, but unclear if flow regulator or temperature limiter

7. VitrA – Minimax S Monobloc

VitrA Minimax S Monbloc Tap
  • RRP: £111
  • Guarantee: 7 years
  • Logo: on tip of spout
  • No H/C indicators
  • Pressure: 0.5 to 10 bar (3 to 5 rec.)
  • Flow rate: not stated
  • Flow regulator, temperature limiter, aerator

8. Grohe – Essence Basin Mixer

Grohe's Essence Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £170
  • Guarantee: 5 years
  • Logo: prominent on top
  • Red/blue dots on top
  • Pressure: 1 to 5 bar
  • Flow rate: 5 l/min at 3 bar
  • Flow regulator, temperature limiter, aerator

9. Ideal Standard – Ceraline Basin Mixer

Ideal Standard Ceraline Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £90
  • Guarantee: 5 years
  • No logo
  • Red/blue dots on top
  • Pressure: 0.2 to 5 bar
  • Flow rate: 4.8 l/m at 0.2 bar
  • Flow regulator, no temperature limiter, unclear if aerator

10. Dornbracht – Meta 02 Single Level Basin Mixer

Dornbracht Meta 02 Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £450
  • Guarantee: not stated
  • Logo: front at base
  • Grey bars under lever
  • Pressure: 1 to 5 bar
  • Flow rate: 7 l/m at 3 bar
  • Aerator, no flow regulator or temperature limiter

11. Mode – Spencer round basin mixer tap

Mode Spencer Round Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £70
  • Guarantee: 5 years
  • Logo: front at base
  • H and C letters on top
  • Pressure: 0.5 to 3 bar
  • Flow rate: not stated
  • Unclear if flow regulator, temperature limiter, or aerator

12. Tre Mercati – Milan Mono Basin Mixer

Tre Mercati Milan Mono Basin Mixer Tap
  • RRP: £186
  • Guarantee: 10 years
  • Logo: front at base
  • H and C letters on top
  • Pressure: 0.2 bar min
  • Flow rate: not stated
  • Unclear if flow regulator, temperature limiter, or aerator

And I chose…

No. 3, the Vado Origins slim basin monobloc. Yes, it is a little expensive, but not the most expensive. It even has a visible logo on the front, albeit discreetly placed down near the base, and it has red and blue hot/cold indicators – all the things I said I didn’t want! But it is one of the best looking of the bunch and is very elegant with a slim cylinder (the thinnest of the bunch). It’s also the right pressure type, has a nice long spout, and a long guarantee.

l still don’t know, though, whether it has a temperature limiter or not. I suspect not, and don’t think I need one on the basin tap anyway. It hasn’t been fitted yet as the bathroom hasn’t quite got to that stage, but I’ll add a postscript here once I’ve seen it in action.


Fair Use Notice: All images shown in this article are credited to the manufacturers shown. The images have been carefully chosen to support the commentary of this post. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material. But if you would prefer me to take them down, just ask.