What I wish I’d known before installing a boiling water tap, from safety features to add-ons

Tips on how to make this kitchen must-have work for you

blue kitchen with white worktops and sink with gold tap
(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

Boiling water taps are fast becoming a must-have addition in kitchens. Forget setting a full kettle to boil for one cup of tea, or having to wait while a pan of water heats for pasta or rice.

With a hot tap, which dispenses near boiling water at the touch of a button, you can save time and money and there are plenty of different types, with various features, to choose from. And ultimately, when it comes to choosing the best boiling water tap out there for you, it'll depend on your space and budget and what you plan on primarily using it for. 

We’ve spoken to experts as well as people who have installed boiling water taps to find out all the things they wish they’d known before they took the plunge - and the things you should know too. 

Check you’ve got enough space and water pressure

Let's start with the basics. The first thing to know about boiling water taps is that you'll need to make adequate room for one. Plumbing expert Peter Clayton, from Trade Plumbing, advises 'Boiling water taps require a significant amount of space below your sink to store the small tank that will hold your boiling water.'

kitchen sink with brass tap and window

(Image credit: Future PLC / Bee Holmes)

If you don't have space to spare under your sink, then you might have to consider alternatives, such as weighing up whether a hot water dispenser vs a boiling water tap might be more advantageous.

On top of this, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got sufficient water pressure for the boiling water tap to perform effectively, according to Peter. 'This should be checked by a professional before you have the tap installed. If your home has poor water pressure the tap may not be able to run at optimum performance and could be a waste of money.'

Get the best one you can afford

As with buying almost anything, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option out there, especially if you're working out the cost of a kitchen renovation. In the same vein, however, as with investing in anything, you most definitely get what you pay for with boiling water taps. So although there are price differences and add-ons (such as carbonation), the bottom line is that opting for a quality tap is crucial.

Charcoal grey kitchen with white worktops, a butler sink and a floor to ceiling bank of units

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

Our recommended tap if you want to ensure that you're getting what you pay for without hitting the top end of the price range on the market is the Signature Modern Qettle. A tap of this kind of quality is likely to last a long time in your home, and the replacement filters for Qettle taps tend to be cheaper than competitors.

Think about add-ons

If you’ve got plenty to spend, you can invest in a boiling water tap that does far more than just hot water. A full works, fancy version will dole out boiling water, filtered water and even sparkling water if you have a carbonator.

Butlers sink set into pale grey kitchen cupboards, pale grey splash back and copper taps

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

But, the more it can do, the more can go wrong, and you might find your all-singing-all-dancing boiling tap plays up. The upkeep of boiling water taps is an essential thing to factor into your buying decision, and any add-ons that go awry will set you back more, too.

The name can be slightly deceiving

They’re called boiling water taps, but the water you get from most boiling water taps actually dispenses at around 98°- 99°C. 

coffee machine on worktop in kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

Having an endlessly boiling tank of water wouldn’t be particularly safe, one expert points out, while heat is also obviously lost in the time it takes to travel out of the tap and into your cup. However, it’s not something to worry too much about, given you’re not meant to make tea or coffee with boiling water anyway, so you’ll still get a great brew.

Limescale can build up quickly

If you live in a hard water area, you'll already know about the difficulties of washing up and cleaning a kettle when it comes to limescale build-up. Unfortunately, there's more to think about in terms of installing a hot tap too. 

'For those living in areas with hard water, the efficiency of your boiling water tap may be affected,” says Trade Plumbing’s Peter Clayton. 'In hard water areas limescale can build up at a much quicker rate, although filters are installed to prevent this, these filters can become clogged up fairly quickly so may need cleaning regularly.'

black kitchen cabinets with pink tiles and hob

(Image credit: Future PLC/Bee Holmes)

Safety features

According to Quooker, research carried out in 2020 by the Dutch Burns Foundation found that the boiling water tap as a replacement for the kettle, appeared to reduce the risk of a burn accident. 

Kitchen with green pastel cupboards

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Safeguards like child-safe handles, rotatable spouts and the fact the water isn’t a solid jet means boiling water taps are often considered safer than kettles. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. Some people have noticed that their boiling water tap can spit, which could hurt any user, so it’s always worth being careful, and making clear to anyone in the house that the water dispensed is exceptionally hot.

When it comes to investing in a boiling water tap, the more information you're armed with, the better the installation process is likely to go. So be sure to swot up on your hot taps before you decide on the one for you.

Ellen Manning

Ellen is a journalist specialising in food and drink and writes for a range of national newspapers and magazines. She’s also a judge for awards including the Great Taste Awards and you’ll sometimes find her hosting events or food festivals, as well as writing her own award-winning food blog Eat with Ellen. In between all that, you’ll find her adventuring in her campervan with her two dogs or probably in the gym.