How to select a kitchen sink mixer

Kitchen sink mixers are expensive items and should be selected based on practicality first and secondly aesthetics. Yes, off-course budget comes first but that is obvious.  So let’s see what is important in a kitchen sink mixer.

Deck or wall mounted mixers

This is a major consideration and one that must be decided on quite early on in the building phase. If you are going to decide on a wall mounted kitchen mixer than your plumber must chase into the wall and connect the fittings.
If you are going to use a deck mounted mixer your plumber must install angle valves in the wall and the kitchen company must make sure there are holes in the granite top for the tap to fit in.  Also the type of kitchen sink will have an influence on your decision. Some kitchen sinks come with holes pre-drilled so then you don't have a choice.
Most high end and designer mixers are deck mounted.  So if you want something fancy with bells and whistles design your kitchen around a deck mounted one.  The advantage of wall mounted mixers is that they are cheaper and you can decide how high you want them. Most of the wall mounted mixers are basic in design and without any accessories.  They also come in chrome only while deck mounted mixers have various finishes to choose from.

Your water pressure

You might think this is a weird consideration but it is extremely important.  First let’s have a look at the two basic tap designs.  There are those with two handles, one for cold and one for hot.  So hot and cold water is separate.  Then there are mixers. These have one lever and the hot and cold water is mixed depending on the angle of the lever. If you have normal municipal water pressure, between 3 and 6bar then you are safe to use a kitchen mixer. Also, if you are using a high pressure geyser and the hot and cold water have equal municipal pressure you can use a mixer.  BUT, if only your cold water is connected to municipal pressure or a pressure pump and the hot water is gravity fed into your plumbing system, you cannot use a mixer and you have to use a tap with separate hot and cold controls. The reason is simple. If your pressure for hot and cold is not equal, you cannot have equal mixing of the two water sources.  All kitchen sink mixers require at least 3 bar of pressure to work properly and gravity fed geysers hardly go up to 3 bar. They usually are around 0.5 – 2.0 bar.

Spout Height

I think one of the most important ones are the height of the spout from the top edge of the kitchen sink.  I hate to put a spaghetti pot into the bowl and fill it up with water.  Isn't it just easier to place it on the divider between the bowls. Low spouts also tend to come in the way when trying to wash pots and remove them after cleaning.
So choosing a wall mounted kitchen sink mixer the height can be adjusted. Choosing a deck mounted one, well you are stuck with the design.

Pull-out spout

One way of overcoming low spouts is a mixer with a pull-out spout. Now that is very handy and has the advantage of the ability of cleaning or rinsing pots and pans much more easily. To be honest, I have never used one, but I can imagine it is very comfortable.  No wonder that most industrial chef’s mixers have this function.  There are cheaper deck mounted mixers with this function but be aware; some of the more affordable pull-out spouts have nylon covered extractable pipes that will wear out after a while. The more expensive ones are braided stainless steel. Don’t regret your purchase five years down the line.

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