Dutch born Henri Peteri invented the boiling tap in 1970, but it wasn’t until 22 years later that the first commercially viable product, the Quooker (Quick-Cooker) Basic was launched.
After huge success in the Netherlands, Quooker began to export their product in 2004, now with a worldwide manufacturing network, they now produce over 150,000 taps each year and continue to develop and strengthen their offering with new innovations.
Tap manufacturers have recognised the benefits and importance of instant-hot / boiling taps and now many have created their own unique solutions to service their customer base.
On an average day, you may use boiling water from your kettle around 5 or 6 times. You need it to make hot drinks but also to fill saucepans ready to cook pasta or rice. You may use it to clean grease from a grill or frying pan? Let’s say it takes your kettle 3 minutes to boil, that’s a lot of waiting around.
Boiling water taps provide households with the luxury of instant hot water without the need to use any kettles or add to household bills from boiler use. Some are single function separate to your main kitchen tap, others are multi-purpose which will replace the main tap completely.
In this article we will explain how they work, the different types available, what you can use them for, other than making tea, and we will provide a summary of leading brands / models that you may come across when shopping around.
How do boiling taps work?
Boiling taps are so much more than a replacement for a conventional kettle. Seen as an appliance and not a tap, these products work in a very different way to a kettle, they are safer, cleaner and far more energy efficient.
Most boiling taps have a thermal-insulated vacuum cylinder or tank heater in the unit below which stores the boiling water ready for demand. The size of this tank varies between different brands, but most have a 3 or 4 litre tank.
When the boiling water is drawn from the tap, fresh cool water is forced in to replace it, displacing the boiling water through the tap. When you have finished drawing the boiling water, the contents are reheated ready for the next use.
Vacuum cylinders act like a flask, the air is thin between the insulated walls, so heat is unable to escape. The water is stored under pressure (so it does not boil) at 105-110°C, this means that there is very little need to reheat frequently and only a small amount of energy is required to do so when needed.
Before we move on, it is important to highlight that not all instant-hot taps are ‘boiling’ taps. Technically, a boiling tap is a solution that delivers 100°C from the spout. Some makes can only achieve 95 / 96°C, these are instant-hot taps. For the purpose of this guide, we will use the blanket term of ‘boiling tap’
Benefits of a boiling tap and its uses
We know that the most common use for a boiling tap is to make hot beverages but here are some other great uses:
- Filling saucepans for rolling boil
- Blanching spinach
- Stripping skins from tomatoes
- Filter coffee
- Making baby formula
- Instant noodles or soups
- Cleaning utensils
- Cleaning grease and dirt from cookware
- Removing candle wax from a holder
For more great tips, videos and other uses visit the Quooker website.
Types of boiling water taps
Boiling Only – A small tap that is fitted independently and usually offset to the main tap.
3-in-1: A kitchen mixer tap that combines everyday hot and cold with boiling water
4-in-1: A kitchen mixer tap that combines everyday hot and cold with cold filtered and boiling water.
5-in-1: A kitchen mixer tap that combines, everyday hot and cold with chilled filtered cold, chilled sparkling and boiling water.
Safety – ‘How safe are boiling taps?’
This is one of the first questions we are asked, and rightly so. Working with an appliance that delivers water at 95-100°C naturally raises some concerns over safety.
However, do you worry about this when buying a kettle which holds roughly 1.5 litres of boiling hot water?
A boiling tap cannot be moved or accidentally knocked over like a kettle.
Boiling taps are also fitted with multiple safety features, here are some of the most common.
Push / Twist
The collar / valve is pushed down twice in quick succession before twisting the valve to introduce the boiling water. This prevents accidental use.
A button on the valve which must be pressed before the valve can be turned to introduce boiling water.
Water is delivered through an aerator and not a single jet of water. This helps prevent instant scalding.
Taps with thermal insulated spouts do not get hot. Swivel the spout safely without burning.
6 Things to consider…
- WATER PRESSURE – All boiling tap systems are unsuitable for low-pressure, typically requiring a minimum of 1.0 – 2.0bar. Always check the minimum working pressure required before choosing which system to use.
- SPACE – The cylinder / boiler is fitted in the cabinet below your sink. You will need ample space to accommodate the cylinder and any filters as well as the plumbing.
- POWER SUPPLY – You will need a 13A supply in or near to the sink cabinet for your cylinder.
- WATER QUALITY – Check how hard the water is in your area. Simple testing kits are widely available online and in builders merchants for under £5. This will help determine which type of filters you may need and give you an ide on how frequently you may have to replace them.
- TEMPERATURE – Only systems that deliver 100°C from the spout are suitable for sterilisation. These systems ‘boil through’ the water that you drink.
- COST – You will find that boiling taps vary quite significantly in terms of cost. Often it can be worth spending more as you will no doubt get a better quality, efficient cylinder, built-in filters and a more robust tap. Check the cost of replacement filters and cartridges and their expected life too, these all add to the cost over time.
Boiling Tap Comparison
There are many solutions available on the market. We have chosen five of the most popular 3-in-1 models and set out a quick easy reference guide below along with an indicative price to help compare. Which solution would best suit you?