Fancy a cuppa in a matter of seconds? Read our guide on hot water dispensers and taps to look at all the options before you buy!
Want instant boiling water for your cup of tea? You might want to consider getting a hot water tap that is plumbed in to the mains or a standalone hot water dispenser. Either option comes at quite a cost, but they claim to make boiling water easier, more convenient and that they'll use less energy. Our buying guide helps with all you need to know when it comes to choosing one.
It’s true you can buy speedy kettles these days, but if you want the very latest in kitchen gadgetry, a hot water dispenser will give you a steaming hot cup of tea at the touch of a button and in a matter of seconds.
Speed is clearly one of the key advantages of the counter stand dispensers, as many claim average speeds four times faster than a conventional kettle. And, as well as the convenience, you’ll be saving energy too.
One of the main features that will appeal to big households, or if you entertain a lot, is the capacity of many of these machines. Some come with a capacity of 2.5L, filling up to 10 cups at a time. However, you’ll also find smaller compact models that won’t take up much room on your work surface if space is an issue.
There are also models that come into their own for those with mobility problems and find lifting any weight an issue. With push button controls, if you struggle with a heavy kettle, a hot water dispenser could be a real asset in your kitchen.
You need to shop around though. While some machines come out on top for providing consistency, the right amount of water and just the right temperature, others have quite a long time delay between pressing start and the water dispensing and a further delay before a second cup can be filled. You’ll also find that some have a smoother flow of water than others.
At the top end the market, and something which will need far more consideration, are hot water taps, which are plumbed into the mains. These deliver hot water at up to 98°C, just shy of the 99.97°C temperature for the boiling point of water. They can also deliver regular hot and cold water – and some even offer sparking water! But these are a much pricier investment.
Although the hot water taps come with a lock, they may not be the most sensible investment if you have young children around. You should also be careful as if you turn the tap on to its fullest capacity too quickly you might get splashed when the water rebounds out of your cup or pan.
However, if you want the convenience of filtered boiling water to use for everything from pasta and rice, to blanching tomatoes and boiling an egg, as well as tea and coffee at the turn of the tap, then a hot water tap may well appeal.
Hot water dispenser
Unlike many kettles, a hot water dispenser offers you more control, allowing you to boil a single mugful of water at a time, with most dispensing between the equivalent of a cup or small mug, to a large mug of boiling water.
If you only boil, or want to boil, a small amount of water at a time, these handy devices are probably worth the investment. Or if you entertain or have a large family, one of the larger models will put an end to boiling kettles two or three times to make the hordes a cuppa.
Hot water tap
If you don’t have worktop space for an additional gadget or like minimalist design, with next to no clutter on your work surface, hot water taps offer practical convenience. But they come at a price, especially with installation costs and servicing costs on top. They work rather like filter taps, but with the third lever dispensing boiling filtered water, rather than cold. These three-in-one taps also come with regular hot and fresh cold water supplies.
You’ll need the space under your sink to install the heavily insulated tanks, which range from three to 11 litres and connect to the water supply, while being heated electrically.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Hot water dispenser
Filter – Some models come with a filter. However, a filter can make it heavier to fill the water tank.
Space under water outlet – How roomy is it under the water outlet? Is there room for large/tall mugs to fit under the water outlet and is there space to move normal mugs and teacups in and out from under the water outlet with ease.
Rubber feet – Will keep machine steady on your work surface. It's worth considering as an additional safety precaution.
On/off indicator – A clearly visible indicator light is useful to let you know when the device is ready to use.
Side water gauge – Lets you know how much water you have in the water tank.
Audible low water indicator – Only available on some models, but lets you know when water tank needs refilling.
Removable water tank – Makes it easier to refill directly from the sink – look for a machine that has a removable tank that is easy to take off and refit.
Locking lid – Useful additional safety measure.
Removable drip tray – Avoids water spilling onto work surface.
Manual stop button – Allows you to stop water being dispensed mid-flow.
Thermal cut off – Prevents overheating.
Hot water taps
Filter – Factor in the cost of replacements before you go for a hot water tap – they can be expensive.
Hard water – If you live an area with a hard water supply, you may find that your filters fur up quickly. That isn’t always the case though, so try and talk to a neighbour or friend who lives locally who has one installed first, to see if it’s an issue. The tip of the tap should be descaled every month by soaking in white vinegar.
Thermostat – The factory temperature pre-set will usually be 96C. You can adjust the water temperature by turning the thermostat dial.
Service – Most will require servicing every few years, which can work out to be quite expensive.
However you break down the figures, you are going to have to make tea for a considerable number of cricket teams before you begin to see any savings on a hot water tap. Manufacturers claim that the cost of using the tap is one penny per litre delivered, which works out at approximately 3 pence a day. Npower says that cost of boiling a full kettle – typically holding 1.5 litres – is around 2.5p per boil.
While this suggests significant savings, if you look at the costs of boiling a kettle several times over a 24-hour period, compared to keeping the water in the hot water tap tank hot, for the same period, the savings are negligible.
However, kettles do waste energy through over use and heat loss through the body of the kettle, and a work surface hot water dispenser, which can boil just one cup at a time, is certainly worth considering as a money-saving purchase.
If you do not use the hot water tap for extended periods of time, you will need to unplug and drain the unit. Take care also in cold conditions. If it is below freezing, you will also need to unplug and drain the unit.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions to replace the filter, It is recommended that carbon filters are replaced every six months.
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