It’s easy to imagine the image of a tap, isn’t it? Glass goes underneath, handle turned on, water comes out – right? Well, as it turns out, that’s not quite right, because there is actually more than one type of tap. In fact, there are a number of tap styles and mechanisms that all function differently.

Do a Google Image search for ‘different types of taps’ and you’ll see what we mean. And when you’re thinking about types of taps for a kitchen or bathroom renovation, or you’re just on the market for a tap washer replacement, it can all be quite confusing.

Which one is right for you? Will the tap type you select be appropriate? Can you just pick the one that looks or works the best?

There are so many questions about all those different types of tap, but first things first: what are all the different types of taps anyway?

Types of tap styles

1. Pillar tap

bath hot and cold taps

This traditional tap type is still popular and versatile. Go back to that original mental image of a single hot and a cold tap – welcome to the pillar tap!

2. Mixer tap

bath mixer tap

The pillar tap may remind you of your childhood bathroom sink tap, but the mixer tap is probably what you have today. Essentially, it’s one unit from which you control the temperature of the tap by manipulating the two hot and cold handles.

3. Monobloc


You probably can’t immediately envisage this one, but it’s not a lot different to the mixer taps. There is one handle that controls the mix of hot and cold – turn it left and you get hot water, move it towards the centre and it gets cooler.

Types of Tap Mechanisms

1. Washer tap

\When you change a regular washer from a regular tap, you are working on a washer tap. The washer works by compression – twist the handle anti-clockwise, and the water is allowed to come out, and vice versa. Eventually, most washers will wear and need replacing to stop dripping.

2. Disc tap

Forget about the compression washer – in a disc tap, which is commonly easier to turn on and off than a normal washer tap, the water is controlled by ceramic discs. These let the water out through holes when the user manipulates the handle to align them.

3. Ball tap

Believe it or not, the ball tap actually contains a hollow ball that works like a washer. The handle moves the ball inside the tap – water comes out. Unfortunately, these types of taps are prone to leaking.

4. Cartridge tap

This tap type contains a sealed internal cartridge, that allows the user to move the handle left and right for temperature, and up and down for the strength of the flow from the nozzle.

That’s a lot of tap types!

So there you have it – a rundown of the main different types of taps. Too much information to take in? Don’t worry! Ezy-Plumb is Melbourne’s veritable tap masters, and we’re standing by to help with tap repairs and replacement, as well as the right¬†advice. We’d love to hear from you.