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It’s spaghetti night and there’s a full house - that means heaps of saucy dishes requiring rinsing before they hit the dishwasher.  The existing (and tired looking) fixture hovering over the sink is just not going to cut it anymore.  Note to self – call the Plumber in the morning!

‘’What you need a is a new “flick” mixer’’ he says, before asking if a pull out version would suit best - (um... flick what and pull out of where?!)

When it comes to tapware and mixers there are a range of options available that you need to know about if you’re renovating or building a new home. The first and most important differentiation to know is that mixers are mixers, and tapware is, well, something else.

Both options produce the same results (clean, running water) but they are mechanically and aesthetically different. What you decide to go with will depend on a variety of factors, and below we will explain the ins and outs of mixer taps to start you on the path to making an informed choice.

Mixer mixer on the wall, what exactly are you for?

“Mixers” allow for hot and cold water to be mixed and controlled via a single function. They can be found in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and even outdoors (think alfresco areas around a pool). The most common types of mixers include the basin mixer (6), sink mixer (1 & 2), and wall mixers, which are installed for bath and shower use (7,8 & 5).

Types of mixers

True to all things reno though, mixer selection is a little more complicated than it looks. Wall mixers like the number 5 bath mixer in the diagram above, can be used in bathrooms over basins too (if you’ve got a vanity or basin without a taphole, this can be a really modern look).

Vanity with wall basin mixer on backplate
Pic credit:  Timberline

They will, however, have different aerators to meet differing WELS requirements though. If you would like a bath that takes 5 hours to run, swap your mixers around and install a water restricted wall basin mixer above your tub. (Said tongue in cheek. Don’t do that - please).

To get the best out of your mixers, check labels, ask showroom staff, and make sure your terminology is on point. Basin mixers go above (or on) the basin, and bath mixers go above (or near) the bath. Even if they do look very much the same, they’re not. Luckily, many companies now manufacture combined basin/bath wall mixers, which include a different aerator in the box for both applications.

If you’re not fussed on having your tooth-brushing water coming out of the wall, but you love the look of an above counter basin, you might require an extended (sometimes called a “high”, “tall” or ''tower'') basin mixer (4).

above counter basin with extended basin mixer
Pic credit:  Timberline

When selecting basin mixers, it’s important to take into consideration what is practical, and what will fit.  Our Showroom Consultants can work through things with you, but you will need to know where your plumbing is coming from (are you limited to the existing pipework and outlet locations?), and have a rough idea of the look you want. We have a variety of different products available to suit any budget, whatever style you have in mind.

When it comes to showers, there’s a few (more) things you need to know. What shower you choose will 100% affect your mixer choice.

If you’re planning on having two shower heads in one shower cubicle, and you haven’t opted for an all-in-one twin shower with its own in-built diverter switch,  you will more than likely require a wall mixer with a diverter function (8).

This will allow you to control which head the water comes out of.

Diverter info

For standard rail showers, single rain showers, and wall shower outlets, no diverter is required, and a single mixer will be fine. Feel free to mix and match between models and brands to create your own unique style.

Up until recently, tapware has been the go-to choice for use with baths (two taps on either side of a spout). However, modern design trends focus now on wall mixers with either independent bath outlets, or with a bath outlet and lever joined together on a backplate (5).

Shower and bath mixers without spouts can be used interchangeably, and will often be labelled as such (i.e. “wall” mixers, or “bath/shower mixers”). Number 7 in the above diagram is an example of one.

Freestanding baths are another very modern design fixture, and look amayyyzing with a feature mixer that is freestanding too (3).

Freestanding bath mixers (AKA fillers) do have pretty specific plumbing requirements though, so it’s important to check in with your installer before you get carried away with inspo ideas on Pinterest and Insta, only then to be extremely disappointed.

Freestanding bath mixers
Pic credit:  Linsol

The last most common way that mixer technology can be utilised in the home is via the humble sink mixer (1 & 2), which - you guessed it - is intended for use with sinks.

**If you’ve been following our Reno blog series, you’ll know that sinks are found in the kitchen and laundry only (and sometimes outside). Sinks are different from basins (which are designed to be used in the bathroom). If you weren’t aware of this, you can brush up on your plumbing lingo here.

Sink Mixers

Sink mixers are quite literally the hero of the home - they’re an absolute life-saver in the kitchen.  Being able to turn water on and off with the flick of a wrist when your hands are covered in flour and dough can mean one less baking disaster, and a lot less stress. Retractable spray functions and swivel spouts help to reduce dish washing time dramatically.  Some sink mixers now offer in-built filter options - meaning you can feel safe drinking straight from the tap.

If you’ve got an island benchtop, you’re sink mixer can be a real focal point and feature of your home. There are a huge range of stunning options available on our web store, in a variety of colour finishes  and styles.

Plumbing Terms 101 - Basins & Sinks
Plumbing Terms 101 - Toilets