When selecting a kitchen tap there a lot of considerations. The first one should be what it is made out of. Did you know chromed brass kitchen taps in Australia contain lead and arsenic? Stainless steel tap-ware is the most sanitary and durable choice available.
Before you rush out looking for the one that looks the best, you might save some time by first choosing what you want your tap made out of.
There is broadly two mainstream metals, taps are made out of:
- Stainless Steel
Brass taps are more common and are usually coated with chrome, but can also have other coating like nickel, gold and copper, or coatings that look like brushed stainless steel and even coloured paint. Stainless steel taps are usually the same metal the whole way through and have no coating.
Brass kitchen tapware
Under Australian and New Zealand standards a brass kitchen tap is required to be made of a certain type of brass - Dezincification Resistant Brass (DR Brass). This type of brass is meant to have properties that make help combat severe corrosion when the water supply is very highly chlorinated or high in oxygen and carbon dioxide. What concerns some people is that DR Brass typically contains lead and arsenic - and these are not elements you want leeching into your water.
Why does Australia have a requirement for DR Brass when the rest of the world uses normal brass? Well only the authors of the standard would know - but many industry experts regard it as a completely unnecessary requirement. Given many tapware manufacturers do not utilise DR Brass the requirement for DR Brass only serves to limit choice and increase price.
The other complaints heard about brass tapware is that:
- it has to be coated, and coating can scratch, peel or wear off.
- the chrome plating process to adhere a chrome finish on brass can produce toxic waste harmful to the environment.
- due to the forging method the interior surface of a brass tap can be textured, and over the years debris collects on the interior surface which can alter the taste and quality of the water that then flows past it.
Despite the criticisms and mystery surrounding the DR Brass requirement, brass is the most common tapware material and is typically highly reliable. Most people are attracted to chromed brass where a chrome coating is electroplated onto the brass tap to create a smooth mirror finish.
As the title of this article suggests, there are benefits in choosing a stainless steel kitchen tap. Firstly, though, not all stainless steel is the same. Look for 304 grade stainless steel as that is the hardest and most durable for this type of apparatus. So here are a few of the benefits of choosing stainless steel for your kitchen sink mixer:
Hygiene - why do you think restaurants, hospitals, and hotel kitchens are all stainless steel? It is regarded as the most hygienic of metals as it is easy to clean and the surface has no pores or cracks to harbour bacteria or mildew.
Smooth - unlike brass, the interior surfaces of the kitchen tap can be casted completely smooth. This means that debris cannot lodge on the interior surface and your tap remains clean, ensuring your water is not fouled.
Sanitary - In addition to the hygienic characteristics of stainless steel, stainless steel does not contain lead and arsenic like DR Brass does
Hardness - stainless steel is a very hard metal and will not dent or bend or distort like some other alloys.
Solid - The steel does not need to be coated so is the same composition the whole way through the body of the tap. Therefore scratches can be buffed out
Finish - the external finish of a stainless steel kitchen mixer tap can be either brushed or polished. A professionally polished stainless steel looks just like a chromed brass tap, yet it does not utilise the chrome plating process that is often criticised for its negative effect on the environment.
Long life - with proper care stainless steel can be used for a lifetime.
Temperature tolerance - it can withstand higher temperatures.
Recyclable - steel is a recyclable material
Whilst stainless steel tapware is often more expensive than brass, it does not need to be. In fact stainless steel is not an expensive material. Brands like SWEDIA® concentrate on producing only sanitary grade stainless steel tapware and, as a new brand in the Australian market, have very reasonable pricing. SWEDIA's tapware and faucets are manufactured utilising "precise casting". This results in a beautiful finish on the exterior, and the interior surfaces of the tap being completely smooth.
I recommend stainless steel for your kitchen tap - the quality is clear, the benefits are undeniable, and it will be a beautiful centrepiece in your kitchen that lasts a lifetime. If it is your preference, then check out the ranges available at specialist tapware stores - and compare them to SWEDIA available in Australia exclusively through RenovatorStore.com.au with a 15 year warranty! I think you will agree with me that the choice is obvious.