Lever taps and possible alternatives

Lever taps and possible alternatives

If you have difficulty turning taps on or off you may wish to consider purchasing lever taps. Most lever taps only require a quarter turn to turn the tap fully on/off. A lever length of 7.5 to 8.cm long is recommended as sufficient for most people's circumstances (COT, 2006).

You will require a plumber to fit these taps. Ensure tap markings are clearly distinguishable for blind and partially sighted users to indicate hot, cold and direction of use. They are available in the following main categories:


Individual pillar lever taps are single taps with tall necks, and a lever handle of 10cm or longer. Some of these taps have a preset temperature limit to prevent scald injuries.

Single lever taps have the temperature and flow rate operated by a single lever.

Twin lever mixer taps have separate, lever operated hot and cold water controls, with the water flowing through a single tap.

Self-closing, push-down taps allow the water flow to continue for a predetermined period, once the tap has been activated.

Knee and/or foot controls have a horizontal lever extending under the basin for operation by knee; or a floor plate, pedal or lever for operation by foot. Some automatically shut off after preset time period. In general terms, these vary in style and shape of the lever, but will give extra leverage when turning the tap/s on and off. You may find longer, wider levers easier to use. Some can be operated using the elbow.


Lever tap head conversion kits

If you are happy with your existing taps then you may be able to keep them and just change the tap head to a lever head. Several tap head conversion kits are available. Those with a 1 1/2 inch thread tend to fit basin taps and those with a 1 3/4 inch thread tend to fit bath taps. You may require a plumber or handy person to fit these conversion kits.

Tap turners

Alternatively, consider purchasing tap turners. These are plastic lever handles that fit over the tap head, and give you extra leverage when turning a tap on or off. There are a variety of designs to fit most types depending upon the type of tap you have (the main difference being cross-head or crystal-style taps). You should be able to fit these yourself. As they are usually red and blue or marked with these colours can be very helpful to distinguish the hot and cold water.

Alternative types of taps

There are other types of taps which can make them easier to use. A few of these are under the following headings:

Toggle action taps have a vertical toggle which requires only a small degree of movement to operate.

Self-closing, push-down taps allow the water flow to continue for a predetermined period, once the tap has been activated.

Some of the taps are electronic and/or remote control with touch free operation. In addition some taps can be thermostatically controlled.

Advice last checked: 02 September 2014 Next check due: 02 September 2017

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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