What are 3-way kitchen taps?

3-way kitchen taps are a subset of water filter taps that are used together with under-sink water filters. Standard water filter taps dispense filtered water only and are placed adjacent to your existing kitchen taps. In contrast, 3-way kitchen taps replace your existing kitchen tap, and they combine the functionality of your regular kitchen tap with that of a standard water filter tap.

The result? 3-way kitchen taps dispense filtered cold water, unfiltered hot water, and unfiltered cold water from a single tap, hence the name 3-way taps. While standard filter taps are installed on your kitchen sink by drilling another hole in it, 3-way triflow kitchen taps replace your regular kitchen tap.

Our complete guide to 3-way kitchen taps will get you up to speed with everything you need to know about 3-way kitchen taps, including their types, advantages, disadvantages, and things to consider when choosing one for your kitchen.

Why do you need a 3-way kitchen tap?

Before 3-way kitchen taps emerged on the market, standard, single dispensing filter taps were the norm. These taps were designed to be smaller than your run-of-the-mill kitchen taps in order to fit nicely on your kitchen sink. Beyond aesthetic considerations – having two taps on one sink may ruin the aesthetics of your kitchen sink – standard filter taps have other disadvantages as well.

Drilling another hole in your kitchen sink can potentially damage it, especially if the sink is made from expensive materials that may not be suitable for drilling. Triflow taps don’t need you to go out of your way to install them, maintaining the integrity of your sink and adding to the aesthetics of your kitchen.

But aesthetics and easy installation are not the only advantages of having a 3-way kitchen tap paired with your under-sink water filter. 3-way taps pack more functionality than other water filter taps, allowing you to easily and conveniently dispense the type of water you want – unfiltered or filtered – via a single tap system.

Even though 3-way kitchen taps are more expensive than standard filter taps, the convenience and functionality offered by them are well worth the higher price tag.

What kind of 3-way kitchen taps are there?

There is no shortage of design and finish options when it comes to choosing a 3-way tap to match your kitchen sink and the overall design of your kitchen. From polished chrome all the way to stainless steel, 3-way triflow kitchen taps can be found in a variety of finish options. Swan-neck taps, goose-neck taps, long reach taps, angular necked taps and many other design options are all available.

If you prefer taps with mixer handles or a separate handle for each type of water, 3-way kitchen taps can accommodate any of these needs. Moreover, if you’d like to have a 3-way tap with a built-in spray hose, there are models like the Azzurra 3-Way (Tri-flow) Kitchen Tap Spray Hose, which features a pull-out spray hose.

In terms of functionality, 3-way taps may also include features as follows:

  • LED alert or sound alert systems to notify users when filters need to be replaced: this is a feature commonly found on Brita filter taps like the Brita Talori Filter Tap;
  • Integrated filter cartridge or filter kit: some 3-way kitchen taps are shipped with a water filter system that you can install under your sink. Brita filter taps are one example, but there are many other 3-way kitchen taps like the Osmio Kensington 3 Way Tap Ultra-Pure Filter Kit, which comes complete with an Osmio Kensington 3-way tap and an Ultra-Pure filter system;
  • Separate water delivery channels for filtered and unfiltered water: to avoid re-contamination and mixing of filtered water with unfiltered water, 3-way kitchen taps have separate internal pathways for unfiltered and filtered water;
  • Metal-free options: to ensure utmost safety and ultra-pure filtered water, some 3-way taps don’t have any components that may allow lead particles or other harmful metals to get into your filtered water.

What you should know about choosing a 3-way kitchen tap

We’ve already discussed the different design and finish options available with 3-way taps. Design is matter of taste, functionality on the other hand, is a matter of usability and convenience. 3-way taps are easy to use and usually have clear markings on the levers that dispense filtered water.

Even though they are easier to install and offer more functionality than regular filter taps, there may be some limitations when it comes to the compatibility of 3-way taps with any under-sink filter system in the sense that not all 3-way taps are compatible with all under-sink filter systems.

While some 3-way taps models are designed to be used with any filter system, some 3-way taps like Brita filter taps can only be used by filter cartridges manufactured by Brita. Customers unaware of this can find themselves wanting to upgrade their filters or wanting use their Brita taps with other filter systems, but being unable to do so without some tweaking.

This can be a major inconvenience. Thus, unless branded filter cartridges that work with your kitchen tap are able to remove a significant portion of contaminants from your water, we recommend investing in a 3-way kitchen tap that allows you to use any under-sink water filter system, regardless of brand. This opens the way to upgradability, making your tap and filter system future-proof.

To sum it up, here are 4 things to consider when choosing a 3-way kitchen tap:

  • Type of handles (mixer, cross, etc.): make sure the filtered water handle on your 3-way tap is clearly marked to avoid confusion. Sometimes these handles are smaller or placed at the base of the tap’s neck or in some cases on the neck of the tap itself;
  • Compatibility with other filter systems: if you’re planning on upgrading your filter system, choose a 3-way tap that allows you to use it with any under-sink filter system;
  • Warranty: choose 3-way taps with at least a 2-year warranty;
  • Tap finish: while the tap finish is a matter of taste and design, we recommend choosing a durable and easy-to-clean finish option.

Reading 3-way kitchen tap reviews is a helpful way to decide which tap is worth investing in. Reviews can give you an insight into the pros and cons of the different tap models, their functionality and value for money. They can also advise on aspects such as ease of installation, quality and durability.

3-way taps and filter kits

When finding the right filter system to match your 3-way task feels like a difficult task, 3-way taps that come with filter kits are an easy solution to overcome compatibility issues. 3-way taps with filter kits can sometimes be even more economical than buying a 3-way tap and filter system separately.

Here at WaterFilterShop.co.uk, we offer a wide-range of elegant 3-way triflow taps with two types of filter kits – an UltraPure Filter Kit that addresses chemical contaminants, industrial solvents, VOCs, pesticides, and water taste and odour issues, and an UltraSoft Filter Kit that focuses on removing lime-scale and heavy metals.

Franke Filterflow Taps

Founded in 1911, Franke are a Swiss kitchen sink and kitchen tap manufacturer recognised for their high-quality stainless steel kitchen taps and state of the art kitchen sinks built for residential or commercial use.

Franke’s range of 3-way kitchen taps are known under the name of Filterflow taps, which are available in a variety of design options.

While Franke FilterFlow taps are considered a premium option in the industry, these taps are not dispatched with a filter system. You can purchase the proprietary Franke FilterFlow water filter system separately, which removes bacteria, cysts, parasites, chlorine, lead and taste and odour altering substances from your tap water, or you can use the tap with any water filter system of your choosing since Franke FilterFlow Taps are compatible with any under-sink water filter.

Although Franke FilterFlow taps are more expensive than unbranded triflow taps on the market, they offer above average warranty periods (up to 5-year warranty for valve mechanisms).

Brita Filter Taps

Brita, another premium 3-way tap manufacturer, was established in 1966 in Germany. Unlike Franke FilterFlow taps, Brita 3-way triflow taps are dispatched with a Brita P1000 filter cartridge that removes chlorine, lead, copper and improves water taste and odour.

Unfortunately, unlike Franke FilterFlow taps, Brita taps don’t work out-of-the-box with all filter system, except the Brita P1000, which makes switching to a different filter system rather difficult, unless the manufacturer rolls out a more advanced proprietary filter.

Brita Filter Taps are loved by consumers for their excellent design, functionality, and host of advanced features like a LED filter change system, which reminds users to replace filters at the end of their service life.


3-way kitchen taps are a superior choice compared to standard filter taps in terms of functionality, convenience and even design options. Even though standard filter taps are more affordable and, in some cases, even free (when dispatched with certain filter kits), 3-way kitchen taps are easier to install and you don’t need to drill another hole in your kitchen sink.


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