In this Fohen Flex review, we’re looking at a rare thing: a boiling water tap that includes a flexible hose, so it can handle a mountain of dishes just as well as a cup of tea.
Most boiling water taps are the fashionable J-shaped design you get in the majority of new sink installations today – and the Fohen Flex is held in roughly that kind of shape normally, but it has a hose you can grab and bend around to spray the regular hot/cold water mix around in all directions.
The boiling water, meanwhile, comes from an entirely separate (and not flexible) short arm, so you won’t get the two confused. The boiling water comes from a unit under the sink, and has a spring-loaded separate control that’s designed to make it hard for kids to use accidentally.
It’s a different offering to any of the other best boiling water taps (opens in new tab) we rate highly simply from this tap design, and for big families especially, its more flexible cleaning power is massively useful. Keep reading for our full review on the Fohen Flex Boiling Water Tap.
- Buy the Fohen Flex at Fohen UK (opens in new tab)
- Buy the Fohen Flex at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Fohen Flex review: Price & availability
Officially priced at £999 in the UK (though we’ve seen it drop to £699 in sales, with further discount codes also sometimes available), its price is in line with other premium boiling water taps, though it obviously isn’t cheap. Replacement filters cost £45 each, which is pricier than a lot of the competition, though they’re rated to last about the same amount of time (6 months).
Fohen only operates in the UK and Ireland, so there’s no US or Australian availability for this model at the time of writing.
Fohen Flex review: Design & features
We’ve already talked about the single most notable design feature of the Fohen Flex: that bendy hose and spout. Pull the spout down to release it from its holding arm, and then you can direct its hose wherever you want, making it ideal for rinsing down a big sink full of dishes, or for giving your draining board a spray.
And we say spray, because the spout has a big button on it so that you can switch from a single jet of water to a circle of smaller jets, so you can go for power or coverage easily.
As mentioned, the spray part of the tap applies to the regular hot and cold water mixing from your overall water system, and there’s a simple lever mixer tap for adjusting power and heat level.
Then you have a second tap, which is a short and rigid arm that sticks out at a right angle from the main tap about half way up. This is where the boiling water comes out, activated by turning a tap control on the opposite side to the regular water controls. This can’t be turned unless you press a tough, spring-loaded button while turning it, so it’s impossible to do accidentally – you have to very deliberately push and turn.
The water from this tap comes from a boiling unit hidden under your sink, which keeps water at your desired temperature all the time, ready to go. This is a well-insulated tank, and Fohen estimates that it costs around 9p per day to operate, which the company says is less than it costs to boil a kettle, based on how many times it’s boiled in the average household.
The water tank is a fairly small (210x315x210mm - WxHxD) all-black unit, and it has a control on top for choosing the water temperature. 75°C is the minimum, and 98°C is the maximum – you can get some boiling water taps that hit 99°C, but 98 should be sufficient. I actually mostly drink green tea, which is best brewed at a slightly lower temperature, so I mostly kept it at 90°C.
You don’t really want to be changing temperature often, though – it’s a single button you use to cycle through temperatures. Some boiling water taps have a slider or controls that make it easier to go up and down – this is very much a ‘set it and forget it’ setup.
One final design note: the tap section comes in chrome (which we have), matt black or unfinished brass. So, if you’ve got bold kitchen décor, you’ve got options.
Fohen Flex review: Installation
The Fohen Flex needs a 35mm hole in your sink/worktop for installation, so nothing out of the ordinary there, and no extra water connections are required for the addition of the boiling water tank. You connect the tap to your hot and cold water pipes, and then there’s an extra connection out to the boiling water tank, splitting the cold water intake, basically. You’ll connect the output of the boiling water tank to a filter, and then the filter back to the tap again. Circuitous, but it all makes sense.
We had no problems housing the water tank under the sink, and still had space for a shelf to go above it, so there wasn’t much impact at all on storage. The filter needs to be upright, so that’s best if mounted to a side panel, so that’s another factor when you’re working out where everything will go.
But remember that this requires power via a regular plug socket – if you don’t have one under your sink, you’ll need to work something out.
Fohen Flex review: Performance
The Fohen Flex works just as well as you’d hope overall. The flexible hose makes it really easy to quickly detach, spray where you need, and then pop it back in the holder. The spout is well-insulated, so spraying hot water isn’t a safety concern.
We had an issue with the switch between a single stream and the spray wearing out quickly on our tap (within a couple of months), but this part simple screws on and off, and Fohen sent us a replacement immediately. The company says that should this part fail out of warranty, buyers would be able to purchase a new part anyway (but the company claims to be generous with replacements anyway).
We’ve also found over a few months that the end of the tap feels held into its arm a little more stiffly and stickily as time’s gone on. This hasn’t been a problem in any way, but it requires more of a yank now to free it.
The flow from the dedicated boiling water tap is just a little spluttery, in the sense of not quite being a seamless flow. It spits a little when you first turn, then starts shooting out. This can sound a bit worrying, but doesn’t actually spray all over the place or anything – it goes straight down into your mug or pot easily enough.
The boiling water flow isn’t especially fast, but it only takes a couple of seconds to fill a mug. You can use it for filling a saucepan with pre-heated water for making pasta faster, of course, but we found this a bit slow unless you’re only making a small portion. You have to keep your hand clamped on the spring-loaded tap the whole time, remember – it’s just not designed for prolonged use, but that’s okay.
Otherwise, the tank has no problem keeping water at the desired temperature, and quickly heats and refills after use, without becoming weaker just after you’ve filled a cup or anything.
We also generally like that the boiling water arm and the main spray arm are separate – you can keep one well out of the way for peace of mind while using the other. There is a flip side, which is that if you’re feeling tired and/or not paying attention, you might hold a cup to the wrong tap and try to turn on the boiling water. We’ve never had an accident; it’s just that this design comes with both theoretical extra safety and its own risks.
Fohen Flex review: Verdict
The Fohen Flex is the dream tap for those who want the pro-kitchen-style rinsing of a flexible spout, with the modern convenience of a boiling water tap. It can be self-installed with a relatively small amount of fuss for this kind of thing, and does its job perfectly.
Fohen Flex review: Alternatives to consider
The best alternative to the Fohen Flex is the Grohe Red (opens in new tab) which currently holds top spot in our best boiling water tap guide. Similar to the Fohen Flex, the Grohe Red is a duo model that offers boiling water and a standard hot and cold mixer and comes in multiple colours. It's slightly pricier than the Fohen Flex so you'll have to consider that if you want to invest in the Grohe Red.