I need to buy a new tap for our kitchen sink (current one is dripping, and falling apart, and very ugly to boot). But are all taps created equal? Can I buy any old tap and fit it get my Dad to fit it for me? Do I need to know the size of the fitting, or is there any other reason why a tap I buy online might not be compatible with our sink? Very grateful for any input!
I know a bit of this as we have just replaced our bath taps!
1. you need to know the holes on the sink. Is it one hole or 2? 2. If it is 2 you need to know how far apart they are (it is a standard 180mm I think, so if it is that you are pretty safe) 3. you can get mixer tap with 2 fittings (more common in bathrooms) or one fitting more common in kitchens, which go through the holes.
As to quality, in the end we didn't buy the cheapest. It looked cheap and I couldn't get past the idea that it would fall to pieces. I think the chrome finish looked cheap on it too. Sorry not much help over that bit.
British water pressure is in lower than in most other countries, so if you buy, for example, a flashy stylish Italian design, it will probably have tails the size of pencils, and narrow internal watereways, and will not deliver a very strong flow.
Taps with a "joystick" and ceramic disks are more troublesome when they go wrong than taps with a capstan and washers. You can recognise taps with ceramic disks as they only need a quarter turn from full to open. If you insist on buying them, try to get a UK manufacturer as that gives you a better chance of being able to get replacement cartridges when they get worn and leak.
Bristan is a very good manufacturer, and sometimes has factory clearance on its website. Plumbworld is a good supplier and sometimes has reductions. You can often get brand new taps on ebay at reduced prices.