Review & Rating
4011 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Footnotes:1. The company claims to offer a limited lifetime warranty on its faucets, but a careful reading reveals that it is actually a 5-year warranty that does not apply to "the replacement of components where damage is caused by . . . limescale [or] aggressive water conditions. . ."2. The Alfi warranty appears to offer a lifetime guarantee on finishes to the original buyer, but the language is ambiguous.
Download Alfi's warranty.
This Company In Brief
Alfi sells faucets made in China over its own websites and on sites that host small retailers such as Wayfair and Amazon as well as through independent design studios and brick and mortar plumbing suppliers.
The faucets are not certified to the standards required by law in the U.S. and Canada. In consequence, it is not possible to tell whether these faucets are safe, reliable and free of lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxic substances that may be found in Chinese-made faucets.
Faucets that have not been certified are not legal to sell in the U.S. and in most of Canada. Nor are they legal to install in a drinking water system in any U.S. state or territory or in any Canadian province.
Alfi Trade, Inc. is a California corporation owned by Eldad Alfi and his father Aaron, chartered in 2007. It is primarily a bathwares company, selling imported sinks, toilets and bathtubs. It sells faucets as a complement to its bathwares, but faucets are a fairly minor part of its overall business. The company imports from China, Israel, and Italy. Alfi does not sell domestic products.
The Alfi logo is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It has not been registered in Canada.
The company sources bathwares from China, Italy, and Israel. The principal suppliers of Alfi's non-faucet products include:
Liansu Group Company, Ltd. (China - Bathroom Fittings & Sanitary Wares) Galassia S.P.A. (Italy - Ceramic fixtures), Ningbo Waltmal Sanitary Wares Co. Ltd. (China - Bathtubs), Stile Libero SRL (Italy - Ceramic sinks), Harsa Sanitary Fixtures Industria (Israel - Ceramic sinks), Cobuild Sanitary Co. Ltd. (China - Composite bathtubs), Plados S.P.A. (Italy - Composite fixtures), and Foshan Nanhai Digu Sanitary Ware Co.Ltd. (China - Wood and bamboo bathtubs).
Alfi's known faucet supplier is CAE Sanitary Fittings Industry Co. Ltd., an manufacturer with a solid international reputation for good quality faucets.
Some of CAE's contemporary faucets are designed in Italy by Itamar Harari of Slide design, a noted Italian design firm, but they are not Italian faucets, as Alfi customer service agents sometimes claim. They are Chinese faucets, some of which are designed in Italy. One of these designs, the Edolo faucet, won an iF design award in 2016. IF is an international design competition sponsored by iF International Forum Design GmbH since 1953. Alfi does not, however, sell the Edolo faucet.
CAE is also well known for casting its faucets from DZR brass, an alloy that resists a chemical degradation process called dezincification. We do not know whether DZR brass is used in Alfi faucets. If so, however, it is a definite plus.
Alfi's faucets are neither designed expressly for nor unique to Alfi. They are out of CAE's and routinely sold by CAE to other importers in the U.S. and Canada, including:
CAE has also begun selling in North America directly to consumers under the CAE brand name on retail internet sites such as Amazon, Overstock and Walmart (online only) as well as dedicated home decor and decorative plumbing sites including Elite Home Products.
There are hints that Alfi may be ramping up to develop its own proprietary designs. It recently purchased a Gefertec Arc405 industrial 3d metal printer, a type of machine widely used for making one-of prototypes of new faucet designs for testing before turning them over to a manufacturer for production.
It is likely that Alfi imports from at least one other faucet supplier that we have not yet identified.
Alfi's line of faucets is heavily slanted toward contemporary styles. Only a few are traditional or transitional in design. Its finishes are limited: bright chrome and brushed nickel on its bath faucets; chrome, nickel and stainless steel for its kitchen faucets. Not all faucets are available in all finishes.
The cartridges used in the Alfi faucets made by CAE are from Kerox, Kft, a Hungarian manufacturer of very good to excellent ceramic cartridges that are favored by a number of European faucet brands.
Alfi's wholesale websites, Alfi Trade and Alfi Brand, are designed in roughly the same way. Navigation used to be a little mysterious until you realized that the key was the link to "Menu" displayed unobtrusively about a third of the way down the page, which opened up the site's navigation links. Once you figured this out, navigation became generally intuitive. The menu has now been moved to the top of the page, which makes the whole process more obvious. Site search is effective and individual faucets are easy to find.
BlueBath.com is Alfi's retail site and its navigation is more traditional, with a menu bar across the top of the page. The site is a sanitary wares retail store selling Alfi Brand products along with an assortment of inexpensive faucets from other importers of Chinese and Taiwanese faucets and some good to excellent faucets from major brands such as lesser-known but reputable companies.
The faucets are also widely available throughout the U.S. and in parts of Canada through independent design studios and plumbing supply houses including Ferguson Enterprises, a supplier to the trades with locations in most cities and large towns. Other plumbing suppliers offering Alfi products include Hughes Supply, Inc., winnelson Co., and Standard Plumbing Supply, all major national or regional wholesellers.
Alfi products are also sold online at Alfi's own retail site, Blue Bath and at plumbing supply venues such as Build.com, Faucet.com, Home Depot, Quality Bath and at general retail sites like Amazon, Overstock and Wayfair.
A complete list is available on the Alfi website.
The Alfi warranty is below par for North America. The company promises a
"Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship",but takes it away again in the very next line that reads:
"Mechanical components are warranted against defects for 5 years from the original purchase date."The term "mechanical components" is understood in the faucet industry to mean the moving parts of a faucet, that is, the parts that are most likely to develop problems. After subtracting the mechanical components, the only parts of the faucet protected by the lifetime warranty are those least likely to prove defective: finishes, body, baseplate (if any) and spout. Not much protection.
Additionally, the warranty does not apply to
"the replacement of components where damage is caused by . . . limescale [or] aggressive water conditions. . ."We are not sure what "aggressive water conditions" means in this context. It is normally an informal term for a high chloride to sulfate ratio in drinking water, a condition that may cause unusually high amounts of lead to leach into the water flowing through a faucet due to a galvanic reaction between lead and copper. How an "aggressive water condition" could have any effect on faucet functioning or cause a faucet failure is not clear to any of our consulting chemists or engineers.
After carefully parsing the warranty we find that it is essentially a 5-year limited warranty with a few, mostly non-essential, components guaranteed for the original buyer's lifetime. We score it "far below" the North American standard "limited lifetime" warranty on all faucet components.
It is certainly not a ringing endorsement of Alfi's faith in the durability or longevity of its faucets, a lack of faith that is unwarranted. Other North American sellers of CAE faucets have no problem guaranteeing them for the original buyer's lifetime. (See, e.g.
There are two basic approaches to warranties in the faucet business. The first approach tries to reduce the cost of warranty service to its irreducible minimum and insulate the company as much as possible from liability for a failed product. This is the bean-counter approach, the tack favored by accountants and chief financial officers. This describes Alfi's warranty exactly. The other, and better, approach is to use the power of a good warranty to drive sales — figuring (correctly) that any additional cost of providing a first-class warranty will be more than offset by additional sales revenue that a first-class warranty generates.
This is the Moen approach. Moen, one of the first major faucet companies in the U.S. to offer a lifetime warranty on its products, figured out early that a good warranty and strong back-end support would substantially increase sales on the front end. It worked. Its warranty helped boost Moen from a little-known bit player in the 1950's to the second largest faucet company in the U.S., behind Delta Faucets, by the 1970s. (The companies are now neck and neck for the top slot, each having about 30% of the U.S. faucet market.)
The loyalty of Moen customers is legendary. It is nearly impossible to talk a Moen customer out of a Moen faucet, shower or tub filler — not that we try. Alfi needs to take a leaf from Moen's playbook and start looking at its warranty as an opportunity to build sales and forge customer loyalty rather than strictly as a nuisance liability to be minimized as much as possible.
All of the various telephone numbers used by Alfi and Blue Bath route to the same automated answering system. Customer service is sometimes hard to get in touch with. Long hold times are typical. After about three minutes, the automatic answering computer will give you a choice of leaving a call-back message. If you leave a message you will get a callback, usually within 24 hours. Once you get a customer agent, you will usually get your question answered. Agents are knowledgeable about Alfi faucets and generally cordial and helpful.
Alfi Trade does not have a Better Business Bureau rating, but its associated retail sales site, Blue Bath, is rated A+, the BBB's highest rating. The company is not BBB accredited. It is, however, a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association and has agreed to abide by that organization's code of conduct which, among other matters, prohibits deceptive statements about the company's products.
Alfi routinely identifies its faucets as in compliance with the joint U.S./Canadian mechanical safety and reliability standards (ASME A112.18.1/CSA 125.1) and the North American lead-free and safe drinking water standards (ANSI 61/9). However, none of the seven accredited organizations that test and certify faucets to North American standards have ever heard of Alfi and all deny testing or certifying Alfi faucets.
When we telephoned Alfi about the apparent lack of certifications for its faucets, we were initially assured by a customer service representative that they were "UPC certified" and fully compliant with all North American standards. But, when we then asked Alfi for certificate file numbers, we were given one identification number that turned out to be for a Uniform Product Code registration, which has to do with the assignment of retail barcodes and nothing whatsoever to do with faucet certifications.
So far, after several requests, the company has been unwilling or unable to provide us with or even identify a valid listing certificate for any of its sink faucets.
North American faucet standards are tough — some of the most stringent in the world. Their aim is to protect consumers against potentially dangerous materials and shoddy manufacturing by ensuring that faucets do not contain toxic substances and are minimally safe and reliable. No one, not even the most experienced industry professional, can tell by looking at a faucet (or a picture of a faucet on a website) whether it is free of lead, mercury, arsenic, and other toxins, or whether its cartridge will be leak-free over the long run. Extensive testing and certification are needed, precisely the testing and certification that Alfi has not had done.
Fully certified, safe and lead-free faucets made in China and Taiwan that are comparable to Alfi include any of the following:
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Asian-made faucet, one of these suppliers might be a better choice than Alfi. All sell faucets that are known to be certified safe, reliable and lead-free, and authorized for use in U.S. and Canadian water supplies. Some may not be especially good faucets, but they are at least safe faucets.
Alfi faucets are made by a well-regarded manufacturer using good quality components. Were the faucets certified and supported by a strong lifetime warranty the company would ordinarily be due a high rating. Unfortunately, however, they are not certified and the warranty is weak, somewhat ambiguous, and a little too tricky for our liking.
It may be legal for Alfi to advertise its warranty as a "lifetime warranty" even though most of the important components of the faucets, including those most likely to fail, are guaranteed for just five years. On the other hand, the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S. Code § 57a) prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce," so arguably a warranty has to guarantee everything in a faucet for somebody's lifetime before it can be promoted as a lifetime warranty. But, whether or not it's strictly legal, we consider it much too tricky to be entirely ethical.
We are even more troubled by the ethics of a company that continues to claim that it's faucets are certified to North American standards in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are not. We don't think it's possible for a company to be in the faucet business for over 20 years yet remain wholly ignorant of what constitutes a validly certified faucet. Falsely representing the faucets as certified deceives buyers into believing that they are legal to install in drinking water systems in the U.S. or Canada, when in fact no plumbing code that we know of permits their installation.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Alfi faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.