|Source||Rating • Price • Origin • Business Model||
Certified for Legal Use in U.S. & Canada
CSA B 125
Certified Lead Free
9805 Clark Street
Montreal, QC H3L 2R5
"[L]ifetime limited warranty to the original purchaser" on mechanical working parts and chrome or bushed nickel finishes. "Five-years on all other finishes." Electronic parts, 2 years. Not transferable. Defective faucets "must be returned to our factory for inspection prior to replacement [at purchaser's expense]." Proof of purchase from an "authorized delaer" required.
Organized in 1986, Aguabrass, Inc. is a Canadian importer of faucets and kitchen and bath accessories for sale through authorized dealers in Canada and the U.S.
The company imports very good designer faucets from well-established, reputable Italian faucet manufacturers. Its chief suppliers are IB Rubineterie S.p.A. and Rubineterie 3M S.r.l. generally known as Treemme. The faucets, created by noted Italian industrial designers are usually part of a broader collection composed of faucets, showers, tub fillers, and accessories. In some cases coordinating architectural and cabinet hardware is available to finish off the look. Most of the faucets are stunning. We have concluded that it must be against the law to manufacture an ugly faucet in Italy.
Aquabrass is a Marketeer, not a Specifier. Its business model is one used by other Marketeers such as Rohl and Lacava. It enters into agreements with Italian faucet manufacturers to become the exclusive U.S. distributor of the manufacturer's faucets. Most of the faucets it agrees to distribute are the manufacturer's existing faucets with minor modifications needed for the North American market (which is usually little more than adapting the faucets to U.S./Canadian rather than metric fittings). There are hundreds of excellent boutique faucet manufacturers in Europe, and all of them are looking for a low-cost entry into the giant North American market. Aquabrass provides that entry with a minimal investment by the manufacturer. In return, Aquabrass gets the exclusive right to sell some very stylish, high-quality, Italian faucets in the U.S. and Canada.
The various collections offered by Aquabrass are are designed, prototyped and engineered by the Italian factories that make the faucets. Noted Italian industrial designers such as Maurizio Duranti, Giulio Iacchetti, and Andrea Galmarini for IB Rubineterie and Danilo Fedeli, Giancarlo Egni, Gianluca Belli, Phi Cubo, Marco Pisati and Oco Studio with Treemme design the faucets for the Italian manufacturers. Most are for sale outside of North America by the original Italian manufacturer. All Aquabrass does is rebrand them to wear the Aquabrass name plate before offering them for sale in the U.S. and Canada. For example, the distinctive Aquabrass Stillleto faucet shown above was designed by Giancarlo Vegni for Treemme which sells it outside of North America as the Hedo faucet. But, Aquabrass deserves kudos for selecting some very contemporary and interesting faucets. Some have no parallel in North America.
As with all Italian faucets, the valves are ceramic disk cartridges, and from our examination, very good Italian cartridges. But, we cannot examine every faucet offered by the company. It offers a wide variety with a number of different cartridges from different manufacturers. Our favorite cartridge replacement parts guru says that Aquabrass cartridges for single handle faucets have plastic bodies. There is no getting away from plastic single-handle mixing cartridges, but at minimum these should have a stainless stem. plastic stems are too fragile for long-term reliability. For more on selecting a good quality cartridge, see Faucet Fundamentals: Ceramic Disk Valve Cartridge.
The Aquabrass warranty is below standard. The company appears to have little faith in the durability of its finishes. Other than chrome and brushed nickel, Aquabrass finishes are warranted for just five years. Otherwise the faucet is warranteed for the lifetime of the original owner. The warranty is not transferable. Aquabrass makes warranty replacements or repairs very cumbersome. To get a repair or replacement under warranty, the defective faucet has to be returned to Aquabrass for inspection. Can you do without a bath or kitchen faucet for several weeks while Aquabrass examines your defective faucet? Most people cannot.
You should very carefully consider whether you want to go through this degree of hassle to get warranty service when making a buying decision about an Aquabrass faucet.
On the plus side, however, the consumer experience with this company has been good overall. The faucets themselves have very few problems, and the customer support is capable. Plumbers report that some of the faucet models are a little fussy to install, but no serious installation issues.
Aquabrass faucets are certified by CSA Group as compliant with Canadian standards for faucets. As the Canadian and U.S. standards are identical, the faucets are also compliant with the U.S. Standard. Most Aquabrass faucets have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, which is the European maximum flow rate. American buyers are usually used to the faster 2.2 gallon per minute flow rate allowed in the U.S., and the difference will be noticeable to most American users.
Foreign-made faucets comparable to Aquabrass include Rohl, The Whitehaus Collection.
Comparable American-made faucets include Brizo, California Faucets, Kohler, Newport Brass/Ginger, and Sigma.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Aquabrass faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us.