There are many superior faucet companies selling in North America, offering
a large number of good to excellent faucet values. In fact, there has never been a better time to buy a faucet. The technology is edging ever closer to producing an actual lifetime faucet that never leaks, never tarnishes, and never needs repair. We are not there yet, but we are very close.
There are also a lot of mediocre faucet companies selling products that are a not-so-good value, and some that are selling untested faucets that have not been certified safe, reliable and lead free - faucets that are illegal to install and often illegal to sell in the U.S. and Canada.
Distinguishing the legal from the illegal, the good from the bad and the poor from the superior is what we try to do in our Faucet Reviews & Ratings of over 150 faucet brands. And, every year or two, usually in late summer when things slow down a bit, we sit down to figure out the best of the best. Not necessarily the best faucets, but the best faucets for the money.
This year we have expanded the categories. We formerly determined the best value faucet made in North America, Asia and Europe. But, pitting economy faucet lines against luxury lines did not make for easy agreement among our panelists. So we have expanded the scope to include a luxury faucet and a mid-priced faucet from each continent except Asia. While there are several well-known luxury faucet manufacturers in Asia, none sell in the U.S. or Canada.
It was still a tough decision. Everyone's faucets, with very few exceptions, seem to be getting better and better. But after lengthy consideration, we have come up with our choice of best value companies.
The factors we weigh in judging a faucet company are:
1. The quality of its faucets: Quality is averaged over the past five years. We look especially for companies with high average scores that are improving year over year.
2. The strength of its warranty: No company without a solid faucet warranty on its mechanicals, cartridges or finishes can hope to compete. The standard for North America is a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner. Anything less than that we interpret as a lack of complete faith by the company in its faucets. We do not think a 5- or 10-year warranty on a product that most buyers expect to last a lifetime is a sufficient guarantee of quality. So, if the company's warranty is less than "for as long as the original owner owns the house in which the faucet was installed", the company will usually not be competitive.
3. Post-sale customer and warranty service: Many companies offer strong warranties on their faucets, but fail to provide for effective post-sale war-ranty service. We test a company's post-sale customer service and score it on a 0.0 to 5.0 point scale. No company that scores less than 4.0 can hope to compete in a service environment in which the top performers like Moen, Delta and California Faucets are booking nearly perfect scores.
4. Mechanical safety & reliability and lead-free certifications: A contender must have had its faucets certified compliant with the joint U.S./Canadian standards for mechanical safety and reliability ( ASME A 112.18.1/ CSA B125.1), and with the North American lead- and toxin-free standards (ANSI/NSF 372 and ANSI/NSF 61). A faucet must have been tested by an accredited independent testing facility and certified to meet both of these mandatory standards to be legal for installation in the U.S. and Canada. We have no reason to even look at a faucet company that sells faucets that cannot be legally installed.
5. Better Business Bureau Accreditation: Businesses that have undergone the extensive vetting required for BBB accreditation are given a few extra points in our scoring. Accredited businesses agree to advertise honestly, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive to customer concerns, safeguard privacy and act with integrity at all times — everything we expect of company with which we would want to do business.
The Rubinet (Rubi-NAY) Faucet Company was formed in 1981 in Ontario. It is a quite company that designs, assembles and finishes striking and sometimes unique sink faucets, shower assemblies and coordinating accessories, but does so with little fanfare and makes almost no effort to advertise itself or its original Canadian-designed faucet creations. We don't know why. Maybe it's that Canadian modesty taken just a tad too far.
The faucets are sold throughout Canada and in parts of the U.S. as well as exported overseas. Rubinet sells primarily through brick and mortar showrooms. A showroom locator is provided on its website under the "Where to Buy" tab on its website. If you are going to order an exotic or split finish, we suggest you work with a showroom designer. If you want something more basic, an internet retailer may serve. Do not, however, expect substantial discounts no matter where you buy. Rubinet enforces a minimum pricing policy that prohibits authorized retailers from advertising or selling at a price more than 25% below Rubinet's list price.
Rubinet faucets are arrayed in 11 collections, ranging in style from traditional to contemporary. All but the Jasmin collection include kitchen and bath faucets, tub fillers, shower assemblies and coordinating accessories. The Jasmin collection does not (yet?) include kitchen faucets.
Our favorite collection is a toss up between the R10 and the Ice, both of which are "wow". The R10 collection (an example of which is pictured at right in chrome with red accents), is a contemporary styling adventure unlike any we have seen elsewhere. It may be a little "out there" for some buyers, but the design community is definitely going to love it.
The Ice collection is similarly angular and industrial, but is softened by inlays of clear Swarovski Crystals — the "ice" in the faucet. The Matthew Quin collection is also eye-catching as evidenced by the 1AMQ1 widespread lavatory faucet shown below in matte black with satin chrome accents.
Finishing is done in Canada to order. This gives the company a great deal of flexibility in its finishes making its stunning variety of finishes possible. The company lists 22 standard finishes on its website, but
most are available in combinations in which one finish is the base and another becomes the accent. There are over 400 possible finish combinations available from the 22 standard finishes.
Most metallic finishes are electroplated. Some are PVD (physical vapor deposition) finishes. Non-metallic finishes are usually powder coatings. The lifetime warranty on its finishes suggests that the company is confident of their robustness and longevity. Our experience with PVD finishes is that they are almost indestructible.
The Rubinet faucet warranty promises to replace any defective part and re-finish or repair any defective finish as long as the faucet is owned by the original buyer. It is a "full" as opposed to a "limited" warranty under U.S. law. A full warranty has advantages to the consumer including a limit to the seller's ability to disclaim implied statutory warranties. The warranty meets the North American standard and demonstrates the faith of the company in the quality and long useful life of its faucets.
Customer service is very good. Technical support agents are knowledgeable about their products, and eager to help solve problems. Rubinet appears to be more interested in taking care of customer problems than with minor niceties of who is or is not covered by its warranty on the sensible basis that people who do not own a Rubinet faucet are unlikely to ask for warranty service.
Our favorable view of the company's after-sale support is borne out by the Better Business Bureau which rates Rubinet A+ on a scale of A+ to F for its handling of customer issues. Rubinet is a BBB accredited business and pledged to abide by the high standards required by the BBB for accreditation.
The company's two-handle faucets are fitted with ceramic cartridges manufactured by Flühs Direhtechnik in Lüdenscheid, Germany, considered by most in the faucet industry to be one of the best, if not the best, European faucet cartridge made for two-handle faucets. Cartridges for Rubinet's single handle faucets are made by Kerox, Kft of Hungary and CeramTec of Luft, Germany, both world leaders in high performance technical ceramics.
For its focus on good design and faultless quality that includes the use of top tier ceramic cartridges, a wide variety of finish options and retail prices somewhat lower than we would expect for designer faucets, we judge Rubinet to be the best value in luxury faucets produced in Canada and tied with Watermark Designs for the best value luxury faucets made in North America.
Watermark Designs is a Brooklyn-based designer and assembler of faucets from parts and components imported primarily from Taiwan and China. Its unique designs, some of which are award-winning, have captured wide attention, propelling the growth of the company since its founding in 2000.
The company has experienced some growing pains, but seems to have steadied itself over the past few years. It's faucets are true luxury products, largely hand made and impeccably finished - worth a look by anyone in the market for smart, well-designed faucet with a reliable valve that should give a lifetime of trouble-free service.
Watermark faucets range from traditional to very contemporary designs arranged in coordinated collections. Most collections are fully loaded with faucets, shower sets, tub fillers, and accessories. Some even include lighting fixtures, shower drains, cabinet knobs and console frames for a completely synchronized look. A few are more sparsely populated, like the Zen 1 collection that contains just lavatory faucets or the TOD 2, limited to two kitchen faucets, a side spray and a soap/lotion dispenser.
Watermark faucet styles straddle any historic period from Victorian to contemporary, and every style classification (traditional, transitional, contemporary) so no matter the era of your house or your personal style, there is a Watermark faucet that will fit. But, if none of the company's standard offerings fills the bill, Watermark's ID division will design a custom faucet just for you. Of course, you would probably have to order several hundred to offset the cost of custom design and engineering.
Watermark's forte, other than its striking original designs, is metal finishing. It started out as a metal plating company, and its three generations of plating experience is evident in its faucets. The photos in its catalogs and on its website do not begin to do justice to its impeccable finishes. It offers thirty-two basic finishes and can provide special finishes on request. It does all of its own plating and lacquer coating, and, according to company sources, is gearing up to do PVD finishing in house. Formerly, it was outsourced. PVD finishes are extremely durable, reportedly 20 times harder than the industry standard: plated chrome.
According to company sources, Watermark has designed its faucets around five cartridges made by Flühs Direhtechnik of Lüdenscheid, Germany. The Flühs valve is generally considered among the best in the world.
It uses Neoperl® aerators, also generally considered the best available. Faucet aerators started out as simple devices that infused a little air to soften the water stream, preventing splashing. Today they have become precision engineered devices used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and to prevent back-flow that could contaminate household drinking water. It is important, therefore, that this little device, often smaller than a dime, be the best available. And, that, is without question the Swiss-engineered Neoperl® aerator.
Watermark's creative in-house design team develops and prototypes most of its faucet designs. But, outside designers also contribute. The H-Line collection is by Mark Zeff. The Elan Vital collection was designed in collaboration with the Fredman Design Group and kitchen and bath designer David Kotowsky of Hydrology in Chicago. The Brooklyn Collection, with its unique handles based on gate valves from 19th century New York, was created by Incorporated Architecture and Design, Inc., an international design firm based in New York City, and the Touch27 series is the inspiration of Clodagh Design Studio, also a New York firm.
The Watermark faucet warranty meets the standard for North American warranties. Faucets are guaranteed for as long as the original owner purchaser owns the faucet and the faucet remains in its "original installation". Certain finishes are excluded. Gold and copper finishes are guaranteed for just five years and living finishes not at all.
Warranty and parts support could be better. We had no complaints about the company in the first five years we tracked it, but in the past 40 months have received a number of e-mails about customer service representatives seeming disinterested, distracted and even rude. We don't know how much of the reported rudeness is just New Yorkers being New Yorkers, which to the rest of the county can seem a little sharp. Our experience is that customer service has always been cordial and helpful..
The Better Business Bureau has received two complaints about the company in three years, one of which was settled, the other never answered. The BBB rates Watermark a B- on a scale of A+ to F, down from an A+ two years ago. Watermark has not been vetted for BBB accreditation.
Watermark has had its brushes with the law. In 2013 its production company, Sepco Industries, pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of illegal dumping of untreated heavy metal industrial waste into the New York City sewer system for which it was fined $2.8 million dollars and given four years of compliance monitoring. Watermark has now instituted proper disposal methods for its hazardous waste and, according to a company spokesperson, fully complies with applicable hazardous waste handling standards.
In 2010 Watermark ran afoul of the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and was assessed a civil fine of $135,104 by the U. S. Department of Energy for failing to certify that certain of its products complied with federal water conservation standards. (Order:2010-CW-1404) Then in 2011, the DOE imposed another $4,200.00 civil penalty on the company for having "distributed in commerce" products that did not meet federal conservation guidelines. (Order:2011-SW-2908). Watermark having figured out that ignoring DOE regulations can be costly, now fully complies with the appropriate regulations.
Despite its past sins, we think Watermark designs and produces striking luxury faucets of good to very good quality. It uses top drawer components including excellent ceramic cartridges in faucets that should last a long time. Its faucets are well supported by a lifetime faucet warranty and customer service that is very capable. With Rubinet Faucets of Canada (see report above), we think Watermark Designs is the best value in luxury faucets produced in North America.
Determining which of the many well-crafted European luxury faucets is the best value is not an easy task. Europe seems awash in faucet companies that sell some of the finest faucets made anywhere in the world. The Italians are the masters of design; the Germans of engineering and the French… well the French make some very interesting, if quirky faucets with a manufacturing mastery that
needs bow to no other nation.
UK companies are also serious competitors. The British have always had a reputation for design and production acumen, and faucet making easily upholds that centuries-old tradition.
What puts many European countries out of the running are their warranties. European faucet warranties are typically 2 to 5 years. The standard North American warranty is for the lifetime of the original buyer. It is almost impossible for a company offering a 2 to 5 year warranty in the North American market to accumulate enough points to be a contender for best value faucets.
that also make excellent products and offer American-style lifetime warranties on the faucets they sell on this side of the Pond.
The other disqualifying issue is certification. Some European companies, especially boutique firms like
feel no obligation to have their faucets certified to North American Standards, even though the U.S. and Canadian laws says they must, Without certifications they cannot legally sell their faucets in North America. But, they do anyway.
We do not consider any faucet offered for sale in North America contrary to U.S. or Canadian laws, regulations or standards to be in serious contention.
Finally, we don't consider European companies that don't actually make faucets in Europe.
the English company that sells unique upscale faucets has also moved its manufacturing to China.
This leaves but a scant handful of companies. The final few were the Swiss company,
All of these are extremely well designed, carefully crafted and impeccably finished. They are also relatively expensive - about twice the cost of our best value North American mid-priced faucet:
— but all at about the same price level.
So, what makes one company's luxury faucets a better value than the rest?
In the end In2aqua rose to the top for two reasons. First, it does not use plastic in any critical component of its faucets. Most of the other upscale faucet companies have succumbed to the temptation to save money by using plastic parts, especially in hand sprays and in places where they cannot be seen.
Second, In2aqua's faucets include lubricant-free super cartridges -- ceramic cartridge valves that are a technological leap ahead of the competition. Our panel felt that quality and price being equal, a faucet that uses little to no plastic and includes a lubricant-free super cartridge is a better buy than one that uses more plastic and a technologically interior cartridge.
The cartridge is the heart of a modern faucet. As a general rule the better the cartridge the more robust and long-lived the faucet.
In2aqua is a relatively new company, formed in 2013 by Chris Marshall, formerly the CEO of Hansa Armaturen GmbH, a well-known (in Europe) German faucet manufacturer, topping a career that included executive positions at Hansgrohe and KWC. When Hansa was acquired by Finland's Oras Group in 2013 he left the company to start In2aqua, capitalizing on his extensive knowledge of European faucetry.
Marshall is one of those hands-on guys who is constantly tinkering and thinking up better ways of doing things. He has the background required to predict what will go wrong with a faucet and figure out how to prevent the problem from happening. That approach has succeeded very well at In2aqua not only in its faucets, but in other products such as its innovative In2itiv™ shower installation system that is a vast improvement over traditional methods of installation.
The brand enjoyed almost overnight success in its home country, and began selling on a limited basis in the U.S. in 2014. It is widely available on both coasts and in major cities, mostly from brick and mortar showrooms, and moving slowly inland. Marshall is cautious about growing too quickly out of concern that the company's manufacturing capacity might be exceeded, leading to long wait times.
The faucets feature the distinctive and well-defined Nordic-German styling that is characteristic of such established companies as,
Much of the design, engineering and prototyping is handled by Werksdesign, an industrial design firm located in Berlin. Werksdesign is a frequent winner of International design awards for its crisp product styling.
Almost Science Fiction
Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) is one of the hardest materials known to man - it fact, it's "diamond-like", hence the name. The hardest and slickest form of the material is tetrahedral amorphous carbon, used to coat In2aqua's ceramic discs.
To illustrate just how tough it is: in laboratory abrasion tests, stainless steel lasted one week. Coated with DLC just two microns thick, the steel lasted for a simulated 85 years - 4,000 times longer. (A micron is about 1/70th the thickness of a human hair.)
DLC can be found on the edges of high tech razor blades to make them harder and slicker and on knives and barber shears that never need sharpening.
As a coating on drill bits it greatly extends the life of the tool, and on dies and molds it allows them to release molded products with less binding. As a finish on high-end watches, it creates surfaces that are invulnerable to ordinary wear and tear for 1,000 years or so.
Expect the use of the material to expand to household products as it becomes less expensive, including super slick coatings on pots and pans that truly are indestructible, finally making those tiresome TV infomercial claims actually come true
Each In2qua collection includes (or eventually will include) bathroom sink faucets, tub fillers, showers and kitchen faucets, all coordinated designer products.
The company cuts no corners in either component selection or manufacturing. Plastic in critical parts has been banished. Components that are commonly plastic in other faucet lines, such as pull-down sprays, are machined brass in In2aqua faucets. Even the locking collar that holds the faucet's cartridge in place is brass. Almost all other faucet companies — even those that sell upscale products — have switched to plastic for this concealed, but critical component. Plastic is less expensive, saving a few dollars in manufacturing, but not nearly as strong as brass.
In2aqua's proprietary, all-brass M-Lock™ collar reduces the risk of mechanical damage from over-tightening by zealous installers, deterioration over time in daily use - even "vigorous" daily use - and that annoying "water hammer" thumping when the faucet is shut off abruptly.
The ceramic cartridges used in In2aqua faucets are uniformly the best available. All are lubricant-free. A durable lubricant is needed in most ceramic cartridges to help the ceramic discs slide over each other smoothly for easy operation. The lubricant, even though it is not soluble in water, will not last forever. It will inevitably be scoured away over several years by the mechanical abrasion of the stream of water (and dissolved minerals in the water) pouring through the cartridge. The result is a faucet that is more difficult to operate, or one that seizes up, failing altogether.
In2aqua's two-handle faucets include lubricant-free stem cartridges manufactured by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH of Ludenscheid, Germany, considered by most in the faucet business to be one of the best, if not the very best, European faucet cartridge.
Its single handle faucets are fitted with a proprietary ceramic cartridge that is even more advanced. It incorporates a disc technology the company calls PVD+™. The ceramic discs are coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC) (see sidebar) applied using a process called physical vapor deposition (PVD) — an almost science-fiction-like technology in which billions of carbon atoms are blasted into ions and deposited on ceramic discs to form a dense, nearly impervious coating measured in microns. Diamond-like carbon not only improves a ceramic disc's hardness, but also creates an exceptionally slippery surface that moves freely without the need for lubricant.
In2aqua estimates that the PVD+ discs will last 10 times longer than uncoated discs. Based in independent laboratory tests, that estimate may be more than a little conservative.
After putting PVD+ cartridges through 4 million consecutive off/on-hot/cold cycles over 90 days in an independent laboratory, the discs showed no wear. Four million cycles is equivalent to about 560 years of use in an average home kitchen. We think the odds are good that PVD+ discs will last for the entire lifetime of an In2aqua faucet without replacement - considerably longer than ten times the useful lifetime of a typical ceramic cartridge. In fact, this may be the faucet inherited by your grandchildren with its original cartridge still installed.
In2aqua faucets have been designed from the bottom-up to be water-saving low-flow devices intended to comply with even the most restrictive maximum flow limits, including the new 1.2 gallon-per-minute (gpm) maximum flow required in California starting in 2016. Faucets designed for a higher flow rate such as the U.S. maximum of 2.2 gpm, can be restricted to a lower flow by simply reducing the size of the aperture built into the aerator, but the result is often a weakened, feeble stream of water that is not very satisfactory.
For its aerators, In2aqua uses Neoperl®, an engineered aerator from Switzerland, generally considered the best available. Faucet aerators started out as simple screens that infused a little air to soften the water stream. Today they have become precision components used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and to prevent back-flow in pull-down and pull-out faucets that could contaminate household drinking water. It is important, therefore, that this little device be the best available.
Faucet styles and finishes are limited. The company sells just nine lavatory faucets and six kitchen faucets, but they nicely cover the three design classifications — traditional, transitional and contemporary — and every era from Victorian to modern, so there is at least one In2aqua faucet to fit almost any kitchen or bath decor.
Finishes are limited to polished chrome and satin nickel for lavatory faucets and chrome and stainless steel for kitchen faucets. If you need a different finish to fit your distinctive personal style, you will need to look elsewhere. According to Marshall, the company has no plans to introduce additional finishes in the near future.
All finishes are the very durable PVD finishes including stainless steel. PVD stainless steel is not actually stainless steel, but a much tougher material, usually zirconium, that looks like stainless steel but, unlike the actual metal, does not get all "fingerprinty" in daily use. In our experiences with PVD finishes we have found that they are nearly indestructible.
It was a tough choice this year, resulting in many hours of debate, but in the end we are satisfied that In2aqua is the best value choice in European luxury faucets. For a price similar to that charged by most other European luxury faucet companies, you get superior technology in a well-designed, carefully crafted faucet that should last more than one lifetime. We don't know of a better faucet at any price.
55 E. 111th Street, P O Box 40980, Indianapolis, IN 46280
Overall Rating: 6-9 (Average to Excellent)
The Delta Faucet Co. manufactures
faucets through other subsidiaries.
Only Delta brand faucets are the subject of this report.
Delta is the faucet company that has been counted out so many times, that it should be punch drunk by now. When
introduced its single-handle washerless faucets in the 1950s, it was widely predicted that the long reign of Delta Faucets as the best selling brand in North America was over. A few years later Delta counter-punched with the Delta ball valve, a better valve in many ways than Moen's sleeve cartridge, less likely to wear out and easier to repair. Delta regained its crown.
In the 1990s with the rush of European imports featuring the newest technology ceramic disk valves, Delta was again predicted to be soon on the ropes. Year after year passed as Delta clung stubbornly to its increasingly antiquated ball valve technology.
Then, in 2008 after nearly two years of persistent rumor that Delta was going to announce something big, it unveiled its Diamond Seal Technology® (DST) super cartridge and InnoFlex® faucet waterway - two innovations that are a leap ahead of existing technology. Other companies are scrambling to catch up.
The DST cartridge pairs a diamond-powder-coated ceramic disk with an uncoated disk. Delta says this feature keeps the disks absolutely smooth since the diamond-coated disk continuously scrubs and polishes the other disk so they always mesh perfectly. It also continuously grinds away any mineral deposits that may insinuate themselves between the disks. According to the company, the more you use it, the smoother it gets.
Unlike standard ceramic discs, DST does not require a lubricant to work smoothly. Lubricants, no matter how durable, eventually wear away and can leave the cartridge hard to operate. The DST cartridge does not use lubricant, so this problem is gone.
The InnoFlex™ waterway is an equally impressive innovation. In an era during which faucet companies are scrambling to reduce the lead in brass faucets in order to comply with increasingly rigorous lead-free limits, Delta simply bypassed the problem by routing the water in its faucets through a PEX tube. Water never comes in contact with the metal in the faucet, so it cannot possibly pick up any lead. PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material that is flexible and very strong. It is now used in place of copper pipes in most residential plumbing installations.
The "new" technologies, now nine years old, are rapidly replacing the older mechanics in Delta faucets. Both are by all accounts, a stunning success. DST cartridges have been tested using the standard U.S./Canada disk durability protocol to 5 million six-step cycles without a failure -- or about 700 years of typical kitchen use.
We now rate Delta faucets as a range of 6-9, or above average to excellent. As soon as Delta completes its transition to all DST cartridges and all InnoFlex waterways, that rating will probably go up a notch to 7-9, good to excellent - and on par with the best European faucets, but at prices that are often half the cost of these luxury imports.
(formerly Price-Pfister), two American faucet companies that now manufacture in China and Mexico, Delta makes its faucets largely in the U.S. It has factories in Greensburg, Indiana; Jackson, Tennessee; and in Morgantown, Kentucky and two more plants in Ontario, Canada: one in London and another in Cambridge. Delta employs over 1,300 Americans and an equal number of Canadians.
Not all Delta faucets are made in North America, however. Delta closed its Chickasha, Oklahoma factory in 2006, laying off 600 American workers, soon after its new plant in Panyu, China became operational. The China plant makes Delta products for the growing Asian market, but also provides faucet parts to Delta's U.S. and Canadian factories.
Even with the shift of some Delta manufacturing out of North America, Delta claims that over 4,500 of its products (not just faucets) qualify as "Made in USA" under the Buy American Act.
Delta's customer service and warranty support is second only to
which has the customer service organization that is the model to which others aspire but rarely reach. Delta's service is close, but was scored down several times this year for hold times exceeding 5 minutes -- a problem that Delta does not seem able to cure.
Delta design is American with its flowing, transitioning curves as opposed to the angularity and formality of most European design. Although some European motifs have begun to creep in, the look of Delta faucets is still largely American. Those who prefer European styles might have to go elsewhere for a faucet (try LaToscana, see below). But, those who like the traditional American look will love the contemporary interpretations in Delta's new faucet collections.
The Delta lifetime warranty on every component in its faucets (except the electronics in its hands-free faucets) is a big plus. Other companies limit the warranty on hoses, sprayers and some finishes to as little as one year. Not Delta.
Masco owns Vapor Technologies, one of the pioneer companies that developed physical vapor deposition technology (PVD). In consequence Delta was one of the early adopters of PVD coatings and now uses the latest technology PVD finishes exclusively. Some faucets feature SpotShield™ which prevents water spots from forming on faucets, and anti-microbial treatment incorporated into the finish that help prevent the growth of bacteria and other micro-critters on Delta finishes.
There are no electro-plated, powder-coated or "living" finishes on Delta faucets. PVD finishes enable the company to guarantee every finish for as long as you own a Delta faucet. They are estimated to be up to 20 times more durable and scratch resistant than the standard faucet finish — plated chrome. In our experience, Delta PVD finishes are nearly maintenance free and almost impossible to damage.
Delta is easily our best value pick of the mid-priced domestic faucet companies. It has always been a company that manufactured well-made and well-supported faucets, but its new Diamond Seal Technology® cartridges and InnoFlex™ waterways have pushed it far above the vast majority of other faucet companies.
For the price there is not another faucet in the world that can touch a Delta.
Paini (pie-EE-ni) S.p.A. Rubinetterie is an Italian manufacturer of good to very good faucets. Founded in 1954 as a small craft shop, it is today one of the largest manufacturers of faucets and other plumbing products in Northern Italy. It sells a broad spectrum of faucets under its own brands, but also makes faucets and faucet components for other companies as an
manufacturer. Among these are
Paini also has a long history of association with the Home Depot, having manufactured and provided warranty and parts support for some of the lumber store's
faucets for many years. That arrangement ended in 2017, however.
LaToscana is the company's venture into selling faucets under its own name in the U.S. and Canada. It initially distributed its LaToscana faucets through Home Depot's World Imports, Inc., but has now opened its own distribution facility outside of the Home Depot archipelago. It's Newfield, New Jersey center is also the home of its warranty and parts support operation.
Paini designs its own faucets, employing talented in-house designers for that purpose. It builds striking brass faucets in every style from traditional to contemporary, in a number of finishes, some PVD but most plated. Its highly automated factory in Pogno, Italy is, according to the company, one of the most modern in Europe.
Paini is the Moen of Italy, manufacturing faucets at every price point from discount to grand design. LaToscana is just a small part of the 30 or so collections that Paini offers to its European customers. For example, the Hego line of high-design (and high priced) ultra contemporary faucets is not sold in North America, nor are faucets from Argo Rubinetterie s.r.l., a Paini subsidiary that specializes in easy-to-install DIY faucets. Having faucets tested and certified for the North American market can be an expensive proposition, so Paini has wisely limited the faucets it sells here to just those it feels will be price- and style-competitive.
The faucets are very well made, using good quality components and materials including low-lead brass that satisfies the very stringent lead content limits required of faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada. All of Paini's faucets include ceramic disc cartridges from a variety of manufacturers including Hydroplast, S.r.l.s. an Italian manufacturer of very good cartridges that also supplies
with some of their cartridges.
Finishes are limited to polished chrome and brushed nickel on most faucets. A very few are also made in oil rubbed bronze or a powder coated finish such as white, black and sand. Many faucets are ADA compliant and suitable for use by persons with physical limitations, and virtually all are Watersense® listed.
Paini's "lifetime" faucet warranty meets the standard for North American faucet warranties pioneered in the 1960's by Pfister and Moen. Originally, the LaToscana warranty period was just 10 years. Paini increased it to 20 years after it had had a few years of experience selling faucets in North America under its belt and felt more comfortable moving away from the standard European warranty of just 3-5 years. Today it offers a limited lifetime warranty equivalent to those provided by U.S. manufacturers.
In our tests of customer service, the company scored well. Service representatives are intimately familiar with the details of Paini products, and able to answer even the most arcane questions. Our (purely imaginary) installation problems were handled with dispatch.
The Better Business Bureau grades Paini's product support A+ on a scale of A+ to F. It's not easy to earn an A+ rating, so kudos to Paini's excellent customer service organization. We scored it 4.3 out of 5.0 in our tests. Any score above 4.0 is acceptable.
There is no one thing about Paini's LaToscana faucets that stands out. Our selection is based on the convergence of a number of considerations. Its generally low prices for a good and very good quality European faucets is certainly an important factor, but so is its heritage of Italian design, a strong warranty and excellent after-sale product support. We also took into account the fact that its service and warranty have both gotten better over the past five years, and the fact that unlike our previous best-value mid-priced European faucet, Grohe, it has kept its manufacturing in Europe.
We know of no other European brand that sells a faucet as good as LaToscana for such a low price and supports it nearly as well after the sale. The faucet line is enthusiastically recommended as the European faucet to have for the quality-conscious, budget-minded homeowner, and easily our pick for the best value in a mid-priced European faucet.
Introduced to the U.S. in 2000,
is a name under which Globe Union Industrial Corp. has grown a major brand identity in the U.S. It is the most actively promoted of the many faucet, fixture and accessory brands owned by the gigantic Asian company controlled by the Ou-yang Ming family of Taichung, Taiwan.
Globe Union is the dominant faucet manufacturer in Asia under its GOBO brand. Its faucets are made primarily in mainland Chinese factories by its subsidiary Shenzhen Globe Union Industrial Corp. (with a small bow to Canada for some automatic faucets).
The company is a full line manufacturer. Like the Masco line of Peerless-Delta-Brizo faucets, Globe Union's products range widely in quality, an effect of making products at every price point. In the Globe Union lineup, Danze is positioned as the upper mid-priced faucet line.
As a whole, the Danze line seems to be well made. Many of the faucets are very stylish, and while Globe Union in the past mostly copied existing European and American designs, the company has recently begun introducing its own styles based on European models. They are good, some are even excellent.
Danze has been a marketing success, having grown to impressive proportions since 2000 with hundreds of brick and mortar retailers and a strong internet presence.
Globe Union seems to have conquered the parts and warranty issues that plagued the brand's early years. For years it seems impossible to get help with a parts or warranty problem, if only because no one seems to have the Danze customer service telephone number. Things have changed for the better. In our latest customer service tests, Danze scored above the 4.0 out of 5.0 that we consider satisfactory. The Better Business Bureau scores Danze as A+ for its response to customer issues, its highest score. Danze is not, however, a BBB accredited business.
The Danze lifetime warranty is marred by some truly ridiculous claim requirements. The most idiotic of which requires a defective faucet be uninstalled and sent to Danze for evaluation before Danze will take any corrective action. This sort of provision may be fine for coffee makers or toasters, products that do not require de-installation and re-installation, but for a faucet it is completely unreasonable, especially since most faucet defects are in the cartridge, which can be replaced without removing the faucet.
In practice, Danze rarely enforces the requirement, but the fact that it exists and could be enforced is enough to cost the company several points in our warranty scoring.
Despite this one issue, and in the hopes that it will soon be fixed, we believe the Danze faucets are a good to excellent value for the price. They are generally of better quality than the run-of-the-mill Chinese faucet. The proprietary Danze ceramic cartridge has gone through several development evolutions over the years and is very good. The Danze lifetime warranty, even with its procedural defects, where most importers of Chinese faucets offer 10 years or less, seals the deal.
To read our reviews of these companies, click on the company name.
About StarCraft Reviews and Ratings
Faucet reviews and ratings are produced by StarCraft Media, LLC and hosted by StarCraft Custom Builders, a regional remodeling company located in Lincoln, Nebraska.
We started collecting information about faucet companies 15 years ago, for our own information about which faucets to buy, which to avoid and which to support with our own labor warranty.
When we realized that the information was of interest to other people, we began publishing reviews on the web. The enterprise has now grown to involve two dozen volunteers who contribute their time, and sometimes their dollars, to researching, evaluating, writing and editing, and to several dozen unpaid consultants in the faucet industry who generously help with technical issues.
We can be reached at email@example.com with comments or suggestions.