2019 Best Value Faucets
There are many superior fauccet companies selling in North America, offering good to excellent fauccet values. In fact, there has never been a better time to buy a fauccet. The technology is edging ever closer to producing an actual lifetime fauccet that never leaks, never tarnishes, and never needs repair. We are not there yet but we are closer year by year.
Factors Considered in Determining a Best-Value Faucet
- 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. This is one reason that faucet companies that have been in business for just a few years are usually not considered. We look for a track record, not a flash in the pan.
- 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 "for as long as the buyer owns the house in which the faucet is first installed."
- We interpret less than a lifetime warranty 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 a limited lifetime, the company will usually not be competitive.
- Post-sale customer and warranty service: Many companies offer strong warranties on their faucets but fail to provide for effective post-sale warranty 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.
- In our first years of rating faucets, we ignored post-sale support but got an earful after we selected as one of our picks in 2005. Readers complained that our rating should have included an assessment of post-sale customer support, in which case Grohe, which offers some truly dismal post-sale support, would not have been picked. We learned our lesson.
- Mechanical reliability, drinking water safety, 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).
- Faucets that have not been certified cannot be legally sold or installed in the U.S. and Canada. We have no reason to even look at a faucet company that sells faucets that are not legal.
- Better Business Bureau Accreditation: Companies that have undergone the 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 a company with which we would want to do business, and which should be one of our best value companies.
- Not being BBB accredited does not prevent a company from being selected, but whether or not accredited, the company must either show no customer complaints or rank high for its response to complaints: A+ is best, an A is acceptable on the BBB's scale of A+ to F.
Unfortunately, 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 usually illegal to sell in the U.S. and Canada.
Distinguishing the good from the bad, the superior from the inferior, and the legal from the illegal is what we try to do in our Faucet Reviews & Ratings of over 250 faucet brands. And, every year or two, we sit down to figure out the best of the best. Not necessarily the best faucets but the best faucets for the money.
We have in the past produced the report in late summer when our regular work, remodeling houses and small businesses, usually slows down a little. Over the past few years, however, it has slowed down not at all. So This year we are trying something new by producing it over the Christmas break.
We expanded the categories in 2017. 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 and very worthy luxury faucet manufacturers in Asia, none sell in the U.S. or Canada.
This year we have retained the expanded categories and enhanced the report further by providing a brief summary of runner-up companies as well as the full report on the company voted the best value in each category. At least, we think it's enhanced. You tell us if it's worth doing by leaving a comment below.
It was, as it always is, a tough decision. Most faucets, with very few exceptions, are getting better and better with improved technology and more precise manufacturing. Fifteen years ago when we first started our faucet reviews, we expected the best faucets to last 15-20 years. Now we expect the best faucets to last several lifetimes with finishes that are almost indestructible and super ceramic valves that are unlikely to wear out until your grandchildren are on Social Security.
Not surprisingly, there is not much change from 2017. Faucets evolve rather slowly. A company that is a best value one year is very likely to still be a best value the next. Some stay on our list year after year. for example, stayed a best value for five consecutive reports until its devolution from well-made German faucet to fairly mediocre Mexican/Chinese faucet reduced its ranking to runner-up and then off the list entirely.
However, an increasing emphasis on technological superiority is already influencing our rankins, and we expect technical improvements to have an increasing effect. The last major technological improvements were the ceramic cartridge and finishes, both now over 50-years old.
Over the past half century almost all faucet companies have adopted the new technologies leaving competition to focus on design and style rather than technology. Delta with its Diamond Seal Technology® and universal use of advanced-technology PVD finishes rather than electroplating has changed the game once again, refocusing the industry on improving technology.
Today advanceed technology is has pushed to the forefront, with 21st-century finishes, electronic controls, and super cartridges leading the way. We saw a slight shift to an emphasis on technology last year, but this year it seems to have dominated the panel's considerations, resulting in a less emphasis on high-style and much more focus on high-tech.
Brizo is a Masco brand and really just the name given to Delta's high-end designer faucets. Not that this is anything to be ashamed of. Delta sells a very good faucet — in fact, tied with as the most popular faucet in the U.S., and our selection for the best value in a mid-priced faucet made in North America every year since 2007.
Brizo faucets combine Delta's mechanical reliability with some cutting-edge design. The Brizo collections include traditional and transitional styles as well as contemporary designs. There is at least one Brizo model suitable for about any decor from Victorian to urban chic.
Contemporary designs include the stark, minimalist, industrial forms characteristic of European and many Asian faucets but also the graduated curves and softer lines more typical of American product design.
Brizo designs its own faucets. Its in-house staff of designers and engineers is headed by Judd Lord, Director of Industrial Design for Delta Faucet who has led the team to a number of design awards including:
- a KBIS gold award for Best of Kitchen or the Artesso Articulating Faucet (shown below),
- four Design Journal Awards for Design Excellence (ADEX);
- the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA),
- the Catalyst Award from the Industrial Designer Society of America; and
- a prestigious Good Design Award presented by a consortium composed of the Chicago Athenaeum, the Museum of Architecture and Design, and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
Most Brizo faucets are assembled and finished at Brizo's highly automated assembly plant in Jackson, Tennessee. Some of the components used in the faucets are also made in Jackson, and at Delta's plant in Greensburg, Indiana. But, others are imported from Asia.
Brizo's Chinese component suppliers include
- Guangzhou Seagull Kitchen and Bath Products Co., Ltd, a very large, well-respected manufacturer of faucets and faucet parts; and from
- Lota International Co. Ltd. an even larger Taiwanese supplier of faucets and components.
Some Brizo faucets contain enough U.S.-made components to qualify under the Buy America Act as "Made in U.S.A." but the vast majority are merely "Assembled in U.S.A.".
Industry rumor, circulating for a number of years, is that an increasing number of Brizo faucets are being bought fully assembled, finished and packaged from Asian suppliers.
If it's true, Brizo is hiding it well. We have found no evidence from certification or import records that Brizo is buying faucets overseas. However, check the faucet you are thinking of buying for "Made in [Some-Other-Place]". Foreign-made faucets must by law be identified by country of origin.
All Brizo Kitchen sink faucets have now been converted to use the Delta Diamond Seal® (DST) ceramic disk cartridges made in Indiana. The plan is to convert all bath faucets but this is still a work in progress.
Brizo makes it easy to identify faucets that include a DST cartridge by adding "DST" to the end of the model number.
Diamond Seal Technology is proving to be a revolution in ceramic disk design. One disk in the two-disk set is diamond coated, a feature that Brizo says helps keeps the disks absolutely smooth since the diamond-coated disk continuously scrubs and polishes the other disk. As a result, they always mesh perfectly. It also continuously grinds away any mineral deposits that may insinuate themselves between the disks. The more you use it, the smoother it gets and the more effectively it seals, according to the company.
Delta has had this cartridge independently tested through 5 million cycles — about 10 times the testing cycles required by U.S./Canadian standards and equivalent to about 700 years of daily use in an average kitchen or bath.
It is very unlikely to fail in your lifetime. But, if it does break and you ever need to change the cartridge, it's very easy to do with common household tools and the new cartridge is free to the original owner of the faucet for as long as he or she owns the faucet.
(Delta has produced a video showing how easy it is to change a DST cartridge. For more information on ceramic disc cartridges, see Faucet Valves & Cartridges.)
Brizo offers over 20 standard finishes for its faucets, including nine Most of these are Delta's patented Brilliance® physical vapor deposition finishes developed by Vapor Technologies, Inc., another Masco company that has been at the forefront of PVD coating technologies since 1986.
PVD finishes are almost science fiction. The finish is vaporized into individual atoms and deposited on the faucet in a very thin coating that is so dense that it is estimated by some to be 20 times more scratch- and dent-resistant than the most common faucet finish, electroplated chrome.
Brizo does not offer special or custom finishes.
But, while 20 finishes are available, no single faucet is offered in all 20 finishes. The finishes actually available vary by faucet. The Jason Wu for Brizo™ collection, for example, comes in just one finish, black. Most faucets are available in PVD chrome (chromium that has been vaporized and deposited using PVD). Other finish choices available are displayed on the company website for each faucet.
Delta claims that independent tests show that the Brilliance PVD finishes stand up to drain cleaners, over 100 common household cleaners and even repeated scouring with steel wool. It can even withstand prolonged exposure to harsh coastal environments. The finishes are guaranteed not to corrode, tarnish or discolor for as long as you own the faucet. If it does, Brizo will immediately replace it.
Our experience is that the Brilliance finish is nearly indestructible in normal (and even abnormal) use. A case-hardened metal file will do some damage but not much else.
All pull-out and pull-down sprays on Brizo kitchen and bar faucets now feature magnetic locking that securely holds the spray wand in place when not in use. The durable rare-earth magnets are, according to Brizo, made to last forever, while keeping the spray head always perfectly aligned in the faucet spout, preventing it from drooping.
One problem with the Brizo's spray wands, however, is that they are now all plastic. Unfortunately plastic has become the norm in spray heads, used in even up-scale faucets like because it does not get uncomfortably hot when in use. The trade-off, however, is a device that is not nearly as durable as one made from brass or stainless steel, and more likely to fail. (For an all-brass spray head, take a look at our choice for best value in a European luxury faucet,
The Brizo warranty is the same as the Delta warranty, generally acknowledged as one of the strongest in the industry. Everything (except electronic components) in a Brizo faucet is warranted against failure for as long as the buyer owns it. If something does break, a call to Brizo warranty support will get you instant help, and replacement parts in about three working days.
Delta's is one of the most praised customer service organizations in the industry. We rank it just behind customer service for product knowledge, helpfulness, and efficiency.
Brizo faucets are also considered by most plumbers to be one of the easiest of all faucet lines to service and repair. Most parts of a Brizo faucet are exchangeable. Take out the old part, slip in the new part. All done.
Brizo designs are always crisp and clean and sometimes striking but of more importance than its style is the company's advanced technology. Brizo faucets are at this moment in time so far advanced that almost all of its competition has been made almost obsolete.
Brizo is getting close to the care-free, lifetime faucet. Other than a periodic wipe with a damp cloth, a Brizo faucet never needs maintenance. And, a DST® cartridge is very unlikely to ever fail — not in just one lifetime.
The Rubinet (Rubi-NAY) Faucet Company was formed in 1981 in Ontario. It is a quiet company that designs, assembles and finishes striking and sometimes unique sink faucets, shower assemblies and coordinating accessories in Canada but does so with little fanfare. It makes almost no effort to advertise itself or its original Canadian-designed faucet creations. We don't know why. But, it seems to work.
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. 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 at a price more than 25% below Rubinet's list price.
Rubinet faucets are arrayed in 11 collections, ranging in style from traditional to ultra-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 above 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.
Most faucets are available with 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, some of which would be drop-dead ugly but most of which are very nice.
Most metallic finishes are electroplated. Some are (physical vapor deposition) finishes. Our experience with PVD finishes is that they are almost indestructible. Non-metallic finishes are usually powder coatings. The lifetime warranty on its finishes, including powder coats, suggests that the company is confident of their robustness and longevity.
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.
The warranty 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 GmbH of Luft, Germany, both world leaders in high-performance technical ceramics.
For its focus on striking, innovative 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 a best value in luxury faucets produced in North America.
Runners Up: North American Luxury Faucets
Watermark, the Brooklyn-base designer and manufacturer of faucets was tied with Rubinet in 2017 as the panel's pick for best value luxury faucet made in North America.
This year it is tied with Kohler for second place.
The faucets are striking, original designs and the finishes flawless but the panel was concerned about the increasing amount of production that seems to be shifting to China. Nonetheless, it scored very close to our front-runners, missing that top mark by less than two points.
Kohler straddles the line between mid-priced and high-end faucets, so we are never sure into which category it should be placed. We decided to review it in both categories and it did well in both but particularly well as a premium faucet.
Kohler does not quite have the design finesse of the Rubinet or Watermark lines of faucets or the advanced technology of Brizo faucets. Most of Kohler's designs are so-so, sprinkled with a few true innovations such as its patented Karbon® articulated kitchen sink faucet (shown at left), now more than 15 years old.
Kohler cartridges are proprietary, and good cartridges but not up to the super cartridges used by Brizo/Delta or In2aqua. Its prices are reasonable and the faucets are well-made and a good value but not the best value in this category.
Waterstone makes only kitchen and prep faucets, a fact that held it down a little in the rankings. Its designs are innovative, some, in fact, are truly creative such as its striking Wheel kitchen faucet based roughly on the pull-down reel faucets used in commercial kitchens.
The faucets are of very good quality, made one at a time or in small batches reminiscent of the classic European craft shop, now largely gone from Europe.
But it's Geann cartridges do not have enough history behind them for us to be supremely confident of their durability. Its warranty is sub-par, only 7 years on its finishes compared to the lifetime warranties offered by its competitors. And, its faucets are expensive, costing it points in the value portion of our best value rankings.
Waterstone is an excellent line of faucets, made in the U.S. but, unfortunately, not, in the opinion of our panel, the best value in its category.
To read our reviews of these companies, click on the brand name.
European Luxury FaucetIn2aqua GmbH
Overall Rating: 7-9 (Good to Excellent)
Determining which of the many well-crafted European luxury faucets is the best value is no 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 its faucet-making easily upholds that centuries-old tradition. Unfortunately, while there are still a lot of old-line faucet companies in the UK, only a handful of them still manufactured in Britain or even in Europe.
What puts many European companies 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 serious contender for best value.
Companies like that also make excellent products and offer American-style lifetime warranties on the faucets they sell on this side of the Big Blue 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 U.S. and Canadian laws say they must. Without certifications, they cannot legally sell their faucets in the U.S. or in most of Canada. But, they do anyway. No contraband faucet line can hope to get on the best value scoreboard. (For more information on black market, contraband and counterfeit faucets, see Illegal & Black Market Faucets in North America.)
Finally, we don't consider European companies that don't actually make faucets in Europe. A lot of European manufacturing has been out-sourced to Asia.
the English company that sells unique upscale faucets has hired a Chinese manufacturer to make its faucets.
This leaves but a scant handful of companies. The final few (in no particular order) were
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.
In the end, In2aqua again rose to the top as it did in 2017. But, while in 2017 it aced out Hansgrohe by just a whisker, this year it won by a furlong, easily out-distancing all rivals.
So, what makes this company's luxury faucets a better value than the rest?
In2aqua placed well in both years for two reasons.
- In2aqua 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.
- In2aqua's faucets include lubricant-free super cartridges — ceramic cartridge valves that are a technological leap ahead of the competition.
Our panel felt that style, quality and price being roughly equal, a faucet that uses little to no plastic and includes one of the new super cartridges is a better buy than one that uses more plastic and a technologically interior cartridge. Its 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 Christopher 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.
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. The company is cautious about growing too quickly out of concern that its manufacturing capacity might be overtaxed, 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 has many of the properties of diamond, including resistance to wear, low-friction, and chemical inertness.
Unlike diamond, its structure is amorphous rather than crystalline leaving it with no fracture points. It is in some respects, harder than diamond. It is also very slick, slicker than Teflon™.
In its various forms, DLC can be deposited using thin film physical vapor deposition ( ) onto nearly all metals, silicon, glass, ceramics, and plastics to make them harder, slicker and more resistant to wear. Deposition on the ceramic discs of an In2aqua PVD+ cartridge makes the discs many times less likely to wear than uncoated discs and slippery enough to operate smoothly without lubricant.
To illustrate just how tough it is: in laboratory abrasion tests, uncoated 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 friction-free 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. In car and truck motors hydrogen-free DLC reduces friction between moving parts significantly, increasing efficiency and the life expectancy of motor components and reducing carbon emissions.
Expect the use of the material to expand to household products as it becomes less expensive, including super nonstick 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. 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.
In2aqua's 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 Lüdenscheid, 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 on 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 since 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 are limited. The company sells just nine lavatory faucets and six kitchen faucets but is adding new faucet designs in 2019. The collection nicely covers 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 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 them to be nearly indestructible.
Unlike past years in which the voting was close, In2aqua ran away from the pack this year as our choice of best value choice in European luxury faucets, out-distancing second place Hansgrohe by a considerable margin.
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.
Runners Up: European Luxury Faucets
Hansgrohe is a German company that still assembles faucets in Germany but increasingly from components made in China and Taiwan.
It is owned by the American conglomerate faucet lines.
Hansgrohe faucets are all designed in-house or by world-famous designers and architects such as Phoenix Design, a winner in over 750 design competitions in the past 30 years. Its faucet designs are exclusive to Hansgrohe.
The faucets are well made with a good quality cartridge supported by a lifetime warranty, but it is not a super cartridge like those in In2aqua faucets.
Faucet prices are in line with other European designer faucet brands.
Hansgrohe supports it faucets with a lifetime warranty and strong customer service based in the U.S.
Graff is a newcomer to our list. It has never made the top five in past years but is increasingly being noticed for both its top-quality faucets and its very quite marketing. Graff essentially makes excellent faucets, then waits for the world to notice. We are starting to notice.
Graff Faucets is a subsidiary of Meridian International Group, Inc. headquartered in Milwaukee. However, we treat them as European luxury faucets because they are manufactured in Poland by a Meridian subsidiary, Valvex, S.A. and imported into North America.
The faucets are substantial and well-built faucets intended to last a lifetime.
All Graff faucets are brass and/or stainless fixtures with good ceramic disk valves.
The styling is European. Many faucets were designed by Italian design studio Angeletti Ruzza Design and Davide Oppizzi's DCUBE studio in Switzerland.
Formerly distributed by
It makes luxury faucets in the English tradition in classic styles from the Victorian and Edwardian Eras but with completely modern technologies including some excellent ceramic cartridges from Anton Tränkle GmbH & Co KG, a German manufacturer of high-quality brass cartridges.
These are the high-end faucets for anyone reproducing a Victorian kitchen or bath and, while fairly expensive, are reasonably good value compared to other U.K.-manufactured faucets.
Herbeau Creations of America, Inc., is the North American distributor of elegant faucets made by Herbeau Creations, S.A.R.L. of Lomme, France.
Founded in 1857 by Louis Herbeau, the company has been crafting faucets with classic French styling using superior components and materials for over 150 years.
Herbeau styles and finishes are gorgeous and the entire look stately and refined while at the same time evoking the rustic motifs typical of French country kitchens.
The stylistic balance is difficult to achieve but Herbeau has succeeded in mastering the look in a robust, high-quality faucet using modern technology including excellent ceramic cartridges made by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH condsidered by most in the industry as some of the best, if not the best, ceramic cartridges made for two-handle faucets.
Herbeau faucet styles — a great many of them original with various members of the Herbeau family, past and present, and some in production for over 100 years — are immediately identifiable as French.
Although similar to the Victorian/Edwardian era faucets produced by companies with an Anglo-American lineage such as the French Art Nouveau influence is apparent in design elements throughout the collection such as the unique pump-handle kitchen faucets, available nowhere else.
Herbeau prices are high, starting at about $500 and rapidly rising to $3,000 for special finishes, but in the opinion of our panel the quality, unique designs, and finishes are worth the price if the French county look is the style you need in a very well-made faucet.
To read our reviews of these companies, click on the brand name.
North American Mid-Priced FaucetDelta Faucet Company
The Delta Faucet Co. was first ranked the best value in this category in 2007 then again in 2011 and every year since — not by just a hair but by a large margin just about every year. The faucets just keep getting better.
Delta manufactures faucets through other subsidiaries.
Only Delta brand faucets are the subject of this report. faucets, voted best value in the North American luxury faucet class, are reported above.
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-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 working hard to reduce the lead in brass faucets in order to comply with increasingly stringent 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 and in many commercial plumbing installations.
The "new" technologies, now a decade 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 life-span protocol to 5 million six-step cycles without a failure — ten times the North American standard 500,000 cycles or about 700 years of typical kitchen use. (We're not kidding, folks. Seven hundred years.)
We now rate Delta faucets as a range of 7-9 (good to excellent+, up from 6-8 (average to very good) a few years ago — on par with the best European faucets but at prices that are often half the cost of these luxury imports.
Unlike (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 and whole, finished faucets in the box and ready to sell. So far, these are just a small poart of the faucets Delta sells in North America, but it is increasing.
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 U.S.A." 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 industrial angularity 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. Vapor Technologies give Delta a big jump-start in the early adoption PVD for its faucets, far in advance of other American faucet companies. Delta now uses the PVD finishes exclusively.
There are no electroplated, powder-coated or "living" finishes on Delta faucets. PVD finishes enable the company to guarantee every finish for as long as the buyer owns 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 in ordinary use. It takes a hammer and considerable persistence.
Some Delta faucets feature SpotShield™ which helps prevent water spots from forming on faucets, and anti-microbial treatment incorporated into the finish that forestalls the growth of bacteria and other micro-critters on Delta finishes.
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, domestic and foreign.
For the price, there is not another faucet in the world that can touch a Delta.
Runners Up: American Mid-Priced Faucets
While other North American companies have shifted most if not all of their manufacturing overseas, Moen remains very much an American faucet manufacturer with international scope.
It maintains three plants in the U.S. at New Bern and Sanford, North Carolina and Pine Grove, Pennsylvania and employs over 1,300 American workers. Most Moen faucets are made or at least assembled in the U.S. It sells faucets in over 55 countries.
The new Moen 1255 Duralast ceramic cartridge, introduced in 2011, is promoted by Moen as "revolutionary" with improved "handle feel" but we don't see much in the way of actual revolution in the cartridge, and have no idea what "handle feel" is. It's more accurately a well-made plastic and stainless mixing cartridge, of good quality to be sure but nothing ground-breaking like the Delta Diamond Seal Technology® cartridge.
Moen is now in midst of a style revolution. It is no longer your grandfather's faucet company. While continuing its traditional engineering excellence, Moen has now warmed to the idea that good engineering needs to be married to good design that will appeal to buyers who are increasingly style conscious.
California Faucets is a craft company that assembles sink faucets from imported components and finishes them to order in the company's California assembly plant. Depite the amount of customization it provides, the comapany has been able to hold its prices to the mid-priced level for American faucets — the higher end of the mid-priced level, but still within the boundary.
The company recently introduced kitchen faucets to supplement its line of lavatory faucets.
California Faucets sources its parts and components globally. We have identified suppliers from German, Italy, Hungary and, of course, China.
The company's faucets are well made using high-quality materials and components throughout including top-of-the-line ceramic cartridges. Its designs are crisp and refreshing. It offers faucets in traditional, transitional and contemporary styles, suitable for any historical period except fussy Victorian.
On the downside, we think the company's warranty should be stronger to better reflect the quality and reliability of its products and it lost serious points for the 10-year warranty on its finishes. Everything else, however, is guaranteed for the lifetime of the buyer.
To read our reviews of these companies, click on the brand name.
European Mid-Priced FaucetPaini USA Corp.
This is a category that is growing smaller by the year. Our pick for best value faucet in 2015 formerly a German manufacturer of good quality mid-priced and Luxury faucets, has been bought up by the Japanese conglomerate, LIXIL, and now manufactures in Mexico using Chinese components.
The remaining choices are few but include some excellent companies. Our selection this year became a contest between both excellent companies, and the panel ultimately settled on Paini, also our choice in 2017.
Paini (pie-EE-ni) S.p.A. Rubinetterie is an Italian manufacturer of good to very good faucets. It imports two collections into North America: La Toscana which is reviewed here and Fortis, a premium collection that is not considered here.
Founded in 1954 as a small craft shop, Paini 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 was the company's first venture into selling faucets under one of its own brands in the U.S. and Canada.
The company 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 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 and drinking water safety standards 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 bathroom faucets are Watersense® listed.
Paini's "lifetime" faucet warranty meets the standard for North American faucet warranties pioneered in the 1960s 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 and maintain 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 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.
Runner Up: European Mid-Priced Faucets
Gessi is a relatively small but growing Italian company located in the Piedmont region in what is Italy's "Silicon Valley" for faucet manufacturing. It makes a full range of faucets for kitchen and bath but only a part of its vast collection is imported into North America.
The company's designs are created in its own design studio featuring designer and sculptor, Prospero Rasulo, and are largely original. Some Gessi faucets have won international design awards. The faucets are very contemporary, and wholly unsuited for anyone trying to achieve a period look. They also come in just a few finishes: polished chrome, satin chrome, gold, satin gold, nickel (which Gessi calls "finox"), and white or black powder coatings.
Quality, design, and finish are on par with Paini but it was its warranty that bumped Gessi's from first place consideration. The Gessi warranty is substandard. Its lifetime warranty applies only to certain cartridges and the mechanical elements of a faucet. Other cartridges and its finishes carry a 5-year warranty.
To read our reviews of this company, click on the brand name.
Asian Mid-Priced FaucetGlobe Union Industrial Corp., Ltd.
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 mid-priced faucet line, perhaps a little toward the high side.
As a whole, the Danze line is 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 seemed 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 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.
Runners Up: Asian Mid-Priced Faucets
Dawn is an importer and distributor of Chinese-made faucets founded in 2003 by Herman He Xin Kuang its current president. It is not, like companies that design their own faucets using proprietary cartridges and custom-made components. Dawns faucets are off-the-shelf products made by CAE Sanitary Fittings Industrial Co. Ltd.. For the most part these are typical Chinese designs, stylish but not cutting edge. Some CAE faucets, however, are designed by Itamar Harari an Israeli product designer working in Milan.
Dawn does not pretend to be a manufacturer or claim that its faucets are made in America as many small importers do. It represents itself as no more than exactly what it is, an importer of high quality Chinese faucets that are certified fully compliant with U.S. and Canadian standards, laws and regulations, and are supported by a limited lifetime warranty and good customer service. Its mixing cartridges are from Kerox Kft, a Hungarian cartridge manufacturer that many consider the world's best.
Its careful selection of its faucet supplier and modest business model permit the company to sell its faucets for considerably less than most importers and still offer a robust, high quality product that is legal to use anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, even in California and Massachusetts.
In the judgment of our panel, Dawn is a company to watch. For the price, Dawn faucets are a very good value. The faucets are robust enough for use in even a very busy kitchen or bath. If you are in the market for an inexpensive faucet with good, but not necessarily cutting-edge, design that will last a long, long time, Dawn may be your next faucet.
Toto. Ltd. is a Japanese company founded in 1917. Its principal business is the manufacture of enamel toilets and other porcelain sanitary wares. It is the premier Japanese bathroom fixture manufacturer, famous for its automatic toilets (See "The Japanese Toilet" at Selecting Bathroom Fixtures: Toilets). The company specialty is product suites: matched sets of toilets, basins, tubs, showers, faucets, and accessories.
Its faucets are manufactured in China. The majority are made by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Toto Dalian Co., Ltd. but a few are manufactured by an outside contractor: the giant Chinese manufacturing company, Globe Union Industrial Corp owner of the faucet brand in the U.s. (See Danze report above.)
Toto makes only bathroom faucets, nothing for the kitchen, bar or laundry. Its styles are mostly modern. — transitional to very contemporary. It uses a proprietary ceramic cartridge that it has been refining since the 1970s. It is an excellent valve and should give many years of flawless service. The Toto faucet warranty is the North American Standard lifetime warranty.
Toto's prices are 30% higher across the board than those charged by Danze for substantially the same quality faucets with the same lifetime warranty and equally capable after-sale support. We can find no additional benefit that justifies the added expense other than the Toto name. The higher prices and the fact that the company offers only bathroom faucets enabled Danze to nose out Toto for best value faucet in this category.
To read our reviews of these companies, click on the brand 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 17 years ago for our own information about which faucets to buy, which to avoid.
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 the unpaid consultants in the faucet industry who generously help with technical issues.
Our managing editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or suggestions.