Review & Rating
5231 Argosy Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Footnotes:1. As long as the original purchaser owns the faucet.2. Does not include "living finishes" — those intended to show signs of use, wear and age.
This Company In Brief
Founded in 1988, privately-owned California Faucets assembles sink faucets from imported components. They are generally made to order and finished in the company's Huntington Beach, California assembly plant. The company recently introduced five collections of kitchen faucets to supplement its well-regarded line of coordinated lavatory faucets, tub sets, shower sets, bidets and bathroom accessories. Kitchen faucet collections are coordinated with matching accessories, typically a soap dispenser, dispenser tap for hot or filtered water, air gap and, sometimes, an air activation switch for a disposer, all in complementary styling and finishes.
California Faucets has a reputation for quality and innovation. Its approach to making its heavy, all-brass faucets is, we think, smart and creative, helping to keep its prices relatively low without sacrificing quality. It engineers virtually all of its faucets around just a few standard ceramic 1/4 turn ceramic cartridge valves made by the German company, Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, known for its stunningly flawless products, and single handle mixer cartridges by Kerox Kft. Decorative items such as bodies, spouts, handles, etc. for each type of cartridge are largely interchangeable, so a great many different faucet looks can be created without altering the guts of the faucet.
Customers are free to choose one of the company's hundreds of pre-defined faucet designs. But, the company allows customization to a previously unheard of degree. Indeed, "customization" is probably not the right word. Customers can literally design there own unique faucet creation. The company estimates that about six million different faucets can be created just by swapping parts and finishes: sort of like ordering in a Chinese restaurant — take one spout from column A, two handles from column B, and a housing from column C, and so on.
Of course, most of these would be drop-dead ugly, but that still leaves several hundred thousand take-your-breath-away combinations. California Faucets even has what it calls a "Virtual Faucet Creator" on its web site to make it simple for a customer to design the perfect faucet for his or her bathroom. We've used it and it works quite well.
California faucet designs are crisp and refreshing. It offers faucet in traditional, transitional and contemporary styles, suitable for any historical period except fussy Victorian. We especially like the Art Deco-ish Monterey bath collection for our Arts & Crafts bathroom renovations. Although the company designs its own faucets, it is not a cutting edge designer company like Its designs tend to be relatively conservative.
The company's web site is very well structured, easy to follow with intuitive navigation and restrained use of flash(y) media. Just about everything you might want to know about a California faucet, including its certifications and whether it is ADA qualified appears in the faucet's specification data. We give the company an A+ for its excellent design, and another A+ for correctly identifying the essential information to display on its website.
Design, engineering, assembly, finishing, packaging, shipping, testing, quality control, sales, marketing and customer service are located in the U.S. The company has received the "Made in California" designation based on its “employing more American labor per faucet manufactured than most any manufacturer in the industry.” But, because essential parts of California faucets are made elsewhere, California Faucets do not qualify as "Made in U.S.A.". The company sources its parts and components globally. We have identified suppliers from German, Italy, Hungary and, of course, China.
We also rated the company's post-sale and warranty service. Here, California Faucets shines. In two tests over the past 15 months, we were once again favorably impressed by California Faucets' handling of our (purely imaginary) faucet installation problems and an issue (again imaginary) with a defective part. Our testers, all experienced plumbers or remodeling professionals, do everything possible to confound a customer service agent, but California Faucet agents seem to be n on-confoundable. They know their products and are able to respond well to even the most incredibly stupid questions — and these guys are masters of the very stupid question. We give the company's post-sale service 4.55 on a scale of 1-5, and a big thumbs up.
We are not alone in our high opinion of the company's customer service. California Faucets won the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association's annual award in 2014 for excellent customer service. DPHA cited "responsiveness, courtesy, knowledge, ability to go above and beyond the norm, and overall performance" as its reasons for the award. The Better Business Bureau scores the company A+ on a scale of A+ to F for the absence of any consumer complaints over the past three years. The company is not, however, a business vetted and accredited by the BBB, and should consider applying for accreditation.
On the downside, we think the company's warranty should be a little stronger to better reflect the quality and reliability of its products. We score it "slightly below average" for its skimpy 10 year warranty term on non-PVD finishes. It the company cannot produce lifetime electroplated finishes, it should farm out the work to one of the many companies that can.
Notwithstanding this warranty issue, however, our overall view the company's products is favorable. We rate them a good to excellent value based on the relationship of the company's prices to its quality. Despite its assembled-one-at-a-time approach to faucet building, the company is able to keep its prices remarkably low, especially for artisan faucets. We can buy any number of California Faucets for below $300.00 that outshine just about any other faucet line at that price point. California Faucets is one brand we unhesitatingly commend to our customers without giving it a second thought. We assume they will work flawlessly, and have, so far, never been disappointed.
Since we began reviewing California Faucets, our rating has risen from 6-7 to 7-8, a substantial increase. The change is due to several factors. The most important is the consistent high quality of the company's products over the past five years. The very low number of customer complaints indicates very effective quality control and careful attention to detail. We also considered the company's supplier base. Its component suppliers have a solid reputation of producing very high quality products. We are especially pleased with the company's choice of Flühs and Kerox as its valve suppliers. Both companies are well known internationally for durable, reliable products.
Comparable North American-made or -assembled faucets include:
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with California Faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.