Review & Rating
One Centennial Avenue
P.O. Box 6820
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Footnotes:1. "DXV by American Standard warrants [faucets] to be free from defects in materials or workmanship for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their (sic) home."
This Company In Brief
The quality is good and the components used in the faucets, including American Standard's proprietary ceramic cartridges are first class. We do not, however, see the luxury in these products that justifies their relatively high prices.
DXV is the name of the new luxury collections of kitchen and bath wares announced by American Standard Brands in 2014. They are intended to replace American Standard's former upscale faucet lines.
We are underwhelmed by the faucets and the collections of which they are a part. We don't think they offer much in the way of actual luxury. These are Chinese products sold for American-made prices, and we do not think the design or quality of the faucets warrants the relatively high DXV price tag.
The new line was heralded by American Standard as a celebration of its 15th decade (Decade XV get it?) in business. The problem is, however, that while the American Standard name has been around for over a century, the current owner of the name, American Standard Brands (A-S Brands or ASB), has been in business just since 2007.
The old American Standard Companies, Inc. founded as the Ahrens & Ott Manufacturing Company in 1875 and renamed American Standard in 1929, pioneered much of North America's sanitary systems. But, it was dissolved in 2007 and no longer exists.
Its various bits and pieces were sold off. Its air-conditioning division became Trane, Inc. The kitchen and bath division was sold to Bain Capital, a private equity investment fund, now famous due to its ownership by presidential aspirant Mitt Romney.
Bain divided the old American Standard kitchen and bath assets into three parts. The North American assets were sold to Sun Capital Partners, another private investment group, which formed a new corporation, American Standard America, Inc. (A-S America or ASA), to take ownership of the assets. Sun subsequently bought and Crane Plumbing, Inc., both well established American sanitary ware manufacturers, and in 2008 merged the three companies into the new entity, American Standard Brands (ASB). Eljer is now just a name given to American Standards discount ceramic fixtures. Its faucets are no longer made.
Bain Capital retained all of the former American Standard assets in Europe, reorganizing them as a Belgian corporation, Ideal Standard International, headquartered in Brussels. These assets included both of which were formerly American Standard's upscale sanitary ware and faucet providers. Ideal Standard continued to supply the brands to ASB for sale in the U.S. and Canada
Bain sold the Asian assets of the former American Standard Companies' kitchen and bath division to a company that later became part of Lixil, a large, privately owned, Japanese building products company. This included most of the manufacturing facilities owned or co-owned by the old American Standard in China. It was in these facilities that many of the components used by A-S America and Ideal Standard, including JADO and Porcher, were actually manufactured.
Then, in 2013, Lixil bought American Standard Brands from Sun Capital, becoming the owner of the all of the assets of the old American Standard Companies, Inc. in both Asia and North America.
This sale put the two heirs to the American Standard empire in a unsustainable position. Ideal Standard bought faucet components from Lixil's Chinese factories which it assembled into Porcher and JADO faucets then sold back to Lixil as completed faucets for distribution and sale in North America. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that Lixil, which now also owns Europe's largest faucet manufacturer, is Ideal Standard's main competitor in Europe, the Middle East and much of Asia.
As soon as the sale to Lixil was certain, American Standard Brands quietly announced to selected designers and distributors that it would create a new luxury bath and kitchen wares division to replace JADO and Porcher. It invited six interior designers and architects to form what it calls a "design panel" and create kitchens and baths around inaugural DXV bath and kitchen wares. These were barely finished when ASB introduced the new product line in 2014 and at the same time informed its distributors that, other than products on hand, Porcher and JADO were being immediately discontinued.
To its great credit, the company made it clear that it would continue to provide after-sale parts and warranty support from its U.S. customer support facility to existing North American JADO and Porcher customers, many of whom have a lifetime warranty.
We think, from the evidence available, that the 2014 product debut was rushed by circumstance, and took place many months sooner than ASB had planned. The company seems to have been caught unprepared. According to its literature, DXV intends its collections to include stylistically compatible sinks, faucets, accessories, and, for bath collections, tubs and showers. But, most DXV collections were obviously incomplete, missing important elements at the time DXV was launched.
DXV groups its collections into four "Movements", corresponding to four style periods in American History.
The Classic period covers the late Victorian era from 1890 to 1920.The Modern period encompasses the post-War housing boom and dates from 1950 to 1990, andThe Contemporary collections represent the current era.
The aim, apparently, is that faucets and accessories from a Movement can be coordinated with the bathtubs, sinks and toilets from the same Movement, and fit well together. That may be the aim, but the aim is a little off.
Some of the products in each Movement do invoke the spirit of the represented time period, but many do not. The Keefe Collection of Golden Era faucets and showers, for example, is an angular, geometric style not the least bit evocative of the Arts & Crafts or Art Deco designs of the Golden Era. It would be more at home in the Modern or Contemporary Movements.
The Percy Collection of eight faucets in the Contemporary Movement is very contemporary, but more Asian contemporary than Euro-American contemporary. Four of the faucets feature a "joystick" handle which is rarely seen in North America, but popular in the Orient. The Loop handle is absolutely Asian. It seems a little odd to our Occidental eyes more like a World War II-vintage radio direction finding antenna than anything that should be found on a faucet. To be fair, though, some later Jado faucets had the same handle, and it must sell pretty well, or ASB would not keep making it.
The collections were initially sparsely populated. The Roycroft Collection, for example, which borrowed its name from a community of craftsmen associated with the Arts & Crafts period, contained just two items: one toilet and one pedestal sink not much of a collection. It has now been discontinued. The Fresno and Victorian collections are each composed of just a few faucets, and some of the faucets did not look like they actually belonged together. There were no accessories in either collection. The most complete collection was the Randal, which contained sink faucets, tub fillers, showers and a few accessories. Obviously, the DXV collections were in urgent need of some fleshing out.
In subsequent years DXV fleshed out the collections, and most now contain coordinating fixtures, showers and faucets along with matching accessories. Still the collections are relatively sparsely populated. Just entire Classic Movement, for example, consisting of six collections, contains just five bath faucets. Only two collections, the Victorian and Fresno, include kitchen faucets. Most collections do not include faucets. The Wyatt collection, for example, contains just three items: a toilet and two sinks; the Fitzgerald a bidet, six sinks, a tub and two toilets.
All DXV faucets, except 3D Printed faucets (see below), are manufactured in China.
Printed DXV Faucets
Three DXV faucets are manufactured to order using 3D printing. They are the world's first ever faucets made commercially using a method called selective laser sintering or SLS, which makes possible designs using geometries that could never be achieved using standard casting, machining or milling techniques. Two of the new American Standard DXV faucets, the Trope and Vibratto have reinvented the way that water moves through them. The SLS process enables very fine waterways to be concealed in a lattice-work design giving the impression that water appears out of the faucet as if by magic when the narrow channels converge at the spout.
In the Shadowbrook, the water is separated into 19 waterways near the top of the faucet, then just falls as if emerging from a natural formation, evocative of water flowing over a small waterfall.
The technology does have limits, however, and these faucets should be viewed as experimental. No one knows how well they will hold up over the long term. Today's 3D printing is actually 2D printing repeated many hundreds or thousands of times to create a 3D object in layers. The juncture between the layers is often the weak spot in the object, and when the object is a faucet that has to contain water at a standard household pressure 60 pounds per square inch, it may not be quite up to the task.
The technology is evolving, however. Joseph DeSimone's Carbon, Inc. has recently unveiled a 3D printer that uses a new technology to create 3D objects organically, without layers, that are potentially much stronger. It is also as much as 100 times faster than existing printers.
To view a DXV video explaining and promoting its 3D faucet designs, click here.
All but a few are made by Seagull Kitchen and Bath Products Co., Ltd. of Guangzhou, China. Seagull is a well-established manufacturer of faucets that sells its own collections of contemporary faucets in Asia, but is better known on this side of the Pacific as an ODM/OEM supplier of faucets for other faucet companies. It manufactures
DXV faucets in the Fresno collection are supplied by Solex High-Tech Industries Co., Ltd. Solex also provides faucets to and to Water Pik, Inc. which sells its own line of Chinese-made kitchen faucets as well as pulsating shower heads and oral hygiene products.
DXV faucets are generally described as having brass bodies and spouts, but the on-line catalog is silent about the composition of handles and other parts of the faucets generally a sign that they are made of something other than brass. The ones we examined had zinc or ZAMAK handles, a zinc/aluminum alloy commonly used in faucets. Zinc is less expensive then brass, but also not as durable.
The faucets are all fitted with ceramic cartridges, but the faucets' descriptions do not mention which ceramic cartridge. The old American Standard Companies invented the ceramic valve cartridge, and American Standard Brands inherited the tradition. It does not, however, manufacture its own cartridges, but has them made to proprietary specifications by companies that specialize in industrial ceramics. The rumor is that many of the brass cartridges used in its two-handle faucets are made by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, one of the best, if not the best, stem cartridge made. However, we have been unable to verify this through company sources.
The cartridges in its single handle faucets, as far as we can tell, are American Standard designs. Many have been in use for 20 years or more, and have the reputation of being solid, dependable products. Based on appearance and history, they are probably made by Galatron Plast S.P.A., an Italian company that manufactures in China. One problem with ASB proprietary cartridges is that since American Standard is the sole source for the cartridges, the company can charge what it wants for replacements, and it charges about 50% more than is typical for similar cartridges from other companies. But, since DXV cartridges are warranted for life, you are unlikely to ever have to pay for a cartridge.
Available finishes vary by faucet, but are not extensive. All faucets are available in polished chrome. Bathroom sink faucets may offer brushed nickel and kitchen faucets in a stainless finish that the company calls "ultra Stainless". Lyndon Collection faucets can be purchased in Matte Black and Oak Hill, Modulus and Randall faucets in Platinum Nickel. Randall and Oak Hill faucets also come in satin brass. Lanfair faucets can be finished in what the company calls Carbon Bronze which appears to be a dark bronze finish similar to what most other companies call oil rubbed bronze.
The Lyndon faucet collection, unlike the rest of DXV's faucets, is certified by The certification is equally valid. It is rare that a faucet company uses NSF for certification, but not unheard of.
Imported faucets comparable to DXV include any number of good quality collections offered by a variety of importers of faucets from Taiwan and China including
On the domestic side,
Of the true luxury faucets made by American companies, consider
We have looked carefully, but we just cannot find the "luxury" in these luxury faucets. They are well-made Chinese faucets, but nothing to stop the presses about. The designs are, for the most part, pedestrian. Only the Landfair faucets made any impression on our in-house design team and that was in the of "Not bad" rather than "Wow". Not only are the designs not particularly inspired, they are not especially apropos to the historical period they are meant to represent. And, while the quality is good, it is not exceptional as one would expect from a luxury faucet brand.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with DXV faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.