|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
Assembled in U.S.A.
From Imported Components
Isenberg Bath Corporation
8150 Springwood Dr.
Irving, TX 75063
Sommo di Lusso
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
(Meets North American Standard)
This Company In Brief
In business in the U.S. since 2008, Isenberg Bath imports faucets and faucet components. Some of its fauces are assembled in the U.S. from compoents made in China and Germany. The faucet collection is well thought out and artfully coordinated. The faucets are of generally good to very good quality using top line components. For the price, they are an exceptional value backed by a strong warranty and responsive customer service.
Isenberg Bath is a Texas company founded in 2008 to sell faucets, showers and tub fillers. The current corporation dates from 2011. Texas tax records identify Abbas Poonawala as the corporation's sole officer.
It is an offshoot of Isenberg India Pvt. Ltd., a company that sells sanitary wares, including faucets, in India. Initially the two companies were related by a common ownership, but, according to Mr. Poonawala, have now separated and no longer have financial ties.
Isenberg's faucets may be divided into two categories, those that it buys already assembled and finished, and those that it assembles itself from imported components. All of its single handle mixing faucets are purchased ready to sell (with the possible exception of cartridiges and incidentals like base plates). With regard to these faucets, which comprise slightly more than half of the Isenberg collection, the company is a
Its two-handle widespread and wall mounted lavatory faucets are another story. These are assembled by Isenberg in its Texas facility from components imported from China and Germany. With respect to these faucets Isenberg is an These faucets qualify as "Assembled in U.S.A." because the fabrication by Isenberg is transformative as that term is defined by the Federal Trade Commission, producing a faucet where prior to assembly there was no faucet.[ 1 ]
To make things still more interesting, Isenberg designs or helps design four of its faucets but has them made (entirely or as components) by others. For these faucets, the company is a which is Isenberg's secondary business model.
Isenberg is not the only faucet company to mix business models. For an example of one that is even more diverse, see
Isenberg has chosen its primary suppliers well. These include the following:
• Yatin Bath Corporation, Ltd., an company in Hangzhou, China that is growing an international reputation as an manufacturer of good quality faucets. Some of its in-house designs are starting to attract worldwide attention (see more below). Yatin is also a principal supplier of faucets to other North American importers, including
• NCIP, Inc. an company chartered in Taiwan, but manufacturing in China. Like Yatin, NCIP is a certified company. It manufactures three faucets for Isenberg: the 60.1000 4" centerset lavatory faucet, the 60.2000 8" widespread lavatory faucet and the 100.1409 pull down kitchen faucet. It also manufactures faucets for
• Taizhou Catly Sanitary Wares Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer located in Zhejiang Province. It is of good repute in Asia where it sells most of its faucets. Catly makes the majority of Isenberg faucets including some faucets that Isenberg helped design. It also manufactures a few faucets for the Omaha-based Westover, Inc.
• Foshan Shunde Nokite Plumbing & Sanitary Product Co, Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer that makes all of the company's new Klassiker™ kitchen faucets. It sells the same faucets to Astimi, Ltd. in England, supplies some of the same faucets to theMost of the faucets sold by Isenberg are stock faucets taken from its supplier's Isenberg helped design a few of its faucets. The two-handle 196.2000 widespread faucet and the four contemporary faucets in the striking 145 series are all, according to the company, in-house designs. In consequence, it not only owns the designs but also the exclusive right to sell the designs. A few other faucets are also exclusive to Isenberg in North America not because it designed the faucets, but because it bought a protected territory from its suppliers.
The way this usually works is that an importer guarantees to buy a minimum number of a particular faucet model and the manufacturer, in turn, guarantees the importer an exclusive right to sell the faucet in the U.S. and Canada. Yatin's Loong faucet, sold by Isenberg as the Wing (see image above) is an example. It is available in North America only from Isenberg. Isenberg's new 260 series of bath faucets (pictured at top) is another example. These Jochen Schmiddem designs belong to the German faucet company, Steinberg, GmbH. Isenberg has acquired the exclusive right to sell these interesting faucets in North America.
Isenberg faucets are stylish and are, in most instances, a part of larger collections of complementing fixtures and accessories for a nicely well-coordinated look. Most of the faucets are very contemporary; stark and minimalist. We can find just a few faucets in the Isenberg catalog that we consider traditional or transitional in styling. One of these is the R1001 faucet with cross handles from the Rhine series (see photo below), which would be at home in an Art Deco or Arts & Crafts bathroom. But, with these few exceptions, if you are looking for a faucet to finish off a bath or kitchen restoration in a heritage decor, you may have to look elsewhere for a faucet that is suitable for any period other than the contemporary era.
We judge the overall design and quality of Isenberg's faucets is good to very good, leaning toward the "very good" side. Some of the designs are striking, but most, while interesting and stylish, are somewhat conservative.
Generally, manufacturers in China profit from selling mass-market faucets and, to reach the widest possible number of buyers, keep their designs well within safe styling boundaries. There are, however, an increasing number of Chinese faucet manufacturers that have started designing faucets that are competitive with European and American designs.
Isenberg's supplier, Yatin, is one of these new-wave Eastern manufacturers. In 2007 Yatin's Power faucet created by Yatin's in-house designer Yu Qing, won the prestigious German IF design award using oriental motifs. The judges observed that:
Power conveys the Oriental spirit, synthesizing fashion with science. The simplest curve creates a harmonious appearance — a classic fusion of East and West.Six Yatin faucets were nominated for the Designpreis Deutschland (German Design Award) in 2012, including the Loong, a faucet sold by Isenberg as the Wing series.
These awards and mentions suggest that design creativity at Yatin Bath is starting to bloom. It is still a long way from competing toe-to-toe with European and American designers. Still, the fact that a faucet is a Chinese design no longer automatically means it is dull and uninspiring.
Isenberg specifies top-line components for its faucets. Single handle faucets are fitted with ceramic cartridges made by the European technical ceramics company, Kerox Kft. Kerox is the mixing cartridge preferred by European faucet manufacturers. Its reputation is that it is extremely reliable and performs well even in relatively hard water. We know it to be a very good cartridge.
The cartridges used in Isenberg's two-handle faucets are by the German firm, Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, generally thought of as the manufacturer of the world's best single function stem cartridge — the cartridge used in Isenberg's two-handle faucets.
The difference between Flühs (sometimes spelled Fluehs for English speakers) and most of its competitors is the extreme precision with which the German company machines its products and the fact that its stem cartridges are mono-block products. Rather than being cast they start out as a solid block of lead-free brass that is then machined, step by step, into a cartridge. Casting sometimes leaves voids and weak spots in the brass, faults that are avoided by mono-block production. Flühs stem cartridges have established a reputation for leak-free reliability year over the past 70 years.
Faucet lines other than Isenberg known to use Flühs cartridges include:
faucets, to name just a few.
But, there is still more to the story. The cartridge controls how much water is released through the spout of the faucet. It holds the pressurized water back until released. All of the water behind the cartridge is usually at about 60 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure, but could reach as much as 120 psi. This does not seem like much until you realized that if that much pressure were put on the floor of your house, a square foot of floor would carry between 8,600 and 19,200 pounds of weight, and would instantly collapse.
The quality of the cartridge and the fixture in which the cartridge is seated can easily make the difference between a faucet that will hold the pressure in near perpituity and one that will eventually leak. The fixture that holds the cartridge goes by a number of names, but is most often referred to as the valve assembly or just valve. In a very good quality faucet, the valve as well as the cartridge is precisely machined to mate together as perfectly as possible to produce a lasting water seal.
In Isenberg's two handle and wall-mounted faucets, the valve assembly that holds the Flühs cartridge, is also machined by Flühs for a near perfect mating, then pressure tested to ensure that there are no leaks before the products ever leave the Flühs factory.
There are only a few companies in the world that go to all this trouble to ensure a problem-free faucet, and most of the other companies price their faucets somewhere near the stratosphere. Only a very few companies build this kind of precision into a mid-priced line of faucets. Isenberg is one of them. (For more detail about faucet valves and cartridges, see Faucet Basics.)
Until three years ago, Isenberg single handle faucets were designed around a cartridge made by by Sedal S.L.U.. a technical ceramics company chartered in Spain but manufacturing in China. Only one faucet still uses a Sedal cartridge. Two other two-handle faucets have yet to be converted to Flühs and still include a brass stem cartridge by Hent Technology Company. The Hent company was new to us, so we spent some time checking it out. It is a certified ISO-9001 technical ceramics manufacturer of faucet cartridges located in China with a good reputation sold under the Tuopu® brand throughout much of Asia but rarely found in faucets sold in North America. Both cartridges are considered durable and reliable, neither having quite the reputation of Kerox and Flühs cartridges, but more than adequate for years of trouble-free service.
Most Isenberg aerators are made by Neoperl®, considered some of the world's best. Faucet aerators used to be simple devices that merely added a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink. Today, however, they are also used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and in some cases, to prevent back-flow that can result in the contamination of household drinking water. It is important, therefore, that this little device, often smaller than a nickel, be the best available. And that, almost by definition, is the Swiss-engineered Neoperl® aerator.
The standard finishes on Isenberg faucets are limited. All but a handful of bath faucets are available in polished chrome and most in brushed nickel. The standard finish on kitchen faucets is stainless steel. Isenberg's standard finishes are backed by a lifetime finish warranty.
A very few bath faucets are available in bronze, but only one bath faucet in the Isenberg catalog is available in all three finishes: chrome, nickel and bronze. Some faucets are available in special finishes, including The Klassiker™ collection of seven kitchen faucets is, for example, available in stainless as its standard finish, but also in 20 powder coated colors which can be combined as split finishes to make several hundred combinations. Faucets manufactured by Yatin Bath feature that company's well regarded StarPlating® finish, described by Yatin as a
lustrous, mirror-like sheen that is soil repellent, scratch resistant and non-tarnishing.Isenberg calls this its "Belgian Mirror" finish, and its availability on a faucet appearing in the Isenberg catalog is a sure clue that the faucet is manufactured by Yatin.
The company's lifetime warranty meets the standard for faucets sold in North America, and shows Isenberg's considerable confidence in the quality and reliability of its faucets. A great many other importers of Chinese faucets (see list below) guarantee their wares for as little as one year.
The weakness in the warranty if the guarantee on bronze, special and which are guaranteed for just three years. Until it is improved, you should weigh whether a special or split finish is worth the risk.
Customer service is responsive. Problems get resolved quickly and without much fuss. The company scored 4.3 out of a possible 5, which is very good. Isenberg has no file with the Better Business Bureau, which generally means that the BBB has never had a complaint about the company. That's very good for a company that has been in business for most of a decade, but it also means that the business has not been vetted and accredited by the BBB. Isenberg should see about getting this done.
The company's website is very well structured, easy to follow with intuitive navigation. Just about everything you might want to know about an Isenberg faucet, including its certifications and whether it is Watersense® or ADA qualified appears in the faucet's specification data. We give Isenberg an A+ for its excellent design, and another A+ for correctly identifying the essential information to display on its website. We know of a number of other faucet companies that would benefit greatly from a close study of the Isenberg site.
The only weakness we found was in the site search function which sometimes produces no results to what should be routine searches. For example it could not find the Klassiker kitchen faucet collection using the search term "Klassiker".
Other companies that assemble faucets in North America from imported parts and components include
Most of the faucets from these companies are considerably more costly than Isenber's two-handle and wall-mounted faucets.
A great many other companies import faucets designed and manufactured in China and Taiwan or which include Asian-made components. Some are comparable to Isenberg in quality and support, some are not. Always check to ensure that the company sells faucets that are certified to comply with North American safety, reliability and lead-free standards, that it offers a lifetime warranty on its faucets and finishes, and that it has a reasonable customer service and parts operation. Faucets imported from China and Taiwan that may be comparable to Isenberg include:
We like these faucets and give them a big thumbs up. They are well made by some very respected manufacturer's and include none but good quality components. We feel that for the price they are an excellent value. We know of only a few faucets lines that match Isenberg's overall level of quality — especially in its two-handle faucets, and most of these are much more expensive.
These are not, for the most part, designer faucets. They are well-chosen off-the-shelf faucets with good to excellent styling; and while they may not please the design glitterati, for most of us "just folks", Isenberg has at least one design that will suit us just fine.
We like the fact that the quality of the faucets has continued to improve over the years. The company's overall rating jumped a full point two years ago from 5-7 (average to good) to 6-8 (above average to very good) and again this year to 7-8 (good to very good), in no small part because it has adopted the superior Kerox cartridge for most of its single handle faucets. In general we rate the company's two-handle faucets assembled in Texas to be overall slightly better made than its single-handle faucets made entirely in China. But we also feel that any Isenberg faucet, no matter where made, is robust enough to stand hard daily use in a even very busy kitchen or family bath with very little risk of failure to its mechanics or finishes.
Isenberg takes care of its customers, hence the complete lack of a Better Business Bureau record. In ten years a company that did not take care of post-sale issues would have gotten at least one adverse BBB report. We found none, in fact, we could not fine a single bad report about Isenberg anywhere on the Internet. That is a sterling record. So, expect a lifetime of leak-free performance from your Isenberg faucet, but if you don't get it, Isenberg's superior customer and warranty service will take good care of you.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Isenberg faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.
1. The assembly process for two-handle and wall-mounted faucets as described by Mr. Poonawala resulted in a brief debate around the Franklin stove over whether Isenberg is actually an Assembler as we use the term, meaning a company that "assembles and finishes faucets using components manufactured by other companies." Isenberg receives its faucet components already finished, including special order and split finishes which are applied by the Chinese factories that make a faucet before it (or its components) are shipped. The fact that Isenberg does not finish its faucets gave some of our panel members pause.
We went back to the definitions used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to determine whether a product is or is not assembled in the U.S. In the end, the answer turned on whether the faucet had been given a transformative assembled in China, and that answer is "no". Isenberg does not receive its two-handle faucets as whole products. It buys various parts in bulk — a box of handles, a box of spouts, a box of cartridges and so on. These are then assembled into a kit, and it is the kit that is shipped to the customer. We concluded that is as far as the faucet could reasonably be pre-assembled prior to final installation. It is only at installation that the various parts are finally assembled and transformed into a working faucet by the plumber. We believe that the kitting done in Texas does qualify as "Assembled in U.S.A." under FTC and ICE definitions.
For more information on the business models around which faucet companies are organized, see Faucet Basics: Understanding Faucet Companies.