Review & Rating
25300 Al Moen Dr.
North Olmsted, OH 44070
(800) BuyMoen (289-6636)
2816 Bristol Circle
Oakville, ON L6H 5S7
Footnotes:1. "If this product fails due to a defect in materials or workmanship at any time during the life of the product, … Moen… will replace it free of charge…"
This Company In Brief
If a plumber in this neck of the woods chooses a faucet for you, you will most likely get a Moen simply because plumbers, after years of experience, know Moen to be a good, reliable faucet that almost never breaks. A pretty good reputation for a company that aims most of its advertising at consumers ("Buy it for looks, buy it for life") rather than the pros.
We don't agree that Moen is the only good value in American-made faucets. are, at very least, strong contenders, but Moen may have a slight edge, if only for its exceptional customer service (See sidebar below).
Al Moen invented the mixing valve that made the "washer-less" single handle faucet possible. A tinkerer by inclination, Moen spent most of eight years creating and discarding ideas for a single handle faucet valve before he came up with a reliable working model.
After returning from wartime service in 1945 with the Navy, he approached Ravenna Metal Products Corp. of Seattle, which agreed to license and manufacture the invention. The first Moen faucets were manufactured in 1947, and reputedly, the first 12 were sold for $12.00 each, which is about $129.00 in 2016 dollars. You can still buy a reliable Moen faucet for less than $129.00, with a better valve.
In 1956, Ravenna was acquired by Standard Screw Co. of Chicago. Moen continued as a division of Standard Screw (later renamed Stanadyne, to the grave disappointment of plumbers throughout the U.S. who could no longer complain about having been "Standard Screwed".) until 1986 when the company was bought by the New York investment firm of Forstmann, Little & Co. which sold off most of Stanadyne's other business, to concentrate its focus on Moen products.
The company was renamed Moen, Inc. in 1990 and sold to American Brands which was itself renamed in 1997 to Fortune Brands, and is now called Fortune Brands Home & Security.
In 2011, Fortune Brands was split into two companies. Its spirits division became Beam, Inc. (Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Canadian Club, Cooley-Kilbeggan, Ardmore, Laphroaig) was almost immediately sold to Japan's Suntory Holdings, Ltd. for $16 billion, and renamed Beam Suntory, Inc. The rest of the company was reorganized as Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. which retained Moen as part of its core business. Other Fortune brands include Master Lock, MasterBrand cabinets, Simonton windows, Therma-Tru entry door systems, and Waterloo tool storage products.
In 2015 Fortune Brands embarked on a renewed period of expansion. It purchased Riobel, Inc. of Canada, and its luxury faucets in North America. The four faucet brands have been combined into a new division of Fortune Brands, the Global Plumbing Division.
It may yet acquire other faucet brands. In announcing the acquisition of Rohl, Fortune's CEO indicated that the company is continuing "to look at other growth opportunities .... and hopes to execute additional transactions as part of our strategy to drive incremental growth", which is CEO-speak for "We ain't done yet".
Al Moen continued with the company as chief engineer until 1982 accumulating 75 U.S. patents. His stream of innovations and inventions powered the company's rise from a niche player in the faucet industry to second place in the U.S. market behind Masco's faucets by 1985.
These included the replaceable faucet cartridge which is now the standard for all modern faucets, whatever the brand. A Moen cartridge rarely goes bad, but if it does, the defective cartridge can be replaced with a new one in a few minutes. He also invented the Swing n Spray™ faucet aerator that allowed the water flow to be changed from stream to spray at the push of a button and Moentrol®, a pressure balanced shower valve that controls both water temperature and volume in a single control — the shower controller preferred by plumbers.
The durability of Moen's inventions can be judged by the fact that every one of them is still in use, and copied by nearly every other faucet company as soon as the Moen patent expired (and sometimes even before, although that's a no-no, and several violators got sued.)
Moen innovation did not end with the retirement of Al Moen. Today the company offers faucets with built in water filtration that provides both filtered and ordinary tap water from a traditional-looking faucet. It also offers a finish that is especially resistant to fingerprints and water spots, which helps keep the faucet smudge-free and sparkling.
Moen and were the first major faucet companies in the world to offer a lifetime warranty on their faucets, and still do. The lifetime1 warranty was such a resounding sales boost that all other major U.S. faucet manufacturers were forced to follow suit. Which is why the standard North American faucet warranty is your lifetime, while the standard European warranty is just two to five years.
Unlike — now Japanese-owned — that has become little more than a design, engineering and marketing service for Mexican and Chinese factories, Moen remains very much an American faucet company with international scope.
Moen sells its faucets in over 55 countries. While it has shifted some manufacturing overseas (China, Malaysia and India), 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., and a variety of Moen products are Buy American Act (BAA) qualified, although not all of these are faucets.
Moen's proprietary 1255 Duralast ceramic valves are assembled in North Carolina, but the actual ceramic disks are made for Moen by Maruwa Sdn. Bhd., a Japanese firm that manufactures in Malaysia. Zhuhai Mingshi Ceramics Value makes certain of Moen's simpler single function ceramic cartridges, and also supplies with some of its cartridges. Kerox of Hungary supplies the Moen 4000 ceramic mixing cartridge which is being phased out in favor of the proprietary Duralast valve. Kerox also makes cartridges for faucets.
Various other foreign components can be found in Moen faucets. Italisa (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. appears to manufacture the majority of the cast and machined parts that go into Moen faucets. In the twelve months ending in February, 2017, Moen received over 40 shipments of components from Italisa, totaling over 200 tons. Some whole faucets are sourced from Moen Guangzhou Faucet Co. Ltd. in Guangdong, China, an enterprise founded in 1995 and partly owned by Moen's parent corporation, Fortune Brands.
Unlike Masco's Delta Faucets which are divided into quality bands — all Moen faucets, whatever the quality level, bear the Moen nameplate, making it difficult at times to tell high quality from lower quality Moen faucets. The difference is often where they are made. Lower quality Moen faucets tend to be made in Asia while better quality faucets are made in the U.S. Look for "Made in [not in the U.S.]" on the box to identify these foreign faucets. Be aware, however, that almost all Moen faucets include some foreign content and some Moen faucets are all foreign content.
The original Moen single handle sleeve cartridge, now embodied in the 1200 and 1225 cartridges, routinely lasts 5-15 years before minor maintenance is required, then it lasts another 5-15 years.
Replacing a single handle valve is usually an easy DIY project, well within the abilities of a homeowner with even modest skills and a box of basic tools. (See Installing the Moen 1225/1200 Cartridge.) Many times we don't even replace the cartridge, just the O-rings, which seem to be the part of the unit that wears out first. Be sure to clean out the cartridge seat with a wire pipe brush (to reduce mineral deposit build-up) and coat the new cartridge with plumber's grease (available at most hardware stores). We find that these simple steps add years to the cartridge.
The newer Moen 1255 Duralast ceramic cartridge, introduced in 2011, does not have a long history behind it, but so far its performance is generating quite a few compliments and very few complaints among plumbers or homeowners. Moen is promoting the cartridge 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 revolutionary like the Diamond Seal Technology® cartridge.
Moen is slowly moving from the 1200 and 1225 cartridges to the 1255 Duralast ceramic cartridge, and eventually we expect the nearly 70-year old Moen sleeve cartridge to be phased out completely except in shower valves. The transition is an overdue step in the right direction. The Moen sleeve cartridge gave excellent service for most of a century, bit it's technology has become dated, and it's time for a well-earned and honorable retirement.
The size and shape of the tall, narrow sleeve cartridge gave Moen faucets a distinctive look, but also placed severe limitations on the company's design reach. The new smaller, more compact 1255 should open up many more design opportunities.
Moen has always been very conservative in its adoption of faucet cartridges, using just a few conformations to keep its parts inventory under control. It appears headed in the direction of even fewer valve types, possibly as few as three cartridge styles for all of its kitchen and lavatory faucets, around which all future faucets will be designed.
Guided by Al Moen, the company was engineer-driven. Its approach was to sell very reliable, very durable, well made faucets for a reasonable price. Styling was less of a concern since its chief rivals were Masco's also engineer-driven and little concerned with style.
But, after Moen began losing market share to well designed, stylish European faucets like Moen finally woke up the fact that impeccable engineering was no longer enough to satisfy its core market of middle-class residential faucet buyers.
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.
Moen's revamped design department is turning out new faucet designs each year, many good enough to win prestigious international awards. Moen's Arris™ bathroom collection won the Good Design™ award in 2013. Good Design, conferred annually by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design jointly with Metropolitan Arts Press, is the oldest and most prestigious of the international awards for industrial design excellence. In the same year Moen also won honors in the Interior Design Magazine "Best of Year" competition for its STo® pull-down kitchen faucet.
Moen does sell the occasional clinker, especially at the lower end of the faucet line where the faucets contain lots of plastic and zinc. Be a little wary of models made just for large retailers like Home Depot, Menards and Lowes. Not only do these tend to be Moen's lower end faucets, they may not be Moen's regular line of faucets. (See The Model Game.) Moen says they are, but our comparisons of faucets with the same model number bought at big box discounters with faucets from our regular suppliers say they're not. The discount faucet, made-in-China, was of visibly lower quality.
For years Moen was the number two faucet maker in the U.S., trailing by a few percentage points. Moen is again moving up. As of 2012 the two companies were tied for first place, each having about 30% of the North American faucet market. has another 15%, leaving just 25% to split among other two hundred or so faucet companies selling in the U.S. and Canada.
In plumber polls, Moen is usually the first or second preferred faucet. Plumbers also identify Moen as one of the easiest faucets to fix if it does break. Only Delta faucets get a higher score on the easy-to-fix scale, and then by just a cat's whisker. Between 34% and 38% of American readers responding to our "top-of-mind" surveys over the years identified Moen as the first brand they thought of when thinking "faucet".
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Moen faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.