Review & Rating
Irvine, California 92618-1605
Footnotes:1. The term "limited lifetime" is not defined. Download the Rohl warranty (.pdf).2. Living finishes like Tuscan Brass are excluded. Others, including Inca Brass and Satin Gold are guaranteed for 5 years.
This Company In Brief
Formed by the Ken Rohl in 1983 as the Western States Manufacturing, Inc., the company was reorganized as Rohl LLC in 1991. In 2016 Rohl was purchased by Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc, the company that also owns
Fortune's faucet companies were combined into the new Global Plumbing Group division as of August, 2016.
Rohl has a long history of importing good quality European faucets, sinks, sanitary wares and bathroom and kitchen accessories. As Western States Manufacturing it was a distributor in the U.S. for plumbing fixtures and faucets. Rohl also introduced the European pull-out faucet to the U.S. market, and pull-out/pull-down faucets are still a major part of its faucet line.
Of course, it did not take long for the big American manufacturers, to start producing their own pull-out/pull-down faucets. A large percentage of kitchen faucets (some sources say as much as 40%) are now pull-out or pull-down, but Rohl's share of this market is relatively small.
The company does not, of course, limit itself to selling faucets and accessories. It is the North American distributor of some very high quality sinks and other ceramic wares from Europe. Shaws of Darwen has been manufacturing high quality ceramic sinks in the U.K. since 1897. Allia of Paris, France is also a well-known manufacturer of vitreous china bathwares since the late 19th century, including sinks, toilets, bidets and bath tubs.
Rohl is unusual in the faucet business since it follows multiple business models, none of them dominant over the others. It is, in relatively equal parts, a Specifier and a Marketeer of faucets that it sells under its own brand name, and a distributor of faucets from England. With the acquisition of Rohl by Fortune Brands, how long Rohl will remain the distributor of Perrin & Rowe is up in the air. It may be that Perrin & Rowe will be moved out from under the Rohl umbrella, and recast as its own company as part of the Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group.
As a Marketeer Rohl adopted a very interesting business model which it seems to have pioneered. It enters into agreements with foreign faucet manufacturers to become the exclusive U.S. importer of the manufacturer's faucets which it rebrands and sells under the Rohl name. The faucets it imports are the manufacturer's off-the-shelf faucets with minor modifications needed for the U.S. market (which is usually little more than adapting the faucets to U.S..Canada rather than metric fittings). There are hundreds of excellent boutique faucet manufacturers in the world, and all of them are looking for a low-cost entry into the giant U.S. market. Rohl provides that entry with a minimal investment by the manufacturer. In return, Rohl gets the
The faucets Rohl imports are generally high quality, designer faucets. But, the faucets are not designed by or for Rohl, although Rohl's literature gives the impression that they are. While Rohl may have some influence over the designs, typically the designs are produced by the factories that make the faucets, are usually shown in the manufacturers' general catalogs and sold in other countries under other model names.
For example, the distinctive Wave Collection of very contemporary faucets and bathwares is a Cisal Rubinetteria S.p.A.. standard faucet. It was designed by Nevio Tellatin a Cisal designer and appears in Cisal's current general catalog. Anyone can order as many as they want from Cisal and sell them anywhere they like, under any name they choose, except in North America, which is Rohl's exclusive territory.
Similarly, Cisal's LL00064 Sink Mixer Kitchen Faucet, created by Cisal designer Luigi Trenti is sold in North America by Rohl as the LS64L Architectural Pre-Rinse Kitchen faucet, but throughout Europe and most of South America and the Middle East under the Cisal model name.
The New Zealand faucet manufacturer Greens Industries sells a line of very good faucets in Australia and New Zealand under the name Greens Tapware. Rohl sells Greens faucets in the U.S. under the Rohn name. For example, the Rohl Modern Lux Side Lever Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet is sold by Greens in Australasia as the Oxi Pull Out Spray Faucet.
In addition to being a Marketeer of Italian and New Zealand faucets, Rohl is also the distributor of the excellent line of English faucets fabricated near London by TCL Manufacturing, Ltd.. Rohl is rumored to have played a major part in persuading the founders of the company, Bob Perrin and Greg Rowe, to shift the company's focus to manufacturing faucets. Since the brand's inauguration in 1996, North America has been Perrin & Rowe's largest export market. The collection is worth a look by anyone seeking to reproduce a 19th century Victorian theme, who loves the luxury look of hand polished finishes, and who does not mind paying big dollars for a faucet.
The line includes the unique Triflow filtration faucet. The Triflow filtration system allows the delivery of hot, cold and filtered drinking water through one faucet. Triflow faucets are instantly recognizable by the third handle used to dispense filtered water (see image left above). The Triflow feature is also available in some
In February, 2014, Rohl solidified its association with Perrin & Rowe by buying a 50% interest in TCL Manufacturing, Ltd. Lou Rohl is now listed in Companies House records as one of TCL's directors and a person with "significant control" of the company..
(We review Perrin & Rowe faucets separately. Click here to read the review.)
In addition to being a Marketeer, Rohl is also a Specifier. It designs some of the faucets it sells and has them manufactured by other companies under contract. The new Michael Berman Collection is a case on point. It was created by the noted Los Angeles designer exclusively for Rohl. When it was introduced a few years ago, a spokesman for Rohl told us that the faucets were being manufactured in the U.S. We very quickly discovered that that was a complete fabrication. Berman collection faucets are made in New Zealand by Greens Industries.
We encounter this kind of deliberate deception once in a while from companies making an effort to appear more American than they actually are. Most of the time the lie is easy to uncover, and all it does is make us distrust anything the company tells us in the future. As a consequence we no longer look to Rohl spokespersons as a source for reliable information about the company.
For many years Rohl has referred to itself as an American manufacturer. It isn't. It does not manufacture or even assemble any faucets in the U.S. or Canada. Rohl says it does, But when we asked Rohl to identify any American factory that manufactures its faucets, it declined to answer. We did find one shop in California that does some minor machining for Rohl. That appears to be the extent of any Rohl manufacturing in North America. Any faucet identified in company literature as "manufactured by Rohl" is not, in fact, manufactured by Rohl.
Rohl's faucet finishes vary depending on the actual manufacturer, but almost every faucet is available in polished chrome, nickel and some form of bronze. Perrin & Rowe faucets have their own finish palette which may differ from other Rohl faucets.
Rohl vigorously enforces sales only through authorized outlets. The company will not provide product support for faucets purchased from any unauthorized retailer, including internet sellers of lower-cost European versions of the faucets it sells. Be wary of counterfeit Rohl faucets sold through non-traditional venues such as e-Bay. Rohl discourages discounting and maintains a strict price protection policy. No authorized distributor is permitted to advertise a discount greater than 25% from the company's published list price.
Rohl states that it has the ability to fill 90% of all orders from its stock in Irvine, California. But, if the item you order is not in stock, expect some long lead times from its European and New Zealand suppliers.
In 2007 and 2008 Rohl had problems with ceramic cartridges in its R3810 De Lux pull-out kitchen faucets manufactured by Greens Industries of New Zealand. The plastic used in some of the cartridges cracked, causing them to leak badly, often immediately after installation. This was evidently a manufacturing quality issue that has since been solved, and Rohl was very good about quickly honoring its warranty. The pullout line from Greens has also had problems with the swivel seizing due to internal corrosion. Problems were reported with the R77V3 Country and R3810 De Lux pull-out kitchen faucets, both manufactured by Greens Industries.
One thing we have noted is that most of the problem faucets seem to have been made by Greens Industries. Rohl is good about honoring its warranty, but evidently new parts from Rohl often do not solve the problem. The new parts themselves fail after a time, which suggests that the problems are inherent in the design or engineering of critical components of the faucet. Replacing old parts with an inherent defect with new parts with the same defect is not the solution. We are particularly concerned about the number of reports of Rohl faucets failing right out of the box. These faucets are supposed to be pressure tested before delivery, so how can a failure out of the box be possible?
The Rohl faucet warranty is about at the standard for faucet warranties in North America. Rohl will replace a defective part and even a whole defective faucet if necessary, for the "lifetime" of the original owner. The term lifetime is not defined, which means, under the law in most states, that the warranty lasts literally until the original owner dies. The written warranty we have reviewed does not even begin to comply with the Magnuson-Moss Act, and its restrictive provisions would probably be held unenforceable in most states.
Customer service seems to be spotty. We have had a handful of complaints about Rohl's warranty service being unresponsive and not very prompt at returning e-mails or telephone calls. Our test of the company's service was satisfactory, however. The Better Business Bureau has received no complaints about the company. Rohl is not accredited by the BBB.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Rohl faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.