Review & Rating
Irvine, California 92618-1605
Footnotes:1. The term "limited lifetime" is not defined. Download the Rohl warranty (.pdf).2. 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. It was until 2016, still owned and managed by the Rohl family.
Rohl has a long and impressive 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 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. The company tells the story as follows in its official hitory:
"In 1983 Ken Rohl .... happened upon the now omnipresent pull-out kitchen faucet in Europe and, bringing it to the United States, proceeded to introduce it to kitchen and bath designers up and down the coast of California. Rohl knew he had something special. Designers and homeowners loved the beauty, functionality, and prestige of the faucet."But, this tale glosses over the many years Rohl traveled up and down the West Coast trying to persuade skeptical showroom and plumbing supply store ownders of the merits of the new faucet design, and the amount of shear hard work involved. Designers may have ended up loving the faucet eventually but it took a lot of labor and persistence by Rohl to develop that love.
Today, a large percentage of kitchen faucets (some sources say as much as 40%) are single handle pull-out or pull-down. Rohl, however, is a relatively small player compared to the industry giants,
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 bathtubs.
In 2016 Rohl was purchased by 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.
The acquisition will give Rohl access to Moen's distribution channels and some possibility of deep-pocket capital investment in the development of innovative products. Rohl has always not lacked for creativity and imagination but often lacked funding sufficient to capitalize its creative ideas. Hopefully Fortune Brands will underwrite this creativity.
Rohl is unusual in the faucet business since it embodies multiple business models in the same company, none of them dominant over the others. It is, in relatively equal parts, a of the faucets that it sells under its own brand name. In addition, it is a distributor of faucets from Germany.
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 the U.S.-standard 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 exclusive right to sell some very stylish, high-quality, imported faucets in the U.S. and Canada.
The Rohl business model has been adopted by other upscale Marketeer faucet companies, such as
The faucets Rohl imports are generally high-quality, designer faucets. But, the faucets are not designed by or for Rohl, although Rohl's literature might give the impression that they are. While Rohl may have some influence over the designs, they are typically produced by the factories that make the faucets, are usually shown in the manufacturers' 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, and made-in-Germany faucets by Jörger Armaturen und Accessoires Fabrik Gmbh, a family-owned company formed in 1909 that is "nearly as old as the faucet itself".
Rohl is rumored to have played a major part in persuading the founders of TCL Manufacturing (then Avilon Limited), 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 Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian theme, who loves the luxury look of hand polished finishes, and who does not mind paying big dollars for a handsome, well-made 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 was appointed a director listed in Companies House records as one of TCL's directors and a person with "significant control" of the company until the sale to Fortune Brands in 2016 when the entire TCL board was replaced in favor of representatives of the new owner.
In contrast to Rohl's association with Perrin & Rowe, its affiliation with Jörger is fairly new. Jörger itself is not new. In fact, it is one of the oldest faucet manufacturers in the world, dating to 1909 when Bernhard Jörger, then the master plumber to the last Grand Duke of Baden, founded the company. (The duchy was abolished in 1918). It specializes in the production of elaborately decorated baroque-style faucets favored in its largest markets, Russia and Eastern Europe. Rohl, however, imports Jörger's more classically oriented styles such as the Chronos faucet shown above.
(We review Perrin & Rowe and Jörger faucets separately. Click here to read the Perrin & Rowe review and here for Jörger.)
In addition to being a and distributor, Rohl is also a designer of faucets, or what we call a Its designs are manufactured by other companies under contract.
The new Michael Berman, for example, 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 statement to be a complete fabrication. Berman collection faucets are made in New Zealand by Greens Industries.
Rohl does not manufacture or even assemble any faucets in the U.S. or Canada. Rohl sometimes says it does, When we asked Rohl in 2015 to identify any American factory that manufactures its faucets, it's spokesman declined to answer on the basis that the information was "proprietary". We did find one company in California that does some minor machining for Rohl. That appears to be the extent of any Rohl faucet manufacturing in North America. A faucet identified in company literature as "manufactured by Rohl" is not, in fact, manufactured by Rohl. Rohl does not manufacture.
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. have their own finish palette which may differ from other Rohl faucets. Special finishes are available on most faucets but add substantially to lead times.
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% below 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 has been 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 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 as long as the faucet remains in its "original installation". The term "original installation" is not defined. A literal interpretaion would terminate the warranty if the faucet were to be uninstalled to replace the sink, then reinstalled — because it is no longer in its "original installation".
Customer service seems to be a little 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 initial test of the company's service was satisfactory, however, as was our retest 60 days later. For the most part Rohl customer service agents were knowledgeable about their products and eager to help solve our (purely imaginary) problems.
The Better Business Bureau has received no complaints about the company. Rohl is not accredited by the BBB, however, and should see about accreditation.
We are not entirely sure about Rohl. Our experience with the company has been positive, and the faucets we acquired for testing and evaluation performed well but we also receive a lot of complaints about the quality of Rohl faucets and Rohl's inability or unwillingness to fix problems. At the moment we are basing our ratings on our own experiences but continued reports of quality problems may result in a reevaluation.
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.