Rubinet Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 04/01/18
10 Corstate Ave.
Concord, ON L4K 4X2
Footnotes:1. "All Rubinet products are guaranteed against factory defects or poor workmanship and will be replaced at no charge. Any products found to be defective due to blemishes or discoloration will be refinished or replaced at no charge."2. This is a "full" or "unlimited" warranty as defined in the U.S. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.3. Manufacturing defects only. Normal wear and tear on cartridges and moving parts is not covered.
Read/print the 2019 Best Faucet Value Report.
This Company In Brief
The Rubinet Faucet Company, Limited was formed in 1981 in Ontario. It designs, assembles and finishes striking and unique sink faucets, shower assemblies and coordinating accessories that are sold in Canada and parts of the U.S. as well as overseas.
The faucets are its own creations designed and assembled in Canada from components manufactured by overseas suppliers. Rubinet's known suppliers include
- Camel Products, Inc. of Taiwan,
- Byson International Co., Ltd. also of Taiwan,
- Docol Metais Sanitários Ltda. in Brazil and
- Zhejiang Jinyuan Copper Manufacturing Company Ltd. from China.
These are all first class manufacturers, preeminent in their respective fields. Camel products also manufactures components for another producer of high-quality luxury faucets assembled in Brooklyn. Docol Metais is one of Brazils largest manufacturers of faucets for commercial installations such as hospitals, hotels and public restrooms as well as high-quality faucets for home use. Jinyuan Copper is also a manufacturer of commercial-duty faucets and other plumbing fittings using lead-free brass.
We can find no indication that Rubinet faucets are assembled in any country other than Canada or that any of its suppliers provides Rubinet with fully assembled, ready-to-sell faucets. All of our information points to Rubinet as an Assembler of luxury faucets from good-quality imported parts and components.
Rubinet faucets are arrayed in eleven collections. The R10, Ice, Matthew Quinn, H2O and LaSalle collections are starkly contemporary. Jasmin, Lexis, Raven, and Romanesque are more traditional while the Etruscan and Flemish collections re somewhere between the two, or what faucet designers call "transitional" faucets. All but Jasmin collection include kitchen and bath faucets, tub fillers, shower assemblies and coordinating accessories. The Jasmin collection does not include kitchen faucets.
A final "collection", the Essentials, is a grab-bag of accessories that do not usually require stylistic coordination, such as grab bars, curtain rods, shower seats, floor drains and the like.
Our designers' favorite collection is a toss-up between the R10 and the Ice, both of which are "wow". The R10 (one model of which, the 8LRTL in chrome/red is pictured above) is a contemporary styling adventure unlike any we have seen elsewhere. It may be a little too "out there" for some buyers but the design community is definitely going to fall in love with it. The Ice is similarly angular and industrial but is softened by inlays of clear Swarovski Crystals — the "ice" in the faucet.
The company website has been recently updated to a responsive structure that works equally well on large screen desktop monitors and small screen smartphones. But, it lacks an adequate search feature and is missing what we view as essential information about the company and its products.
The search feature is limited to searching by model number and produces a set of images of all of the variations of that model number. This is useful only after you have made a selection of a basic model. There is no feature that allows for a word search, so searching on a collection name, like "Seven", or on a common term such as "warranty" produces no results. The search algorithm is, taking up to 30 seconds to product search results which in computer time is an eternity.
On the old website, there was a three-sentence description of the company but no history or background to speak of. On the new site, the description has been expanded to four sentences — still not adequate. Product images provide only a single 3/4 view. Multiple images, or, better yet, a 360° viewing feature such as is used by In2aqua and MR Direct for its Sir faucets, that allows the mouse to rotate the faucet to any viewing angle, are invaluable in fully visualizing the faucet.
Faucets are displayed with a chart of the 22 standard finishes available, one chart for the base finish and one for any accent finishes available. Clicking on one of the base finishes displays the faucet in that finish. Clicking on an accent color shows that accent on the faucet. A very nice feature that really helps visualization of the finished product.
Below the faucet image, under the label "Resources" are links labeled "INSTALLATION INSTRUCTION" and "SPEC SHEET". The Rubinet "SPEC SHEET" link displays a .pdf document that is nothing more than a color image of the faucet and a measured drawing — useful in determining whether a faucet will fit your sink. But, otherwise, no specifications.
For actual specifications, other than dimensions, you will need to display the "INSTALLATION INSTRUCTION" .pdf, which includes an exploded parts diagram and the specifications for the faucet. These include flow rate, cartridge (identified generically), and certifications.
Between the two documents you can find most of what you would need to know to make an intelligent buying decision but the distribution of the information between the two documents is somewhat unconventional.
Finishing is done in Canada to order so the company has a great deal of flexibility in its finishes which makes its stunning variety of finishes possible. This flexibility is something you usually cannot get from faucets assembled and finished overseas. However, since the faucets are assembled and finished only when ordered, there is a lead time of six to eight weeks between order and delivery.
Non-metallic finishes are powder coatings. Most metallic coatings are electroplated but four, Bright Brass, Gold, Polish Nickel, and Satin Brass, are the more durable Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) finishes. We thought about taking a powder coated finish out to the shop to see how much abuse the finish could take but since we had borrowed the faucet for examination, destructive testing was not an option. The Rubinet lifetime warranty covers metallic and non-metallic finishes equally, so these "painted" finishes must be very robust.
A few finishes (Oil Rubbed Bronze, Tuscan Brass, and uncoated Brass) are what is known in the industry as finishes. They are expected to show tarnish, stains, and fingerprints, and develop a patina of age through regular use by reacting with the oils in our skin as well as to chemicals in the natural environment. The longer the use, the more patina you get. Obviously, blemishes or discoloration that appear in these finishes are not considered defects, so even though Rubinet's warranty is silent about its coverage of living finishes, it is clear that the company's lifetime guarantee does not apply.
Rubinet sells primarily through physical, brick and mortar showrooms. A showroom locator is provided on the Rubinet website under the "Where to Buy" tab. If you are going to order an exotic or we suggest you work with a showroom designer. Even if you are buying online, you may want to buy through a showroom rather than an internet-only site to ensure that all of your selections coordinate for finish and style. On the other hand, if it's just a faucet and a few accessories you are after, an online site such as DecorPlanet may work for you.
Do not expect substantial discounts, however, no matter where you buy. Rubinet enforces a minimum price policy that prohibits authorized retailers from advertising or selling at a price more than 25% below Rubinet's list price.
Rubinet uses top-tier ceramic disc cartridges in its faucets. Cartridges are the heart of a faucet. Without a working cartridge, a faucet is no longer a faucet. So, it is important that this component be of the best quality to ensure a long service life.
The company's two-handle faucets include stem cartridges manufactured by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH in Lüdenscheid, Germany, (often spelled "Fluehs" for English speakers), considered by most in the faucet business to be one of the best, if not the best, European faucet cartridge made for two-handle faucets.
Mixing cartridges for Rubinet single handle faucets are made by Kerox, Kft. of Hungary and CeramTec of Luft, Germany, both world leaders in high-performance technical ceramics. Kerox mixing cartridges the preferred brand of many European manufacturers of premium faucets. CeramTec's Triduon® performance cartridges are instantly recognizable by the black color of their high-density EMS-Grivory plastic cases, originally developed for aerospace applications.
Rubinet Faucet Warranty
is applicable to the original purchaser with a bill of sale.
- Product Function: All Rubinet products are guaranteed against factory defects or poor workmanship and will be repaired or replaced at no charge.
- Product Finishes: Any product found to be defective due to blemishes or discoloration will be refinished or replace at no charge.
Warranty not valid if:
- Improperly installed.
- Plumbers putty is used.
- Cleaners containing chemicals or abrasives are used.
- Unique customized configuration not normally offered by Rubinet are used.
- Unique special finishes not normally offered by Rubinet are used.
For more in-depth information on faucet valves and cartridges, visit Faucet Basics: Faucet Valves and Cartridges.
Rubinet faucets also include Neoperl® aerators made in Switzerland. Faucet aerators used to be simple devices that merely infused a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink. Today, however, they are precision products used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and in faucets with pull-out sprays, to prevent back-flow that could contaminate household drinking water. It is important, therefore, that this little device, often smaller than a dime, be the best available. And that, almost by definition, is the Swiss-engineered Neoperl® aerator.
The company's written "lifetime" guarantee promises to replace any defective part and refinish or repair any defective finish as long as the faucet is owned by the original buyer. This is a "full" or "unlimited" warranty as those terms are used in the U.S. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq — Canada has no equivalent law). The warranty language implies that the warranty is limited to the original purchaser only but does not actually say so. Our volunteer lawyers think it could be better written for improved clarity. Many parts are ambiguous at best, and a good case could b made in U.S. courts for continuing warranty coverage even after transfer to a subsequent owner.
Despite the ambiguity in the warranty language, we rate the warranty above the standard North American lifetime warranty because it is a "full" rather than a "limited" warranty under U.S. law, which gives the purchaser more rights. Only a few companies have rated four stars or better in our warranty scoring, including which puts Rubinet in very good company.
Customer service is excellent. Agents are knowledgeable about their products and eager to help solve problems. Rubinet appears to be more interested in taking care of customer problems than with minor niceties of who is or is not covered by its warranty. Our judgment is borne out by the Better Business Bureau which rated Rubinet A+ on a scale of A+ to F for its handling of customer issues. Rubinet is a BBB accredited business and pledged to abide by the high standards required by the BBB for accreditation.
Rubinet faucets are about as Canadian as faucets get. They are designed, assembled, polished and finished in Canada — a fact that the company does not seem to actively promote. We don't understand why.
We expect a great many Canadian buyers would be interested in the fact that most of the labor of producing Rubinet faucets is by Canadian workers in a Canadian factory in Canada. With all of the manufacturing that has fled Canada in recent years — including a faucet assembly plant in Mississauga that was moved by Grohe's new Japanese owners to Mexico in 2016 — eliminating 300 Ontario factory jobs, Canadian homeowners might find it encouraging that there is still one luxury faucet line designed and produced in Canada by and for Canadians. Yet Rubinet does very little to highlight its Canadian origin and strong Canadian ties.
It should take a lesson from two American companies with links to the U.S. that are no stronger than Rubinet's ties to Canada, yet these companies never seem to miss an opportunity to highlight the fact that their faucets are, to some degree, produced in the U.S. of A. Rubinet's facets, according to the very restrictive (and perhaps overly limiting) "made in Canada" laws may not be legally "made in Canada" but they are designed, assembled and finished in Canada — technically demanding processes that provide good-paying factory jobs for highly skilled Canadian workers.
Also deserving of recognition are Rubinet's distinctive faucet designs. They are fresh, exciting and certainly worth a mention or two, yet Rubinet does not seem to do anything to draw attention to its design accomplishments. There is next to nothing about its designers or design process on its website or in any company literature. Nor can we find any instance in which a Rubinet design has been submitted to a major international design competition anywhere — not even in Canada.
Competition in international events is how faucet companies make their design bones, earning nearly instantaneous worldwide recognition for originality and design excellence. Companies like routinely win design contests with faucets that are no more creative or original than many of Rubinet's models. Why Rubinet is reluctant to showcase its design acumen is something that mystifies us, especially as at least one collection was designed with the help of noted kitchen and bath designer: Atlanta-based Michael Quinn.
We are aware of the widely accepted profile of Canadians as being modest about their many accomplishments and reticent about tooting their own horn. Nonetheless, some horns deserve tooting, and Rubinet's design originality, obsessive attention to quality and strong ties to Canada are certainly some of them. So, let's hear a little tootin', guys. It's OK, really!
Comparable North American-made or -assembled faucets include
If you are Canadian and in the market for a premium, luxury faucet for your new bathroom or kitchen, especially one produced largely in Canada, give Rubinet a good, hard look. The quality and style of its faucets rivals that of many other better known upscale faucet companies, and its prices are competitive — in fact, often considerably lower than competing brands. (Be aware, however, that and exotic finishes can add considerably to the final price.) You can buy a more expensive faucet. But, we doubt you will find very many better faucets at any price.
If you are a citizen or resident of the U.S., then ditto, except you may not care that the faucet is designed and largely produced in Canada. But, even if you don't give a hoot about the origin of Rubinet faucets, you should be impressed with their quality. We consider them a good value in a luxury faucet. For an upscale bath, or as that one touch of immodest luxury in a more modest bath, consider Rubinet. It would be hard to go wrong.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Rubinet faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.