Signature Hardware Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 02/11/22

Summary
Imported
ChinaFlag
China
TaiwanFlag
Taiwan
VietnamFlag
Vietnam
Clawfoot Supply, LLC
trading as
Sig­na­ture Hardware
2700 Crescent Springs Pike
Erlanger, KY 41017
(866) 855-2284
a subsidiary of
Fer­gu­son Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 2778
12500 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23602
(800) 221-3379
Rating
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
Certifications
Brands
Sig­na­ture Hardware
Street Price
$99-$670
Warranty Score
Cartridge
25 Years
Finishes
25 Years
Mechanical Parts
25 Years
Electrical Components
5 years
Proof of Purchase
Not Mentioned1
Transferable
No2
Meets Federal Warranty
Law Requirements
No

Warranty Footnotes:

1. The warranty does not state that an original receipt or other proof of purchase is required to make a warranty claim but typically it would be. Otherwise, how would the company know you even own one of its faucets?
2. The warranty covers just the original owner of the faucet.


Download/print the Sig­na­ture Hardware warranty.

For more information on interpreting fau­cet warranties, see see Under­stand­ing Fau­cet War­ran­ties.

This Company In Brief

Clawfoot Supply, LLC is a company that trades as Sig­na­ture Hard­ware. It is now a part of the Fer­gu­son Enterprises empire – the giant plumbing supply company headquartered in the U.K.

It sells imported fau­cets, sinks, tubs, and other fixtures as well as accessories, furnishings, lighting, and home decor items from its office/warehouse complex just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

The company's fau­cets are private label products, purchased wholesale from a variety of suppliers in India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and re-branded for retail sale under the Sig­na­ture Hard­ware name.

The faucets are well-supported by a strong warranty that provides more consumer protection than most.

Signature Hard­ware is a trading name under which Clawfoot Supply, LLC imports and sells fau­cets, sinks, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, decorative hardware, lighting, furnishings, and home accessories imported from Asia: primarily China, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Founded in 2001 by Kentucky natives Mike and Matt Butler, Clawfoot Supply was one of the successful specialty web retailers at the dawn of the age of internet retailing, selling upscale antique reproduction tubs, fau­cets, and other bath fixtures modeled on those available in the late Victorian Era.

By 2005 the company had already expanded its offerings far beyond claw­foot rubs and accessories and registered "Sig­na­ture Hard­ware" as a legal trading name to better reflect its expanded scope. It no longer sells as Claw­foot Sup­ply.

The company was purchased by Fer­gu­son Enter­prises, Inc. in 2016 and is now integrated into the Fer­gu­son archipelago. Sig­na­ture Hard­ware products can now be purchased at Ferguson stores and through other Ferguson e-tail venues such as Build.com and Fau­cets­Dir­ect.com.

Fer­gu­son is the largest distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies, pipe, valves, and fittings in the U.S. and Can­a­da (as Wolseley Can­a­da Inc.) through some 1,350 retail stores seemingly located in nearly every community that has more than one gas station. (See sidebar).

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's fau­cets and other plumbing fixtures and accessories are private label products, purchased wholesale from a wide variety of suppliers in Asia and re-branded for retail sale under the Sig­na­ture Hard­ware name.

It sells primarily through its own website, at online retailers that host third-party sellers such as Ama­zon, Way­fair, and Houzz, and on Fer­gu­son's internet sites that specialize in home improvement products, namely Build.com, FaucetsDirect.com, and eFaucets.com as well as in local Ferguson stores.

Ferguson also sells Asian-made faucets under the brand names through most of the same retail outlets.

Balin spring-style kitchen faucet.

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's chief competitors in the North American market are

Clawfoot Supply has drastically changed its business model over its years in business.

In the beginning, Clawfoot Supply sold mostly upscale fau­cets manufactured in Europe and the U.S. These included from England, and a few Italian faucet lines that seemed to vary from year to year.

In 2009 it was selling fau­cets made in Argentina but that relationship was short lived.

All of these brands are still sold in North Amer­ica, just not by Sig­na­ture Hard­ware. FV Am­er­ica Corp­ora­tion.

Before 2010 when most of its suppliers were still Eur­o­pe­an, the company routinely identified the country of origin of its fau­cets. That is no longer the practice. No Asian-made faucet is identified by county of origin.

A spokesman for the company told us in 2015 that Sig­na­ture Hard­ware "deems the identity of its manufacturers to be proprietary information not to be shared with the general public."

We, however, are all about sharing with the general public. After research through customs and import records for the past five years, we are entirely confident that Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's fau­cets are manufactured in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

The following companies have supplied sink fau­cets to Sig­na­ture Hard­ware over the past 60 months:

These are almost certainly not Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's only faucet suppliers, and the company changes manufacturers from time to time. By the time you read this, Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's lineup of faucet suppliers may have changed again. In fact, we expect it to become more aligned with Fer­gu­son's faucet suppliers simply to reduce the complexity in Fer­gu­son's supply chain.




Sig­na­ture Hard­ware fau­cets are largely middle-of-the-road, generic Asian designs.

There are exceptions. Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's Edi­son series of contemporary fau­cets is one of those.

It emulates the bare bones, rustic style of Sonoma Forge faucets or the Brooklyn 31 collection designed by Elan Vital for Watermark Designs.

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's interpretation is much less expensive, about one-third the price of its competition.

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware fau­cets are largely these middle-of-the-road, generic Tai­wan­ese/Chin­ese designs right out of each manufacturer's The fau­cets are neither designed by nor created expressly for Sig­na­ture Hard­ware.

True design originality is emerging in East Asia, and some regional Asian designs have won international design awards. But, these are the exception. The general rule is that few design adventures take place in China or Taiwan. Most designs are adopted from Europe and the U.S. faucet styles that have sold well in the marketplace. It does not take long for a successful Western design to be imitated by Asian factories. The lag time is usually 3 to 5 years, by which time, of course, the "new" design is no longer new.

We found no faucets in the current Sig­na­ture Hard­ware catalog made in Europe. La Torre SRL. of Italy was Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's only remaining supplier of Eu­rop­ean-made fau­cets at out last update of this report, and its fau­cets are no longer being sold on the Sig­na­ture Hard­ware website.

The faucets offered by Sig­na­ture Hard­ware have been selected by someone with a deft talent for coordination and a keen eye for style. Faucets are about evenly divided among contemporary, transitional, and traditional faucet styles, so there is almost certainly a Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucet to fit every design preference. There is, however, with some exception, nothing unique or novel about most of the individual fau­cets themselves, especially those imported from Asia.

The Asian manufacturers that supply fau­cets to Sig­na­ture Hard­ware also sell fau­cets to other North American importers and many of the fau­cets sold by Sig­na­ture Hard­ware are also sold by other U.S. and Can­a­di­an retailers. So, finding the same faucet or a very similar faucet for sale under a different brand name should not come as a surprise.

The Ridgway pulldown kitchen faucet in brushed gold.

Lota, for example, supplies faucets or faucet components to the who's who of the North American faucet industry, including

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware gathers some of its products in collections that are coordinated for finish and style. A collection may include faucets, showers, tub fillers, heat registers, tubs, sinks, and accessories. Most of its nineteen collections include sink faucets, but at least two do not.

The mechanics of Sig­na­ture Hard­ware fau­cets are average to good. Faucet bodies are typically stainless steel or brass but handles, baseplates, and other ancillary parts may be cast out of less expensive zinc or a zinc/aluminum alloy commonly called "pot metal."

The Sig­na­ture website never uses the word "zinc", but look for the seemingly innocuous word "metal" which is commonly used as a codeword for zinc in the industry. "Metal handle" is Sig­na­ture's way of saying "zinc handle." If it were a brass or stainless steel handle, it would say so outright.

Zinc in ancillary parts is a common feature of discount fau­cets (and some premium fau­cets as well). Zink and zinc alloys do not have the strength of brass but are safe to use where that strength is not needed. Properly used, in baseplates, handles and trim, they do not affect the durability of a faucet, and their use shaves a few bucks off the cost of manufacturing the faucet.

The material used to make spray heads (the industry term is "wands") on spring-style (pre-rinse), pull-down, and pull-out kitchen faucets is clearly identified – something that is not all that common on faucet websites. Most Sig­na­ture wands are made of brass, but some are plastic. These are identified as "plastic" or as "ABS" – an acronym that stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – a type of plastic often used in plastic water pipes. ABS is strong for a plastic, but not nearly as strong as metal.

Many manufacturers are switching to plastic spray heads because they don't conduct heat like metal and do not get uncomfortably hot in use. They are also a lot cheaper than brass or stainless steel. But, plastic does not have nearly the strength of metal and more readily fails in use over time.

Given a choice, a metal wand is a safer investment.

Cure for the Too Hot Wand: The sure cure for the too hot wand is not to run cooler water through the wand. Rinsing with scalding hot water is rarely necessary.

Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's mixing cartridges for single-handle faucets are the standardized configurations modeled on the cartridge designs pioneered in the 1980s by Galatron Plast S.p.a., an Italian technical ceramics company. Galatron's cartridges were simple, inexpensive to manufacture, very reliable, and so widely copied that they quickly became the de facto industry-standard particularly for Chinese-made cartridges.

None of Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's cartridges is made by Galatron, however. All of the mixing cartridges for single-handle faucets that we examined were made in China. They are not considered top drawer brands, but they are good enough to last many years with reasonable care.

China has dozens if not hundreds of ceramic cartridge manufacturers. Most of what they produce is used in the domestic market for faucets sold in China. For use in faucets to be exported to Europe or North Amer­ica, cartridges have to meet much higher standards.

We found a number of well-known ceramic cartridges including KGC cartridges made by Kuching International, Ltd., Quore cartridges made by Ningbo Wanhai Cartridge Technology Co., Ltd., and Yizhan cartridges from Kaiping Yizhan Valve Core Co., Ltd.. All of these brands have passed the ASME A112.18.1 500,000 on/off life-cycle test and are approved for fau­cets destined for export to Western markets.

We also found a quantity of unidentified cartridges – cartridges that did not show the maker's marks necessary to identify the cartridge. Since makers of good cartridges generally mark them, we have to assume these cartridges are from lesser-known manufacturers that have not established a track record of reliability and may not be certified to North American standards of reliability.

The company has drastically reduced the number of commercial-duty faucets that it sells. The few remaining examples are equipped with old-style compression valves that were invented in England by Guest & Chrimes Brassworks in 1845. These valves are not ifentified on the company website as compression valves . Just be aware that if a faucet is not described as having a ceramic cartridge, it's usually because it is fitted with a compression valve.

Quill bathroom sink faucet in brushed gold with black trim.

We did not find any of the better Asian cartridges such as those made by Geann Industrial Co. in Taiwan or any of the premium European cartridges like the Kerox Kft ceramic cartridges made in Hungary. But since we have not examined every faucet sold by the company, we cannot swear that some of its fau­cets are not fitted with these better cartridges.

Companies that specialized in commercial faucets like use compression cartridges in their cfaucets because they are preferred in commercial installation. Although a washer in the cartridge must be replaced periodically, it is easy to do and requires proprietary parts that may have to be shipped from the manufacturer of the faucet, leaving the faucet out of service for several days. Any plumber usually has all the parts needed in his or her toolbox to replace a compression washer.

For use in the home, however, a compression style cartridge may be more of a nuisance than is wanted. There is a reason that they hve been largely replced for home use by ceramic cartridges that do not require periodic maintenance.

For more in-depth information about ceramic cartridges, see "Faucet Valves & Cart­ridges".

Eleven finishes are available on Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucets. Chrome is the most widely available finish, followed by polished and brushed nickel, then oil-rubbed bronze. Dark antique bronze is, as far as we can tell from the website, available on just four faucets but can be found on a dozen or so very interesting items of door hardware.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze: ORB is rarely actual bronze and is almost never oil-rubbed. The name describes its appearance, not the methods by which the appearance is achieved.
Generally, the finish is a powder coating or thin-film physical vapor deposition (PVD). Some companies are experimenting with thin film ceramic (TFC) coatings to produce the finish – a durable new technology that has enormous promise – but as far as we know, none of these are yet on the market. The only company using TFC to finish its faucets (but not in oil-rubbed bronze) appears to be the always innovative Signature Hardware identifies its oil-rubbed bronze as an electroplated finish.
Unlike chrome, which is always thes same from manufacturer to manuracturer, nothing about ORB is standardized. It ranges in color from almost copper to nearly black. (See Oil-Rubbed Bronze Variations elsewhere on this page.) Some manufacturers include copper highlights, others don't. The finish is seldom the same from manufacturer to manufacturer and the different shadings can be quite obvious.
If possible, always buy ORB fau­cets and accessories from the same manufacturer.

The company charges a premium for some finishes. The Flair faucet, for example, at a base price of $249.00 for chrome, costs $70.00 more in antique copper and $40.00 more in dark antique bronze. Any added expense for a finish is clearly shown on the website and compared to the up-charges by some faucet companies for special finishes, these charges are trivial.

A few faucets are available in . The Quill lavatory faucet is shown in several metallic finishes with black trim on the company website (and in brushed gold and black at left). Faucets in the Edison collection are available in black with red handles or oil-rubbed bronze with black handles.

Faucet finishes are, according to the company, all . except for stainless steel (the steel material of the faucet is also its finish). There are no (PVD) or finishes.

Electroplating is the old standard, having served the industry well for over 100 years. It involves immersing the faucet and the metal to be used as plating in an acid bath, then applying an electrical charge to both objects so metallic ions are drawn from the plating metal to the faucet. Chrome is the most commonly used plated metal, followed distantly by nickel.

The electroplated metal may not be the final finish, however. Metals like brass and copper are . Left unprotected, they will tarnish. To keep them shiny and new-looking, they are protected by a top coat of clear lacquer.

The lacquer coating then becomes the "wear layer", not the brass or copper metal beneath the lacquer.

As a wear layer, lacquer is, at best, only semi-durable – more delicate than metal finishes – about the same resistance to scratches and dings as the paint on your car. If the lacquer is scratched or chipped, the metal underneath may be exposed to air and will begin to tarnish.

The company's suppliers have evidently not yet discovered (PVD) finishes.

PVD is the new standard faucet finish. It is very hard (Rockwell HRC-80+, Vicker HV-2600+), 10-20 times more scratch-resistant than plated chrome, and so resistant to staining and corrosion that they can easily withstand even very harsh household chemicals and (for you seaside dwellers) salt-laden air. Washing with a mild detergent periodically to remove surface soiling and watermarks is all the maintenance that is required.

PVD coatings are now the preferred faucet finish for residential use. Some companies, such as have used nothing else on their fau­cets for a number of years.

Signature Hardware's oil-rubbed bronze is fairly consistent across its product lines, but not perfectly consistent, so use care in matching ORB-finished products.

Faucet Finishes: For more information on faucet finishes, including the technology used to produce them and their durability, see Faucet Basics, Part 5: Finishes and Coatings.

Almost as soon as Ferguson took over Signature Hardware, the faucet warranty was upgraded from 5-years to the "lifetime of the product." The new warranty easily met and even exceeded the minimum requirements for a standard North American faucet warranty. It had (and still has) technical defects, but it signaled the rebirth of the company and got a lot of attention.

Evidently, Ferguson has decided that it has had enough attention. In 2021 the "lifettime of the product" warranty was reduced to a 25-year warranty, still with its technical deficiencies and now not nearly as impressive or attention-getting.

As a practical matter, however, there is not much difference between a lifetime and a 25-year warranty and we do not understand the purpose of the change. Evidently no one at SH understands it either. We could not find anyone at the company that could or would explain it.

Americans tend to move around a lot, more than just about anyone else except New Zealanders. The average American moves 12 times in his or her lifetime, which means a homeowner owns a faucet for about seven years. So, whether a faucet warranty is 25 years or a lifetime makes no difference to most faucet owners.

Still, our rating panel refused to consider a 25-year warranty as equivalent to a lifetime warranty and docked the company one point on its warranty score. Then it put the point back because the Sig­na­ture warranty is a full warranty, not the limited warranty favored by most faucet companies.

A full warranty gives the buyer more protection. The warranty does not exclude consequential and incidental damages from its coverage, so it a Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucet leaks due to a mechanical or manufacturing defect and floods your kitchen, the warranty covers not only the repair or replacement of the faucet but also of the flooring, cabinets and other items damaged in the flood.

A written warranty is by law a supplement to each state's implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for purpose. While these may vary from state to state, they generally provide levels of protection for the consumer beyond what is included in a manufacturer's warranty including the cost of a plumber's labor to repair a defective faucet.

For an examination of the difference between the two types of warranty, see How to Win the Warranty Game). For more complete information on faucet warranties and how to interpret the often arcane language of the typical warranty, see Faucet Basics, Part 6: Understanding Faucet Warranties.

The Signature Hardware warranty has technical problems, however.

It is not well drafted and does not comply with the minimum legal requirements for consumer product warranties specified in the federal Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308). But, these problems are technical, not substantive.

If challenged in court, the warranty would probably be found to have violated federal law, but those violations favor the buyer to the detriment of the company which would most likely end up paying not just damages, but also the buyer's attorney fees. (For more information, see the sidebar: Legal Defects in the Sig­na­ture Hard­ware Warranty.)

The fairly generous warranty does not mean, however, that the consumer has a carte blanche to claim any failure of the faucet as a defect covered by the warranty. The defect causing the failure must be a mechanical or manufacturing defect.

Failures caused by lack of proper maintenance, abuse, improper installation, and so on, are excluded. Faucets also wear out over time and will eventually fail. In scientific circles, this process is known as "negative entropy". Lawyers refer to it as "ordinary wear and tear" while we lowly carpenters call it the "everything eventually turns to crap" rule.

Wearing out, no matter how it is described, is not a defect covered by the warranty. So, if your ceramic cartridge fails after 10 years or so, don't expect Signature Hardware (or any other faucet company) to automatically cough up a replacement. Most likely the company will assume it just wore out unless you can show some specific defect related to its manufacture or material.

In the past, we have found the company's customer and warranty service to be courteous and effective. Pre-sale questions were answered quickly and correctly and post-sale issues such as warranty claims were handled with dispatch. In our last report, we rated it 4.4 on a 5 point scale based on tests conducted four years ago. Anything above 4.0 is acceptable.

Unfortunately, it did not do as well when tested last year. Agent courtesy was high, but product knowledge was not nearly as comprehensive as it was four years ago. One reason is that Sig­na­ture Hard­ware has done away with its cadre of plumbers who were of enormous help with the technical aspects of the company's faucets and with installation issues. But, the major reason is that customer service personnel are not trained on the technical aspects of the faucets.

One example is faucet finishes. We asked one agent about the type of finishing process used on Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucets. She told us that all finishes are electroplatings. Since we know that brass and copper electroplated finishes will tarnish if not protected, we asked if they were lacquered over the electroplating. The agent admitted that polished brass was lacquered, but told our researcher that antique copper did not need a lacquer coating since "copper does not tarnish".

Copper that does not tarnish is new to us (and to the rest of the world), so we called back again the next day. This time an different agent told us that the copper was not actual copper. It was a metal that looked like copper but did not tarnish. (The agent did not know the identity of the mystery metal, however.) A second agent told us that the metal was actually copper and that it is, like polished brass, lacquer-coated.

Seeking to resolve all of this conflicting information, we e-mailed customer support with our questions about finishes in writing. We got an immediate acknowledgment of the receipt of the e-mail and the promise of a prompt response, but we never did get that response.

The next communication from Sig­na­ture Hard­ware was a survey asking us how well customer service handled our request. Since the company had entirely skipped the part where our questions were actually answered, our response to the survey was not glowingly positive.

Customer service also fumbled our questions about the source of the company's faucet cartridges, not knowing the answer and not knowing who to refer us to for an answer.

In our most recent contact with the company to get information for this update, the promised call-back by a supervisor "within 24 to 48 hours" never did happen.

For this report, we have little choice but to lower our customer service rating to 3.2 on a 5 point scale due to lack of product knowledge and failure to communicate. Agents that do not have sufficient technical knowledge about Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucets cannot possibly advise potential buyers about such matters with any accuracy and evidently their supervisors do not have the knowledge either.

However, when it comes to the basics of customer service such as handling returns and warranty claims,customer service does fairly well. We have received no complaints about these aspects of the company's service over the past four years. The Better Business Bureau rates the company an A+ on a scale of A+ to F for satisfactorily handling consumer issues. The company is BBB accredited which entails extensive vetting and a pledge to adhere to very high business standards.

As part of our tests, our return fau­cets to judge the effectiveness of the return process. The returns to Sig­na­ture Hard­ware were promptly handled and the purchase price credited immediately.

Hibiscus bathroom sink faucet in black.

The company is a and Marketeers do not usually have an organized replacement parts program or maintain an extensive inventory of parts for current and discontinued fau­cets. Sig­na­ture Hard­ware's ad hoc solution to the spare parts problem, according to several customer service agents with whom we have spoken, is to scavenge parts from new fau­cets still on the shelf as needed. If the faucet is no longer made, the company will replace a defective faucet during the warranty period with a "comparable" faucet.

We expect parts and components handling to improve under the stewardship of Fer­gu­son Enterprises. Fer­gu­son is a master of replacement parts, and we hope some of that mastery will be transferred to Sig­na­ture Hard­ware.

The company's website was redesigned in 2014 by Magento Commerce as an advanced e-commerce platform and has been tweaked several times since. It is very visual and easy to navigate. The company sells primarily through its own website, so we would expect it to be exceptional, and we were not disappointed.

The product search feature is robust and uses fuzzy search logic. If you mistype a word, it will often find the item anyway. Searches can be filtered by faucet type, handle style, price, and so on to narrow the initial result set. The filters work correctly most of the time.

Non-product searches in the site's knowledge base such as on terms like "warranty" and "returns" were ineffective, pulling up no results.

Searches on finishes, however, were more productive. Finish searches are useful in putting together a coordinated bath or kitchen with all items in the same finish. Single word finish searches (for example, "nickel") returned every product (faucets, drains, accessories, heat registers, hinges, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, etc.) available in the specified finish. For multi-word finishes ("antique copper"), the search algorithm was equally precise.

In a sampling of faucet pages, we found the descriptive information provided for most fau­cets more complete than that provided by most faucet sellers but still missing information that is essential to an informed buying decision.

Specifications, Installation Instructions, and Care Instructions are available for download in .pdf format. Specifications generally add nothing to the descriptive information on the website although many include a dimensioned drawing (which is useful in determining whether the faucet will fit your sink.)

As you select a faucet finish, the image of the faucet changes to show the faucet in the selected finish – a feature that is a great help in visualizing the faucet. Some listings display multiple images of the faucet installed in customer homes, useful in seeing how the faucet would look installed.

Installation instructions are easy to follow, well-illustrated, and comprehensive. Our plumbers rated the installation of our test fau­cets as Very Easy on our four-point scale or Very Hard to Very Easy. For some fau­cets, the installation instructions include an exploded parts diagram. Others do not have the diagram, which is very useful if you ever have to order repair parts or call technical support to discuss how one part fits into another.

The website has deficiencies, however.

There is no information about a faucet's ceramic cartridge other than the fact that it is ceramic. Not helpful. There are good ceramic cartridges and not-so-good ceramic cartridges. To make an informed buying decision you need to know the manufacturer. Otherwise, there is no way to judge the quality of the cartridge.

The type of finish is also not disclosed. The type of finish (electroplated, powder coating, PVD, etc.) is important to the long-term durability of a faucet. If the top (wear) coat of the faucet finish is a lacquer, a powder coat, or anything other than a non-reactive metal, long-term wearability is substantially reduced.

Certifications are also not mentioned in the faucet's description. Some downloaded specifications use symbols to signal that the faucet is certified, but there is no explanation of what the symbols mean.

These are mostly economy and mid-priced fau­cets in the $100-$400 price range. For the price we judge these faucets to be a good value provided: (1) you contact customer service to find out the manufacturer of the cartridge used in the faucet and (2) it is from a manufacturer known to make reliable cartridges.

Faucets are an important part of drinking water systems in North Amer­ica, and every part of a drinking water system is strictly regulated at all levels of government: local, state and federal. All plumbing codes in effect in Can­a­da and the U.S. require fau­cets to meet certain basic standards Note 1 in order to be connected to water supplies (even private water supplies), and state and provincial laws require compliance for the faucet to be sold within the state or province Note 2.

The basic faucet standards and the tests to be used to confirm compliance with the standards are set out in ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1, the joint U.S./Can­a­di­an minimum standards for the safety, integrity, and mechanical reliability of fau­cets, and ANSI/NSF 61/9, the North American "lead-free" and drinking water safety requirements. These include maximum levels of toxins such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Faucets that are not certified compliant with these standards by an independent laboratory may not be legally installed in a drinking water system in the U.S. or Can­a­da.

In addition, U.S. law also requires certification that a faucet meets the water conservation standards imposed by the U. S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act. A faucet that is not certified as meeting water conservation standards cannot be legally "distributed in commerce", which means that it cannot be imported, sold, offered for sale, advertised for sale, or delivered in the United States or its territories. Note 3

Although the company has always claimed to be "committed to doing things the right way," it ignored certification requirements for many years during its pre-Ferguson days and repeatedly lied about it.

The company insisted that its fau­cets were certified and legal to sell and install in North Amer­ica in the face of overwhelming evidence that they were not. The deception went so far as to pass off the listing certificates of other companies as "proof" of its certifications.

When Fer­gu­son bought Sig­na­ture Hard­ware, we fully expected regulatory compliance in short order. It took longer than we anticipated, but at present Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucets are certified to all required North American standards.

Only faucets certified to comply with North A­mer­i­can standards may be legally used in a drinking-water system in any State or Territory of the U.S. or any Canadian Province.

Imported Asian fau­cets comparable to those sold by Sig­na­ture Hard­ware that are fully certified and legal to sell in the U.S. and Can­a­da include

There are good deals to be had on faucets from Sig­na­ture Hard­ware. But, proceed with some caution. We don't know where some of Sig­na­ture Hard­ware'ss faucet cartridges are made, and, the people we talked to at the company don't either.

A faucet is only as good as its cartridge, so find out the manufacturer of the cartridge before you buy, not several years later when it starts to leak. Don't take "I don't know" for an answer. Somebody knows. If it is not a recognized cartridge brand, don't buy the faucet. It's a cartridge of unknown quality. It may be long lived, but it may also be a dud. Without knowing the manufacturer, it is impossible to find out.

See Faucet Basics: Part 2 Faucet Valves & Cartridges for more information on cartridge brands in general and the identify of brands recoginized as being of good quality.

Overall, especially considering the strong faucet warranty, we consider Sig­na­ture Hard­ware faucets to be a good to very good value.

No one here would hesitate to buy most Sig­na­ture faucets for even a busy kitchen or main bath. Considering that five years ago no one here would buy one for any use of any kind, the improvement in the company and its products is remarkable and evidence of the kind of change good management can make in a company almost overnight.

However, do follow our suggestions for buying a faucet to be sure you are getting one that is reliable and meets your needs.

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Sig­na­ture Hard­ware fau­cets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.

Footnotes:

1. Certification for compliance with ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1 and NSF 61/9 is required by all state and provincial plumbing codes in use in North Amer­ica.

2. See e.g. Régie du bâtiment du Québec: "Après le 2 octobre 2008, la vente ou la location de matériaux, d'appareils ou d'équipements destinés à une installation de plomberie qui n'ont pas été certifiés ou agréés par un organisme agréé est interdite." ("After October 2, 2008, the sale or lease of materials, devices or equipment intended for a plumbing facility that have not been certified or approved by an accredited body is prohibited.") (Emphasis supplied)

3. 42 U.S.C. § 6291(16).