Faucet Basics: A Homeowner's Guide
How to Buy a Faucet


Choosing a faucet is to a large extent a process of elimination. Typically your range of choice is limited by budget, style and finish. Your budget may eliminate the very high end choices, and your need for reliability should exclude the very low end faucets.

You should not even consider a faucet that has not been certified as required by your local or state plumbing code. Uncertified faucets may not be lead free and cannot lawfully be installed in your house.

You certainly want your faucet to match the style of your home. A contemporary faucet in a cape cottage or Arts & Crafts house may not be a good fit style-wise. But, even after you have eliminated the faucets you definitely do not want, there are still many considerations to think about.

How Much Should a Good Faucet Cost?


A manufacturer's list price is a good indicator of the esteem in which a company holds its own products, but not necessarily of their market value. Prices of many faucets, especially high-end faucets, are discounted steeply by retailers and suppliers. The prices you should be interested in (and the prices we publish in our reviews) are the actual "street" prices at which a faucet can be purchased.

It is entirely possible to pay more than $20,000 for a faucet, but also possible to buy a good, well-made, stylish faucet for less than $100.00. Forget the style, and a solid, all brass faucet from a reputable company can be had for $35.00. Street prices for faucets these days are all over the place. Alternative retailing through the internet has created tremendous price pressure on established local retailers. For value received, faucet prices have never been lower.

"Top of Mind" Faucet Brand Awareness
Survey Results


Our survey question — When you think "faucet", what is the first faucet brand that comes to mind. — was answered by 1,771 readers. Discounting multiple answers from the same reader, blanks, and nonsense responses, here are the results. (The totals may not sum to exactly 100% due to rounding error.)

Rank Manufacturer Percent
1 30.97%
2 24.15%
3 21.49%
4 6.73%
5 2.15%
6 1.43%
7 1.00%
8 0.86%
9 0.72%
10 (tied) 0.57%
0.57%
0.57%
11 0.53%
12 (tied) 0.43%
0.43%
0.43%
0.43%
13 (Tied) 0.29%
0.29%
0.29%
0.29%
0.29%
0.29%
0.29%
14 (Tied) 0.14%
0.14%
0.14%
0.14%
0.14%
0.14%
0.14%
15 All Other 4.01%

The brand awareness survey reveals no surprises. The top three faucet makers — Moen, Delta, and Kohler — are still in the order in which they appeared in survey results in 2011, and are still the top brands in the minds of over 75% of potential customers. Importers of Chinese and Taiwanese faucets 6%, The hundreds of other brands, including the upscale European brands, divide the remaining 19%.

Grohe has always placed in the top ten, but for the first time since the survey was first conducted in 2007, a second European faucet, Hansgrohe, also placed in the top 10. So did a store brand faucet, Glacier Bay, for the first time ever. Glacier Bay is sold by Home Depot. Elkay dropped out of the top ten, while Pfister held its 5th ranked position although its overall scoring dropped slightly.

Overall, little changed from the 2011 survey, which suggests that consumer brand awareness is rather stable and changes but very slowly over time.

Thanks for Your Help
T hanks and a big tip of the hard-hat to the many readers who suggested improvements to this page. Most of the suggested changes have now been incorporated.

Our gratitude also to all who wrote in to suggest faucet lines that we ought to review. We regret that we cannot, however, review every faucet made. We limit our reviews to faucet lines with which we have some experience. There are literally hundreds of boutique faucet suppliers, and some major manufacturers that we don't know anything about simply because we have never bought one of their faucets. We do not mean to imply that by leaving a faucet out of these ratings the faucet is a bad product. It means only that we just don't know enough about the faucet to rate it. We appreciate the feedback, however, so keep it coming.

If you are a faucet manufacturer and feel we made factual mistakes about your company or products or have not treated your company or products fairly, let us know your specific objections and we will reexamine our review. Anything you write, however, is subject to being reprinted by us on this web site for public view.

Contact us at Faucet Reviews.

Under $100


As a general rule faucets priced below $100.00 are suspect. They probably contain critical parts made of zinc or a zinc alloy, or worse plastic. But, if you are careful, you can find good, all brass faucets for less than $100.00. You just have to know what you are looking for. The golden rule of faucet buying is that "weight equals quality". A heavy faucet means that its all metal with little or no plastic. A true, thick-walled brass faucet like one from can tip the scale at a hefty 9 lbs. or more. To see how much a good faucet should weigh, ask the sales clerk for a brass hose bibb — the faucet used outside your house. Your faucet should weight at least this much.

We usually go the extra step of taking the faucet apart to see what it's made of. If its all brass, we burn a little incense to the fickle gods of good bargains. If it's plastic, we take it back.

We won't immediately veto a faucet that contains a little zinc. It depends on what part is zinc. A zinc handle or plate is not a deal killer. Zinc body or spout, toss it back in the sales bin. How to tell if it's zinc? Unscrew the and peak inside the spout (a keychain flashlight might be useful here). If it is "brassy" or brown, it's brass. If it's gray or silvery, it's zinc.

$100 - 300


Most faucets priced between $100.00 and $300.00 are going to give good service for many years. The key is good materials — brass and stainless steel — and a known brand name.

The faucets at the lower end of this range tend to be the traditional, established styles, while those at the upper end are often somewhat more au courant. Generally, the innards are about the same, so the quality of a tested and certified faucet at this level is rarely an issue.

Getting parts might be. If the faucet fails, you will want to know that the company that made it will still be in business and any necessary repair parts are still available.

Over $300


Above $300.00 you are paying a premium for style, status, finish, a prestige brand name, boutique manufacturing and/or small production runs. The quality of the mechanics of the faucet will probably not be much better than a faucet you can buy for less than $300.00, and in some cases are actually worse.

Even at this level, prices run the gamut. Just for fun, we priced a KWC kitchen faucet that we know to be a good quality faucet. The price ranged from $300.00 to $805.00 from reputable on-line retailers.

High-style faucets produced in limited runs tend to cost more, which is why a faucet mass-produced by faucet, although the quality of both faucet lines is generally very good.

Made in North America


If you are interested in buying an North-American-made faucet, there are a few things you should know.

First, disregard the popular notion that almost nothing is manufactured in the U.S.A. or Canada these days. Not true, at least when it comes to faucets.

Some manufacturing has been moved overseas, but scads of excellent faucets are still manufactured by U.S. and Canadian companies in North America — faucets equal in quality and craftsmanship to any in the world. In fact, and here's a shocker: Most of the faucets sold in the North America are still manufactured or assembled in North America. Foreign-manufactured faucets account for less than 25% of faucet sales in the U.S. and Canada.

Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to tell which faucets are made here. Companies that have moved their manufacturing overseas often take great pains to "de-emphasize" the fact.

for example, despite its name and long and distinguished history as a pioneering U.S. sanitary wares manufacturer, does not manufacture or even assemble a single faucet in the U.S. or Canada. It is now a Japanese-owned company, and while it still designs its faucets at its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, they are assembled in Mexico from components made mostly in China. American Standard no onger has any faucet factories in the U.S. or Canada. They have all been closed at the cost or thousands of good American manufacturing jobs.

(formerly Price-Pfister), although still American-owned (by Spectrum Brands — those wonderful people who bring you the George Foreman Grill and Dingo Dog Treats), also does not manufacture any Pfister faucets in the U.S. or Canada. Price-Pfister once owned the largest foundry west of the Mississippi, in Pacoima, California, that manufactured Price-Pfister faucets for most of 40 years, making 1,500 faucets a day at its peak and employing 1,600 Americans. Faucets it now sells in North America are manufactured by overseas contract manufacturers, mostly in Mexico and China, and imported.

On the other hand, a Japanese manufacturer, assembles hundreds of its sanitary ware products in the U.S. Dozens of Toto's sinks, toilets and bath accessories quality as "Made in U.S.A". Go figure! All of its faucets, however, are made in China, and imported.

Many traditional U.S. faucet companies are still manufacturing, or at least, assembling faucets, in the U.S. including the old standards: as are some excellent, but less well-known old line American faucet companies like and some up-and-coming newcomers such as

Brasstech, the Masco manufacturing company, assembles and finishes its faucets in the U.S., although from mostly Chinese components.

Canadian faucet manufacturers are still going strong, just not as strong as they once were. Canadian manufacturers include: Not a single Grohe faucet is now manufactured in the U.S. or Canada.

But, many Canadian faucet companies no longer manufacture in Canada, if they ever did.

When is it Made in North America?


There is no U. S. or Canadian law that requires faucets to disclose the amount of domestic content. Many companies do so, however, for advertising and marketing purposes. The "Made in USA" and "Product of Canada" labels still count for something. If a company voluntarily discloses its products' content, then it must comply with the "Made in USA" policy of the Federal Trade Commission or the Competition Bureau of Canada.

To qualify for a "Made in USA" or "Product of Canda" sticker on the box, a faucet must be “all or virtually all” made in the respective country. This means, at minimum, that…
• The final assembly that results in the "substantial transformation" of the faucet into its finished form must be done on U.S. or Canadian soil.
For example, it is not sufficient if all the company does is attach handles to a foreign-made faucet, because the resulting transformation is not "substantial". The faucet was already a faucet before the handles were attached. It was not transformed into a faucet by the final assembly.

• The faucet must contain "all or virtually all" U. S. or Canadian made components.
While some incidental parts may be made elsewhere, the critical parts must be made here. For "Made in USA" claims, the FTC's enforcement policy allows only a "de minimis or negligible amount of foreign content." For example, a faucet may have "hot" and "cold" label buttons made elsewhere and probably still be "Made in USA". But, if its handles, cartridge or body were manufactured outside the country, it is not made in U.S.A. because these are critical parts of a faucet, and not at all de minimis. The Canadian rule is similar. The Competion Bureau requies that "all or virtually all (at least 98%) of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the faucet have been incurred in Canada."
For well over a century American Standard was an American company.

No longer. Today the American Standard brand in America is owned by LIXIL Group, the giant Japanese building products company. But American Standard takes great pains to hide the fact that it is foreign owned, and that it manufactures almost all of its products outside the U.S.

For example, American Standard released this circular in a press kit. (Click to enlarge the image so you can read it). The item shown is one of only SIX plumbing products American Standard still manufactured at the time in the U.S., out of the thousands it sells here. Over 99.99% of its manufacturing is overseas — mostly in Mexico and China. Even this toilet is no longer made here. The plant in Nevada, MO, was shuttered soon after this ciecular was released.

American Standard Brand companies have exported nearly 30,000 American manufacturing jobs.

If American Standard really wants to make a contribution to American “economic prosperity”, as this press release suggests, it should bring those 30,000 jobs back home.

And, we should do our part, as suggested by American Standard, by buying from a company that still makes its products here — in the U.S.A. — Like Brizo, Delta, Moen, Symmons and Chicago Faucets. See the list below.

Buy American, not American Standard.


Still Made in the U.S.A.


Quite a few faucets are still manufactured, or at least assembled, in the United States. Many traditional faucet suppliers have reduced their domestic manufacturing, but most still retain at least some U.S. factories. Here are the faucet manufacturers still making their faucets in America.

Assembled in North America


A faucet that includes substantial foreign content may be marked "Assembled in USA" when it has undergone its final assembly in the United States. The assembly must result in a "substantial transformation" of the faucet. Merely adding a few parts to the finished faucet, or bolting a few major components together — so-called "screwdriver assembly" does not qualify.

Manufacturers may also use "Made in USA of Imported Materials" or a similar qualifying language to describe a faucet assembled in the U.S. As a consumer you must remember that anything other than an unqualified "Made in USA" claim actually means "Assembled in USA" no matter how clever the qualifying language — "90% Made in USA" just means "Assembled in U.S.A.", nothing more.

Did you know that...


Canada manufactures more submarines than any other country except China, Russia and the U.S., and that most of its submarines are privately owned?

Do you know what Canadian company owns them?

The equivalent, but somewhat stricter, Canadian mark is "Made in Canada". A faucet is "Made in Canada" if at least 51% of the cost of manufacturing the faucet is incurred in Canada, the faucet receives it "final assembly" in Canada. The claim must be accompanied by a qualifying statement such as: "Made in Canada from imported parts" or "Made in Canada with domestic and imported content".

"Buy American" Laws
The federal Buy American Act (BAA), first enacted in 1933 in response to the first Great Depression and last amended in 2009 in response to the Great Recession, requires products and materials purchased by the Federal Government or used in federally funded public works projects have "substantial" American content. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act applies similar (although not exactly the same) rules to economic recovery projects funded under the Act.

Manufacturers wishing to provide products or materials to the U.S. government or for public works projects have to identify those that comply with ARRA/BAA requirements. These lists are available, usually by merely asking for them. While the requirements for domestic content under ARRA/BAA are not exactly the same as the Made in USA requirements of the FTC, they are close, and any item on an ARRA/BAA list is likely to be at minimum "assembled" in the U.S.

Of course, some companies cheat. Home Depot is was sued for passing off some China-made products as ARRA/BAA compliant, and Fastenal has paid a multi-million dollar fine for the same offense. But, generally the ARRA/BAA lists are reliable. Keep in mind that these are usually not very descriptive. Often they are just lists of model numbers. But, if you have a faucet in mind and want to check it for Made in America, the lists are useful. Many companies publish them on the company web site. For others, you will have to ask customer service for an e-mail copy.

Choosing a Faucet


Now that we have a good grasp of faucet prices, style, configuration, certifications, finishes, warranties and how to determine made in U.S.A. status, we can go ahead a choose a faucet. If you have not read the previous seven sections. You should go back where you left off, and resume.

There are still a few things to consider, however.

Choose the Sink, Faucet and Countertop Together


There are many more faucet styles than there are sink styles. It's much easier to match a faucet to a sink than it is to match a sink to a faucet, so choose your sink first, then your faucet. Then go back and review your sink choice.

Most drop-in sinks have a ledge at the back with one or more mounting holes for the faucet. The number of mounting holes must fit the faucet. If you have selected a single-hole faucet, you don't want a 5-hole sink. You have to cover those extra holes with hole covers, which is unsightly. If your faucet requires three holes, but your sink has just one, you are going to have a mighty agitated plumber, although most plumber know how to punch a hole in stainless sink. If the sink is cast iron, you are just plain out of luck. Hope you kept the receipt.

If your sink is an undermount style, then the faucet will most likely mount through the countertop next to the sink. If your countertop is laminate or solid surfacing like Corian it can be drilled at the time it is installed. But, if it is stone or an engineered product, it may have to be drilled at the fabricator's shop before it is delivered.

Reach and Clearance


The faucet you choose should swing in an arc large enough to dispense water to a good portion of the sink's basin(s). This is the faucet's "reach", and it is determined by the horizontal distance from the spout opening to where it joins to the faucet base. This dimension will be printed in the faucet's specifications.

The faucet should also be tall enough so that you can fit your largest pot under the spout for filling. This is called the faucet's "clearance" and it is measured from the base of the faucet to the highest point of the spout's arch. You then need to add the depth of the sink to that measurement. If the faucet's clearance is 8" and your sink is 6" deep, the tallest pot you can fill is 14" (actually about 13", you need some room to maneuver the pot).

Keep in mind, however, that pull-out faucets and faucets with side sprays greatly extend both reach and clearance and may eliminate any problems. Just place the pot on the side of the sink, and fill it with the hose.

Another option is a pot filler faucet. These are faucets installed over the range so you can fill a large pot without having to then lug it from the sink to the stove. We seldom install them because we don't like them. Putting a faucet over an expensive range without any means of draining the water is to us just a tad short of insanity, especially if you have children in the house who like to "experiment".
 

Say "No" to Plastic


Plastic has no place in a fixture meant to give many, many years of trouble-free operation. Look for all metal construction — by that we mean only brass and stainless steel. Even avoid a plastic handle. (Acrylic plastic faceted handles imitate fine crystal glass handles on very high-end faucets, but turn yellow and harbor mold). You can usually tell a good all-metal faucet by its weight. It's heavy and feels solid. If you are not sure how heavy it should feel, ask the clerk to see a hose bibb (the outside faucet your hose attaches to). These are almost always heavy, solid brass. Your faucet should be at least this heavy. Test the faucet out of the box. There are often heavy things in the box (a hose weight, for example) that are not part of the actual faucet.

If parts of the body, spout or handles are made of plastic, you can feel the difference. Metal feels cold to the touch, plastic does not. Watch out for pull-down, pull-out sprays. Increasingly the heads are made of plastic. Manufacturers will tell you that plastic is better because it does not get hot and is more comfortable to hold. Plastic is not better, and we are finding quite a few problems with the new plastic spay heads.

If you are looking at single handle faucets with a ceramic cartridge, you may not be able to avoid plastic. It seems that all ceramic mixing cartridges for single handle faucets are now made mostly of plastic. Some feature a metal stem, and if you have a choice of a metal or plastic stem, choose metal every time. Because the cartridges are plastic, it is important that they meet or exceed the life-cycle standard of 500,000 on/off cycles specified in ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1. So, make certain the faucet is certified to U.S./Canadian standards.

Smooth Operation


Turn the handle(s) full on and full off. The operation should be smooth with no hitches, and certainly no scratching or grinding noises. If the handle seems to bind or stiffen in certain positions, there is probably a problem with the faucet. Leave it alone.

Firmly Attached Pull-Out


Make sure any spout pull-out device operates smoothly without catching. It may be hard to tell before it is installed, however, because the hose counter-weight is not fitted until installation. Any pull-out spout can be damaged if it is pulled too far and too hard. You probably won't do this, but your children will. Look for a solid metal-to-metal attachment. No pull-out is immune to damage, but well-attached hoses resist damage better. Just look, don't yank. If you break it, you have probably just selected your next faucet. The faucet industry has been slow to adopt PEX as a hose material, but it is slowly coming around. PEX is considerably stronger than the rubber and cord hoses now the standard.

A Lifetime Valve


Just about any faucet-buying advice you will read other than ours will tell you that the style and finish of a faucet are the most important elements to look for. (See, e.g. "Before Buying That New Faucet, Think Finish First", HGTV). Certainly they are important. But, the critical element is the faucet valve. The valve is what makes your faucet work. If it fails, you don't have a faucet, you have a stylish, nicely finished chunk of useless metal. So, if you want reliable performance year after year after year, a good valve is essential.

If possible, get a valve that is all brass, aluminum or stainless steel. These materials are the most durable. Zinc or ZAMAC is acceptable, if not as durable. If you are shopping for a two-handle faucet, all metal cartridges are still widely available. If you are considering a single-handle faucet with a mixing cartridge, your choices are more limited. Most cartridges for single handle mixing faucets are now all plastic, or plastic with a metal stem. The metal stem is preferred. Only one cartridge maker that we know of still uses brass bodies, Fluehs, and it still uses some plastic in it mixer cartridge.


Never buy a faucet you have never heard of.

Unknown brands have often justly earned their obscurity.


Jerry Francis Leonard, Master Plumber
Next, find out the life cycle rating of the cartridge. The fact that a faucet valve is "certified" is not enough information. You need to know by what standard. A cartridge should be certified under the U.S.-Canadian standard (See "Make Sure the Faucet Is Certified" below) which requires a life cycle test of 500,000 on/off cycles without failure. A faucet certified to meet the requirements of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), Canadian National Plumbing Code (NPC) or the International Plumbing Code (IPC) has passed this test. Many cartridges used in foreign-made faucets are rated under the European EN817 (CE/EU) or Chinese GB18145-2003 standard that requires a paltry 70,000 on/off cycles.

Finding the actual cartridge manufacturer is a little trickier. We like to know if a cartridge is made by a known manufacturer with a good reputation. If the online documentation is silent about the origin of the cartridge, we call customer service and ask. If the faucet uses a name-brand cartridge, the customer service rep will tell us right away. Companies that use a well-known cartridge like to talk about it, sometimes at great length. If customer service does not want to talk about the cartridge or has no information about the cartridge, we assume it is an off-brand.

As a last resort, we go to the store, haul out our handy pocket screwdriver and take the faucet apart to look at the identifying codes that are usually printed or engraved on the cartridge. This requires some agility and at least two people: one to do the work, and one to stand lookout. Store clerks can go a little nutso if they catch us at it, so one guy has to fend him off while the other dissects the faucet.

Another way, less adventuresome, of finding a faucet with a good valve, is read our faucet ratings at Faucet Reviews and Ratings . We identify the faucet companies that use well-known valves and cartridges by researching each company's valves. Usually we can find out where the valves come from and who makes them. Then we tell you. But, sometime we can't, and we tell you that, too, and it generally means a generic, often Chinese, cartridge. We suggest you pick another brand.

Certified Safe, Lead-Free and Reliable


All faucets sold or installed in the U.S. or Canada must be certified safe, lead-free and reliable. A faucet that is not certified cannot be lawfully imported, sold, offered for sale or installed in either country. Twenty years ago, it was nearly impossible to buy an uncertified faucet. They were simply not sold here. Today it is a different story. Uncertified faucets are widely available. Our research has shown that over 70% of the faucets sold on internet venues such as Amazon, Sears.com, DHGate and Rakuten are uncertified, and therefore illegal for sale. All of these sites have policies against the sale of unlawful merchandise, and none of them seem to enforce the policy when it comes to faucet sales.

What we did find on some of these sites, such as DHGate, was wholesale mis-branding, with Chinese faucets being falsely identified as Delta, Moen and Kohler faucets.

Builder sites such as Faucets Direct and Faucet Warehouse do a better job of screening out uncertified faucets. They seldom appear on those sites, and when they do are immediately removed once we point them out. On-line sites connected with big lumber stores: Home Depot, Lowes and Menards also do a good job of keeping uncertified products from being sold, as do Ace, True Value and Do-It-Best hardware store sites.

On-line auction sites such as e-Bay are some of the worst offenders, even though they also have policies prohibiting the sale of unlawful merchandise. In a count conducted in April, 2016, we found 63% of the new-in-the-box lavatory faucets offered for sale on e-Bay were illegal to sell in the U.S. or Canada. In many listings the brand name of the faucet was omitted — a sure sign that the faucet is illegal — and some listings go so far as to proclaim that certification "does not apply" to the faucet.

But, the worst offenders of all are internet retail sites originating in China. These sites totally disc regard U.S. and Canadian laws regarding certification. We found no certified faucets at all on AliExpress, LightInTheBox, or FaucetSuperDeal, even though these sites target U.S. and Canadian customers, even going so far as to establish fulfillment centers in the U.S. to reduce shipping time.

So, where can you be sure that the faucet you are buying is legal in the U.S. and Canada? First, most faucets made or assembled in the U.S., or Canada are legal. There is one exeption, however. All of the German and Italian faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada are legal.

But, while many Chinese- and Taiwanese-made faucet brands are careful to comply with U.S. and Canadian laws, many do not bother. And, determining whether a brand of Asian faucet is legal for sale in North America often requires a lot of sleuthing. But, the best course is just common sense. If you have never heard of a brand, check it out thoroughly. Our faucet reviews can help. We identify faucets that are being sold unlawfully without certifications or compliance with federal regulations. If the faucet is a brand you have never heard of, or worse, being sold with no brand name mentioned, avoid it like cholera. This is especially true if the faudet is being sold through an on-line auction site like e-Bay or an internet general merchandiser like Amazon. A no-name faucet from one of these sites is almost guaranteed to be uncertified.

Never buy an uncertified faucet. Certification is the only way to tell if a faucet is free of toxic materials and safe to use. All plumbing codes in use in the U.S. and Canada require that a faucet be tested and certified to meet both ASME A112.18.1/CAS B125.1 (safety and reliability) na ANSI/NSF 61/9 (lead-free) standards. Without certification you also don't know anything about how a faucet is likely to function over the long term. Certification testing ensures that a faucet meets at least a minimum standard of robustness and durability. With an untested, uncertified faucet, you can't possibly have any idea how well it will function.

There are two ways you can do so. The easy way is to read our review of the faucet. We will tell you what certifications the company has. Or, you can ask customer service for a copy of the ASME A112.18.1/CAS B125.1 (safety and reliability) certification and the ANSI/NSF 61/9 lead-free certification. A faucet must have both. If the customer service rep does not know about certifications, or cannot e-mail you the certification documents, pass it by. It's not certified. We always ask the customer service rep to circle or highlight the model name or number of the faucet on the certification sheet.

Beware, however, of forged and altered certification documents. They are common. Unscrupulous sellers such as commonly provide altered or forged certificates or try to pass off a certificate from a totally different company as proof that their faucets are certified. False certificates are getting to be a real problem.

To view an altered certificate and compare it to a real certificate, click here.

Easy to Clean


Look for a faucet that is easy to clean. You have to be able to get your fingers in those small recesses. Remember that even the most stylish faucet does not look so good crusted and rusted. Finger prints can be a problem with some faucet finishes. Polished stainless steel is a particular culprit, but almost all highly polished faucet finishes will show finger prints and water spots that have to be wiped off from time to time. Some manufacturers recommend using a household wax on the faucet to reduce spotting and finger prints. (Before you do this, go to the faucet seller's web site to see if a specific wax is recommended. Using the wrong wax may void your warranty.)

Living finishes will show dirt ,oil from your hands and from cooking, water spots, staining, fading and color changes. None of this is a problem because that's what they are supposed to do. In a sense, living finishes are the easiest to take care of because you don't have to take care of them. They are supposed to look like they are not being taken care of. It's a part of the finish. However, a little wax will also help keep water spotting to a minimum. Use the wax the faucet company recommends.

Most manufacturers publish maintenance and cleaning procedures for their faucets which should be followed. Almost all recommend against harsh detergents and any sort of scouring — both of which can ruin a finish very quickly. We find the original Windex to be an effective cleaner that does no harm.

Select a faucet that matches your personal style, but still is easy to maintain and keep spotless with just a little effort.

Step by Step Guide to Buying a Faucet


Now that you have read all of the parts of this article, starting here, you have all the information you will need to select a faucet that will give you a lifetime of reliable, trouble-free service. Now let's walk through the actual process of buying a faucet.

ActionResult
1 Read all of the sections of this multi-part article on faucets, starting here. Already read them? Great! You are ready to buy a faucet. You now have the basic information needed to buy a good, reliable faucet that will give you a lifetime of trouble-free service.
2Select a faucetFollow the guidelines on this page to choose a faucet that meets your needs.
3 Read our review of the faucet company Basic information about the company that will help you decide whether its faucets are something you will be comfortable buying as a lifetime investment. If after reading the review, you are not confident in the company, bo back to Step 2 and choose another faucet.
4 Go to the company web site and read the faucet warranty. Sometimes these are hard to find. If you can't find it, or its not on the web site, call customer service and ask for an e-mailed copy. You will be able to find out how confident the company is in the durability, reliability and longevity of its faucets, and if its faucets have any weak points that might cause the faucet to fail. Anything less than a lifetime warranty should be suspect. If you do not know how to analyze a warranty, go back and re-read Faucet Basics: Faucet Warranties. If the company will not provide you with a pre-sale copy of its warranty on the faucet of your choice, go back to Step 2 and choose a faucet from another company.
5 Call Customer Service to get the following information: Calling customer service pre-purchase will give you an preview of how easy the company is to deal with — information you will want to have in case you have to get a part or make a warranty claim in the future. Look especially for long hold times and representatives that don't seem to know much about the products the company sells.
A. In what country was the faucet manufactured?
Anything but a straight answer should be suspect. Be especially wary of the evasive or equivocal answer like: "This faucet is made in several countries, so we don't know". If you can't get a straight answer, go back to Step 2 and choose another faucet. If the company says the faucet was made in Wisconsin, but the box it comes in says "Made in China", don't hesitate to send it back. It has been misrepresented.
B. Copies of the Certificates of Listing for the faucet model you are looking to purchase.



To see what a valid Certificate of Listing looks like, click here (.pdf).



To see what a forged or altered Certificate of Listing looks like, click here (.pdf). This altered listing certificate was e-mail to our reviewer by to prove the certification of its faucets. Not only was it altered to erase the name of the company that actually received the certification, it is not even a certificate for faucets. It certifies stainless steel sinks.
Unless you are totally comfortable with the faucet company's reputation, you should get a copy of the Certificate of Listing showing the faucet model you are considering for purchase has been tested and complies with the two mandatory standards for faucets sold in North America: ASME A 112.18.1/CSA B125.1 for overall safety and reliability and with the lead-free requirements of ANSI/NSF 61.9. These are usually two separate certificates. We usually ask the agent to circle or highlight the model number or name on the certificate so we can easily spot it without having to wade through dozens, if not hundreds of model names or numbers.

If the company cannot provide a certificate for each standard clearly showing the model name or number of the faucet you are considering for purchase, pass it by. It's very likely not certified no matter how often or how loudly the customer service rep says it is. To see what a Certificate of Listing looks like, click here for an example from IAPMO, the most widely used certifying agency, for faucets. Other certifying organizations have slightly different certificates.

Be wary of forged or altered certificates. Any valid certificate will have the company's name at the top, and indication of the standard used for testing (ASME A 112.18.1/CAS B125.1 or ANSI/NSF 61.9) and the actual model name or number of the faucet you are considering for purchase. If any of those three things is missing, it is probably not a certificate for that faucet model. If you are buying from Acme Faucet Company, but the name at the top of the certificate is Szechuan Wang Shu Happy Golden Faucets Company, it may be a valid certificate for Wamg Shu, but not for Acme. Some faucet companies will try to pass off a certificate for another company as their own.

If you think you got a forged or altered certificate, e-mail it to us, and we will check it out.
6 Calculate the price-to-value (P/V) score for each faucet model you are considering for purchase. If you are comparing two or more faucets, calculate the price-to-value (P/V) score of each faucet to determine which is the better value. Get the average company rating from our review of the faucet company. Divide the average rating by the price of the faucet and multiply the result by 100 (PV=R÷P×100).

For example where Faucet A has a company rating of 6-7, and Faucet B has a company rating of 7-9, then
Faucet Average Rating (R) ÷ Price (P) ×  100 PV Score
A (6+7)÷2 = 6.5 ÷ $400.00 ×  100 =  1.625
B (7+9)÷2 = 8 ÷ $475.00 ×  100 =  1.684
Even though Faucet B is more expensive, it is likely to be of better quality to offset its higher price, and has the higher price-to-value score, so it is the better buy.
7 Pay for the faucet with a credit card, not a debit card, check or cash. Most likely, since you have carefully selected a faucet using all of the information to be found in these articles, your faucet will arrive in working order with all of its parts. But, if it does not, then your first recourse it to contact the seller and get a replacement or refund. But, if the seller is not willing to make it right, you are entitled to cancel the credit card transaction. Credit card purchases are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This law, administered by the Federal Trade Commission, gives the consumer the right to withhold payment on a misrepresented, poor-quality or damaged merchandise purchased with a credit card. Contact your credit card company for the complaint form to fill out. Some allow you to fill it out on line.
8 Inspect the Faucet and read the installation instructions When you receive the faucet, open the box to make certain all of the parts have been provided. This may require you or your plumber to read the installation instructions. If anything is missing, a call to customer service will often get you the missing parts in a few days. But, also read the installation instructions to see if they are intelligible. International companies such as often use pictures and diagrams in place of text. If you can't figure out the instructions, most likely your plumber can't either.
9 Save the paperwork Once your new faucet is installed, put the installation instructions, warranty certificate, receipt, spare parts, special tools and the installer's business card in a plastic baggy and tape it to the back of the sink cabinet (or hang it on a hook).

If your faucet breaks, you have all the information you will need to make a warranty claim. And, even if you forget where you put it, the plumber will find it soon enough when he starts work on your defective faucet.


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Rev: 08/14/15