HOW to shop for faucet?

teddychicagoFebruary 21, 2009

I have learned on these boards that the big box stores don't always have the best quality faucets. For instance, manufacturers will produce one version for the big box home improvement store and another, better (and more expensive)version for professional distribution. Is that right?

What, then, should I look for in a quality faucet? Is a brass valve body good enough? Ceramic disc valve? Metal or plastic drain?

Basically I know I like a particular Kohler faucet despite looking at other brands. But I want to buy the "right" one, not necessarily the one I saw at EXPO because it's on clearance.

Thanks for any guidance!

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I will tell you what I did, if it's was the right thing to do well who knows? I went to 5-6 local plumbing showrooms. This way I got to pick things up feel them see how heavy they were, see if they were plastic. Get some quotes, get some insight. Once you start looking you can kinda sort out the junk in the bunch. The rep will also help guide you. I also looked into things like is it solid brass, the warranty, and how do you get replacement parts. Hansgrohe, Grohe & Kohler are highly recommended on this site. Danze I have heard good things about in here and I have also had 1 local rep say (I personally think she was pushing hansgrohe) not so nice things. But I have heard that they replace things if there is any problem and something about lifetime replacement cartridges. I called Danze and he said you just call em and they send it out. I liked the Style of the Danze Sirius and it is at a good price point, not cheep but less then the others. My shower is a mixed bag of brands. I went with the Danze for it's styling with the Thermostatic and volume controls, Aquabrass for the rainshower, Brizo for my shower bar and handheld. I went with chrome for a more contemporary style so color matches were not an issue. One thing to note you can get really good prices on line but if you shop enough locally (at least in my case) and get a nice rep you can get really close to the internet prices and it is nice to support your local businesses.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:07AM
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jjaazzy is right on the money in my opinion. When we went to replace the sorry Kohler kitchen pull down faucet we had a friend in the business recommended Grohe and then laid several brands out and allowed me to touch, hold, lift and otherwise examine all the aspects and then he explained the differences. It didnt take long to see that the Grohe was the best quality over all. I will tell you that even though we didnt buy it when it came to price points the Danze was a close second at a far less price and some great styling.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:22PM
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I considered Danze for a while - great styling and price point, and good specs, at least on paper. I did hear some problems with quality control with them.

Basically, I would want to stick with one of the known-to-be-good brands like Grohe or Hansgrohe for things that go in the wall (like shower controls). I'd be okay with Danze and such for things that are easily replaceable (like sink faucets).

I got Hansgrohe for my shower controls, Kohler for my tub drain, and LaToscana for my sink faucet. (Fell in love with it at Expo. ;-))

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 6:12PM
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Thanks for the tips.

I am unsure how to proceed because it's the STYLE of this particular Kohler faucet (Fairfax single lever, no escutcheon plate), that I like and have not been able to match with Grohe, Toto or Hansgrohe.

I did see a somewhat similar American Standard model (Standard collection) but just didn't like it as much as the Kohler.

So I just buy on looks alone? Do I keep looking? What would you do?

Do you know other brands with quality as good as Grohe, Hansgrohe, or Toto, but styling much more traditional but still single lever? Thank you!!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:37PM
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The Kohler Fairfax came with my current house. The faucet is not very high quality. It was a year old when I moved in and I have used it for about 3 years. It leaks and the movement of the handle is not very smooth. There are several Hansgrohe that have the same handle movement but don't have the traditional styling of the Fairfax. I believe there is a Grohe that looks very similar. Look at Rohl for another option.

good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:52PM
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My plumber told me a long time ago that faucets from the big box stores are not of the same quality as what you'd get in the same model from a local plumbing supply. I believe it, but if this is the case, then how can you be sure that what you get when ordering online and paying so much less $$ is not the same inferior product you'd get at HD or Lowe's?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I found a link that was circulated some time ago on this forum and helped me when I chose our Graff faucets (very happy about the quality of their products and they got a fairly high review). I've put the link below

One way I have been able to save money is to buy the sinks, faucets and accessories all from one source in a "package". For example when we bought our copper sinks a few years ago (Copper Sinks Online), we saved 10% on the entire order by buying everything together. We are in the midst of two bath projects and I am doing the same thing right now and have narrowed my choice down to a company called Sinks Gallery who is doing the same thing - offering us a package deal on everything by buying it together.

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Faucet Ratings

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:27PM
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Flyinghigh, thanks for the faucet ratings! It's been very helpful, esp since I found the Jado faucet brand by googling "victorian single level bath faucet" and it's highly rated. And they have a faucet I like.

Homepro, thanks for the tip on the Kohler Fairfax. I really like the style but found a similar look in a Jado faucet (Classic Victorian) and it's rated better on flyinghigh's link.

Susan, I totally agree - how ARE you supposed to tell the difference when ordering online? That's why I asked here about what I should look for. But it's hard to do that without feeling the faucet, reading the box, etc...

I am grateful for everyone's input. And... if anyone has any real life experience with Jado faucets, please share! Thanks :)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:17PM
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You are correct that the home centers often carry and inexpensive exclusive line. Those are usually made with plastic parts. Since, they are exclusive to Home Depot, Lowes or Menards they are not available on other internet sites. So, the good news is almost any other online faucet retailer carries the "Firsts" and they are the same ones you would get from a plumber or plumbing supply shop. I am from Designer Plumbing Outlet DPO. However, there are many retailers to shop from including,,, I think we have the best site, but I am biased. LOL. I hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Faucet

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:31AM
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There is lots of great information here. I tend to go to the distributor's website, then visit a showroom to make sure that what I saw online is really what I want in my home.

Once I do that I usually find a good price online, then see if the showroom will match it since that way I don't have to pay for shipping.

I also agree that GRAFF makes great faucets, and some of the best contemporary faucets as well. Here's a link to their site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Contemporary Faucets

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 3:32PM
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