Kohler and other Home Depot exclusives

vinjahMay 9, 2011

Wife and I like the Kohler Simplice line of faucets and are debating between single hole (K-596) or a separate control (K-647). Since we were adding a soap dispenser, Kohler pointed us to their K-R648 combination, basically the K-647 with the soap dispenser included and only sold at Home Depot.

My question: is this one of those big-box exclusives where the unit may be of lesser build quality or made with cheaper parts in order to offer a set that is $85 (about 40%) cheaper then the unit prices added together.

I've been told by appliance folks the same model d/w or fridge sold at a local mom & pop shop vs. Lowe's or HD with a small model number difference suggesting that plastic pieces may have been substituted for metal to bring costs down and meet the big-box targets.

Is there a need to worry about this with Kohler or other plumbing manufacturers? The pricing is obviously very attractive.

Thanks in advance.

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The pause button on the handspray wand is very handy, and you don't need to touch the handle as often. You could get a single hole (K-596) and be done with it. The single hole Simplice faucet has a much smaller diameter handle "tube" and that makes it lighter looking, not as heavy as having two pillars on your counter. You don't need to install the plate under it.

As to whether the parts are all the same, ask Kohler. Email them. You may be surprised to receive more than one answer, from different people, who contradict each other. Try the email.

Commercial practices keep on changing, so the only way to know if that particular model being sold today has cheaper innards is to buy it and open it. Or ask and hope they know the right answer. Nonetheless, the faucet is a good one, generally speaking, and I congratulate you on your choice. If you get the black one, it will match the hose.

the consensus in the kitchen forum is that soap dispensers are not all they appear to be. They break often. Ask Kohler if they send free parts for this. Their warranty is not good. You can get a $20 dispenser and consider it a dispensable item. Pun. Simple Human has a portable dispenser with a bamboo cladding around it, and it looks good. (key words = "Simple Human bamboo push pump"). So, whether you get one that goes into a hole in the counter or a countertop one, consider it as temporary.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 1:33AM
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I have worked for both Home Depot and Lowes and my take on the pricing is that they buy faucets by the 1000's and Mom & Pop buy them a few at a time. A buyer will call the manufacturer for a price break if buying 1000 at a time and the manufacturer will gladly cut the pricing. The exclusives from Kohler used to be different handle types, but the same faucet body. Kohler warrenties all faucets sold since 1997 for a life time no drips or leaks and they will send new parts as needed.

Hope that helps


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:23PM
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Thanks a bunch for your thoughts, really helpful information.

It's rather comical, I've had this ongoing email tech thread going with Kohler. Each response gives zero clarification to my question, so I try to ask it ever more simply. After 5 attempts, you really can't reduce the complexity much more.

When asking for the exact dimensions of the 648, I'm directed to a PDF (both online and attached at times) that has the sizing for the 647 and 649, which are the kitchen and bar versions of the Simplice with separate control). So, which one is it most similar to? They keep pointing me to the document and saying the specs are in there. Oh well, I went to HD and picked it up yesterday... I can see why Kohler corporate wouldn't have much on their site regarding the retailer exclusive models.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:55PM
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yes, i have found they like a few others give obtuse answers no matter how much you ask.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Faucet Advice requested at terrylove forum

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 6:36PM
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