We all know that quality matters, especially when choosing a new faucet. But it’s not always true that you get what you pay for, and sometimes, even something suspiciously cheap can end up being a great deal. So how can you know what to pick? The answer is simple (albeit a bit boring): do the research!
Some questions to ask, regardless of price:
1. Can you find repair parts? All faucets need repair eventually, and unless you plan on simply replacing your faucet when it begins to leak, you’ll need to know you can get the parts to fix it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be able to find them everywhere, but you need to have a reliable source. Online plumbing supply retailers are good if they’ve been around for a significant amount of time and offer parts for the faucets they carry. If you can’t easily find repair parts for a given faucet, look for another one.
2. Does the retailer know anything about the brand or manufacturer? Store brands can be acceptable, but if you can’t find who makes it, much less a customer service number, there probably isn’t going to be a lot of support if you encounter problems.
3. What’s it made out of? While brass has historically been the metal of choice for quality faucet manufacturers, it’s not the only option out there. With changes in lead-content laws, more stainless steel construction is hitting the market. Some manufacturers are lining the waterways with plastic, or using different supply lines. Make sure you know what you’re getting, especially if you’re ordering online.
4. Does it meet the regulations in your area? As mentioned, the low-lead and water-conservation regulations for potable waterways are changing, which means that faucets may have to meet new criteria to be installed. Getting the “perfect” faucet off an auction site could result in your plumber telling you they aren’t allowed to install the gorgeous piece of plumbing you painstakingly selected. Make sure you know what you need – and that you’re actually getting it – to avoid wasting time and money.
5. What’s the warranty? Many cheaply made faucets have little to no warranty, while some expensive faucets have warranty requirements that make it worthless. Some warranties cover only the original owner and require receipts, while some cover the product regardless of who has it. Always read the warranty and try to go with something reasonable. This is especially important if you have water quality issues or want designer finishes.
6. Is it worth it to you? If you’re planning on remodeling within a few years, “good” might actually mean “good enough”, making a run-of-the-mill faucet the ideal choice. If you’re looking to sell in the near-future, that expensive one you’ve been dreaming about could be a selling point, justifying the extra expense. Maybe you’re staying put, and found the perfect look, with the perfect warranty, easily available repair parts, and a service center around the corner just in case. But if it’s way beyond what you planned to pay, is it worth it? Perhaps! Whether your budget is unlimited or on a shoestring, the most important thing is to be totally comfortable with your choice: faucets are focal points wherever they are, and you’ll be forced to face your decision each and every day.
We’ve seen some quality faucets at low prices, and we’ve seen some expensive faucets that many people complained about. Don’t let price discourage you either way. If you know exactly what you’re getting and why you want it, you’ll be happy with whatever you choose!
Now we would like to hear from you… what are the best/worst faucets you’ve installed or even just used?