Choosing The Best Faucet

What is the best faucet for your home? You will get different answers depending on whom you ask and how you phrase your question. Do you want a long-lasting faucet or the most popular style? What is most important to you function or form? Where can you get an unbiased opinion?

An interior decorator might suggest faucets to match your decor, a home center might point you in the direction of the latest fad, and a plumber might offer you the brand he has the least trouble with. Often sales people get spiffs, or kickbacks, for selling a particular brand or model. Where can you put your trust? We install faucets frequently and have for years.

This article will give you the straight facts and help you to see your options. Some things might not be pleasing to your ear but you need to hear them to make an informed choice. Most homeowners think of form first but let’s focus on the practical. After all, you do not want to be calling the plumber every month to repair your faucet if you can avoid it.

One critical issue is parts availability. Are parts readily available for the faucet? Will those parts be available in five years? In ten? Two faucets commonly have parts that you can find at nearly every parts house: Moen and Delta. Both have a wide variety of styles available and this is usually, but not always, a plus.

It is good because you can find a faucet to fit most decor. It can be trouble, though, because styles come and go; when something goes out of style parts often become rare, then unavailable. Without parts, one broken faucet may force you to change several faucets to have a matching set, replacement becomes the only option.

Ask the salesperson to show you faucets that use time-tested cartridges, not fancy new ones. When you stray from Moen and Delta you enter a wilderness of proprietary parts that can be hard to find and expensive as well as more difficult to repair.

Picture your kitchen sink faucet out of commission while you wait for a part made in Germany. It happens and it happens much too often. European faucets and some manufactures such as Kohler and American Standard may have great faucet styles but finding a needed part can be tough. You probably will not find those parts hanging on the walls of most suppliers because they have limited supply and distribution.

A good question to ask is, “Does this faucet have parts commonly available at most suppliers?” Be sure to take the time to confirm that your salesperson has given you correct information: get a second opinion. The urge to buy the latest faucet finishes can be strong but you need to know the risks.

I have seen finishes come and go. Have you ever heard of Antique Brass or Brushed Brass? Both of those finishes have come and gone. It is best to stick to polished chrome or polished brass. Those have been standards since I started plumbing. If you choose burnished brass, copper or another special finish, beware. In five years you may need to replace it and the finish may be unavailable. Will polish brass look good in a room with copper faucets? Function is more important than form.

Some may disagree but how will they wash their hands with a broken faucet built more for looks than long life. Choose a faucet that has a history of performance such as the Moen faucets that use the 1225 cartridge, those cartridges have been around for decades. They are tried and tested, easy to replace and commonly available.

If you fall in love with a fancy European faucet that just came out this year, you buy it at great risk. You might consider buying the common repair parts for it at the same time you purchase the faucet. Even then you might be told that the parts will take a while to get. If you choose a Moen or Delta faucet with a standard finish and common parts then you have a good chance that your choice will last the test of time.