Kitchen & Bathroom Faucet Differences ??

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Mar 30, 2015
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Last week I went to a local plumbing supply house and bought a fancy new Moen kitchen faucet. I also purchased a new 16 gauge Kohler Stainless Steel kitchen sink, and Insinkerator garbage disposal from Lowe's. I had a local plumber come out and install everything, and change out all my RO filters at the same time. He did a nice job and everything is wonderful, and the wife is happy. (Which is why everything is wonderful).

I paid $425.00 for the faucet. I've had builders and plumbers tell me that faucets from a plumbing supply house cost more, because they are of much higher quality. Brass and Stainless Steel internals, instead of Nylon and plastic that come with all the cheaper Home Depot and Lowe's specials. Even if they're the same model number, the SKU numbers are different.

The big box stores sell so much product they can have special runs of faucets made just for them, from the big name brand companies. (Delta, Kohler, Moen). I looked at Lowe's the other day, and found the exact same style Moen faucet I bought for $179.00. When I picked up the box, it was noticeably much lighter. Also the base plate was thin stamped sheet metal. Mine is a heavy die cast part that came with a nice O-Ring set up that went underneath. The removable sprayer nozzle on the Lowe's special was also chrome plated plastic, where mine is all metal.

So I believe there is some truth to all of this. The plumber also told me that if mine ever leaks, he can easily install a whole new internal valve, that basically makes it like new. And Moen will provide the part free of charge. Many of the cheaper models at the big box places are not easily rebuilt. And simply not worth it to even try.

Will my faucet last 2-1/2 times longer than the Lowe's special? I don't know. I do know that in the last 20 or so years I've had to replace an abnormally large amount of faucets. I bought all of them at big box stores. And they just don't seem to last as long. So I'm hoping this will be different.
 
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around 20 or so years ago i remodeled my bathroom.. wife wanted a certain "package deal " which included everything needed in the bathroom...one thing that i was kind of ticked off about was the vanity came with faucets that cost $350 just for the faucets...i couldn't swap them out as you had to take what came with the package....well 20 or so years later the vanity faucets still look and work like new.. in the same amount of time I've changed out at least 5 kitchen faucets that cost $100 give or take
 

billt460

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around 20 or so years ago i remodeled my bathroom.. wife wanted a certain "package deal " which included everything needed in the bathroom...one thing that i was kind of ticked off about was the vanity came with faucets that cost $350 just for the faucets...i couldn't swap them out as you had to take what came with the package....well 20 or so years later the vanity faucets still look and work like new.. in the same amount of time I've changed out at least 5 kitchen faucets that cost $100 give or take

I've had similar experiences. In our last house I had a Home Depot special kitchen faucet that was getting really tight, and started leaking. So I went to Home Depot and bought another. At that time Home Depot had a "deal" that they would install ANY kitchen faucet for $99.00. The poor guy worked for over 2 hours trying to get the old faucet off.

It had a slight internal leak that didn't drip, but kept everything inside the valve assembly underneath wet for God knows how long. Causing the whole thing to become one solid corroded mess. He ended up having to saw it off. He told me he had only one that was tougher. (He couldn't get it off, and had to replace the sink).
 
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Fixtures from plumbing supply companies = quality
Fixtures from big box stores = throw away garbage.
Cheap ain’t good and good ain’t cheap.
 
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Years ago I bought storm doors and Home depot they had a life time warranty and with in 4 years all 3 doors failed. Talking to the customer rep at the door at the major name door company he said their Home Depot products are lower quality than the products they sell to lumber yards etc,
 

billt460

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When we first moved into this house 2-1/2 years ago, the water softener was an old Whirlpool unit that was on it's last lap. So I bought what I thought was a nice A.O. Smith model from Lowe's. I installed it and it leaked. Not at the connections, but from internally in the unit itself.

I called Lowe's and they sent over another one, and picked up the leaking unit. I installed it, and it leaked as well! Same deal. This one leaked at the electronic connection that reads the water flow volume. (There was no way to fix it, as it was all a molded unit).

That was it. They came and picked it up and gave me a full refund. On both units, and cancelled all of the delivery charges as well. I told them I didn't want any more. They were very good about it. And when I told the customer service girl who called what I had been through, and that I was going to have a plumber install one, she admitted they sell better quality units than Lowe's.

A few days later I had a nice quality unit up and running. I haven't touched it since, except to add salt once and a while.

What made me laugh was when I read the on line reviews on the A.O. Smith I had so much trouble with. One guy said, "This thing looks exactly like what it is.... A garbage can!"
 
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Some pros at the Terry Love plumbing forum speculate that the Lowes A.O. Smith heaters (maybe softeners) are rebranded. I am surprised A.O. Smith would risk tarnishing their reputation.

"Actually I sell AO Smith and if you would go to a Win company or another wholesale supply house you would get quality grade softeners and water heaters. What we sell is far beyond what Lowe's sells. It's all about profit with Lowe's so AO Smith has to make a much less quality product to get the cost down to what Lowe's will pay to stock the product. It's a necessary evil from a business standpoint, but wholesale is always better than retail.
Same with Moen,Delta,and other brands of faucets sold there. Not the same quality as the same brands sold at wholesalers like me. "

"According to this SMITH supplier , all that has happened is they have put a WHIRLPOOL heater into a box that says Smith on it......its exactly the same Whirlpool heater and just the name has changed .. the parts are the same ... And they are sub standard parts compaired to what goes on a SMITH water heater"
Again, just speculation of one (maybe more) pros at that site.

These stories do support credence that big box store stuff sometimes is different.
 
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LEARN:
I'll give an example Lowes vs Maytag.

Maytag changes the model number for Lowes, giving it less warranty coverage. Lowes model number MVWP576KW. $899 free delivery

Maytag sells it direct but you are required to sign in to see the price. $854 with free delivery. Maytag model number does differ MVWP575GW

BONUS buying it from Maytag. The Maytag warranty is 5 years parts and labor while Lowes is 5 years on parts, but only 1 year on labor.
Both have a 10 year warranty covering a few other things like the basket.

But the point is, you get a cheaper price and a longer warranty avoiding Lowes. I have no idea about appliance stores.



Maytag warranty if bought at Lowes:



Maytag warranty:


Our best warranty for a commercial-grade, in-home laundry appliance comes standard with this Maytag® washing machine. We confidently back this washer with a 10-year limited parts residential warranty that includes all parts and labor for the first 5 years.








Screen Shot 2021-11-13 at 10.48.51 AM 2.jpeg
 
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Its whatever gives you satisfaction for the faucets. We all have our thing, seems like everyone agrees, bought from a plumbing supply house it will be top quality and buying from a Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart will be lower quality.
With that said, its reflected in the price so that really is a good thing.

Im only writing this because just 2 weeks ago, I replaced our two sink faucets in our master bathroom, the cheap builders stuff which on the surface looks the same as high quality stuff lasted over 14 years. That was good enough for me because at some point even a good one will need service, in this case, I just remove it and in our throw away society, throw it in the garbage and install new ones.

Anyway for less money then trying to find new Oring washers (or whatever they maybe) for the Delta faucets, I replaced the cheap faucets with two nice looking cheap Delta Faucets again. Took minutes to replace and cost me less then $100 for both faucets maybe like $85 and I bought them in Walmart. Figuring they will last another 14 years before needing replacement again, I thought it was worth it to go cheap for me. Weird they come with a lifetime warranty but would never even consider trying to use it.

Just today, literally, just an hour ago before seeing this thread I showed my wife a photo of a kitchen faucet I saw in Walmart. For the record I do think getting a better quality kitchen faucet is worth it but in our case I am not.
Im am going to pretend we just bought the house AND FOR THE HECK OF IT, to update the look I am going to buy a $94 or $99 faucet, again, in Walmart. Has the pull down sprayer and separate soap dispenser ect.... Im sure its made our of "brushed" stainless steel (maybe even plastic) It will give a little better look to the sink then the builder faucet and we plan on redoing counter tops and sink in less then five years anyway, at that time I assume the faucet will just get thrown out at that price and a better one installed.

*L* I know the way I am writing here may sound like Im cheap and live in a run down home but nothing could be further from the truth. Just saying cheap stuff has a purpose for me right now, I mean the baths no one can tell he difference. The kitchen I assume will start to look ratty in time but we will be replacing counters and sink anyway...
 
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SW Ontario Canada
Warrantee's on most faucets are useless if the specific style you've got is no longer made....I've been on that 1-800 phone call with Kohler / Moen / Delta and they are almost cheerful to inform you that you've reached their dead end.
 

billt460

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I can see both sides of the whole cost vs. quality argument. Hell, I've been on both sides. This house we bought a little over 2 years ago is 30 years old. So I bought it full well knowing a lot of appliances and plumbing fixtures were coming up on the end of their service life. Enough to put me on a first name basis with my plumber, and the manager of the plumbing dept at both Lowe's and Home Depot.

My house has a mix of quality. My guest bathroom has a really nice looking Glacier Bay vanity faucet. This is Home Depot's, "house brand". And, if you talk to any plumber, ranks at the bottom rung of quality. With that said, it will probably outlive me. Because it's the least used faucet in the entire house. It's only my wife and I, and we use the master bathroom 90% of the time. So it hardly gets any use. Same with the guest tub and shower.

Where as our kitchen faucet gets turned on and off 100 times a day. So there I figured it was worth it to pay for something that wasn't designed to fail. In my life time I've replaced more kitchen faucets than anything else. It stands to reason it's because they get the most use. They also usually are the biggest PITA to change out... Especially if you have a deep sink.
 
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Myself, I would never spend that much on a faucet that will likely benefit the next owner of your home. Almost all big name brands in the home stores offer a lifetime warranty on parts. I have rebilt my $89 Moen kitchen faucet since 1994 several times at no cost. Just a small amount of my time to do it.
Even the most expensive faucets are going to need an occasional washer or cartridge.
 

billt460

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Myself, I would never spend that much on a faucet that will likely benefit the next owner of your home.

As I said, I'm tired of dealing with bad kitchen faucets. They're simply not worth it. I'm getting too old to be crawling around under sinks to change them out, for what seems to be every 5 years or so.

Not to mention dealing with all the leaks, corroded nuts and bolts, supply valves that are all but guaranteed to leak, once you disturb them by turning them off and on again after sitting fully open for 5 years or longer. Or else dealing with shutting off the main, and having no water while you run back and forth to the hardware store 3 times, while it drips all over the bottom of your wood cabinets, for what seems like an eternity. Or else into a pan you end up knocking over anyway.

I'm retired, and have no intention of ever moving again. So in all likelihood this faucet will outlast me. And that is just fine. I'll live in peace knowing I'll never have to change out another one. I'll let the old lady save the difference when she goes shopping. (You need a 20 ton crane to pull a dollar out of her purse).
 
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I recently replaced a pair of el-cheapo Home Depot house brand faucets in my master bath. I could no longer get them to stop dripping by replacing the Delta/Peerless type seals in them. They lasted 22 years. The new equivalent el-cheapo models use ceramic seals which make for smoother operation and even longer lifespan. So, while I totally agree with the statements about higher quality I can't see spending the extra dough for light residential applications.
 
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