Buying a Kitchen Faucet? I Found the Only Review Site You’ll Ever Need
Why are there no good faucet reviews online? Sure, Amazon has millions of faucets and 10s of millions of reviews. So do other sights in the business of selling you faucets. But there is no decent, objective, even remotely systematic review of faucets (kitchen, bath, or otherwise) anywhere online.
Except for one: StarCraft Custom Builders in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Now first, understand that I looked long and hard before stumbling on this page. Along the way, I found lots of DIY blogs (most of which are also in the business of selling you faucets, among other things), and some of these sites actually had useful things to say about specific faucets. But relying on one-off faucet reviews to narrow the field of, say, a zillion faucets available at Lowes or on Amazon … well, let’s just say it won’t get the job done.
I also looked at some of the more obvious review sites, like Consumer Reports. But on this score, as on more tha . a few others, CR let me down. Don’t get me wrong, I rely on them for all sorts of reviews. And while I don’t treat their evaluations as gospel, I give them considerable respect for being rigorous and internally consistent. They may not always grade a class of products using the perfect criteria, but at least they grade all the items in that class using the same, consistent set of standards.
But sometimes, CR chooses to punt — especially when the field of offerings is too large to handle systematically. Faucets are like that; there are way too many water spouts on the market to evaluate even a small portion. So CR takes the easy way out, stringing together some bland generalities easy overconfidence.
Faucets have become so reliable, we found few performance differences between brands.That’s why we no longer rate faucets, but instead focus on the pros and cons of faucet finishes and features so that you can choose a great faucet, no matter your budget.
Um, no. I can attest that faucets fail. I’ve had three break in as many years. Also, faucets differ wildly in terms of their build quality. If you doubt me, just heft a Waterstone faucet and compare it to something … else. I promise, you will be able to tell the difference.
Yes, faucet manufacturers are generally good about sending parts and even replacements free of charge; warranties are good in the world of flowing water. But that’s a lot of work and hassle. And even assuming the most faucets perform adequately (and FWIW, reviews on Amazon are pretty solid for most faucets), there is still a big difference in feel and functionality.
What we all want, or at least what I want, is a kitchen faucet that works perfectly but also feels good when you use it — like a good, well-manufactured hand tool: solid and satisfying.
Yes, maybe that’s a little over the top for such a pedestrian, everyday tool. But that’s exactly why it matters: people use their kitchen faucets every day. It’s reasonable to want those faucets to feel solid and and well-made. Good tools, instruments, and fixtures are their own reward.
So what did I buy? Something I stumbled on (blindly) while slogging through Amazon’s 400 pages of kitchen faucets.
It looked good, had solid reviews, and the price was right. But then I checked with the good people at StarCraft Custom Builders — about whom I know precisely nothing, except that they have an EXHAUSTIVE list of faucet reviews — and they liked the faucet too. Or at least the company that makes/markets it.
Again, I know nothing about these guys. And while they DO seem to be in the business of selling faucets, it doesn’t seem to be their primary gig; they sell a lot of other stuff too (they are builders, after all). And if the sheer volume of their faucet reviews means anything, then they are a place to be trusted. Or trusted, at least, as much as you trust any site you turn up while randomly surfing the web.
If you’re in the market for a faucet — and you have the patience and inclination to wade through more faucet-related information than you ever thought possible — then they are well worth a visit.