Faucets & Other Plumbing Parts at Big Box Stores

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by DanMcD, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. DanMcD

    DanMcD New Member

    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Is it true that faucets & other plumbing parts at Big Box stores are lower quality than those bought at a plumbing supply house?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,053
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Some of them.

    We have many times found the same faucet will weigh less at the box stores, and often they have a slightly different model number. They will have product made up for them that is less expensive, because after all, people expect to pay less there, and what better way then to bring in cheaper stuff to sell. If you look at the Moen site, you will notice different part numbers depending on who is selling it.

    I know flooring guys that won't install box store stuff. They tell me it's thinner than what they normally install. And if there is a problem with it, the homeowner blames the installer. The best way to keep the customer happy is to install known product.

    And then there are the returned boxes that go back on the shelf.
    Sometimes a part is "too much money", so someone picks up an entire faucet, and then swap their old parts and keep the new innards. They return it saying it wasn't needed, and back it goes on the shelf. Kohler now puts a date on the valve body and the cartridge for just that reason. You can tell if the good part has been swapped out.

    I don't buy my parts there either. I have my supplier bring in stuff I like.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,058
    Location:
    New England
    If the part number on the box is exactly the same, it's probably the same thing. Often, to prevent cross-shopping, they'll make up similar items with exactly the same name, but minor differences for each seller. IOW, you can't just go by the 'name' on the thing, you have to compare the exact same part numbers as well. THen, because the big box stores often sell a 'kit' of components, you can't tell, since the manufactuer often specifies them as individual pieces. It's tough sometimes, unless you have both in had to see if there are any differences, and even then, without taking it apart, you may not be able to tell easily.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In terms of items like faucets themselves, this is hotly debated but in my opinion, you will always have the same basic "guts" to the item, but they will cut corners by using a plastic drain, possibly plastic handles ,etc. You can call that a "quality" issue if you like, but as mentioned by terry, a much more troublesome issue which the box stores don't like to talk about....is the selling of returned items.

    As for "material" such as ball valves, they sell mostly name brand items, but if you find Mueller instead of Nibco...again, we can debate the quality. But supply houses also sell Mueller, or whatever
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,231
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    I find this to be true on a monthly basis. I would never purchase a toilet or shower fixture at Home Depot, Lowes, Rona or the like.

    Support the smaller plumbing stores. Order your stuff from Terry. Why buy the cheapest crap at $10.00 cheaper at the Box Outlet.

    JW
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    My experience has bee that even when they are exactly the same model, the "inspection process" is deficient with the BB stores. I have had customer buy plumbing items with defects that would NEVER make it to a plumbing supply store. It appears that they eliminate the "final inspection" and send EVERY item to the store. Then the customer installs it. Afterwards if there is a problem the customer either lives with it and the company and BB store have made a profit. Otherwise, the customer removes it, returns it to the store, gets a new one, and installs it. The store then sends it back to the manufacturer or junks it and gets a credit. But either way they manufacturer and BB store do not lose anything because if it had been found bad with the inspection they would have thrown it away anyway. One customer bought several faucets and almost every one had something wrong with it. By the time I was finished, it cost her about 3 times what it should have because of installing then removing them and then waiting, or returning, after she got the new ones.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  7. DanMcD

    DanMcD New Member

    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Thanks everyone for the good advice :)
  8. DanMcD

    DanMcD New Member

    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Pop Up Drains For Tubs & Sinks

    For my KOhler villager or bellwether CI tubs and my bathroon sinks, is the pop up drain recommended over the older style drains that have a lever to pull up the drain or to close it?

    It seems the lever types do not last very long before thy stick.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; It seems the lever types do not last very long before thy stick.

    Well, they DO last a fairly long time, but if they are NEVER used to close the tub drain they WILL stick, and usually stick tightly. That is why I ALWAYS use the push/pull drains for tubs. Sinks always use the rod operated drain system.
  10. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Arizona
    Stay away from big box store water heaters! I had a GE electric one that did not last six months.
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