Graff Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 6/23/20
3701 W. Burnham St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
Footnotes:1. Graff products are "warranted to the original purchaser to be free from defects in materials and workmanship... for the lifetime of the product...." However, a lot of the materials and workmanship is not warranted at all or warranted for less than the life of the product.2. Finishes are guaranteed for anywhere from the lifetime of the faucet to no warranty at all, depending on the finish. See below for more information.
Download the Graff faucet warranty.
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Graff Faucets, founded in 1922 as KZA Company, was reorganized and incorporated in Wisconsin under its present name in 2002 after being acquired by Milwaukee-based Meridian International Group, Inc., a privately-owned family of related companies involved in the casting, machining and finishing of metal products, including American Metalcast Technologies, Inc. a manufacturer of low pressure brass casting machinery and Polco Metal Finishing, one of the largest independent metal finishing companies in the U.S.
A quiet company, Graff rarely advertises but simply sells exceptional products and waits for the world to notice. That the world has noticed is indicated by Graff's reputation for very high-quality faucets.
These are substantial, well-built faucets intended to last a very long time. All Graff faucets are brass and/or stainless Note 1 fixtures with ceramic disk valves; manufactured in Poland by another Meridian subsidiary, Valvex, S.A. Note 2
The faucets are gathered into two broad collections. The traditional and transitional faucets are stylish but fairly conservative. These are typically designed and engineered by Valvex staff with a little help from Graff-USA engineers to ensure they fit North American standards.
The more upscale Contemporary collection is designed by the Italian design studio Angeletti Ruzza Design, Davide Oppizzi's DCUBE studio in Confignon, Switzerland, Nespoli e Novara, Italian designers who also design for the upscale Italian faucet company , and G+Design Studio in Athens.
Graff products have won numerous design competitions. The innovative Oppizz-designed ring showerhead include in Graff's Ametis collection has won numerous design awards. Graff's SENTO faucet won the 2013 Product Innovation Award from Architectural Products magazine and the Sospiro collection was named one of the 30 most innovative products for 2018 by Better Homes & Gardens.
Graff faucets are sold in most parts of the world and through most venues, including an extensive presence on the internet.
The company offers 19 finishes on its faucets. The standard is polished chrome, of course, but faucets are also available in several nickels, including Steelnox (a satin nickel or stainless steel look-alike — the two finishes are similar), and several bronzes, as well as two blacks, white, gold, brass, onyx and a gray finish the company calls gunmetal. Some finishes are special order and may take up to 8 weeks to deliver.
Five finishes – Polished Chrome, Polished Nickel and Brushed Nickel, Polished Gold and Brushed Gold – are which is the well-established traditional way of finishing faucets that has been around nearly since faucets were invented.
Matte Black, Architectural White, Olive Bronze, Architectural Black and Steelnox are . A powder coat is essentially a dry paint in powder form applied using a special low-velocity spray gun that disperses the powder while giving it a positive electrical charge. The powder is drawn to the faucets to be finished which has been given a negative charge. The coated faucets are then baked in an oven which melts and bonds the powder and changes the structure of the coating into long, cross-linked molecular chains. These chains are what give the coating is durability, reducing the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues.
|Finish Name||Finish Type||Warranty|
|Brushed Gold||Electroplated||1 Year|
|Polished Gold||Electroplated||1 Year|
|Matte Black||Powder Coated||3 Years|
|Architectural Black||Powder Coated||3 Years|
|Architectural White||Powder Coated||3 Years|
|Olive Bronze||Powder Coated||3 Years|
|Vintage Brushed Brass||Lacquer||2 Years|
|Steelnox||Powder Coated||3 Years|
|Gunmetal||Living Finish||1 Year|
|Gunmetal Distressed||Living Finish||1 Year|
|Unfinished Brass||Living Finish||None|
|Unfinished Brushed Brass||Living Finish||None|
Powder coatings are considered "semi-durable" – not as robust as electroplated or PVD finishes and requiring more care to maintain a like-new appearance. The most frequent source of damage to powder coatings is over-aggressive cleaning, so Graff's detailed care instructions should be closely followed.
Vintage Brushed Brass is a "lacquer" coating, a semi-transparent liquid coating over native brass which protects the brass from tarnish and gives it an antique patina. "Lacquer" is a generic industry term for a liquid coating, and does not mean that the coating is an actual lacquer. It is more likely what is called a a superhydrophobic coating – a synthetic coating that is extremely water repellent, anti-soiling, often anti-microbian, and even self-cleaning. It is, like powder coatings, semi-durable, and needs to be treated with some care. Its relative fragility is illustrated by the two-year limit on Graff's guarantee of Vintage Brushed Brass finishes, whereas powder coatings are warranted for three years and PVD coatings for the lifetime of the product.
Four finishes are the incredibly hard finishes: Brushed Brass, Polished Brass, OR'osa and Onyx.
The PVD process is almost science fiction. Load a chamber with unfinished faucets, then remove all the air and add back a carefully calculated mix of nitrogen and reactive gases. Add a rod of the metal – chromium, titaniam, zirconium, or other metal – to be used for the coating. Heat that rod to a temperature so high that it dissolves into a cloud individual atoms that are drawn to the faucets by a negative electrical charge after mixing with the reactive gases in the chamber to get the color and finish effects that are desired.
The atoms are deposited in a very thin layer 2 to 5 microns (.00008-.0002") thick – less that 1/20th the thickness of a human hair – but because the coating bonds to the faucet at an atomic level, the finish is dense and extremely hard. In abrasion tests, PVD finishes were found to be 10 to 20 times more scratch-resistant than the old standard: electroplated chrome.
The gunmetals and unfinished brasses are which are not protective coatings. They are surface treatments that are intended to change over time as the surface oxidizes and reacts to its environment, developing a patina of age and use. Graff's unfinished brasses, for example, will tarnish, turning that familiar warm brown of untended brass.
For more information on the types of faucet finishes and their advantages and drawbacks, see Faucet Basics, Part 5: Faucet Finishes.
At one time Graff warranted its faucets to be free from defects in materials and workmanship, including cartridges and all finishes, for the "lifetime of the product". The company has backed away from this universal lifetime warranty, however. At present the lifetime term applies only to "mechanical parts and ceramic disc cartridges" as well as PVD and electroplated finishes except the golds. Gold as a finish material, particularly the 24k gold use by Graff as a particularly soft metal and , unlike nickel and chrome which are much harder metals, scratches easily. Brushed and polished gold finishes are guaranteed for 1 year.
Olive Bronze at one time was Graff's only powder-coated finish and it was guaranteed for five years. Powder-coated finishes, including Olive Bronze, are now guaranteed for three years. Vintage Brushed Brass, the company's only lacquer finish, is warranted for two years.
of the living finishes, Unfinished Brass and Unfinished Brushed Brass are not guaranteed at all but Gunmetal and Gunmetal Distressed are warranted for 1 year. Living finishes are rarely guaranteed since they are supposed to oxidize, change color, and show signs of use over time, so there is really nothing to guarantee. Graff's one-year guarantee of the Gunmetals is unusual.
Graff may require the faucet to be returned for evaluation but in practice rarely does. The warranty seems to indicate that a faucet with a defective finish must be returned for refinishing. In fact, Graff will usually just replace the faucet unless it was made with an unusual or special finish.
We rate Graff customer service as very good. It scored extremely well on our customer service tests. The company generates very few complaints from consumers and seems to handle those that do occur with dispatch.
Based on the the few complaints received by the Better Business Bureau and the company's response to those few complaints, Graff is rated "A+" on a scale of "A+" to "F" by the BBB. Graff's service department was selected by the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association as the customer service department of the year for 2015. DPHA cited "responsiveness, courtesy, knowledge, ability to go above and beyond the norm, and overall performance" as its reasons for the award.
The Graff website is very artistic: full of very beautiful, well-staged photographs. It used to be very slow due to the overuse of Adobe® Flash, and very hard to use. But, it has been redesigned and is now very functional. Faucets can be displayed individually or as an item in the collection of matching showers and accessories. It's very useful to see all of the pieces of a collection before deciding on a faucet. You may love the faucet but hate the towel rack or soap dish, which may be a factor in your buying decision.
The collections are so complete that they even include components that you will never see, and are of interest only to plumbers, such as valve extension kits, and vessel rings. Whoever put all this together did a really good job.
The information provided about each faucet is extensive and very clearly presented, including its available finishes, critical dimensions, and options. Downloadable .pdf files include a dimensioned drawing, exploded parts diagram, parts list, installation instructions, and detailed specifications for each faucet.
There are some deficiencies, however. One odd one is that the exploded drawing of each faucet is keyed to a parts list, but the parts list is a separate document. Usually, the parts list is printed on the same page as the exploded diagram. The separate documents are not particularly handy. It requires both documents to be displayed at the same time to see that part 15 on the diagram is called a "Pullout Insert".
Only one view of most faucets is provided. There should be several, displaying the sides and back of the faucet, or better yet, a 360° view the user can rotate with the mouse such as is provided by faucets.
There is no identification of the type of valve used. We presume ceramic cartridges are used in all faucets but don't see an explicit statement to that effect. We would also like to see the cartridge manufacturer identified. Our inspection confirmed that cartridges from Kerox kft are used in Graff's single-handle faucets. Kerox is generally considered one of the best of the ceramics manufacturers, and the usual choice in cartridges for upscale European faucets.
Cartridges for two-handle faucets are more varied. Most faucets include a brass 1/2" quarter-turn ceramic stem cartridge, easily the most common size of stem cartridge used in faucets and made by almost every cartridge manufacturer. We were unable to identify the manufacturer from inspection alone and have asked Graff to identify the cartridge.
We think of Graff as the North-Americanized version of the up-scale European designer faucet. If you are outfitting a heritage kitchen or bath, Graff's traditional collections may be just the ticket. Faucets suitable for a Victorian, Arts and Craft, Art Deco. or mid-century motif are abundant. If your kitchen or bath is more contemporary, there are even more choices in Graff's modern collections.
These are serious faucets: heavy, solid, and substantial. We are very impressed with their quality and with the very low number of consumer or plumber complaints over a 15-year period. They are definitely luxury items, with prices to match, but the prices are competitive. They are a good value – a runner-up for 2019 Best Value Faucet in the European Luxury Faucet class — and well worth a look for anyone in the market for a European designer faucet.
Faucets that compare to Graff for quality include
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Graff faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.