Aqua Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 08/17/18
5354 E Slauson Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040
(No Toll-Free Number)
451 Alliance Avenue
York, Ontario M6N2J1
877 389 7979
Footnotes:1. The company states that cartridges are protected by a "lifetime" warranty. But this warranty is not in writing.2. The company states that manufacturing defects are covered by a three-year warranty. But this warranty is not in writing.An unwritten "warranty" is not a legal warranty in the U.S. or Canada. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires consumer product warranties to be in writing in a single "easty to read" document. A warranty that is not written is not enforceable. We treat suchghostwarranties as the the equivalent of having no warranty. For more information, see the narrative report below.
This Company In Brief
The Aqua faucets distributed by Kubebath are of reasonable quality for economy faucets but are almost entirely unsupported by the company which does not offer a written warranty, provide reasonable post-sale technical or customer services, or offer a reliable source of replacement parts.
Kubebath LLC was founded in 2016 by Miguel Braga, its current president. Mr. Braga also owns Toronto Vanity opened in Canada in 2008. Although organized as separate companies, Kubebath and Toronto Vanity are for most purposes the same entity under common control, one selling in the U.S. the other in Canada.
U. S. trademark registrations of the word Kubebath and the Kubebath logo including the tagline "Affordable Luxury for Your Bathroom", were applied for by Kubebath, LLC. The registration applications were allowed to lapse. The U. S. Patent Office now shows both applications as "abandoned." The trademarks are not registered in Canada.
Kubebath claims to be a "manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor" of bathroom equipment. It is not a manufacturer. There is no evidence it is now or has ever been a manufacturer. But, it is a wholesaler and distributor of bathtubs, showers, vanities, sinks, faucets and bathroom accessories that it imports from China.
The principal, if not sole supplier, to both companies is Aqua Gallery Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of bathroom furniture located in Foshan, China. Aqua Gallery specializes in suites in which bathtubs, showers, vanities, sinks, and faucets are matched in coordinated sets.
Aqua Gallery manufactures almost entirely for export. Its principal markets are Europe and North America, and its faucets are certified to both North American and European (CE) standards.
The faucets exhibit no particular design originality. Aqua faucet designs are stylish but getting dated. Most of the designs have been around for 15 years or more. Chinese designs are rarely original. They tend to be middle-of-the-road and to follow the pack rather than lead it. The goal of Chinese faucet manufacturers is to sell as many faucets as possible, which means keeping their designs well within the mainstream to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.
Styles are often adopted from Europe and North America. A design that sells well in these major markets will usually be imitated by Asian factories. The lag time is usually 3 to 5 years, so by the time a design appears in a Chinese faucet it is no longer new.
Indeed, some of Aqua's designs have already come and gone from the inventories of other importers of Chinese faucets. A faucet identical in style to the Aqua Elegance faucet (shown below) was imported by until about five years ago when it disappeared from the Kraus catalog in favor of newer designs.
Kubebath faucets are all very contemporary single-handle faucets. There are no traditional or transitional styles in the Kubebath inventory and no two-handle faucets. So, if those looking to remodel a heritage bath or simply prefer two-handle faucets, you will need to look elsewhere.
The quality of the faucets is average for China-sourced products. The faucets are made of certified lead-free brass with some ancillary parts made of zinc or ZAMAC, a zinc/aluminum alloy. This is typical construction. The use of zinc or ZAMAC in non-critical parts is normal practice that saves money by using a less expensive metal in parts that do not require the strength of brass.
The mixing cartridge used in the faucets is a Quore ceramic cartridge made by Ningbo Wanhai Cartridge Technology Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer. Quore is used widely by Chinese manufacturers that specialize in making faucets for the export market. It is considered a good but not exceptional ceramic cartridge. Quore is certified "drinking water safe" to North American standards. (For more information on faucet cartridges, see Faucet Basics, Part 2: Faucet Valves & Cartridges.)
The finishes available are polished plated chrome and powder-coated black and white. One faucet, the Adatto, is available in a combining chrome with white. The other standard finishes found in most faucet lines, brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze are not available.
The chrome plating seems adequate. The days when "China chrome" could be scraped off with a fingernail are long gone. Chinese plating is a good as any in the world these days. (For more information on faucet finishes, see Faucet Basics, Part 5: Faucet Finishes.)
Kubebath's Replacement Parts Problem
Kubebath is a distributor of imported Chinese faucets. Distributors are marketeers. They do not manufacture the faucets the sell or the parts needed to repair them. They usually rely on faucet manufacturers for parts and technical support.
With North American-based faucet companies, this works well. If you have a problem with a faucet, you call the technical support hotline and get it solved. If you need parts under warranty, the faucet manufacturer provides you with the parts — not the retail store.
If the faucet manufacturer is not located in North America the product support solution gets a little trickier. Major foreign faucet manufacturers that sell in North America sell through a local subsidiary that provides the necessary support for North American buyers.
Certain European and Asian faucet manufacturers have also established service centers in North America to handle back-end support for the retail chains that buy their faucets for private branding.
all provide warranty and parts support for the U.S. and Canadian retail stores that buy and re-brand their faucets. These include
The Canadian hardware giant, RONA, which buys its store-brand faucets from a number of smaller Asian manufacturers, has taken a different approach. Instead of relying on the manufacturers to provide post-sale service, it simply hired a third party warranty service company, Mecanair, to support its Asian faucets. A call to RONA's warranty number connects directly to Mecanair, which stocks and inventories the needed parts.
Unfortunately, Kubebath's Asian manufacturer does not maintain parts operations in North America and is not set up to offer post-sale support for the faucets they sell in bulk to Kubebath.
Which leaves the parts problem up to Kubebath to solve. Unlike larger companies with deeper pockets, small operations like Kubebath cannot reasonably afford to maintain large parts inventories for every faucet they now sell or sold in the past. Typically the company can scavenge parts from other faucets on the shelf as long as a particular faucet model is being sold but when it is discontinued, there is usually no further availability of replacement parts.
For you, the faucet buyer, the lack of a parts source is a real and possibly insoluble problem. If your Aqua faucet fails several years down the road and parts needed to fix it may not available anywhere.
Kubebath has no written warranty on its faucets. A company spokesperson told us that Aqua faucets are sold with a three-year warranty against manufacturing defects and a "lifetime" warranty on the faucet cartridge. the warranty is not in writing, however, and is not valid in the U.S. or Canada.
The U.S. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires a warranty be in writing and meet certain requirements. The Canadian Consumer Handbook, published by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Consumer Measures Committee also requires that merchant warranties in Canada be written and contain certain required terms.
Requirements by both counties include precisely what is or is not being covered and for how long. Terms such as "lifetime" must be defined. A warranty must also explain the process for making a claim including any documentation required.
Absent a written document, a promise to repair or replace a defective faucet is not a warranty that can be enforced. We treat these "ghost" warranties and equivalent to not having a warranty.
Kubebath customer service is hard to reach. You can't just call a toll-free number and get a question answered. The company does not have a toll-free number. The method of contact the company prefers is by e-mail which is the only contact option Kubebath offers on its website. We had to research other sources to find its telephone number. A telephone call to the company is not answered but is routed to an automated voice mail system that will record your name and number and promise a callback.
Our experience with customer service once we did get a callback was not satisfactory. The agent appeared to know very little about the company's faucet products and after putting us on hold several times to get information from someone else, finally asked us to put our questions in an e-mail. We did but have not gotten a response. In fact, we have not gotten a response to any e-mail we have sent to the company.
We have found it quicker to call Kubebath's sister company, Toronto Vanity, in Canada (1 877-389-7979). You will usually get a live person to talk to who can usually help with your question or problem.
The company website is well designed. Navigation is intuitive. The search function is reasonabley effective when searching for product information. Tthe term "matt black" returned 5 pages of items having that finish — useful if you are trying to coordinate finishes across several product types: faucets and matching drains, for example. Interestingly, the finish is described as "matt black" in some places and "matte black" in others; seemingly without rhyme or reason. According to our in-house lexicographer "matte black" is the correct spelling.
For other types of information commonly searched for, the feature does not work as well. A search on the term "warranty" returned 21 pages of results — none of them faucets, however, and none of them having anything to do with a warranty.
The website provides several images for each faucet, including views of the installed faucet, making it easier to visualize how it might fit your bathroom. Otherwise, the information about each faucet is grossly insufficient to make an intelligent buying decision. The written description of each faucet is abbreviated almost to the point of uselessness. There is no information about the material from which the faucet is made, its cartridge, aerator, or flow rate. It would be nice to know if the faucet is brass or stainless, for example, if it contains any zinc or zinc alloys, and its certifications.
Some of the information is just plain wrong. The matte black Arcco faucet, for example, is described as having a "matt [sic] white" finish. We found that kind of offhand error in several places on the website.
Links to .pdf downloads are not provided on each faucet's page where we would expect them but on a main menu item entitled "Specs & Installation". These are listed by SKU, so you have to remember the SKU of the faucet you are interested in, then find that SKU in the list of products on the Specs & Installation list — if it's in the list. Some faucets are not in the list.
Once you find the right link, be prepared to be underwhelmed. There are no specifications, just installation instructions. The instructions include a dimensioned drawing but no exploded parts diagram and nothing that remotely resembles actual detailed specifications.
Kubebath does not sell its faucets from its website. It is a distributor, not a retailer. There are no prices (not even MSRPs), no cart to drop items into, and no checkout. To buy the faucets at retail you might visit the Toronto Vanity website where the faucets can be ordered for delivery in the U.S. from the Kubebath warehouse in California. Otherwise, the faucets are sold on Amazon and Wayfair, and on home decor and bathware websites like allmodern.com, bhg.com, and houzz.com.
There is no "Where to Buy" on the Kubebath website, so the best option for finding retail sources of Kubebath Aqua faucets is probably going to be Google.
Faucets made by Aqua Gallery Co. are also imported and distributed by Lukx, Inc. and sold under the Lukx brand. All Lukx retailers are in Canada, primarily in Ontario.
Fully certified, safe and lead-free faucets made in China that are comparable to Kubebath include any of the following, all of which have at least a five year warranty:
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Asian-made faucet, one of these suppliers might be a better choice than kubebath. All sell faucets that are known to be certified safe, reliable and lead-free, and authorized for use in U.S. and Canadian water supplies. They are also legal to sell in the U.S. Kubebath faucets are not. They all offer a written warranty on their faucets — sometimes not a very good warranty but a warranty of some kind.
In our judgment an Aqua faucet from Kubebath (or Toronto Vanity) is not a wise purchase at this time. A great many things about the company require clarification. Until the company offers a reasonable written warranty supported by actual post-sale customer service and provides more detailed information about its faucets, we feel they should be avoided.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Kubebath Aqua faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.