Azos Faucets Review & Rating Updated: February 27, 2023
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Wenzhou International Trading is a Chinese trading company that sells faucets in the U.S. under the AZOS and BANGPU brands.
It sells only through internet venues that host third-party sellers such as Amazon, and Sears.
The faucets are of average quality with no design distinction.
Wenzhou International Trading Co., Ltd. imports and sells decorative plumbing products such as faucets and showers. The faucets are manufactured by Guangzhou Azos Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd.
The products are sold only on the internet through websites that host third-party sellers. The most prominent of these is Amazon. The company also sells through Sears.
On Amazon, the company identifies itself as MAKEANDONGNI, at an address displayed in traditional Chinese characters. MAKEANDONGNI is the romanized rendering of a Chinese phrase that translates to "Marc Anthony."
We know Marc Anthony as a line of upscale cosmetics and the name of a company that sells premium spirits and wines, but not as a trading company selling faucets. Our researchers checked the China Trademark Registry to see if the name had been registered and found that it belonged to – no surprise – Wenzhou International Trading Co.
The manufacturer of the faucets is Guangzhou Azos Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. Azos Sanitary Ware has applied for the BANGPU trademark in China. The China Trademark Office lists the status of the application as "waiting for the issue of a registration certificate."
The name is not registered in Canada as a trademark but has been registered in the U.S. in a slightly different form that omits the Chinese characters that appear on the Chinese version.
According to its U.S. trademark filing, the range of products Azos Sanitary Ware sells or plans to sell in North America includes:
"Anti-splash tap nozzles; Baths, bathtubs, whirlpool baths and bath installations; Hand wash basins being parts of sanitary installations; Mixer taps for water pipes; Plumbing fittings, namely, drains; Sanitary installations in the nature of steam rooms; Shower enclosures; Wash-hands basins being parts of sanitary installations; Mixer faucets for water pipes; Taps being faucets."
At present, however, International Trading currently sells only faucets, showers, tub fillers, and a few more unusual plumbing products such as a hand-held toilet sprayer (for cleaning the toilet, not the user of the toilet) and a beverage dispenser (for use on iced tea jugs to replace the crappy plastic push-button spouts found on most jugs) – items rarely found in the usual faucet manufacturer's catalog.
Neither International Trading nor Azos Sanitary Ware has registered AZOS as a brand name in either China or the U.S. It is perfectly legal to use an unregistered brand name, it's just unusual.
The AZOS brand is used primarily to brand showers and tub fillers. We found just three faucets for sale under the brand. Most faucets sold by International Trading are sold under the BANGPU name.
International Trading has no facilities in North America.
The company's entire retail operation in North America is run from China. It has no North American customer service, no North American stock of replacement parts, not even a North American telephone number.
Its approach is to contract almost everything to do with retail sales in the U.S. and Canada to third parties.
It does not sell through its own websites or through brick-and-mortar stores. It sells only through sites like Amazon that host third-party sellers and take care of the entire retailing process for a fee, including warehousing, inventory management, payment processing, delivery, and returns.
It is a model vigorously championed by Amazon since 2013 to enhance its income by encouraging direct selling by Chinese manufacturers to U.S. and Canadian customers, eliminating the usual middlemen. Other hosting websites have followed Amazon's lead.
International Trading enters the listings for its products on the hosting websites by filling in the blanks on a listing form. It also takes care of ensuring timely deliveries of its products to fulfillment centers in the U.S. and Canada. The hosting companies then take care of everything else, reducing International Trading's involvement in the retail sales process to almost nothing.
But, the arrangement does not solve the replacement parts problem. Amazon is not a traditional distributor. It will do a lot for its hosted companies, but it does not provide replacement parts.
The only contact with the company is through the hosting websites, rarely a very satisfactory communication channel.
You can't just call a toll-free number and get something done. You have to email the company in China through a hosting site, then wait hours or even days for a response.
Due at least in part to the time difference (China is between 13-16 hours ahead of the U.S. and Canada), it typically takes a minimum of 6-9 hours to get a reply, and often as long as 48 hours. If your AZOS or BANGPU faucet is malfunctioning and you need replacement parts, that is far too long.
It is possible to successfully market faucets in the U.S. without having a physical presence in the U.S. The German luxury faucet companies, manage it extremely well.
Their approach takes advantage of the fact that with smartphones and the Internet, physical proximity to a market is no longer necessary to sell in that market. To a plumber or homeowner located in Miami, Memphis, or Montreal, technical or customer support provided from Germany is just as useful as help from California or Connecticut.
But, to be successful, however, the time difference between customer and company must be overcome. In2aqua and Jörger have done so by ensuring that there is technical and customer support available during North American business hours.
International Trading has not.
Faucet Construction & Materials
The AZOS and BANGPU faucets sold by Wenzhou International Trading in North America are made from brass and stainless steel. The company claims that the brass is lead-free, but there is no independent confirmation of this claim.
The stainless steel is 304 stainless, an alloy that includes chromium and nickel. The nickel gives the steel a crystalline structure which increases its strength. The chromium helps the steel resist corrosion.
Stainless 304, also known as "food-grade" stainless, is by far the most common alloy used to make kitchen utensils, silverware, cookware, and faucets.
Why Stainless Steel Does Not Rust: Properly alloyed stainless contains at least 10% chromium (which gives stainless its slight yellowish tinge) and a dollop of nickel. These form a coating of oxides and hydroxides on the outer surface of the steel that blocks oxygen and water from reaching the underlying metal, preventing rust from forming. The coating is very thin, only a few atoms thick, so thin that it is invisible to the eye under ordinary light but thick enough to protect the faucet.
Steel is much harder than brass. It can be made in thinner profiles that use less material and still have more than adequate strength.
Brass has traditionally been the preferred faucet material for two reasons:
- Brass is strong but easy to work with. It casts, forges, and machines with relative ease.
- Brass is naturally anti-microbial. The copper in brass kills bacteria, retarding the build-up of potentially hazardous microbes inside a faucet.
But, brass has one serious drawback. It may contain lead.
Traditional (alpha) brass is a blend of copper and zinc with a small amount of lead (1.5% - 3.5%) added to make the material more malleable, less brittle, and easier to fabricate.
Lead, however, is now all but banned in North America in any drinking water component due to its toxicity to humans, particularly children.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead, even in small amounts, causes slowed growth, learning disorders, hearing loss, anemia, hyperactivity, and behavior issues.
Before 2014, a faucet sold in the U.S. or Canada could contain as much as 8% lead and still call itself lead-free.
Now the maximum lead content of those parts of a faucet that touch water is 0.25% (1/4 of 1%), basically just a bare trace. In fact, there may be more lead in the air you breathe than there is in a faucet that has been certified lead-free.
Wenzhou International Trading claims that its brass faucets are made from lead-free brass. However, these faucets have not been certified lead-free, so this claim has not been independently confirmed.
We do know, however, that Chinese faucet manufacturers tend to use much less expensive leaded brass in faucets made for their home market, and are not above exporting leaded brass faucets to North America. (See Lead in Chinese Faucets.) Many dozens of these illegal, contraband faucets can be found on Amazon alone.
To comply with the restrictions on lead, today's faucet brass replaces lead with other additives to reduce brittleness without adding toxicity. The most common is bismuth.
Bismuth is similar to lead – right next to lead on the periodic table of elements – but it is not harmful to humans.
It is, however, very expensive. It is 300 times rarer than lead, even rarer than silver, which is the reason that bismuth-brass alloys are considerably more expensive than leaded brass.
This increased cost has encouraged many faucet manufacturers to use substitute materials in their faucets where possible.
Zinc & Zinc/Aluminum Alloys
The more common substitute is zinc or a zinc-aluminum (ZA) alloy. One of the most common is called ZAMAK, a composition containing 4% aluminum.
Zinc is not as strong as brass and does not resist water pressure as well as brass. But, its use in non-pressurized parts of a brass faucet such as handles, base and wall plates, and is common even among manufacturers of luxury faucets.
It does no harm when used in these components, and may save consumers a few dollars.
Plastic is the other commonly used substitute material. It may be safely used in incidental parts like base plates and has been largely trouble-free in aerators and as casings for ceramic cartridges but otherwise, its use is suspect especially if under water pressure.
Among those suspect uses is its use in the spray heads of kitchen faucets. Plastic spray heads (called "wands" in the faucet industry) have become the standard for many manufacturers, including some that sell upscale faucets such as
Azos kitchen faucet sprays are plastic.
These manufacturers give three reasons for their use of plastic:
- Plastic does not get uncomfortably hot in use like metal wands;
- Plastic is not as heavy and is more comfortable to hold for long periods of time; and
- Plastic is a lot cheaper than brass or stainless steel – even cheaper than zinc.
However, plastic wands also fail much more often than metal wands. And although engineers have made significant improvements to their reliability over the past decade, the problem has not been entirely solved.
Better wands are made of metal, insulated against excessive heat transmittal.
The Sure Cure for Too-Hot Spray Wands: The simple cure for spray wands that get too hot is to reduce the temperature of the water. Dishes do not need to be rinsed in scalding hot water.
Faucet Design & Styling
AZOS and BANGPU faucets are a mix of contemporary and traditional designs. The designs are conservative – fairly common designs, attractive enough but exhibiting no particular design originality.
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.
Although some Chinese manufacturers have begun producing original designs, some of which have won awards in international design competitions, Azos Sanitary Ware is not one of those companies.
Designs are usually adopted from Europe and North America.
A style that sells well in these major markets will often be imitated by Asian factories (with minor changes to avoid patent infringement). 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.
AZOS and BANGPU faucet designs fit this pattern. They are pleasant and often smartly styled, but most are over a decade old, some are well past voting age, at least one design is looking at its 50th anniversary in the rear-view mirror.
The critical components used in AZOS and BANGPU faucets are ceramic valve cartridges and aerators.
The faucets we examined contained a universal configuration ceramic cartridge made by Wenzhou Hairui Ceramic Valve Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of ceramic valve cartridges commonly used in Chinese-manufactured faucets destined for the European Union where the company sells cartridges under the Quore brand from offices in Spain and Italy.
Some are starting to appear in inexpensive Chinese-made faucets sold in North America We know they are used in some
The Faucet Cartridge
Its cartridge is the heart of a modern faucet and should be your very first consideration when making a buying decision.
It is the component that controls water flow and temperature.
Its finish may fail and the faucet will still work. It may be discolored, corroded, and ugly but water still flows. If the cartridge fails, however, the faucet is no longer a faucet. It is out of business until the cartridge is replaced.
It's important, therefore, that the cartridge is robust, durable, and lasts for many years.
Wanhai cartridges have been certified to North American standards, meaning the cartridges have passed the North American life-cycle and burst tests.
The standard North American life-cycle stress test requires operating the cartridges through 500,000 cycles under 60 psi of water pressure without a single failure. At one cycle per second, the test takes six days to complete.
The burst test subjects the cartridges to a water pressure of 500 pounds per square (psi) inch – 10 times the average household water pressure of 40-60 psi for one minute. If the cartridge leaks or deforms under this pressure, it fails.
In other countries, the standards are much less rigorous. The European (EN 817) and Chinese (GB18145) life-cycle requirement, for example, is just 70,000 cycles.
Since Wanhai has certified its cartridges to joint U.S./Canadian standards, we can say with fair confidence that the Wanhai cartridges used in its AZOS and BANGPU faucets meet the minimum North American requirements for durability and longevity and should provide years of leak-free service. (Read the Wanhai listing certificate.)
Dozens of Chinese companies manufacture aerators, most of which are at least adequate.
Faucet aerators used to be simple devices that merely added a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink.
Today, however, they are also used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and in some cases, to prevent back-flow that can result in the contamination of household drinking water.
It is important, therefore, that this little device, often smaller than a dime, be the best available.
Unfortunately, International Trading does not identify the source of the aerators used in its faucets. We took several apart to see if the devices had any manufacturer identification, but they did not.
Azos Sanitary Ware offers just three finishes on its faucets: Black, Chrome, and Gold.
Some finishes are more durable than others. Here are the Moen faucet finishes and their durability from most to least durable.
- is the old standby. It is a tough finish that will stand up to most abuse. but its durability depends on the metal used.
- Chrome is durable, nickel less so because it is inherently a softer metal (the reason chrome replaced nickel as the faucet finish of choice in the early 20th century.)
- (PVD) finishes are 10 to 20 times more scratch-resistant than electroplated chrome. They are also not affected by most household chemicals. In our experience, they are largely invulnerable to harm.
- is essentially a paint applied in a powdered form and then heated in an oven to cure. It is considered semi-durable with about the same scratch resistance as the finish on your car.
None of the faucets are available in in which a base finish is paired with an accent finish.
The finish processes used by Azos Sanitary Ware are not identified in any faucet listing. But, based on inspection and non-destructive testing we believe that Chrome is electroplated, Gold is produced through physical vapor deposition (PVD), and Black is probably a powder coating (but it may also be a PVD finish).
involves immersing the faucet and the metal to be used as plating in an acid bath, then applying an electrical charge to both objects so metallic ions are drawn from the plating metal to the faucet.
Usually, multiple coats are applied, one or more undercoats and then two or more coats of the finish metal.
The process is potentially hazardous to the operator and the environment. It involves toxic and corrosive chemicals that must be disposed of safely. No other coating technology even comes close to the dangers involved in electroplating.
The top coat may be polished or brushed. Chrome, a relatively hard metal, is usually polished to a high shine. Nickel, a softer metal, is usually brushed to help hide the inevitable minor scratches.
Physical Vapor Deposition
or PVD is one of the latest space-age faucet finishing technology, rapidly replacing electroplating as the finish of choice.
Although the technology was discovered in the 19th century, it was not used in industry until the 1950s and then only rarely due to its great expense. Its first use was in nuclear reactors. Today, technology is everywhere and the machinery required is getting smaller, faster, and cheaper all the time.
The process requires a special chamber.
Load the chamber with unfinished faucet components, remove all the air, and add back a carefully calculated mix of nitrogen or argon and reactive gases.
Add a rod of the metal to be used for the coating. Heat that rod to a temperature so high that the metal dissolves into individual atoms. The atoms mix with the various reactive gases to get the color and finish effects you want and are then deposited in a very thin layer – 2 to 5 microns – on the faucets.
A micron is one-millionth of a meter or 1/26,000 of an inch. The average human hair is 83 microns thick. The smallest the human eye with excellent vision can see without magnification is about 5 microns.
Despite being just microns thick, a PVD coating is extremely dense and, in consequence, very hard and durable. By some estimates, it is up to 20 times more scratch-resistant than electroplated chrome.
From long experience, we know that PVD is nearly impossible to accidentally scratch or mar, never fades or changes color, and resists all forms of soiling.
A PVD finish can usually be maintained with just an occasional wipe from a damp cloth to remove water spots.
is usually described as
semi-durable, not as robust as electroplated or PVD finishes, about as durable as the finish on your car, and requiring more care to maintain a like-new appearance.
It 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 particles are drawn to the item to be finished which has been given a negative charge.
Once the powder is applied, the item being coated is 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 its durability, reducing the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues.
Finish Care Instructions: Always read and follow the faucet seller's care instructions. Careful cleaning and maintenance not only preserve the good looks of your faucet but also your finish warranty, if any.
International Trading does not guarantee its faucets with a written warranty. The only protection against a defective product that it allows is a 30-day right to return a faucet that has not been installed. Of course, most defects are not discovered until a faucet is installed, so this provision sounds like a Catch-22 to us.
By its lack of a warranty, Intrnational Trading is telling you that it does not have enough confidence in the durability or longevity of its faucets to guarantee them for more than 30 days.
Testing & Certification
Faucets made in Asia comparable to AZOS and BANGPU faucets in quality with some sort of written warranty, but not necessarily comparable for design or price, include
We can see absolutely no reason to buy AZOS or BANGPU faucets from Wenzhou International Trading. Dozens of companies (see the list above) sell comparable faucets that are fully certified and legal to sell and install in the U.S. and Canada for about the same price with a witten (often a lifetime) warranty. They provide some sort of post-sale customer support and a source for replacement parts.
AZOS and BANGPU faucets have no written warranty. If an faucet fails, you are entirely on your own. The company does not provide any U.S.-based after-sale support and there is no source for replacement parts.
Most of the fau cets are brass and have the potential for lead contamination. Chinese manufacturers are particularly suspect when it comes to leaded brass faucets. China has no regulation limiting the use of lead in faucets made in that country.
International Trading claims the faucets are made of lead-free brass, but that claim is unsupported by independent testing and certification and cannot be verified.The company is well aware that U.S. law requires these faucets to be certified lead-free, and it has had ample time to get that done.
It may be that the faucets have not been certified because the company is fully aware that they are not lead-free and will fail the lead-free tests. Even worse, they may have already been tested and failed. Testing laboratories do not publish reports on faucets that fail certification testing.
In any event, these are contraband faucets. They are illegal to install in a drinking-water system anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.
A plumber probably will not install one for you, If you install it yourself and are caught, the very least that will happen is you will have to replace the illegal faucet at your expense and possibly pay a small fine. In an increasing number of jurisdictions, however, you can go to jail for knowing and intentional violations.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Azos faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.