Chalirs & Hmegao Faucets Review & Rating Updated: February 17, 2023
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Huagao Sanitary Ware is a Chinese manufacturer that sells faucets in the U.S. under the Chalirs, Hmegao, and Hongaoer brands.
It sells only through internet venues that host third party sellers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Wayfair.
The faucets are of average quality and of no particular design distinction. A great many other Chinese companys sell the same or similar designs of about the same quality over internet hosting sites.
Kaiping Huagao Sanitary Ware Technology Co., Ltd. is a trading company that sells showers and faucets for the home. In China it sells under the Huagao brand. In North America it sells as Hmegao and Chalirs. Both brands are registered trademarkes in the U.S.
The products are sold only on the internet through websites that host third party sellers. The most prominent of these is Amazon, but the company also sells through Sears, Walmart, and Wayfair.
Sales are over the internet only. Huagao products are not sold in street stores.
Huagao sells its products in North America under the trade names Chalirs and Hmegao. Both are trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It also sells some faucets under the Hongaoer brand. Hongaoer is not a registered mark.
According to its U.S. trademark filing, Huagao is prepared to sell a wide range of products in North America in addition to decorative plumbing products. The tradename filings cover:
"Faucets; Humidifiers; Sinks; Air purifiers; Barbecue grills; Electric beverage heaters; Electric candles; Electric cooking ovens; Electric fans; Electric sandwich makers; Electric soymilk makers; Electric waffle maker; Hand-held showers; Laser light projectors; Lighting fixtures; Lights for use in growing plants; Shower tubs; Ultraviolet ray lamps, not for medical purposes; Water closets; LED (light emitting diode) lighting fixtures. "
However, at the moment it only sells only faucets and showers.
Huagao's North American Operations
Other than sales, the company's operations are in China. It has no functioning U.S. presence. All of the details of a sale in North America have been delegated to its hosting websites: warehousing, inventory, payment processing, and delivery.
Its only involvement is to ship inventory to Amazon warehouses every once in a while.
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, 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. Huagao has not.
Huagao's Construction & Materials
The faucets sold by Huagoa in the U.S. are made from brass or stainless steel. During the period we researched this company, it stainless steel faucet were not being sold in the U.S. But, we expect they will be in the future. All of the faucets we tested were made from brass.
Huagoa make some of its kitchen faucets from stainless steel
The alloy used by Huagoa, 304 stainless, contains up to 10% chromium and a dash of 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.
Steel is much harder than brass. It can be made in thinner profiles that use less material and still have more than adequate strength.
It requires processes and machinery that differ from those used to produce brass faucets. Typically a company makes either brass or stainless steel faucets but not both. Huagoa is one of the few to manufacture in both materials.
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.
All of Huagoa's lavatory faucets and most of its kitchen faucets are made from brass. Brass is the traditional material for faucets 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 legal 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.
Huagoa claims that its brass faucets are made from lead-free brass. However, its brass faucets have not been certified lead-free, so this claim has not been independently confirmed through testing in a third-party laboratory.
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
Chalirs 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.
Haugao's Faucet Design & Styling
Chalirs and Hmegao faucets are contemporary 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, Huagoa 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.
Huagoa's 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, and a few are looking at their thirtieth anniversary in the rear-view mirror.
Huagao's Faucet Components
The critical components used in Chalirs faucets are ceramic valve cartridges and aerators.
The faucets we examined contained a universal configuration ceramic cartridge made by a Chinese manufacturer of ceramic valve cartridges. As the cartridges were not imprinted with the name or logo of the manufacturer, we were not able to determine who made them.
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.
Ceramic cartridges are not all the same. Many are good and a few are excellent, but some are not so good. To determine whether a cartridge is reliable and will provide leak-free service for many years, we need to know that the cartridge has been tested to the strict North American standard.
Before being approved for use in the U.S. or Canada a cartridge is put to a lot of tests, but the two most important are the life-cycle and burst tests.
The standard life-cycle stress test requires operating a cartridge through 500,000 cycles under 60 psi of water pressure without a single failure. The test simulates 70 years of average use home kitchen or bath. At one cycle per second, the test takes six 24-hour days to complete. If the cartridge does not last through the 500,000 cycles, it fails the test.
The burst test involves pressurizing the cartridge to 500 pounds per square inch for one minute. This is ten times greater pressure than the average water pressure in a North American home. If the cartridge bursts or deforms, it fails the test.
If the cartridge passes both of these tests and several dozen others, it is certified for use in U.S./Canadian faucets.
There are dozens of companies in China that manufacture and spray-head assembles. Most are a least adequate.
These are the aerators used in most Huagao faucets.
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.
Huagao's Faucet Finishes
Huagao offers five finishes on its faucets: Black, Brushed Nickel, Chrome, Gold, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
Some of the faucets in the Huagao catalog are shown in in which a base finish is paired with an accent finish to create novel visual effects.
Chrome, Black, and Brushed Nickel are electroplated. Oil-Rubbed Bronze is probably a powder coating. Gold appears to be applied using physical vapor deposition (PVD).
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 minor scratches that are inevitable.
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 itself mixes art with science.
Load a 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.
Huagao's Faucet Warranty
Huagoa does not provide a warranty on its faucets.
Neither U.S. nor Canadian law requires the seller of a consumer product to offer a warranty. U.S. federal law does, however, specify strict requirements if a warranty is offered. Since Huagoa products do not have a warranty, the requirements do not apply.
Huagao Customer Service
Huagao has no presence in North America and that lack of presence includes the absence of a North American-based customer service. Customer service for Huagao products is through emails to China.
You can't just call a toll-free number and get something done. You have to email, then wait for a response.
Due at least in part to the time difference (China is between 13-16 hours ahead of the U.S.), it typically takes a minimum of 6-9 hours to get a reply, and often as long as 48 hours. If your Huagao faucet is malfunctioning and you need replacement parts, that is far too long.
There is also the language barrier. Huagao customer agents probably speak far better English than you do Mandarin, but English is not their first language, so communication can be slow and difficult with lots of questions and more questions, and explanation after explanation until some sort of understanding is achieved.
We rate the company's customer support as unsatisfactory.
Huagao does not have a U.S.-based website. It does have a Chinese site that is also available in English, but this site is dedicated to the company's manufacturing capacities in China, not to its retail sales in North America.
The closest it comes to a U.S. website is its Amazon store-front that, unfortunately, does not provide very much hard information about the company's faucets.
Testing & Certification
Faucets made in Asia comparable to Huagao faucets in quality with some sort of warranty, but not necessarily comparable for design or price, include
There is absolutely no reason to buy Huagao faucets. They are much too risky for use in a home kitchen or bath.
1. Price is not enough. The prices on Huagao faucets make them attractive, but, as the list above demonstrates, a great many other companies sell good quality Chinese-made faucets for about the same price that are fully certified, legal to use in a drinking water system, and backed by a much stronger warranty. Many are guaranteed for the lifetime of the buyer.
2. They have not been certified so the presence of toxic substances like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in the faucet has not been excluded. Because these are Chinese-made products, lead is a substantial risk due to the lack of lead regulation in China.
4. Huagao has no written warranty on the faucets, suggesting that even the seller does not have enough confidence in their long-term durability to provide an enforceable warranty.
4. The faucets cannot be legally installed in a drinking water system anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. A plumber probably will not install one for you, and if you do it yourself you risk, at the very least, having to replace the faucet with a legal product and the possibility in some jurisdictions of a fine and a little jail time.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Chalirs faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.