Herbeau Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 05/17/23
3600 Westview Drive
Naples, FL 34104
Herbeau Creations, SARL
584 Avenue de Dunkerque
59461 Lomme, France
Footnotes:1. "Herbeau Creations of America (HCA) warrants the quality of its products (except for finishes) to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of five years from the date of purchase as indicated by the purchaser's receipt."2. See the finish warranty table in the body of the report, below.
Read the Herbeau warranty.
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Herbeau Creations of America, Inc., is the North American distributor of elegant faucets made by Herbeau Creations, S.A. of Lomme, France.
Founded in 1857 by Louis Herbeau, the company has been crafting faucets with classic French styling using superior components and materials for over 150 years.
Herbeau finishes are gorgeous and the entire look stately and refined while at the same time evoking the rustic motifs typical of French country kitchens. The stylistic balance is difficult to achieve but Herbeau has succeeded in mastering the look in a robust, high-quality faucet.
Herbeau (air-BŌ) Creations of America, Inc. is the North American distributor of faucets, sinks, tubs, and accessories designed and, for the most part, manufactured by Herbeau Creations, S.A.R.L. in the French Art Nouveau style that reflects the Art Nouveau visual styles of the Bel Epoque period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the Arts & Crafts Renaissance in Western Europe.
It is a distributor and does not sell directly to consumers. The faucets are available only through designer plumbing showrooms and at internet venues such as Vintage Tub and Quality Bath.
Founded in 1887 in Lille by Louis Herbeau (1826 - 1907), a plumber and pipefitter, to manufacture the advanced sanitary ware he had studied in England, Herbeau was incorporated in 1981. It is now in its fifth generation of Herbeau family ownership and management. It still manufactures in Lille on the Deûle River in the Pas-de-Calais region of France near the Belgian border. In addition to its main factory, the company also has stoneware and porcelain facilities in nearby Bailleul and Desvres. It maintains its only French showroom on Boulevard de la Liberté in Lille.
Herbeau has owned Winckelmans S.A. since a 2013 merger. It is now a division of Herbeau managed by Barbara Winkelmans, the great-great-granddaughter of the founder, Théophile Winckelmans, who started the company in 1894 to produce high-quality ceramic tile.
Herbeau products got little attention in the U.S. until Helger Baron, a Florida-based investor and in-law of the Herbeau family decided that they would do well in America among certain upscale buyers looking for unique heritage bath wares that departed from the usual English Victorian and Edwardian styles. He formed Herbeau Creations of America in 1992, selling primarily through studios, interior decorators, and selected internet retailers.
An early e-tail seller was Clawfoot Supply, now doing business as a Ferguson Enterprises company. But, this relationship ended many years ago. Signature Hardware now sells nothing but Asian-made faucets.
Herbeau's Finish Warranties
|† = a basic finish availabe on most faucdets.
(48) Polished Chrome†
(56) Polished Nickel†
(57) Brushed Nickel†
(77) Hammered Brushed Nickel
(65) Hammered Polished Nickel
(50) Matte Black Nickel (lacquered)†
(52) Old Gold (Unlacquered)
(53) Old Silver (Unlacquered)1
(60) Satin Nickel†
(66) Hammered Satin Nickel
(67) Antique Lacquered Copper†
(68) Antique Lacquered Brass†
(71) Polished Black Nickel (lacquered)†
(80) Polished Lacquered Copper†
(46) French Weathered Copper
(47) French Weathered Brass†
(55) Polished Brass (Unlacquered)†
(58) Polished Copper†
(59) Weathered Copper or Brass (Unlacquered)†
(61) Hammered Weathered Copper
(70) Weathered Brass†
(78) Hammered Weathered Brass
(79) Hammered Polished Brass
(81) Hammered French Polished Copper
(82) Hammered French Weathered Copper
(83) Hammered French Weathered Brass
1. Tarnishing is not onsidered a defect and is not covered.
2. The Herbeau warranty advises that: "Living finishes are unique in that over time exposure to climate, touch and moisture will cause the metal to oxidize and the finish to change. These variations in color and tone are part of a naturally occurring oxidation process."
Around 2002, Baron decided to accelerate marketing and product recognition by selling through less exclusive mass-market retail channels. Herbeau products began showing up at more ordinary e-tail plumbing venues such as e-faucets and at discounters like Wayfair and Wayfair's more upscale Joss & Main store. The marketing plan was aggressive and successful, growing retail sales in North America over 500% within six years.
Herbeau Design has now retreated from its mass-merchandising adventure on sites like Wayfair and is once again concentrating on selling through brick and mortar showrooms and selected online decorative plumbing suppliers. A showroom locator on the Herbeau website identifies local retail sources.
Herbeau's offerings in the U.S. are not limited to just faucets. It sells the entire spectrum of Herbeau's decorative bathwares including sinks, tubs, toilets, and accessories as well as Winkelmans ceramic tile. The Faucet designs are far more popular among Americans than they are among the French who, on the whole, prefer contemporary faucet styles. In 2016 the North American market accounted for about 80% of Herbeau's $4.34 million in sales.
Herbeau finishes are gorgeous and the entire look stately and refined while at the same time evocative of the rustic motifs of French country kitchens. A great many of Hrbeau's faucet designs are original with various members of the Herbeau family, past and present. Some have been in production for over 100 years. They are unquestionably French. Although similar to the Victorian/Edwardian era faucets produced by companies with an English lineage such as the French Art Nouveau influence is apparent in design elements throughout the Herbeau collection.
Art Nouveau, for those of you not familiar with the term, was the French version of the Arts & Crafts movement that affected all aspects of illustration, architecture, and industrial design during the Belle Èpoque period at the end of the 19th century.
In the U.S. it influenced design for about a decade in the early 1900s but had little lasting effect on American Arts & Crafts motifs. It was more or less swallowed up by Art Deco which began in the 1910s and blossomed in the 1920s and '30s, giving period movie theaters their iconic look.
Herbeau faucets are very well made using high-quality castings and fittings — all manufactured in Europe and most manufactured in France. Its ceramic faucet cartridges are supplied by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH in Germany, generally considered one of the world's best single-function stem cartridges for two-handle faucets.
Herbeau's warranty has technical problems. It does not comply with the minimum requirements of the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308). Here are some of its problems.
- The warranty does not state what Herbeau will do to remedy defects in the faucet as required by 16 C.F.R. § 701.3(a)(3). It mentions that Herbeau's liability is "limited to defective parts replacement only", but never actually promises to replace defective parts. Nor does it indicate what Herbeau will do if replacement parts are not available or do not fix the problem.
- The warranty does not provide the
"… step-by-step explanation of the procedure which the consumer should follow in order to obtain performance of any warranty obligation …"
- as required by 16 C.F.R. § 701.3(a)(5). If does provide a detailed process for making claims if faucets are damaged in shipping or are missing components on arrival but nothing for claims arising under the warranty.
- The warranty does not disclose that installation of Herbeau "faucets must be performced by an experienced, licensed plumber" for the warranty to apply or that "installation of … faucets in a marine/outdoor envoronment will void the warranty." These limitations were found in a Techincal Support document, not in the warranty itself.
- Magnuson-Moss requires all warranty information must be "disclosed in … a single document." Anything affecting the warranty that is not in that single document is considered "deceptive" and is simply void and without effect.
- It does not include the statement required by 16 C.F.R. § 701.3(a)(9) that
"This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from State to State."
There is no room for fudging this requirement. Either the required statement is in te warranty or it's not. In Herbeau's warranty, it's not.
There are other small issues with the warranty, including readability in places which could affront the Magnuson-Moss requirement that warranties be written in language that is "clear and easy to understand by the average consumer."
Magnuson-Moss is serious about fairness and controlling deception in consumer product warranties and mandates that every word of its minimum required content must be included in a product warranty.
The usual remedy where a warranty is deficient is simply to return to the protections offered by state law warranties of merchantability and fitness for purpose which are usually much more generous to the consumer than manufacturer's warranties.
Additionally, a violation of any of the requirements or prohibitions of the Magnuson-Moss Act is considered an unfair and deceptive practice that violates the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1), whether or not the company actually intended to be unfair or deceptive.
Ceramic Cartridge: Its ceramic cartridge is the heart of a modern faucet. If it fails, the faucet is no longer a faucet until it is replaced. It is important, therefore, that the cartridge is robust and durable, and important to the buyer to know the cartridge installed in a faucet is a good one. It would be hard to improve on the Flühs cartridge.
Its aerators are Swiss-engineered Neoperl®, considered some of the world's best.
Faucet aerators used to be simple devices that merely infused a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink. Today, however, they are precision instruments often used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by conservation laws and, in faucets with pull-out sprays, to prevent back-flow that could contaminate household drinking water. It is important, therefore, that this little device, often smaller than a dime, be the best available. And that, almost by definition, is the Swiss-engineered Neoperl® aerator.
These very high-quality components are costly. Herbeau is in hot competition with another French faucet company, Tetard, Haudiquez and Grisoni – – of Picardy, France for the honor of selling Europe's most expensive production faucet.
A basic Herbeau starts at about $500.00 USD ($622.00 CAD) and climbs rapidly to $3,000.00 ($3,740.00 CAD) and more.
Herbeau offers nearly 30 finishes, of which seven are durable or (PVD) finishes. Most, however, are less robust or lacquer finishes. Powder coatings and lacquer finishes are considered semi-durable. They require more attantion and more care to keep their new look.
To find out more about the different types of faucet finishes and the advantages and drawbacks of each type, go to Faucet Basics Part 5: Faucet Finishes.
Nearly half of the powder coatings are , however, and living finishes require no care at all. They are intended to react with the environment to show evidence of use including fading, color-changing, scratches, marks, water spots, and fingerprints. No amount of care or attention will forestall these changes. The patina that results from use over the years is the preferred look.
We could find no faucet on the company website that was available in all of the offered finishes. Most are available in approximately the same fifteen finishes of which two are in which two different finishes are applied to one faucet. The most common splits are French Weathered Copper with Brass and Polished Copper with Brass but many other pairs are available as a special order.
We could not find any examples of many stated finishes on the Herbeau USA website. We had to go to the downloads to find out that many (especially the hammered finishes) are available only on sinks, which explains why we could not find them on faucets.
The Herbeau warranty is very deficient compared to the North American standard limited lifetime warranty.
Faucets are guaranteed free of defects in material and workmanship for 5 years. Finishes, are warranted for varying terms as shown in the the finish warranty table. A few are covered by the five-year warranty, but more by a two-year warranty. Living finishes have no warranty at all (which is the standard practice in the industry and not unique to Herbeau).
Normally, we would consider a short-term warranty to be a reflection of the company's low opinion of the quality and longevity of its faucets. But, with Herbeau, we believe a different dynamic is at work. For the European market, a five-year warranty is actually considered generous. The average European faucet warranty is just three years.
Why such short-term warranties? Partly it's a matter of law. All Western European countries require a minimum warranty on faucets of between one and five years depending on the country, so that's what manufacturers provide. But, it is also an accident of history.
and every other major U.S. faucet manufacturer. "Lifetime" became the standard for American faucet warranties by the end of the 1960s.
European faucet companies didn't compete with Pfister in Europe, so they kept their traditional, short-term. warranties.
Still, for the North American market, a lifetime warranty would be more competitive against American faucet companies like that are rapidly adopting more Euro-centric designs to complete with stylish imports. On the other hand, there are no faucet styles like Herbeau's available from anywhere except Herbeau, so the company really has no competition.
Herbeau customer support is responsive and friendly but not always in a rush to agree that a warranty claim is the responsibility of the company. We did not conduct a formal test of the service, however. Our usual tests do not work well if the company employs just one or two representatives. They very quickly figure out they are being tested. We did, however, contact customer service to ask questions and request documents. The response was satisfactory.
The Better Business Bureau has not accredited the company, but its file shows no consumer complaints about Herbeau in the many years the company has been in business in North America and rates the company A+ or its scale of A+ to F for satisfactory handling of customer issues.
The Herbeau website is well organized, artful, colorful, and easy to navigate. The layout is efficient but seems somehow crowded and cluttered. It has been revised since the last update to this review to make it more responsive to today's internet environment in which access through smartphones and tablets is more common than through desktop computers. However, it is useable only in landscape mode on smartphones.
The information about each faucet is adequate, including finishes available and any options. Ceramic cartridges are identified by the manufacturer. Faucets are depicted in two or three images in a natural setting rather than against a bland white background.
The downloadable .pdf specification sheet for each faucet contains a dimensioned drawing and a parts list but, unaccountably, no exploded parts diagram. The parts list is numbered, but the numbers do not correspond to anything. Many European manufacturers provide an exploded parts diagram, but not the parts list. Herbeau had to do it the other way for some reason.
Without a legend to identify the parts, the parts list is much less useful than it could be. Unless you are a faucet engineer you are unlikely to know where a "02 - Finished Metal Washer" is located on the faucet or what it does, so an exploded parts diagram with a parts list keyed to the diagram is essential information for most consumers.
The search function is adequate, easily passing our standard "search and find" tests. The one omission, however, is the ability to search for a specific finish. If you are looking to equip your bathroom or kitchen with faucets and accessories having a Polished Nickel finish, it would be very helpful to be able to pull up all of the products that are available in that finish. The Herbeau website does not offer that convenience. which means you will have to pull up items one by one until you find one with the desired finish, then repeat for the next item.
In the past Herbeau has been casual about complying with the standards governing the sale and installation of faucets in North America. In March 2016 the company paid a civil penalty after the Department of Energy determined that it had not complied with the requirement to certify its faucets and showerheads as conforming to the energy conservation standards of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (Herbeau: Order (2015-CE-28005)).
Since then the company has reformed. At present, Herbeau fully complies with all federal laws and code standards, and its faucets may be legally installed in any State or Territory of the U.S. or any Canadian Province unless restricted by State or Provincial laws or regulations. But, the reform was at a price. To meet North American standards, some Herbeau faucets had to be redesigned which orphaned many of its older faucets for which there now a scarcity of replacement parts.
Companies offering faucets comparable in quality to Herbeau include:
The unique Art Nouveau look of an Herbeau faucet is not available from any company other than Herbeau, and if this is the look you want, Herbeau is where you will, in all likelihood, have to get it.
It is almost impossible to not be mesmerized by the design creativity of Herbeau faucets or to be impressed by their quality. So, despite the shortcomings of the Herbeau warranty, we judge the faucets to be a reasonable value. Expensive, yes. But, high style is usually expensive. Herbeau faucets are no more costly than most of the products available from comparable super-luxury faucet companies.
If you are building a luxury bath in an old-world style, or just want that one luxury touch for an otherwise modest heritage bathroom re-do, take a look at Herbeau. The quality is impressive, and the styling is simply not available elsewhere.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Herbeau faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.