Newport Brass Faucets and Restoration Hardware Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 06/01/21

Summary
Assembled in USA
From Imported Parts and Components
Brasstech, Inc.
2001 East Carnegie Av.
Santa Ana CA 92705-5531
(949) 417-5207
Rating
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
Certifications
Street Price
$350 - $1,800
Warranty Score
Cartridge
lifetime1
Living Finishes
No warranty2
PVD Finishes
Lifetime3
Other Finishes
10 years
Mechanical Parts
10 years
Proof of Purchase
Required
Transferable
No
Meets U.S. Warranty
Law Requirements
Yes

Warranty Footnotes

1. "[A]s long as the original consumer purchaser owns their [sic] home."
2. Living finishes are intends to fade, change color, and show marks and belmishes accumulated with use and exposer to the environment. Most faucet companies do not offer a warranty on these types of finishes.
2. Chrome is also guaranteed for a lifetime even though it is an electroplated ratherthan a PVD finish. For more about PVD finishes, see the main text.


Read the Newport Brass faucet warranty.

Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Newport Brass is the brand name under which Brasstech, Inc., a division of Masco Corporation, sells faucets and other decorative plumbing fittings, along with coordinating accessories.

Masco is a home improvement conglomerate that also sells

Newport Brass faucets, available in over 30 finishes, are at the medium-high end of the price scale. Assembled in the U.S. from parts and components imported primarily from China, the faucets are of very good quality.

Brasstech was founded in 1987 by father and son team, Ross and Geoff Escalette, to manufacture high-quality faucets and other plumbing fixtures. In the 1990s Brasstech was one of the first faucet companies to experiment with physical vapor disposition (PVD) finishes on faucets, and today the company offers thirty-three different finishes, most of them using advanced PVD processes.

Masco's Faucets

Masco sells eight brands of faucets from economy to luxury through its various subsidiaries in addition to Newport Brass.

all products of the Delta Faucet Company, are really the low, middle and high ends of the same Delta fau­cet line.

owned by Masco Canada, is a manufacturer of budget fau­cets for the Canadian market.

, Masco's most recent acquisition, is the only Masco company that does not assemble faucets in North America. It imports Chinese faucets.

the upscale fau­cet manufacturer in Germany, is the last player in Masco's rollcall of famous fau­cets, also at the high end of the Masco lineup.

Masco also owns Bristan Group, Ltd. in the UK, but none of these faucets are sold in North Amer­ica.

Brasstech introduced the Newport Brass faucet brand of all-brass faucets in 1989 and quickly established it as a minor national brand with a reputation for manufacturing quality faucets. It was purchased by Masco in 2002.

The Escalettes abandoned the faucet business for a while to concentrate on building up RSS Manufacturing, a specialty metal fabricator in motorsports and military applications.

However, in 2012 Geoff Escalette reentered the faucet market with his purchase of Phylrich faucets are now manufactured in the U.S. by RSS Manufacturing.

The enlarged Brasstech, Inc. is in the same Masco "Group" as the German faucet maker also controlled by Masco.

Brasstech under the ownership of its founding father and son team, Ross and Geoff Escalette, established a solid reputation as a U.S. manufacturer of high-quality faucets.

Brasstech under Masco is no longer a U.S. manufacturer. In fact, it is no longer a Manufacturer at all, as we define the term but an of component parts manufactured by others. It does not cast, forge or machine the essential parts of its own faucets. These basic faucet components are made in Chinese factories, four of which seem to be Brasstech's ongoing component suppliers:

Brasstech's ceramic valves are also made outside of the U.S. This is so common, however, as to be unremarkable. Most of the best ceramic cartridges are made overseas, so those companies that want to use the best cartridges buy them from European and Asian suppliers.

Flühs Drehtechnik, a German company, supplies the 1-001 and 1-002 cartridges used in most Newport Brass two handle faucets. Flühs cartridges are generally regarded as some of the best in the world.

Hydroplast S.r.l., an Italian company, supplies the mixer cartridges used in single handle faucets. At one time, the company bought mixer cartridges from Studio Tecnico Sviluppo e Ricerche (STSR) S.r.l., an Italian manufacturer of custom ceramic cartridges, diverters and flow arresters but that relationship appears to have ended.

All these parts are then shipped to Santa Ana, California where most Brasstech faucets are assembled and finished.

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.

The company designs and engineers most of its own faucets and provides full post-sale customer support, including a customer service staff and replacement parts operation.

The faucets are made, according to company sources, from solid "German brass" — a common name for tombak or tombac, a red brass alloy with a high copper content (72% to 88% ) typically used to make imitation gold jewelry and artillery shell casings.

Chesterfield kitchen bridge faucet with sidespray in chrome.

Tombac is just one of many brass alloys used to manufacture faucets. Its chief advantage today is that it usually contains no lead, which after January 4, 2014, is virtually banned in drinking water faucets by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Its chief disadvantage is that it is softer than most other brass alloys.

The company has lost points in the past for its substandard faucet warranty. The warranty is still below the standard lifetime warranty for faucets sold in North America.

Only polished chrome and (physical vapor deposition) finishes and ceramic cartridges are warranted for the lifetime of the original buyer. All other parts of the faucet and all other finishes (except are guaranteed for just 10 years. Living finishes, as is normal practice in the industry, are not guaranteed at all.

The warranty is not well well-written. It is cumbersome and difficult to interpret. Partly the problem arises from an inartful attempt to include every product sold by Newport Brass in one warranty. It can be done but is rarely done well. The Newport Brass warranty is an example of "rarely done well."

The warranty's definition of "lifetime" is problematic. It is defined as for "as long as the Original Purchaser owns their [sic] home." There is no requirement that the original purchaser continue to own the faucet for the warranty to remain in force - an odd omission to say the least, and one that can lead to an adverse result that could lead to the benefits of the warranty being passed on to a subsequent faucet owner.

the warranty is our of step with its competition including its sister companies all of which provide a lifetime warranty on every part of their faucets (except electronic parts).

Our experience with Brasstech customer service has been favorable overall and the company performed well in our customer service tests.

Such has not always been the case, however. the Better Business Bureau rated Brasstech customer service "F" until 2013, the lowest rating possible, based on Brasstech's failure to respond satisfactorily to customer complaints. The BBB does not require that complaints be resolved to the satisfaction of a complaining customer but does require that the company respond and make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter. In the opinion of the BBB, Brasstech had not met this standard.

The company has now worked its way up to an A+ rating, the BBB's highest on a scale of A+ to F.

Newport Brass tends to be traditional and transitional in styling but it is slowly adding more angular, geometric, and contemporary styles. The faucets are part of a collection of matching fixtures, lighting, towel bars, shower rods, grab bars, and so on, to create a coordinated look for your kitchen or bath. The faucets also coordinate well with various accessory collections sold by Brasstech under the Ginger brand.

Ginger Faucets: At one time Brasstech also sold bathroom lavatory faucets under the brand. These were essentially of the same quality as Newport Brass faucets and, for the most part very stylish and striking. We predicted in our update of this report in 2012 that the company would probably discontinue the faucet because they were in direct competition with its Newport Brass line. And, in fact, Ginger faucets were discontinued in 2014. Any remaining Ginger faucets were folded into the Newport Brass line. The company still honors its warranty on discontinued Ginger Faucets, although that warranty has either expired or is about to expire.

The company offers at least 33 finishes, and is adding more all the time. By the time you read this, there may be many more. Chrome, an finish, is the standard. Any other finish will result in an additional charge over the base price of the faucet. Several more finishes are created using (PVD). Most, however, a or a combination of powder coats and liquid paints.

Electroplating is the old standard. It is a process that has been used to give faucets a durable finish almost since the first faucet was invented.

Plating 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. Some metals cannot be plated directly to brass. The metals do not bond well and can peel. An intermediate metal (usually nickel or zinc/nickel alloy) undercoat may be necessary.

PVD finishes are extremely durable. By some estimates, PVD is up to 20 times harder and more scratch-resistant than the old standard, chrome. The process was first applied in 1852 by Sir William Robert Grove, but the technology remained a little known scientific curiosity until the beginning of the Atomic Era in the 1950's when the need arose for virtually indestructible metal finishes that could withstand the hellish environment inside nuclear reactors.

PVD finishes are applied in a very thin (2 to 5 microns) but very dense layer in a vacuum chamber that is loaded with unfinished faucet components. All the air is replaced with a carefully calculated mix of inert and reactive gases. A metal rod to be used for the coating is heated to a temperature so high that it dissolves into individual atoms creating an ionic plasma that bombards the components.

Different finish colors and effects are created by varying the mix of reactive gases in the chamber. For example, a gold finish is often created using a titanium alloy, which in its natural state is a dull silver-ish color, but when combined with nitrogen gas, produces a convincing gold-tone finish on the faucet components. Adding a little methane to the nitrogen reddens the color resulting in rose gold. A touch of acetylene darkens the finish to a bronze with an antique effect.

PVD has its limitations, however. It can produce only a limited number of finishes. While the number is growing by leaps and bounds as PVD artisans learn has to make new finishes, truly exotic finishes can only be created using powder coats and paint. This is the reason Newport Brass's most striking finishes are these types of finishes

Powder-coated and painted coatings are much less robust than the metal finishes, usually described as "semi-durable", requiring more care than metal finishes to maintain their appearance.

The powder coating process was invented during World War II when the need for speed in manufacturing was paramount and a faster method of coating war materials kept production moving. Powder coats, unlike liquid paints, need no drying time, so the assembly line could move right along, producing the tanks, artillery, aircraft, and Jeeps needed for the war effort.

The powder is applied using a special low-velocity spray gun that disperses the powder while giving it a positive electrical charge. The powder particles are drawn to the fau­cet which has been given a negative charge. Once the powder is applied, the fau­cet is baked in an oven at about 400°F (204°C) 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. It is typically slightly more durable than the paint on your car.

However, coats may be overlaid with one or more coats of paint or lacquer to create a particular appearance.

The process has some drawbacks. The major problem is bonding. Powder coats do not bond to the underlying metal of the fau­cet at the molecular level like electroplated or PVD finishes. The lack of molecular bonding combined with its relative hardness means that powder coats can chip, especially around exposed edges.

Some powder doats are , intended to react to the environment by fading, changing color and showing stains. fingerprints, and other signs of use. The objective is to create a look of wear and age – the look that living finish aficionados admire. Of course, if you don't want your finish to fade, change color, and show stains and fingerprints, then you should stay away from living finishes. The problem is that Newport Brass does not tell you which of its finishes are living finishes – but we do – see the Newport Brass Finish Chart, above.

The type of finish used on a Newport Brass faucet affects the finish warranty.

Only polished chrome and PVD finishes are covered by a lifetime warranty. Living finishes have no warranty. All other powder-coated finishes are protected by a 10-year warranty. The Newport Brass website does not disclose the type of finish, so before you decide on a finish other than chrome, call customer support to find out if it is a PVD finish.

Generally, Newport Brass faucets are sold through plumbing showrooms. The faucets are available online primarily from building poduct suppliers such as Build.com, Quality Bath, and Vintage Tub & Bath.

They may also be found a general merchandise website that host third-party sellers such as Amazon and Wayfair. The faucets, however, are usually not available in the company's full range of finishes from web-based sellers.

No matter where you buy a Newport Brass faucet, however, do not expect a deeps discount. Brasstech maintains and enforces a Mininimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) policy that forbids retailers from listing a price below the company's minimum price. A retailer can sell below the MAP price but it cannot advertise the price. As a matter of practice, few retailers sell below the MAP price.

In addition to designing and assembling its own line of Newport Brass faucets, Brass­tech also designs and assembles faucets for .

Although Restoration Hardware advertises its faucets as made in Germany, they are, in fact, assembled by Brasstech in California from mostly Chinese-made components, and, as far as we can tell, their only connection to Germany is their ceramic cartridge, which may be made in Germany by Flühs Drehtechnik.

Brasstech also provides technical and parts support for Restoration Hardware. Dialing Restoration Hardware's technical support telephone number puts you in touch with technical experts at Brasstech.

Faucets of quality comparable to Newport Brass include

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Newport Brass faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.