Paini Faucets La Toscana • Fortis Review & Rating Updated: December 22, 2023
1571 Main Rd
Newfield, NJ 09344
Paini S.p.A. Rubinetterie
Via Cremosina 43
R.E.A. NO 110073
Fortis: Not Required
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This Company In Brief
Paini is an Italian manufacturer of good to excellent faucets distributed in North America through Paini USA.
Its brands are La Toscana and Fortis.
Fortis, the more upscale brand, was formerly sold by Spectrum Brands. It is now sold directly through Paini USA.
We judge these faucets to be a good to very good value for the price, well designed and well made using high-quality components for years of trouble-free service; and supported with an adequate warranty.
Post-sale customer and warranty service, however, is not as responsive as it once was and is considered only slightly above average.
Paini (pie-EE-nee) S.p.A. Rubinetterie is an Italian manufacturer of good to very good faucets that sells some but not all, of its many lines of designer faucets in North America.
Paini is one of the few Italian companies that balance high style with quality manufacturing at a price most people can afford.
According to Paini, the company
"… began in 1954 as a small artisan company with roots in Pogno, Italy — the heart of the Italian design tradition. Here, … founder and president Mario Paini began apprenticing at a small workshop producing faucet components."
Paini is the of Italy, manufacturing faucets under several brand names at every price point from discount to grand design.
La Toscana and Fortis are just a small part of the 30 or so collections that Paini offers in Europe.
For example, the Hego Waterdesign line of high-style (and high-priced) ultra-contemporary faucets is not (with one exception) sold in North America, nor are faucets from Argo Rubinetterie s.r.l., a Paini subsidiary that specializes in easy-to-install DIY faucets.
It sells a broad spectrum of faucets under its own brands but also makes faucets and faucet components for other companies as an manufacturer.
Paini has had a long and somewhat convoluted history of selling its faucets in North America.
It seems that as soon as the company settles into a groove, something happens to force it to change direction.
Paini got its foothold in the North American market by manufacturing store brand
From that modest beginning, it expanded into manufacturing for other North American faucet sellers.
At present, these include
La Toscana faucets were first introduced to North American buyers through Home Depot's World Imports, Inc. (now Barnett handles Home Depot's non-store sales primarily to trade professionals.
Paini's North American Faucet Brands
However, the company's association with Home Depot ended in 2017, forcing Panin to strike out on its own without the protection of the Home Depot association.
Paini already had its own U.S. subsidiary, Paini USA Corporation, formed on August 4, 2004, as a Delaware corporation. Its Newfield, New Jersey facility initially provided warranty and parts support for Paini faucets sold by Home Depot and other North American retailers.
After 2017, it also became the locus of the company's U.S. marketing of La Toscana faucets.
The Fortis brand is a more recent addition. It was originally a private brand sold by Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., a company that owns and sells faucets.
Fortis, positioned as Spectrum's upscale designer faucet line, was grouped with Pfister in Spectrum's Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division.
In 2021 the situation then changed again when Spectrum announced it was selling its HHI division to ASSA ABLOY Group, a transaction that is expected to be completed in mid-2023. (See the sidebar for more details.)
ABLOY is a lock and security hardware company. Faucets and other decorative plumbing products are nowhere on its corporate radar. We fully expect that it will divest itself of Pfister faucets and showers just as soon as it can find a buyer ready to pay a fair price.
With the anticipated sale of HHI to ABLOY, Paini had the choice of continuing Fortis sales without Spectrum, or discontinuing the brand.
Fortunately, it opted to keep the brand, initially partnering with Ferguson Enterprises to sell Fortis products on Ferguson'sonline retail venues, Build.com", Faucets.com, and FaucetsDirect.com.
It is now gearing up to sell Fortis faucets directly under the Paini USA banner. As of the date of this report, the reorganization is still incomplete.
Hopefully, Paini has seen the last of surprises.
Having faucets modified to fit North American plumbing connections, then tested and certified for the North American market can be an expensive proposition.
Spectrum Brands Sells HHI to ASSA ABLOY
On September 8, 2021, Spectrum Brands announced an agreement with ASSA ABLOY Group to sell its Hardware and Home Improvement division for $4.3 billion.
The U.S. Justice Department intervened to block the acquisition as anti-competitive, resulting in a protracted lawsuit in federal court.
The government's concern was that ABLOY, already the owner of several major manufacturers of locking and access control systems including Abloy, Caldwell Manufacturing, Carlisle Brass, and Corbin Russwin would potentially gain a virtual monopoly in that business segment.
To allay the government's concerns, ABLOY announced on May 5, 2023 that it had reached an agreement to divest itself of two of its major access control hardware brands, Emtek door hardware and Yale hardware's Smart Residential division, by selling them to Fortune Brands.
On that basis, the Department of Justice is allowing the acquisition to proceed and the parties reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of June, 2023.
Paini has wisely limited the faucets it sells here to just those it feels are price- and style-competitive.
North Americans like European faucets as long as they are not too European. The faucets that sell best are those that are "Americanized." These are the faucets Paini sells in North America.
Paini faucets are all contemporary designs. It offers no traditional or transitional styles in its faucets. Those looking for a faucet to fit an Arts & Crafts or Victorian kitchen or bath redo will have to look elsewhere for a faucet that fits their decor.
But, if contemporary is your preference, Paini faucets are worth a look.
Both La Toscana and Fortis faucet brands are stylish, but somewhat conservative to appeal to the majority of North American buyers.
We have to give Fortis an edge for design, but it is very slight.
Paini has a staff of in-house designers, but never mentions them on its websites. So, we know nothing about their backgrounds or accomplishments except what we can see in the designs they have produced.
The company also uses outside designers but is equally mum about their contributions. We have identified three of these, however.
• Davide Vercelli who works out of a studio in Varallo, Italy has won dozens of awards in international design competitions. He has designed several faucets for Paini.
• Marco Pisati, an architect and product designer from Florence, designs faucets for Treemme Rubinetterie, another Italian faucet manufacturer, but also at least one faucet design for Paini.
• Sei Cho, an industrial designer in Los Angeles who started his career designing toys. His designs for Paini include a wall-mount pull-down kitchen faucet and a very futuristic single-handle bathroom sink faucet that, as far as we can tell, has never been produced by Paini but should be.
Score: 52 out of 100
Like most faucet companies, Paini introduces most of its new designs in its upscale faucets which for Paini is its Hego Waterdesign line.
Hego faucets are not sold in North America with the single exception of the Fortis glass and chrome Uffizi faucet (sold by Hego as the Flower faucet), but we can see the design elements in many Fortis faucets that have migrated from the Hego line.
Fortunately, Hego prices have not also migrated with the Hego design elements, leaving Fortis faucets on the high side but still within the mid-priced range for faucets sold in North America.
Panini's websites are well-designed and easy to navigate. Both the Fortis and La Toscana sites provide considerable information about their faucets but not quite enough for an informed faucet-buying decision.
A .pdf specification sheet identifies the faucet's certifications, certifying organizations, available finishes, and a dimensi0ned drawing of the faucet.
The La Toscana site labels the specifications link "Specification submittal," a term we have not previously seen used. Fortis calls it by its usual moniker, "Specifications."
The Fortis site has links to an exploded parts diagram and installation instructions. The La Toscana site does not.
Neither site links faucet listings to an online warranty that applies to the listed faucets. The warranties are on the site, just not linked to the faucet listing. A "consp;icuous link" is a requirement of federal warranty law. (16 CFR 702.3)
Both sites have a link to "Collections," which is a listing of all the products available in the collection that includes the faucet. This is a very useful feature that helps a user identify the other items he or she may want to consider. It would be more useful, however, if it provided links to those other items.
Paini's listingd do not usually identify the primary material from which a faucet is made. If it does, the usual description is "solid brass." We know from our inspection of a few Paini faucets we acquired for examination that some parts of the faucets are a zinc alloy, others are plastic.
La Toscana's "lifetime" faucet warranty does not even remotely comply with the requirements for consumer warranties set out in the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308). Nonetheless, in spite of its flaws, it appears to meet the standard for North American faucet warranties pioneered in the 1970s by faucets. The Fortis warranty also meets the standard.
The original la Toscana warranty period was just 10 years.
Score: 65 out of 100
- ☑ ADA: Whether the faucet is suited for operation by persons with disabilities.
- ☑ Brand Name & Model Name or Number: The name or number must be the same as the name or number that appears on the certificates that confirm its compliance with North American standards.
- ☑ Certifications: Indicate whether the faucet has been tested and certified to North American standards and is legal to install.
- ☑ Country of Origin: The country in which the faucet is made.
- ☑ Dimensions: Overall height, Depth from front to back, Spout reach, Clearance from countertop to spout.
- ☑ Drain Included: Lavatory faucets only.
- ☑ Exploded parts diagram: Generally provided as a link to a portable document format (.pdf) document.
- ☐ Faucet Images: Multiple images, a 360° rotating image, or a video link for a complete visualization of the faucet.
- ☑ Faucet Material (Primary): Brass, stainless steel, plastic, zinc/ zinc alloy, etc.
- ☐ Faucet Material (Secondary): Aluminum, plastic, zinc/zinc alloy, etc.
- ☑ Finishes: All of the finishes in which the faucet is available.
- ☐ Finishing Process: Electroplate, PVD, powder coat, etc. specified for each finish available.
- ☑ Flow Rates: Maximum flow rate(s) in gallons per minute (GPM).
- ☑ Installation Instructions: Generally provided as a link to a portable document format (.pdf) document.
- ☑ Mounting Holes: The number of sink holes required to mount the faucet.
- ☐ Mounting Hole Diameter: Required minimum diameter of the mounting hole(s).
- ☐ Spray Head Material: Faucets with sprays only. Brass, stainless steel, plastic, Hybrid (brass/plastic, steel/plastic), etc.
- ☐ Supply Hose Included: Whether or not supply hoses are included with the faucet.
- ☐ Spray Hose Type/Material: Braided nylon, PVC, stainless steel, polymer coated, etc.
- ☐ Warranty Link: A conspicuous link to the warranty that applies to the faucet. (Required by Federal warranty law (16 CFR 702)
- ☑ Valve/Cartridge Type: Compression, washerless, or ceramic cartridge.
- ☐ Valve/Cartridge Identification: The company providing the valve (unless the valve is proprietary).
- ☑ WaterSense: Watersense® listed. Lavatory faucets only.
Paini increased it to 20 years after it had had a few years of experience selling faucets in North America under its belt and felt more comfortable moving away from the standard short-term European warranties.
We criticized both of these warranties, suggesting that the company could do a much better job supporting its good-quality faucets.
It did – revising its warranty once again to offer a "lifetime" term. For faucet finishes, lifetime is defined as "for as long as the original purchaser owns their (sic) home." For the mechanics of a faucet, the term is not defined.
Paini also offers a lifetime warranty on its Fortis faucets in which the term "lifetime" is defined for finishes as "for as long as the original purchaser owns their (sic) home." For mechanical parts, it is not defined.
As a number of courts have already warned, "lifetime" is not self-defining. Without a definition, we don't know which lifetime applies: the lifetime of the buyer, the lifetime of the product, even very possibly the lifetime of the company.
If lifetime is not defined, the Magnuson-Moss interpretation rules require a court to impose the longest warranty duration reasonably applicable which usually means the buyer's actual lifetime.
The Paini definition of lifetime also has legal problems.
The first problem is that for the lifetime warranty to attach to the sale of a faucet, the buyer has to own a home. Buyers who do not own their home (renters, lessees, and tenants) do not get a lifetime warranty because they do not "own their home.
The second is that the warranty does not require the buyer to continue to own the faucet for the warranty to remain in force. It requires only that the buyer own "their" home.
One unexpected result of that omission is that the buyer can retain all legal rights under the warranty even after he or she no longer owns the faucet, and can claim under the warranty for the benefit of all subsequent owners of the faucet.
A better definition, and one that takes care of both problems, would be:
"… for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns the faucet and resides in the home in which the faucet is first installed …"
Neither warranty attempts to disclaim implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for purpose created by state law – a big plus.
Many faucet companies (See e.g. ) try to disclaim implied warranties, evidently blissfully unaware that theMagnuson-Moss Act prohibits a company that offers a written warranty from disclaiming implied warranties, and any attempt to do so is simply void ( 5 U.S.C. § 2308(c)).
Nor do the warranties disclaim consequential or incidental damages. This means that if your Paini faucet leaks and damages your kitchen cabinets, Paini is obligated not only to pay to have the faucet fixed but also to restore or replace the damaged cabinets.
Magnuson-Moss requires that a warranty be written in a single document and in language that is clear and easy for the average consumer to understand. (16 CFR § 702.3
We applaud the clarity, and simplicity of the Paini warranty documents. Their language avoids most legalese and it is brief and to the point.
Unfortunately, however, in the La Toscana warranty, it may be a little too brief and a tad oversimplified. It leaves out some things that Magnuson-Moss insists must be in a product warranty.
These are outlined in the regulations that support Magnuson-Moss which may be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 16 C.F.R. § 701.3(a) – a document well worth reading by anyone proposing to write a consumer product warranty.
Paini Customer Service
Paini is not particularly fussy about minor issues of who gets warranty and parts support. If you own a Paini faucet, you will get help from customer service on the sensible basis that you would not be asking for help with a Paini faucet if you did not actually own one.
In our tests of customer service in 2021 and 2022, the company scored well. Service representatives are intimately familiar with the details of Paini products and able to answer even the most arcane questions. Our (purely imaginary) installation problems were handled with dispatch. We scored it 4.5 out of 5.0 in our tests. Any score above 4.0 is acceptable, 4.5 and above is very good.
In our tests for this report, however, customer service had slipped. It was still competent, but not nearly as responsive or courteous. We rated it 4.0.
The Better Business Bureau has also noted a drop-off in customer support. Formerly it graded Paini's product support A+ on a scale of A+ to F, its highest score representing an outstanding response to customer issues. At present its score is B- on the same scale, slightly above average.
Testing & Certification
The California Energy Commission sued Paini US Corporation for illegally selling unapproved faucets in California from January 2015 to July 2020. The company paid a penalty of $30,000.00 to settle the suit in 2021.
European faucets comparable to Paini include
Most of these faucets are pricier than La Toscana, and most do not offer a lifetime warranty.
Fortis and La Toscana faucets are well designed featuring a broad range of styles. They are well made and robust enough to use in even a busy kitchen or main bath with confidence that they will give many years of reliable, trouble-free service.
We are continuing to research Paini and its products. If you have experience with Paini faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.