Riobel Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 10/11/23
820 Nobel Street
Saint-Jérôme, Quebec J7Z 7A3
866 473 8442
U.S. Distribution By Rohl, LLC
Irvine, California 92618-1605
Canada: $160-$700 CAD
Warranty Footnotes:1. Plastic parts of a cartridge are warranted for 1 year, electronics, 5 years.2. Lifetime warranty on Chrome, PVD, and Black finishes. All other finishes: one year.
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Riobel, Inc. is a Canadian company founded in 1995 that sells faucets designed in Canada for manufacturing in China by contract suppliers.
Riobel distributes its own products in Canada, maintains a Canadian website, and provides after-sale customer support.
distributes the products in the U.S., hosts a separate U.S. website, and provides customer support for U.S. customers.
The faucets are prototyped and tested in Saint-Jérôme before being released to one of the company's Asian suppliers for tooling and manufacturing. The quality of the faucets is superb — Riobel has chosen its suppliers well.
The styling is North European with a softening of the angular lines typical of Hanseatic design through a leavening of North American design elements.
Prices are reasonable for the quality of the faucets, but more reasonable in Canada where street prices are about 20% lower than the prices for the same faucets in the U.S, a fact suggesting that Rohl is a little too generous with its mark-up.
We judge these faucets a good value backed by very able customer service.
The Rioble warranties, however, are sub-standard for the North American market. Both the U.S. and Canadian warranties provide lifetime protection against manufacturing defects in metal parts and basic finishes but a mere one year warranty on plastic parts and other finishes. The company can do better.
Riobel, Inc. is a Canadian company, chartered in Quebec, that sells faucets designed in Canada but manufactured in China.
The company was founded in 1995 by Mario Bélisle as Selections25, a plumbing products distribution company.
It was renamed Riobel after its 1999 purchase of Baldwin faucets.
According to company lore, the name was made up of the last three letters of the founder's Christian name, "Rio," and the first three letters of his family name, "Bel."
The Bélisle family owned the company until 2016, when it was purchased by Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., a company that has counted among its many brands since 1990.
In the same year, Fortune Brands also acquired two upscale faucet companies and two manufacturers of luxury porcelain wares: Shaws of Darwin and Victoria⊕Albert.
These acquisitions along with Moen were combined into the new Global Plumbing Group division of Fortune Brands as of August 2016.
The acquisition should be good for Riobel, opening new markets in the U.S. and patching Riobel into Moen's enormous supply chain and sophisticated global design and prototyping system. (For more detailed information, see our review of faucets).
Riobel has largely occupied its home market in Canada but has only a minor presence in the U.S.
Fortune Brands seeks to dramatically expand Riobel's U.S. sales and for that purpose has turned U.S. distribution over to
Rohl has years of experience selling imported luxury faucets such as in the U.S. Riobel will undoubtedly benefit from Rohl's well-established distribution network, a substantial presence in U.S. plumbing showrooms and asolid reputation among interior designers.
Riobel will continue to handle its own distribution and sales in Canada and customer service for Canadian buyers.
Riobel Faucet Design
Riobel's primary products are sink faucets, shower systems, and the accessories that go with them.
Its unique Canadian styling is a softening of the angular lines of North European Hanseatic design with North American design elements that typically involve flowing curves. The result is a distinctive look that is both novel and familiar, and contemporary without being starkly industrial.
Some of Riobel's faucets are designed by Riobel's ten-person in-house design team. The faucets are prototyped and tested in Saint-Jérôme before being released to one of the company's suppliers for tooling and manufacturing.
Other Riobel faucets are modified Asian designs. The company extends its collections by buying off-the-shelf faucets selected from the of its Asian manufacturers. These are, according to Riobel, modified before the Riobel name is affixed, and they are unique to Riobel.
Asian designs are getting better. Some are even beginning to win international design competitions. But, they still tend to be conservative.
China's manufacturers in particular generally profit from selling mass-market faucets at low prices and tend to stay well within safe styling boundaries to reach the widest possible number of buyers.
Part of what Rioble does with its modifications is move the faucets away from the traditional by adding a little edginess to the design, resulting in faucets that are indeed unique and have a little of the company's Canadian design elan.
In-house design combined with external manufacturing is a model adopted by several excellent faucet companies, and one that produces some very high-quality faucets.
Design companies like Riobel make no excuses for the fact they consider themselves the creative end of the industry, leaving the nitty-gritty business of actually producing their creations to the less imaginative. Companies known to use this approach include So, Riobel is in some very good company with this strategy.
Riobel's Faucet Manufacturers
Riobel has selected well-qualified, companies with excellent international reputations to manufacture its faucets, including:
- Daelim Trading Co., Ltd. has been a South Korean manufacturer of quality faucets and other bathwares for over a half-century.
- Based on customs and import records, Daelim has become Riobel's principal faucet supplier from its new state-of-the-art factory in Jiangmen City, China.
- NCIP, Inc. is a Taiwanese company that manufactures faucets and faucet components in its Guangdong factory in south China just north and west of Hong Kong.
- Kaiping Freendo Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. is a division of the giant Huayi Group of affiliated Chinese companies that manufacture sanitary ware of all kinds in China.
All of these companies are very well-known manufacturers that supply faucets to a number of North American faucet companies.
Huayi, for example, manufactures faucets for
NCIP manufactures for
Daelim manufactures quite a few faucets for but this relationship ended acrimoniously in 2010 with cross lawsuits for breach of contract.
Some Riobel faucets are given a final assembly in Canada, but this is minor, minor, consisting of little more than attaching handles and aerators. It does not rise to the level of transformation required to support a claim of "Made in Canada" as the Canadian Competition Bureau defines the term, and Riobel does not, in fact, make such a claim.
Riobel Faucet Pricing
Prices are reasonable for the quality of the faucets. They are, however, more reasonable in Canada.
In our survey of non-sale street prices for Riobel faucets, we found significantly lower prices in Canada – 20.2% lower overall. Since these are exactly the same faucets in both countries, we have no explanation for the difference in pricing other than a generous markup by Rohl for faucets distributed in the U.S.
Riobel Faucet Collections
Riobel gathers its faucets into four broad categories: Antique, Classic, Modern, and Prestige.
Antique, as you might expect, reflects design themes from the Edwardian/Victorian era. The one seeming oddity in the category is the Antico collection based on a bamboo theme — not what one typically thinks of as a Victorian-era style. But, in fact, the Victorians were enamored of Asian, particularly Japanese, design motifs, so the theme is appropriate to the period. Antique is the smallest category, containing just three collections.
The Modern and Prestige categories encompass Riobel's contemporary lavatory faucets, containing more models than all other categories combined. The bamboo theme shows up again in this category in the Altitude collection.
Collections include more than just faucets. Bath faucet collections typically include sink faucets, tub fillers, showers, bidet faucets, and accessories such as towel racks, toilet paper holders, robe hooks, and the like. Kitchen faucets are commonly paired with coordinating prep faucets and matched to soap and lotion dispensers.
Riobel's Faucet Finishes
The finishes available on Riobel faucets are limited to the finishes offered by a particular manufacturer. If a manufacturer does not provide a rubbed bronze finish, then rubbed bronze will not be offered on faucets supplied by that factory.
All faucet manufacturers provide a chrome finish and most a nickel finish. Other finishes vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Riobel does not publish a finish chart, but by rummaging through its website, we were able to identify seven basic finishes and an equal number of combination finishes.
Riobel's standard finish is electroplated chrome. All Riobel faucets are available in polished chrome.
Most bath faucets are also available in brushed and polished nickel. A few can be finished in brushed gold or black. Brushed gold and Black are Riobel's newest finishes, introduced in 2019.
Kitchen faucets can also be ordered in stainless steel. For most faucet companies, a stainless steel "finish" is actually the material the faucet is made from. Riobel's stainless steel is an applied finish deposited on the faucet using (PVD) technology.
PVD stainless steel does not show fingerprints like true stainless steel because it isn't steel but a much less reactive metal, usually zirconium, made to look like steel.
Likewise, Riobel's brushed gold is not actual gold. It typically is titanium or chromium made to look like gold through the PVD process. The nickels and black are also PVD finishes.
By some industry estimates, PVD finishes are 10-20 times harder than electroplated chrome. In our experience, the finishes are nearly indestructible.
Black can be combined with metallic finishes to produce interesting effects. These are what the industry calls consisting of two or more finishes applied to the same faucet.
For most faucets, the finish mix is not complicated. The metal is usually the basic finish with black accents. On the Momenti lavatory faucet, for example, the faucet is metallic and the handle black. On the Bistro kitchen faucet, the faucet is chrome or PVD stainless steel, and the spray head black.
Faucet Finishes: For more information on the types of faucet finishes and their advantages and drawbacks, see Faucet Finishes.
Riobel's Faucet Cartridges
Riobel uses ceramic stem cartridges in its two-handle faucets made by Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, a firm located in Lüdenscheid, Germany since 1926.
Flühs is generally regarded as a manufacturer of some of the world's best single-function stem cartridges. Flühs (sometimes spelled Fluehs for English speakers) valves are heavy-duty products with an established reputation for leak-free reliability.
Faucet lines known to use Flühs cartridges, other than Riobel, include most of the who's who of some of the best faucet sellers in North America:
We have not examined every Riobel two-handle faucet, but we think most of them are now equipped with the Flühs valve. The way to be certain, however, is the click on the "Spare Parts" link that appears with each faucet on the company website, and look for model 401-079 or 401-080 cartridges (or just telephone customer service and ask).
The company's single-handle or mixer faucet cartridges are more diverse.
Riobel uses at least twenty different mixer cartridges in its single-handle faucets. Most designer companies have standardized their designs around two or three cartridges to reduce the burden on inventory. Others have not. Riobel is in the "have not" category.
Some cartridges we could not identify for lack of maker's marks other than to say they are, almost certainly, made in Asia.
We have, however, been able to identify two of Riobel's cartridge suppliers.
One is Kuching International, Ltd., the manufacturer of the well-regarded KCG cartridge used in many better faucets manufactured in Taiwan and China. Another is the Sedal cartridge. Sedal S.L.U. is a technical ceramics manufacturer chartered in Spain but manufacturing in two large plants in China.
These companies manufacture cartridges used widely by Chinese companies that make faucets for export to Western markets.
They are considered somewhat inferior to the quality of top-ranked mixing cartridges such as those made by Kerox Kft. of Hungary, regarded by most in the industry as one of the best mixing cartridges on the market, and certainly below the quality of the super cartridges such as the diamond-like-carbon-coated cartridges used in but more than adequate for years of reliable service.
Custom Flow Rates
Many Riobel lavatory faucets can be ordered with a specified flow rate ranging from 1.0 gallons per minute (GPM) to 1.5 GPM. All of these flow rates meet Watersense® guidelines. The 1.0 GPM rates comply with the lower 1.2 GPM maximum flow rate required of lavatory faucets sold in California after July 1, 2016.
Its ceramic 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 is very important, therefore, that the cartridge is robust, durable, and lasts for many years.
Faucet Buying Rule
Never buy a faucet unless you know who made the cartridge. Since Riobel does not identify the cartridges used in its faucets on its website, you will need to get this information from Rohl or Riobel customer service.
Valves & Cartridges: More Information
For more information on the types of faucet valves and cartridges, the advantages and drawbacks of each type, and information on the better cartridge manufacturers see Faucet Valves & Cartridges.
Varied flow rates for kitchen faucets are likewise available ranging from 1.0 GPM to 2.2 GPM. At least some Riobel kitchen faucets meet the new California maximum flow rate for kitchen faucets of 1.8 GPM also effective on July 1, 2016.
Riobel Faucet Warranties
Riobel has two warranties. one for Canada and one for the U.S.
They are substantially the same except for the additional language in the U.S. warranty required by the U.S. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308), the federal law that dictates the form and content of all consumer warranties in the United States.
The warranties have been rewritten since our last report on the company, eliminating some of the problems we previously highlighted. Unfortunately, the rewrites introduced a few new errors.
We score the warranties as substandard for the faucet industry in North America.
They provide a lifetime guarantee to the original buyer against manufacturing defects in metal parts and in its PVD and chrome finishes but all other finishes have a one-year warranty and plastic is guaranteed for five years.
That's the substandard part. A standard lifetime warranty covers all parts and finishes for a lifetime (except and electronics).
Neither warranty is well written, containing obscure phrasing and multiple redundancies.
For example, the U.S. warranty is available only to the original buyer and is not transferable to subsequent owners of a Riobel faucet. We know it is not transferable because the warranty says so at least twice. The fact that labor costs are not covered is also stated twice.
It is usually sufficient to state a warranty provision once. The second statement adds nothing to the warranty except more words.
Both warranties require that defective parts be "returned correctly packaged with the original proof of purchase to your original retailer" – requirements that are unduly burdensome in the opinion of our rating panel.
Neither warranty explains what "correctly packaged" means, and the term has no universal meaning. My "correctly packaged" defective parts may not be your "correctly packaged" defective parts.
Involving the retailer, who ordinarily cannot remedy the warranty problem, adds nothing to the efficiency with which a claim is processed. On the contrary, it almost always delays the claim.
We are also not at all sure how the return of defective parts would work if the retailer is Wayfair, Amazon, or some other online-only seller. We know from experience that sending a faucet back to Amazon a few years after the original purchase is a good way to lose it in the Amazonian archipelago along with your original proof of purchase.
The requirement that the defective faucet be returned at all is usually unnecessary. In most instances, a photograph or two shows the damage or defect clearly enough for claims purposes.
Original Receipt: Absolutely never part with your original receipt or other proof of purchase under any circumstance. Send a clear copy instead, even where the seller demands an original.
Riobel, now owned by the same company that owns would do well to examine Moen's warranty practices in which a claim is almost always handled over the internet or by telephone and usually resolved in one or two days.
The duration of the term "lifetime" is not defined in either warranty.
The term is not self-defining. Many different lifetimes are involved: the lifetime of the buyer, the lifetime of the product, even the lifetime of the company.
Given the lack of a definition, the duration of a lifetime warranty must be interpreted to the advantage of the consumer under the legal doctrine of contra proferentem, usually resulting in a warranty that lasts for the actual lifetime of the buyer.
The faucets have to be installed by a licensed plumber for the warranty to be valid. We understand the reason for this requirement. By some estimates, as many as 80% of warranty claims are in some manner influenced by faulty installation rather than by a defect in the faucet itself. But, this limitation can be a trap for the unwary do-it-yourselfer.
Riobel promotes its faucets as engineered to be easy to install and simple to maintain, and provides extensive repair guides and installation videos on Youtube.com, all of which make them attractive as DIY faucets. DIY-ers may completely miss the warranty language that voids the company's warranty if the faucet is installed by the homeowner.
Faucet Warranties: For more on understanding and interpreting faucet warranties, see Understanding Faucet Warranties.
Riobel Customer Servce
Customer and warranty service in the U.S. is provided by Rohl and is generally very good. In our tests of Rohl's service (for all of its products, not just Riobel faucets), it scored 4.1 out of a possible 5 points. Any score above 4.0 is satisfactory. In our experience, Rohl agents go the extra mile to be helpful, but you may have to explain a complex or unusual problem to several levels of supervisor before it gets resolved.
Riobel's Canadian warranty support and post-sale customer service is also first class. In our tests of Riobel's Canadian after-sale service, representatives showed an excellent grasp of the technologies of Riobel faucets and detailed knowledge of the company's faucet products. Technical assistance in solving our (purely imaginary but complicated) installation problems was quick, effective, and very patient.
Our testers are expert at pretending to be the world's stupidest plumbers with some incredibly lame questions designed to stump technical support. Riobel's agents proved to be largely unstumpable. We score Riobel's customer support in Canada a solid 4.3 for customer service.
Riobel's former Canadian website earned a B+ on the usual scale of A to F. It was colorful, well illustrated, and well organized. Navigation, however, was, in places, unintuitive and cumbersome.
That website is now replaced by a House of Rohl website that essentially duplicates Rohl's U.S. site. It includes
Faucets can easily be found by drilling down on features using filters displayed at the left side of the site.
The filters are tedious to use, however. Each time a filter is selected (or de-selected) the search results refresh, and the site jumps back to the top of the page, requiring the user to scroll down over and over to select additional filters.
An [Apply Filters] button would permit the user to select several filters before the filters are applied and the search result refreshes. A [Reset Filters] button would also be useful to clear all filters rather than having to deselect filters one at a time.
We found that it was usually faster to use the search function, especially when looking for matching finishes. But you have to be careful with product searches. The search feature pays no attention to whether you are on the Riobel section of the website and will display every matching product without discriminating among Rioble, Rohl, or Perrin & Rowe faucets.
The information provided for each faucet is extensive, disclosing almost everything you might want to know about a faucet to make a reasoned buying decision. The website lists the faucet's certifications, available flow rates, finishes, and provides links to technical specifications, an installation guide, a parts diagram, and a rotatable 3D view of the faucet — all in two languages.
The website's advanced visualization features are very helpful. For most faucets, the available finishes are shown as icons that can be selected to display the faucet in the desired finish.
A rotatable 360° view gives the user the ability to examine any faucet from all sides through a "Virtual Model" link. Click on the link and the faucet is displayed in a box that allows the user to rotate the faucet with the mouse to view it from any angle.
These features take a lot of the guesswork out of selecting a faucet from just one or two static images.
For architects and designers, there is sometimes, but not always, a 2D drawing and a 3D CAD model of the faucet in the Documents menu, which makes it easier to incorporate the faucet into specifications and designs. The 3D model is very detailed but in a fairly old file exchange format called "Standard for the Exchange of Product Data" (STEP). The format is compatible with some CAD systems but not all. The newer exchange protocol, "Drawing Exchange Format" (DXF), developed by AutoCAD, is more universally compatible and would be a better choice.
Installation instructions are language-independent: step-by-step drawings illustrating the installation process with very little explanatory text. They work well. Our plumbers had no trouble following the instructions or installing our test faucets. Installation scored an "easy" on a four-point scale from "very easy" to "very hard."
The information provided about Riobel faucets is missing some critical elements, however.
The ceramic cartridge used in a faucet is not identified by its manufacturer. Based on a visual examination of several Riobel faucets, we think they are all equipped with good to very good cartridges. But, we did not examine every Riobel faucet model offered in the U.S., so we cannot guarantee that every faucet contains a reasonably good cartridge.
The identity of the company that makes the cartridge for a faucet is necessary to determine if it is one of the better cartridges, and that information should be included in each faucet listing.
There is no link to the warranty that applies to the faucet. New U.S. consumer warranty pre-sale availability rules require that a faucet's warranty or a "conspicuous link" to the faucet's warranty be displayed as part of every faucet listing. A summary of the warranty on a downloadable specification sheet does not meet the requirement. Rohl's Riobel website does not display the warranty with its faucet listings or provide a conspicuous link to the warranty on its U.S. site.
We score Rohl's website an A- for design and navigation, but a B- for the information provided about its faucets. Rohl can certainly do better.
Testing & Certification
Faucets comparable to Riobel include
We think many Riobel designs are fresh and appealing, and judge the faucets to be worth a close look by buyers interested in a luxury faucet with contemporary styling but without the minimalist, angular look of so many modern designs.
Riobel's post-sale support is very good in either the U.S. or Canada.
We would consider a Flühs-equipped two-handle Riobel faucet suitable for even a busy kitchen or bath. For single-handle faucets, we would need to know more about the cartridge.
We judge the workmanship, finishes, and quality of the faucets to be good to very good, and the price-to-value relationship to be good for most Riobel faucets.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Riobel faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.