vandymarshall

Amazon plumbing fixtures vs plumbing supply store

vandymarshall
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Hello, we had a plumber recommend that we always get fixtures through a plumbing supply store versus one of the box stores. His reasoning was that the same fixture would have metal from a plumbing store, while the box store version would be made with plastic. Has anyone else heard this? I am finding some great deals on Amazon for showerheads, and plan to get the drain and other recommended parts on there as well. But if our plumber's theory is correct, I'm assuming the parts on Amazon are the cheap version as well?

Comments (28)

  • Helen
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    If it is the same model number from the same manufacturer, it will be the same.

    The issie with the Big Box Stores is they sell fixtures which may look the same but aren’t the exact model so you would need to be certain it’s the same.

    The same wouod be trie of Amazon although you run a slight risk of counterfeit stuff. However if the seller is well reviewed and you confirm that it is the same number, it should be the same.

    That said, I would personally have my plumber purchase the fixture I wanted because he would then be responsible for making sure everyrhing necessary for installation was there and it was the one most suitable. I am Doing a gut remodel and ordering all my stuff through my designer and the price I am paying even with her markup is comparable or less to what I would pay and I don't have the headache of making sure I have bought exactly what is necessary and that all the parts are there and there is no problem with what I have received.

    vandymarshall thanked Helen
  • Joe T.
    2 years ago

    Be careful with purchasing plumbing fixtures on Amazon. While Amazon itself may be an authorized reseller, often times the actual seller may be someone other than Amazon, even if the product is fulfilled by Amazon, and the actual seller not an authorized reseller, meaning you have no warranty if something goes wrong.

    I'm speaking from firsthand experience, BTW.

    vandymarshall thanked Joe T.
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  • geoffrey_b
    2 years ago

    .... and the actual seller not an authorized reseller, meaning you have no warranty if something goes wrong.

    I've never seen this in a written warranty.

  • vandymarshall thanked Joe T.
  • Carolyn T
    2 years ago

    I purchased Delta fixtures from Lowes and Home Depot, but they were models that I had to order online and not the fixtures that they sold in the store. All fixtures were shipped to me directly from Delta. If you look on the Delta website you can see they have some fixtures that they only make for the big box stores. I avoided those because they had the cheaper parts.

    vandymarshall thanked Carolyn T
  • H B
    2 years ago

    Helen makes a very good point. Whoever does the purchasing, is responsible for the item. I purchased two sinks, identical stock numbers, at the same time from the same vendor. They were not the same, and it was me who had to fix it. To put it mildly, that was a pain.

    vandymarshall thanked H B
  • Bruce in Northern Virginia
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Whoever buys the item will have to resolve any product issues or failures. If you buy them through HD or Lowes, I believe its unlikely that you will have any quality issues, but if you do have problems, your plumber will just give them back to you and let you fix it. Sometimes the problems are minor, like slight differences in spacing or fittings, but they will still be your problem.

    If you decide to use a plumbing supply store, then have the plumber buy them so they can be easily exchanged or replaced due to warranty. Do not try to buy them yourself at the plumbing store, since you will be a homeowner trying to deal with a professional supply store, which just irritates the clerk behind the counter. In some stores they may even refuse to sell to you unless you have a business license.

    Bruce

    vandymarshall thanked Bruce in Northern Virginia
  • dchall_san_antonio
    2 years ago

    In my experience your plumber is correct. I did not want to believe that, but we got a faucet from HD that was missing a part inside the box. I had a plumber doing the installation for me, and he said he thought he had some spare parts on his truck. He brought in a faucet that looked like mine but it weighed a lot more. I tapped on the faucet parts with my knife and got a ringing sound from the plumber's faucet and a clicking sound from my faucet. He smiled and told me his was chrome plated brass and cost a lot more than mine which was chrome plated plastic. Anyway his metal replacement part fit perfectly.

    vandymarshall thanked dchall_san_antonio
  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Our rule of thumb....buy form plumbing suppliers period.

    vandymarshall thanked Filipe Custom Woodwork
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Amazon is full of no name or made up name faucets that are not even legal to be sold. Always check Starcraft Builder’s review site first. If the maker isn’t on there, don’t even.

    http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/sources.faucets2.htm#randolphmorris_namelink

  • vandymarshall
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I appreciate you each taking the time to give your feedback.

  • dowagercountess
    2 years ago

    I agree with your plumber. There is definitely a difference, sometimes plastic vs brass on the inside, and you don't need to go to the plumbing supply store that prefers plumbers, you can to go to a plumbing retailer like Frank Webb on the east coast. And while I haven't bought plumbing things from amazon, i have bought other things from amazon that turned out to be counterfeits.Some things like books are fine, won't be counterfeited, but many other things are. I am very careful about what i buy from amazon any more because of the counterfeit issue.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    2 years ago

    "I agree with your plumber. There is definitely a difference, sometimes plastic vs brass on the inside."


    So you're saying that Delta does make cheaper faucets on Tuesdays for the big boxes and packages them the same?

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    2 years ago

    The box store specific models are manufactured to lesser specs. They will have their own identifying model number not found outside the box store. And those models will not be found anywhere but the specific box store for which it is made. They may have similar verbal names, designed by the box stores, in order to deliberately confuse consumers. Box store models are manufactured to a price point set by the box store. Not a quality level set by the manufacturer.

    The models that have the exact same manufacturer’s model number and are sold via special order from the box store, or the plumbing supply house, or, national plumbing chain, or as used on EBay, will all be exactly the same construction. Although they may be missing parts if you buy them as open box or used.

  • Yakilo Fopil
    2 years ago

    from what ive seen with my experience the plumbing supplies usually get the better quality products. big box stores get the higher volume versions where product quality can diminish


    as for specific brands. dont buy "american standard" very cheap and poor quality. i use to see quite a bit of this brand when i was trimming lower end apartment buildings.. in 6 months to a year the plumber is back replacing fixtures of that brand

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    2 years ago

    "The box store specific models are manufactured to lesser specs."


    Sophie:


    Substantiation, please.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I agree with Sophie. With many vendors there are Box Store Specific models that you can only buy at the particular box store. Tile is the same thing. We had a staff member work there in her previous job and her boss would never buy from sellers who sold to box stores. Things are less expensive for a reason. She had people come to see her and ask her as to why the glaze was coming off their tile etc.

    Box stores are great for many tings but not for others. Our rule of thumb is anything that can cause flood or water damage = go to a plumbing supply.

  • Helen
    2 years ago

    I think there is some confusion regarding comparing apples to apples.


    I just checked the kitchen faucet I got which is a Kohler Artifacts Model # K-99261-2BZ. This is the model number on the Home Depot site - it is the model number on the Kohler site and it is the model number for other sales places on the internet.


    This would be the same faucet wherever it was bought or there is real consumer deception going on.


    However, there might be special faucets manufactured by brands which are not sold at other places but it is a common practice among consumer brands who own outlet stores - i.e. Ralph Lauren manufactures clothing and accessories specifically for the outlet stores and the quality is not the same as the regular product line.


    I don't know if you can get a high end faucet by walking into Home Depot as it appears you would be ordering it for delivery. I don't know why anyone looking for high end fixtures would go to a Home Depot anyway since you wouldn't have the selection to look at and the pricing is not that competitive - at least for the Artifact faucet I am familiar with.


    But Delta and Moen already make relatively inexpensive faucets in more utilitarian styles and finishes. Why would they compromise their reputations - i.e. Delta has a lifetime warranty I think - by deliberately selling inferior products to Home Depot's consumers rather than just assuming the bulk of people shopping there are looking for less expensive fixtures. I think any cost saving between apples and apples is because Home Depot has the benefit of mass buying for certain lower end products and the same product would be more expensive elsewhere.


    I don't see the point though in deliberately avoiding buying through your GC, plumber or designer. I bought my Kohler faucet through my designer and my net cost - even after her fees is what I would have paid ordering through Home Depot. My Toto toilets were similarly less expensive than the retail prices I would have paid if I bought them directly.

  • caligirl5
    2 years ago

    My contractor let me buy materials for my project. I agree with others that it shifted risk from contractor to me, but in my case there weren't any issues.

    They included build.com on their supplier list, linked me with their account manager, and I bought a lot of stuff with their discount.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    2 years ago

    Cut one open and do an autopsy. I have Been present at such an experiment.

  • vandymarshall
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Many thanks to each of you for taking the time to comment. This is all new to me, so I'm learning a lot! I emailed Delta to see if Build.com carried the industrial grade products or the box store variety. Their response was that build.com was an approved vendor. They do create models exclusive to Home Depot and Lowe's but, as stated by many others, if the model # was the same at HD/plbg supply, they were in fact identical products. Also, the representative mentioned that they no longer create all brass products, as plastic was advantageous at times b/c of flexibility and inability to corrode. Finally, my plumber said that he never warrantied parts (labor only), so where I purchased parts would not affect his warranty. Lest anyone think I'm a terrible person for not using our one and only local plumbing supply store :), I have in the past used them. And their monopoly rights seemed to be leveraged against the customer. It was an expensive, unpleasant transaction.

  • pattyl11
    2 years ago

    On Delta's website, when you search faucets for example , above the page where they are displayed, there is an option to Show Discontinued Products and Hide Retail Exclusive Products. I would think that the Retail Exclusive models may have less expensive insides, but for the other faucets with the same exact model number, they should be the same as the plumbing supply.

  • marinaboehm
    2 years ago
    Same happened to me. My contractor recommended that I go through his preferred local retailer because Home Depot will have a lower quality of the same item. I bought Moen through the local supplier and it had the same plastic parts that the same model at Home Depot. What I learned later that if you want to return the item, new in the box, the supplier charges the restocking fee. It also took two weeks to receive the items and was slightly more expensive. Perhaps the comparison applies to different items but if it’s the same item #, in my case it was the same. I would like to support the local business but the restocking fees have to go away.
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    2 years ago

    This is a difficult thing to sort out... having worked at a home center and then a supply house and now at an independent I can say that all things being said are true to a point... There are faucets from all different brands sold at the big box. General rule of thumb - if it special ordered out of the catalogs it is the same as what would be sold everywhere else. There are models that are exclusive to the big box - they are created to a set of specs agreed upon by both parties and then purchased in such large quantities that the pricing can be VERY aggressive, but that does not always mean they are garbage...and sometimes you can't get the full series ( ie lav faucet, shower faucet, tub faucet, matching accessories, etc ). Of course there are models out there that are stripped down so they look nice and might last a year or 2...

    The online situation is new hurdle..... I have purchased faucets through Amazon - NO 3rd PARTY supplier!! They have been exactly the same as the ones through the supply house. I recently had a customer purchase a Delta lav faucet for $70 on Amazon ( their website listed it at $153! We would have sold it for around $135 ). I told her to go ahead and get it and we'll look - I was expecting a cheap plastic faucet .She brought it in for me to look at - the box was perfect - all the parts were there and the faucet was chrome over brass ( which was very apparent due to the weight ). I was shocked. How does Amazon do it?? I don't know...

    Unfortunately in a small business, they can't absorb the restocking fees they get fro the vendor like the big box places and online retailers can - so don't hold it against them...

    It seems like you can do all the homework possible and still not have a proper answer...


    Just some insight as I have experienced it over the years...

    vandymarshall thanked Debbi Washburn
  • vandymarshall
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I appreciate your insight!

  • PRO
    Focal Point Hardware
    2 years ago

    I think if you are buying from a reliable place in a showroom with sales people you are most likely to get the proper service and the right items. if in a case you don't get what you need at least you are able to go back to a person and have proper customer service as opposed to a website where there may not be a person to help you out in case you need it.

  • fifamom
    2 years ago

    When buying branded items through Amazon check the seller information to see if they are an approved vendor for the brand.. check the model number on amazon and on the manufacturers website - also check the that the brand you are buying has a customer service number or department that you can contact as well as replacement parts. It all depends on your budget... Moen, Delta, Kohler, etc. all have price points for every budget from numerous suppliers - and yes you will pay more from your contractor. A contractor should warranty their work and / or connections but may still fall back on the manufacturer's warranty if there is a defect in the item no matter where it was purchased (by vendor from their supplier or by customer from any store). Case in point - a client bought a Delta faucet with a faulty sensor from that had nothing to do with installation (done by another vendor awhile ago) but one quick call to Delta and they are sending out a new sensor for the faucet and Delta did not ask where the item was purchased. And quality depends on price point from any supplier and who is going to honor the warranty - the warranty should be honored by the manufacturer no matter where you buy it.