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How to distinguish between good kitchen faucets and bad kitchen faucets?

Mar 20, 2024 Liliumfaucet

The kitchen faucet is considered a small piece of home decoration. Although it is a small piece, it is frequently used and needs to be used for a long time. For such high-frequency and long-term use of hardware, you should choose products with excellent quality, health, and durability.

Faucets range from a few dozen yuan to several thousand yuan, and the difference is several orders of magnitude. Why is this? What is the difference between a cheap faucet and an expensive faucet?

The faucet is mainly divided into a main body, a valve core, and a surface layer, and some have a bubbler. Just like the human body, heart, and appearance. Understanding the structure is not a waste of time. Once you know the three important parts of a faucet, you will know that the difference between expensive and cheap faucets lies in the material, valve core, plating process, hose, and bubbler. Next, we will introduce in detail:

Material

Common materials include copper, stainless steel, zinc alloy, plastic, and other materials, and copper is the mainstream material for faucets at present. Of course, copper faucets are not 100% copper, but copper alloys. Domestic high-quality faucets generally use H59 copper, that is, copper with a copper content of 59% and a lead content of less than 1.9%. This is the stipulated 59 copper standard. Businesses that can use 59 copper are already very conscientious.

Brass

The most common kind of faucet material is brass, however, copper comes in a variety of forms. Brass, bronze, and copper are common ones. Hpb59-1 brass, which is utilized in faucets, has a copper concentration of around 59%. A further 0.8–2% of the copper is supplemented with lead, with zinc making up the majority of the remaining material. Why include leads? The primary cause is that brass cannot be processed and has poor machinability without lead. However, this is the issue with lead precipitating in water when brass is submerged. The amount of lead in brass has a major impact on the lead precipitation issue. The precipitation is significantly less than the national norm and is safe if you use standard Hpb59-1 brass. Nevertheless, some producers use subpar brass that doesn't adhere to requirements. The lead level is quite high, whereas the copper content is just 40%–30%. These faucets are really toxic.


There's no need to worry too much since lead precipitated from high-quality brass faucets is quite low. It is even less than what we are exposed to every day when we cross the street—lead content in automobile exhaust. Getting an all-copper faucet on the market for tens of dollars is almost impossible. About one kilogram of brass is used for every faucet and a ton of copper costs 60,000 yuan. As a result, using regular brass in faucets at very cheap rates is almost impossible.

High-end faucets are created from blanks of pure copper metal that are heated, stamped, and then have the inside of the solid workpiece hollowed out using CNC machinery. This procedure works well for things with basic forms since it is difficult to shape other products. In order to create copper instantly, it may also be cast by heating it to a liquid condition and then pouring it into the metal grinding equipment.


Brass


The manufacturer uses sand casting techniques for inexpensive faucets in an effort to save expenses. After being heated to a liquid condition, the copper substance is injected into a sand mold to take shape. It must be dipped in leak-proof paint prior to processing because the structure of sand-cast copper components is generally loose, making it easier for trachoma to enter the shell. The primary cause of the wide variations in costs for the same brass material is this.


Zinc alloy

Zinc alloys are primarily made of zinc with other components such as aluminum, copper, magnesium, cadmium, lead, titanium, etc. The key properties of zinc alloy are its high fluidity, ease of shaping, and mild hardness. Zinc alloy is typically utilized to produce faucet handles because of its strong resistance to corrosion in the air.

Zinc alloy may be produced in a variety of forms and designs and has high plasticity and processability. Additionally, zinc alloys resist corrosion well under environmental conditions. Thus, faucet handles are often made of zinc alloy. Zinc alloy currently has high plasticity and processability, both domestically and in Europe and the US market. Zinc alloy is the most common material used to make faucet handles on the market. Zinc alloy is used in the manufacture of almost 90% of faucet handles available today.

However, most individuals are unable to identify the precise substance since zinc alloys are made of metal and are simple to produce. Numerous faucet producers employ inexpensive, poor-grade zinc alloys with very low zinc contents. Zinc alloy faucets that are made of low-quality zinc alloys eventually become even lower quality because low-quality zinc alloys are not as resistant to corrosion in water and their quality cannot be guaranteed for extended usage. The market is destroyed because of the perception of prices.


304 stainless steel

As standard stainless steel faucets don't contain lead, lead contamination is no longer a concern for everyone. mostly made up of iron, 8% nickel, and 18% chromium. The main purpose of chromium and nickel in stainless steel is to maintain the surface's ability to withstand corrosion. Stainless steel faucets reduce pollution since they don't need surface plating because of their resistance to corrosion.


However, hexavalent chromium, which is a heavy metal, is toxic to humans. Current water treatment facilities disinfect using chlorine, which interacts with chromium to produce an equally harmful effect as lead. Furthermore, a lot of faucets are unsure of whether they are made of 304 stainless steel due to the complexity of the stainless steel industry. Furthermore, although it seems to be stainless steel on the outside, it is really a cheap substance that has been chrome-plated to trick customers. Only in the last ten years have stainless steel faucets been available, and it is unclear what the exact future holds for them.

There are positive and negative aspects to the same material, and stainless steel faucet casting is extremely comparable to that of brass. 

The following situations require attention: alert!

First scenario: A vendor claims that his faucet is made entirely of copper. Pure copper is defined as copper that has undergone technological refinement to achieve a purity level of more than 99.5%. Since pure copper is a soft metal, cutting it is difficult. No merchant could possibly create faucets out of pure copper.


It should be mentioned that lead is added to brass castings throughout the manufacturing process to enhance their machinability. To reduce the amount of lead present, premium brass faucets will be lead-washed after manufacture.


Furthermore, we need to realize that net lead and low lead are only representations of lead content. When it comes to the safety of our drinking water, the quantity of lead that precipitates is what matters most. Strict guidelines for lead precipitation are also part of the national standard; precipitation from kitchen faucets and basins must be more than 5 μg/L (safe faucets fall within this range). The following are some of the stricter corporate standards that many large businesses adhere to: There is barely 0.43 μg/L of lead precipitation from this Songlin Spring faucet.

Scenario 2: The vendor said that the faucet is entirely composed of copper and is very affordable, costing less than 100 yuan. Watch out for being tricked. Over 68,000 yuan is the cost of one ton of brass, based on the world copper price. Thus, per industry standards, the amount of copper used in a faucet is around 500g. Although a faucet costs around 34 yuan when it is stripped of its bare copper, the direct production cost of a typical copper faucet will not be less than 100 yuan when factoring in the valve core, bubbler, labor, and processing fees, freight, water, and energy, etc. A large number of the so-called "all-copper" faucets available are made of recycled copper that has been reprocessed or copper that contains dangerously high levels of lead. 

 

 

Electroplating process

One of the main elements influencing the faucet's quality is the electroplating procedure. The durability of the faucet is closely correlated with the plating layer. High-end faucet plating is often separated into three layers. There are certain guidelines for each layer's thickness as well. Only after passing the acid corrosion test can it be sold. A quality plating layer has a smooth, natural surface free of tiny pits, scratches, and other imperfections. The high cost is also largely attributable to the excellent plating.


On the fine copper body, many well-known brand faucets are essentially coated in three layers: semi-bright nickel, brilliant nickel, and chromium. One component of corrosion resistance is the nickel layer, which includes both bright and semi-bright nickel. Because nickel is a soft metal with a dark tint, it is plated with chromium to strengthen the surface and make it more brilliant.


1) "Three-layer electroplating" vs. "five-layer electroplating"?

Good faucets often have superb electroplating effects, and the bathroom area may be much improved by their vivid texture. Many companies are eager to advertise the number of electroplating layers when it comes to electroplating. The three-layer and five-layer types are the most popular. Is "five-layer electroplating" considered superior than "three-layer electroplating" by the public? This is really a misinterpretation.


"Five-layer electroplating" consists of three copper layers: pure, acid, and hydrogen plating; nickel and chromium plating follow. Numerous merchants employ copper products that are heavily contaminated and, even after polishing, often have numerous pits and irregular patches. It is now required to electroplate the copper layer onto this copper substrate once again. The body's exterior layer is smoothed to meet the electroplatable standard, much as we use putty to smooth walls, and then nickel plating is applied. Defects in the production process and the copper base material prevent "five-layer electroplating" from being accomplished. Many companies utilize shoddy workmanship as a selling element to trick customers.


2) The longer the Acetate Salt Spray Test (AASS) test time and the higher the level, the better.

Time is not the only consideration when using salt spray to identify electroplating effects; it also has to be split according to the sample's surface state or corrosion area after testing. Currently, the salt spray test must reach level 9 within 24 hours in order to fulfill the national standard. If the test results meet this requirement, there is essentially no quality issue. What worries me more is if the product's electroplating seems to have a mirror finish at first inspection, and whether it is pliable or has water spots on it. Is it simple to handle the matter (second touch)?


Naturally, a longer test period results in a higher rating and superior plating effect. For better exposure, some businesses are thus prepared to invest a significant amount of cash and resources in extending the test period. 

Electroplating process

 

Valve core

We often hear that faucets that are entirely copper are merely composed of brass on the pipe and outside; interior components, including the valve core, are not made of brass.
Every day, faucets are turned on and off, and the valve core decides how long the faucet will last.


The primary materials of the valve core are plastic and ceramic. Low-quality plastic valve cores are inexpensive but have a limited lifespan. The valve core is essentially the issue if the faucet leaks after a brief time of usage.

The ceramic valve core may be opened and closed 500,000 times without leaking, and it has a long service life. The differences between native and imported valve cores are negligible. It's not necessary to be superstitious about imported ceramic valve cores.

A good valve core feels soft and flexible but not light, and its service life is generally guaranteed to be 5-10 years. The low-quality valve core lacks suppleness and has an astringent sensation.

Valve core


water inlet hose

The tube that connects the faucet to the water supply is called a hose. The hoses come in braided and corrugated stainless steel steel varieties. When used with high-quality faucets, the hoses are very elastic and do not break when knotted or folded. In order to ensure quality and prevent rusting, it is generally recommended that the joints be made of brass or stainless steel, the braided pipe be made of 304 stainless steel wire, and the inner pipe to be made of EPDM. Steel, mixed plastic, 201 stainless steel, or aluminum wire are the materials used to make low-quality hoses. As a result, the water pipes break, it is not durable, and there is an odor.


When we purchase, how can we detect the difference?

If you sniff the inner tube and there's no odd scent or just a little plastic smell, that's normal. Next, give the braided tube a little hand massage to see whether the color will bleed. It is constructed of aluminum wire if it slips off. While using it at the moment is OK, there are concerns in the future: the water pipe might break, it is prone to corrosion, and it ages quickly.

 water inlet hose


aerator

A bubbler is a crucial component near the water exit that may lessen splashing and soften the water's surface. Aerators are either absent from low-end faucets or are composed of flimsy, non-durable materials. High-end faucets include a copper exterior shell and numerous layers of honeycomb filters within the bubbler, so you don't have to bother about repeatedly disassembling and cleaning them. Air injection technology is being used by high-end faucets to create softer, more delicate water droplets. 

 aerator

 

In conclusion

Kitchen faucets are essential home decorations that require excellent quality, health, and durability. They range from a few dozen yuan to several thousand yuan, with the difference largely due to the material, valve core, plating process, hose, and bubbler.

 

liliumfaucet improves your kitchen design

Liliumfaucet seamlessly integrates premium materials, advanced ceramic valve technology, and exquisite electroplating craftsmanship to provide outstanding choices for your kitchen design. We are committed to bringing you high-end faucets, whether you prefer materials such as stainless steel or brass, we can meet your needs. Our ceramic valve cores ensure durability and smooth operation, while the electroplating process gives our products an elegant appearance and long-lasting luster. Choose Liliumfaucet to elevate your kitchen design to the next level.

liliumfaucet 3 way kitchen faucet

 

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