Best Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucet?
Rugby RS F3
OK, I realize stating that something is the “best” can be very subjective, particularly when it comes to design styles and features. However, if you have looked lately to see what there is to choose from in kitchen faucets these days, it might be the reason you have chosen to read this article. With so many new brands, models, and features to choose from, it can make one wonder who does build the best kitchen faucet.
When we remodeled our kitchen, we knew that whichever faucet we chose, it was going to have a nickel or stainless finish. That helped to reduce our choices a little, but with stainless and nickel being the trend these days, it really didn’t help all that much. One thing I did notice however was that many of the brands we looked at are made with plastic as the main material of choice for the neck and sprayer heads of the faucets. They were either sheathed in a thin mold of metal to give it that stainless or nickel look or worst yet, they had an imitation stainless look made of more plastic. Even some of the more expensive premium brands such as Hansgrohe had models made in this manner. While cruising the big box stores examining our choices, I began to see where some of the models had the finish wearing off from all the handling of prospective buyers because of this design.
Fortunately for us, while visiting a showroom to look at countertops we came across a stainless faucet made by Rugby that was on display. It was the RS F3 model. I could tell immediately when I touched it that it was made of solid material. Rotating the neck of the faucet and turning the valve on and off I could feel the heaviness and quality in it. After looking at so many faucets, it was kind of analogous of closing the door of a Mercedes versus that of an economy car. In fact, I learned it was made of high quality caste 304 stainless that has 18/10 Chromium nickel content. That’s a food grade rating for stainless and it also means the finish will last a lifetime. Rugby has a few different models to choose from and provides braided stainless water lines for all installations.
One particular feature I like is the ceramic disc cartridge. Unlike compression faucets that use a rubber seal to stop and start the flow of water, this faucet uses ceramic discs that allows the water to flow between two ceramic disc seats. The life expectancy of ceramic discs is 25 - 30 years as compared to 3 – 5 years for the rubber sealed compression faucets. That means no more leaky faucet after a few years!
All Rugby models have the pullout spray head that feels solid in your hand when you use it. I noticed right away the nice quality braided water line instead of the standard plastic one. A real nice feature about this spray head is the button to adjust the water from a solid stream to a spray pattern. Most manufacturers will allow you to change from one pattern to the other, but not back again. They require you to turn the water pressure off first if you want to switch the pattern back. Not this faucet. You can switch the pattern back and forth under full pressure if you want with the nice ergonomic rubber button mounted in the spray head. You can twist the faucet head when you grip it in order to have the button in the rear to use with your fingers (my preferred method), or move it to the front to use with your thumb. One particular note; most manufacturers that use the molded plastic spray heads sell it as a benefit. They state the benefit of plastic is that it dissipates the heat of the hot water if you have it running for extended periods of time so that your hands don’t get hot. While it’s true that the plastic does not maintain the heat like some metals would, it’s just a marketing excuse to use a cheap inferior material. Because of the quality and density of the caste 304 stainless, you can run the hot water for extended periods of time with the Rugby and it never gets hot.
Rugby Contact and Website
If I had a complaint, it would be the range of motion of the water valve. Because our faucet is mounted between the sink and the backsplash, the handle interferes with the backsplash when on full hot in the low flow position. I contacted Rugby to see if I could adjust it but could not. Fortunately we found that we rarely require extremely hot water at the low flow rate anyhow. Another feature that took a little time to get used to was putting the spray head back in place when done with it. At first it seems as though it doesn’t want to slide back in. I realized later after some use that it was because of the tight tolerances of the faucet. It doesn’t wiggle around when back in. With a little bit of practice you learn to firmly slide it back in without even thinking about it.
While certainly not an inexpensive faucet, we paid just under $300 before taxes, it is a steal when compared to similar quality faucets by other high-end manufacturers that sell for $500 and more. I still can’t believe how lucky we were to find such a high quality product for the price. I did find that Rugby is somewhat new in the faucet market compared to the more established names and are still expanding their dealer network. Just contact them from their website or give them a call and they will happily direct you to your nearest dealer.