Is it true that the quality of a faucet is lower at big box stores compared to the same model being sold by plumbing suppliers? It’s often reported that the “guts” of the faucets are plastic at big box stores and metal at plumbing suppliers. But several reports from manufacturers and professionals show this is not the case.
Big box vs plumbing supplier
If the model numbers are the same, the faucets will be identical. It may be true that different models of faucet are available at the different stores, but manufacturers will not change the quality of the same model based on where it is being sold.
Delta faucet reports on their website FAQ that “all Delta faucets are of the same quality, regardless of distribution channel.”
The only difference you might see is that some trim pieces bundled with the faucet, such as drain assemblies, are plastic at the big box stores and are metal at a plumbing supplier.
Any price difference you see between a big box store and a local supplier is likely due to the larger store’s ability to negotiate lower prices due to its bulk purchasing power and it’s ability to get by with lower margins on some products.