Avoid the Yugo! But Do You Need the Ferrari...?
We talked about Low Price/High Quality back in July ("Remember the Yugo...!"). The jist of that blog was that "low price rarely equals high quality, so avoid the cheapest LED's." So that begs the opposite question; is it necessary to get the most expensive fixtures? Do I have to stick with the "Tier 1" manufacturer's, such as Lithonia, Cooper, and Cree?
After many years of partnering with "The Big Guys", I learned that they rarely "partnered back". In other words, I valued my partnership with them, but they didn't value me nearly as much. So lately, I've decided to take a look at some of the less expensive, albeit good quality, "Tier 2" manufacturer's.
Many Tier 2 manufacturer's have warranties that are just as good, if not superior to, their Tier 1 bretheren. For instance, Archipelago Lighting offers a 7-year/75,000-hour warranty on most of its products. When you do the 75,000-hour math, figuring 12-hour per day usage of exterior or high bay fixtures, that comes out to about a 17-year fixture life! They could easily warranty their fixtures for 15-years, right? Well, that's exactly what Linmore LED does. Yep, you guessed it; they actually warranty their fixtures for an astounding 20-years! Wacky, eh?!
It's funny, because I visited with the owners of Linmore LED about two years ago, and at that time they told me they "were considering" a 20-year warranty. Well, consider it done!
Tier 2 manufacturer's also tend to me more flexible than Tier 1. Their warranties are at least as good (see above), their pricing is usually less, and they don't usually demand as much. But the important thing, going back to "The Yugo" argument, is their quality can be just as good! As a matter of fact, Aleo and Archipelago are two companies that build fixtures as OEM products. In other words, they build the fixtures, and other companies put their names on it! (Ex: back in the day, Mazda built the truck, Ford put the "Ranger" name on it...!).
But Tier 2 is not the same as Tier 3 or Tier 4. Those are definitely "Yugo" type of manufacturer's. How do you know the difference? Consult someone that you trust, such as your local Electrical Distributor or Electrician, or contact "Bob@AccurateAuditors.net"...!