Budget Lights vs. Pricier Lights

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trooplewis
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Budget Lights vs. Pricier Lights

The biggest difference, in a word? Warranty. And customer service.

You may remember the story about my 4 year old Pelican M6 Lithium that had the tail switch go out on it. I called Pelican's customer service department, they told me yes, it's a known problem and two days later I had an entire new tailcap in my mailbox. Problem is, my light is old and it's silver; they sent me a black one. Seems that is the only color they make these days. Kinda fugly looking, but functional. I lived with that for a couple months.

Monday this week, I thought maybe I could send them the entire original silver tailcap, and maybe they know how to remove the switch and put in  a new one. So I called, got an RMA number, and sent the tailcap on Monday 6/6. Today (6/10, Friday) I got a box in the mail from Pelican, along with this piece of paper.

 

Yes, they sent me an entire new host in black, including another black tailpiece, at no charge, in the same week I shipped it to them. That is pretty hard to beat customer service, so I wanted to toot their horn here, they deserve it.

I now have an ugly Pelican and a nice one, that I need to find a new drop-in for.

BTW, don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking budget lights, you guys know I have a lot of them, and have not had any real issues with them.  But the service I received from Pelican is worth noting. Nice that they are here in California as well.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Edited by: trooplewis on 06/10/2011 - 21:56
Match
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That is outstanding customer service, and Pelican should be commended.  I could think of a few things to do with the "ugly" one, but I'm afraid it would definately void any warrenty Tongue out

2100
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That's nice to hear.  I have received support from US companies for my other hobbies in that they do improve their products and give support in the forums.

The thing about budget lights is that you can get multiple pieces for that price you can get the same one as backup or even backup's backup, or getting other models as an enjoyment to the hobby, is up to the user's choice.  Smile   As you know, you can never have too many lights if you are into that part of the hobby.  Some just enjoy 3 x really expensive lights/drop-ins and are done with it, that is also another avenue for some.

In Hifi, there are also some who get just ~ 100 CDs/LPs who play it on their 100k system.  Big Smile

fishinfool
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Wow, that is excellent service.  Definitely a huge difference between expensive and budget lights.  Good for you troop.

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

okwchin
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So youve lost your silver tailcap! haha... Awesome replacement service regardless!!.

 

I must say that I have received good service from SUNWAYMAN too, a higher end chinese company. I had a V10R with problems with the driver board and after some short PMs, they had sent me a new driver for me to replace. Sent via relatively fast post too, it had arrived within a week to australia. Its not as awesome as replacing your whole torch body! but most companies wont send driver boards in the first place.

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

s1mp13m4n
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Alright I am new to this whole flashlight thing and the budget flashlight.  Sow hat you are saying is that a budget light may lack quality control and a warranty, but also cost far less than a "high end" light?  So the $20 budget light may be just as bright and be similar in looks to the $60 light, but may or may not have as nice of build quality/QC?  Smile  This makes sense I guess.  So in a way when you buy a $60 4Sevens light you are buying the warranty and the fact that the light will most likely work fine because it has been tested and such. 

Lights seen from the blind side

brted
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One other plus about budget lights is just about every one I've seen you could take apart the tail switch. And a lot of times you can get spare parts cheaply that will fit.

trooplewis
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brted, good point. I don't think even Pelican Service could take that switch out of the tailpiece; they must have epoxied it in there.

 

Simpleman, with more expensive lights you typically get higher quality machining and electronics, and you get a warranty. Chinese lighte may have warranty, but shipping is so expensive you might as well just get a new light. And for the price of one really good light, you can buy 4 decent Chinese lights that as brted said, you can repair yourself.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Langcjl
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The same is true with knives. The best knife I own is a Sanrenmu but if it ever breaks I will just have to get another one. When my leatherman knife broke I sent it to leatherman and they sent me a new and better knife even though my old one could have been easily repaired with a simple fastener.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

trooplewis
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Yep, it's like buying Craftman tools from Sears. You break one, they give you a new one.

But flashlights don't have that much that can go wrong, and if it does, most of it can be fixed pretty easily.

My wife freaked out when she saw the invoice from Pelican. "$85 for a flashlight???!!! People really pay that for a flashlight?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that was for the host only...

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

raccoon city
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trooplewis wrote:

My wife freaked out when she saw the invoice from Pelican. "$85 for a flashlight???!!! People really pay that for a flashlight?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that was for the host only...

On another forum (britishblades.com) there is a member named Hatethatgiraffe with this relevant and amusing signature:

"My biggest fear in life is that when I die my wife sells all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it!!"

fishinfool
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raccoon city wrote:

trooplewis wrote:

My wife freaked out when she saw the invoice from Pelican. "$85 for a flashlight???!!! People really pay that for a flashlight?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that was for the host only...

On another forum (britishblades.com) there is a member named Hatethatgiraffe with this relevant and amusing signature:

"My biggest fear in life is that when I die my wife sells all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it!!"

Good one rc! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

Boaz
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Or you can say they are so expensive in the first place that if you have problems they can afford to toss you another light ..

Or maybe they can't get you parts because the warehouse is in china .. if they give you a tailcap  , then they have half a   flashlight they can't sell .. easier to just give you the whole thing

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

trooplewis
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Ah Boaz, you are such an optimist...

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Marc999
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Yup, some products have great warranties.  I had prospector shoes once I think that had a lifetime warranty, same with those tilley hats.  I've been sent a couple tilleys over quite a few years, either because mine had a tear in it, or I lost it.  I think lifetime warranty is rather extreme but I wasn't going to complain.  Harddrives - western digital caviar black = pricier than blue/green drives, yet slightly longer warranty periods.  If anything, paying more for piece of mind /warranty helps some people sleep better at night.  Of course, spending 10 or 20 bucks on a light, with little or no recourse action isn't a bad investment either.  Especially if you pick the parts yourself and are aware of the risks.  We save up front, and if something does happen to it years later it won't break the bank to get another.

2100
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Or I can afford to break / lose a Ultrafire UF-980L.  One of the biggest fear of having expensive stuff is losing it, esp the small ones.

Marc999
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For sure, good points.  I'd likely be paranoid and tap my side pocket every few seconds to make sure I wasn't robbed! ...lol, well could happen.

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Boaz wrote:

Or you can say they are so expensive in the first place that if you have problems they can afford to toss you another light ..

Or maybe they can't get you parts because the warehouse is in china .. if they give you a tailcap  , then they have half a   flashlight they can't sell .. easier to just give you the whole thing

Good one!

 

I can buy a 20$ light and toss it and buy a new one if something goes wrong with it.

And then I´ll still be able to buy 2 more until I reach the 85$ Trooplewis paid for the

Pelican. The story also shows that buying an expensive light is no guaranty for no

breakdown, which often is the mantra at the other site!

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

edc
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raccoon city wrote:

trooplewis wrote:

My wife freaked out when she saw the invoice from Pelican. "$85 for a flashlight???!!! People really pay that for a flashlight?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that was for the host only...

On another forum (britishblades.com) there is a member named Hatethatgiraffe with this relevant and amusing signature:

"My biggest fear in life is that when I die my wife sells all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it!!"

 

At least you won't be alive to see it. I think the same thing will happen when I die.

 

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums

Boaz
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Either way you're dead  if she finds out , your dead .

and if you're dead and she finds out .. she's just glad your dead

putting little stickers on your stuff won't work either.she'll just wonder why she never killed you .

If she did kill you ,It will give her a reason to have done so .Even the jury will agree 85$ for a 18650 host is way too much .

She'll be out in 2 years .:) 

 

either way ... your dead ... enjoy it while you can .

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

trooplewis
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Funny part is, the 'other place' even frowns on Pelicans...

I think I paid $65 for it when I bought it about 4 years ago with a Luxeon LED in it.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Boaz
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We all knew you didn't pay 85$ for a host

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

gcbryan
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I think some things are worth paying more (potentially) but it's a personal preference. A $500 silver plated toilet seat with a lifetime warranty may be worth it to some people but I just don't care what my toilet seat is made of Smile

I'll pay more for a flashlight than someone who isn't into them at all but at the end of the day it's still just a flashlight and budget prices are usually all I'll pay.

REI charges full retail for everything but if you are a member you get 10% back at the end of the year and it's convenient and the return policy is as good as it can get. Some things I need to look at and try out other things I might be able to order online (and do) but may decide to buy locally (REI) because I don't want to wait and again because of the return policy.

Until this year I'd never returned anything from them but now I've returned two items. I bought a BD Spot headlamp. It was fine. I just didn't like all of the features but I figured I'd just put up with it. A few months later BD came out the the Storm ($10 more expensive). I hadn't used the Spot other than to play around with it a bit so I took it back. No receipt or packaging. No problem. I bought the Storm while I was there.

Shortly after that I bought some climbing shoes. I didn't try them on in the store because I bought the same brand/model/size as my last pair. They hurt my feet but I used them for a month or so thinking it would get better. I eventually figured out that they had changed the sizing and it was 1/2 size too small. I took and back and got a larger size. No problem.


If they weren't known for that kind of return policy I would have just kept what I'd purchased (and been unhappy). Their policy however is 100% satisfaction or you can exchange, return for credit or for cash...more or less with a smile and no questions asked. They sell the returned stuff (for less money) later in the year at a "garage" sale. They charge full retail and can do so because of the return policy. Most people (me included) don't return most items.

However I don't buy their $40 T-shirts.

The point is if you sell $50 plastic flashlights (or aluminum these days) you can afford to offer lifetime warranties since all you are selling is really just a tube.

mfm
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Nautic wrote:

I can buy a 20$ light and toss it and buy a new one if something goes wrong with it.

The only thing wrong with your argument is that teleportation is not invented yet. It will take lots of time before your crappy light can be replaced.

If anyone thinks the only difference between a dodgy $10 DX light and most $50-100 lights is the warranty then you need to think harder...

okwchin
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Here in western australia, to me the warranty is effectively irrelevant anyway... sending torches back is going to cost me as much as the new light anyway, and there is not a single dealer within 3000km of where I am anyway in western australia.

I just bought the armytek predator, and I bought this over a budget equivalent 18650 form factor because it offers me what budget lights unfortunately cannot yet offer me. These include - Very throwy but functional output (well designed reflector), over/under voltage and thermal warning systems, a UI that is separate from the tail switch, tint options (got a 5B1 tint) and a fully programmable driver (number of modes, outputs, voltage cutoffs, regulation profile (flat or stepped brightness), and the ability for the torch to tell me the battery voltage under load upon request.

I would prefer to see a budget light that can satisfy those features, but unfortunately, not even all of my budget lights together can achieve that.

For this I paid $99 (and with the strong exchange rate, what would have been $140 less than a year ago, now cost me $95)

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

gcbryan
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In part it just depends on what/how many features you need in a flashlight. I don't need many particularly in a seldom used thrower. Even for a general purpose XP-G 3 mode I don't need any others features.

If you do then that's where budget generally isn't satisfactory. If you don't ... it is generally satisfactory.