Product quality, how do you know?

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
Given that failures are caused by internal and external reasons.

Given that there is zero correlation between price and quality.

Given that there is no Consumer Reports for the products "youse guys" run through.

Word of mouth?
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Word of mouth certainly, however I don't hear too much of that. Usually, it's a matter of the product I'm using failing often enough that I decide to use another brand or type.

As far as products discussion here, I think we spend more time talking about breakers and panels than any other product. As far as devices go, I much prefer Leviton over other brands, but not their breakers or panels.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
If I'm buying on-line I always read the reviews. Matter of fact I'll look up reviews even if I'm not buying on line. Depending on what I'm looking to buy, there are probably going to be a lot of reviews from Joe Homeowner types and normally, if they say something doesn't work for them and give it one star it's because they are an idiot. You have to weed through all the reviews to find the credible ones. So other than knowing someone who has been using what I'm looking for, this is the best way I've found to get an idea of the quality and how suitable for the purpose something is.

-Hal
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Given that failures are caused by internal and external reasons.

Given that there is zero correlation between price and quality.

Given that there is no Consumer Reports for the products "youse guys" run through.

Word of mouth?
I come here to see if anyone's had a sad experience with a product or tool. Or vehicle.
 

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
For the online stuff, watch out for astroturfing.

I ask this question because you all go through products at a much faster rate than me, so you can pick up trends better.

And the OEMs are watching this forum, and they might actually take your complaints seriously. The larger ones may use Artificial Intelligence to make their business decisions. As a second opinion or maybe a first.
 
When I buy online, and I prefer not to, I ignore the 5-star reviews ("it works!" isn't helpful) and hit the 1 and 2 start reviews to see what failed and how it was dealt with; some of them are just "wrong shade of blue" complaints and some show a real problem. You can also see how the vendor responds to a problem.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
We're forced into it, like cattle going through increasingly narrower passages.
I fight it, but my wife doesn't even try.
My wife, going seriously against type, despises shopping in person. She is the queen of Amazon purchasing.
 

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
My Frau buys clothes and almost half the time those have to be returned. Someone's paying for this, probably all of us.

We're being conditioned. Pavlov and BF Skinner would be proud.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
My Frau buys clothes and almost half the time those have to be returned. Someone's paying for this, probably all of us.

We're being conditioned. Pavlov and BF Skinner would be proud.
Not trying to...pigeon-hole us, are you? :)
 

SSDriver

Senior Member
Location
California
Occupation
Electrician
We're forced into it, like cattle going through increasingly narrower passages.
I fight it, but my wife doesn't even try.
This is why I hate IKEA. LOL, I literally feel like cattle being forced through their store in one direction. I told my wife a long time ago. There is nothing at that store that I need bad enough to have to go there. Plus I hate crowds and most of their cheap junk.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
I second the idea of hitting the 1- & 2-star reviews to see why some people think it sucks. You know what's common? "1 star. No instructions included"

I wish people like that were banned from reviewing.

I bought a garden hose last summer, from amazon. A very small amount of people said theirs leaked. It had thousands of 5-star reviews so I bought it. Mine split and leaked after 3 weeks 😕

I also try new stuff on a small scale. Try it at home first sometimes

I used to balk at the idea of only buying listed stuff. What a racket, right? But I started to realize, they're not going to pay to get junk listed. Right? I hope my logic works.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have begun to use online suppliers for some items in the last few years, only because the delivery time through normal suppliers is weeks vs 2-3 days. I’ve used the items previously and know what to expect. I will not buy ice cube relays from one popular OL supplier because of the problems we had with them on a project. I replaced them with CH relays and no problems since. I was the follow up electrician.

I do buy brainless books to read on my iPad occasionally and do pay more attention to the bad reviews. Brainless is bad enough, but bad reviews on top of it? Nope.

IDK if I’ve ever bought an electrical item that was not listed or recognized.
 

junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
Occupation
EE, power electronics specialty
This is why I hate IKEA. LOL, their cheap junk.
LOL2 = Having made most my own furniture as hobby, I went thru the new IKEA store when it opened next to my office 25 years or so ago.
Have never been back into the store since, really shoddy junk, not sure I saw a piece of solid wood anywhere. *
Even free items on craigslist if IKEA go begging.

As for other items, am sometimes surprised on the high quality from stuff direct from China.

Electrical: QO breakers and Hubbell outlets. When I was in aircraft, everything bought to specification with lots of acceptance and qualifications testing - still had failures.
Most stuff can tell quality by just looking: Recall back in the 1970 when Ford marketed the Pinto - looked at one and looked at Datsun, very obvious that the Datsun was higher quality. E.g cast aluminum valve cover on Datsun vs. stamping on Pinto, etc. 1968 Datsun already had disk brakes.

* edit, think I went back into the front of the store a few times when they had free hot dog promotion <G>
 

wolfsburged

Member
Location
NC, USA
Occupation
Engineer
It's tough... The industrial stuff you don't see stuff like the Amazon reviews and such to look through. So a lot of it is just inertia. Lots of companies are just skating on that inertia from their customer base. No incentive to improve as long as it's just good enough.

As stated, if I use it and it is junk once or twice, then I'm done. Unless of course the customer specifies it. Sometimes you fight that battle, sometimes its not worth fighting.

In industrial you are spending big big bucks on stuff that really hasn't been improved or updated in many years. Not a lot of new competition either, mostly due to that inertia. Nobody wants to stick their neck out on the line and cause a plant to lose production because you wanted to try the new thing, rather than overpay for the old thing that you always use.

Amazon and the like I am getting increasingly wary of. In general I do the same as stated above and try to read through a variety of reviews good and bad, and you can sort out the idiot reviewers. However it seems more and more common to get these reviews that are either clearly fake or the customer was incentivized to leave good feedback. That twists and distorts the scale quite a bit. Not to mention it seems like Amazon in general is having a lot of issues with supply chain quality assurance and fakes getting in. If you learn more about how fulfilled by Amazon works and how easy it is for someone to set up a sellers account and send Amazon some knockoff stuff that gets tied to the same item/lot as the good stuff, and get mixed in it is really easy and also hard to detect. Recently needed a Fluke meter in a pinch and saw it on Amazon $50 cheaper than anywhere else, 1 day shipping free. Ordered it and got an Asian market box. Pretty sure its a legit Fluke but certainly wasn't a US market one. Makes you gun shy on anything important. Wife got some knockoff shampoo.
 
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