Why do I feel guilty buying Chinese lights over American?

LEDcandle

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270winchester said:
It seems like that's all CPF is good for these day.

As brought up many times before, first and foremost flashaholism is a hobby (or work for some); not everyone delves into the economics and politics. Man, its a flashlight!

It's good that people do look much deeper into everything and do their part to support their local economy; but do so only if you can afford it. If there's a good product out there that suits your needs, is affordable and of good quality (and may not be a local product), I don't see a reason why not to buy it.

Mix it up if its within your means; but remember that a flashlight is a tool first, so get something that works for you.

Anyway, there are a lot of foreigners supporting the American economy too with our Surefire, Mag, Streamlight etc.. purchases :D

Pax et Lux said:
Surefire doesn't compete on price, but on quality.

A lot of foreign lights are very close in terms of quality; it seems problems occur when they rush things trying to cater to CPFers urgency. But when they do it properly, quality is not to be scoffed at.

Foreign customer service also seems to be improving.

Surefire makes its money from military contracts mostly, and having great customer service, good products and good marketing doesn't hurt. But think about it; on the electronics side, you can obviously see the Chinese lights can come up with almost any type of UI.

And with regards to the construction of lights itself, how hard is it to process metal when you have the appropriate facilities; CNC machines, Hard anodizing etc...

Not hard to catch up if they make an effort. Currently it seems they are trying to keep costs low and mark up the sales price to maximise profit margin, sometimes overlooking quality. But if they actually went all out for quality and customer service, I wouldn't put it past them to become a force to reckon with.
 
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EngrPaul

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Your government doesn't feel guilty about sending manufacturing (and design) jobs overseas, why should you? Innovation is going to follow the resources.

The current administration (regime it seems) is putting us at a global deficit, and I'm not talking money.
 

Brighteyez

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There are some risks that you have to be willing to accept when you purchase most products that are made in China.

1. There is usually a limited production window and a short product life. When the product is end-of-life, it's over with. And don't even ask about replacement/repair parts. And if you get a stupid smile when you ask for support, be thankful you got a smile.

2. If it isn't going through western ODM/OEM brand name (e.g. Dorcy, Garrity, Streamlight, etc.) the quality might be a little inconsistent, and chances are you're going to have to jump through hoops to get it corrected.

3. If you import the light yourself (i.e. buy it from a Chinese/Hong Kong source), remember that in Asia there are no refunds, no whining, and usually no warranty.

Personally, I've acquired two lights that are of direct Asian sources, a Fenix L1P and what was represented to be a Nuwai Q3 (not crappy eBay stuff here.) Can't say that I was terribly impressed with either, and compared to those two, my preference is for Dorcy Super 1 Watt.
 

TORCH_BOY

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As some of us live outside the US buying Chinese lights is the only option,
Availability, cost and performance also need to be taken into consideration.
 

Badbeams3

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Brighteyez said:
There are some risks that you have to be willing to accept when you purchase most products that are made in China.

1. There is usually a limited production window and a short product life. When the product is end-of-life, it's over with. And don't even ask about replacement/repair parts. And if you get a stupid smile when you ask for support, be thankful you got a smile.

2. If it isn't going through western ODM/OEM brand name (e.g. Dorcy, Garrity, Streamlight, etc.) the quality might be a little inconsistent, and chances are you're going to have to jump through hoops to get it corrected.

3. If you import the light yourself (i.e. buy it from a Chinese/Hong Kong source), remember that in Asia there are no refunds, no whining, and usually no warranty.

Personally, I've acquired two lights that are of direct Asian sources, a Fenix L1P and what was represented to be a Nuwai Q3 (not crappy eBay stuff here.) Can't say that I was terribly impressed with either, and compared to those two, my preference is for Dorcy Super 1 Watt.

All very true. You pay less but you take a chance.
 

MaxKnight

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#1. We can obtain labor cheaply overseas at income levels domestic labor aren't willing to work at as they have a Western lifestyle to maintain.

#2. Isn't it sort of inevitable that if you start outsourcing your labor and factories to third world countries that eventually they will educate themselves and start innovating, then they will have the factories in their back yard to supply the parts they need to create new products.

#3. We attempt to hold them back through debt we know their countries will never be able to repay, it's in our interest to keep them from having higher standards of living which requires more income.

End result... maybe we are (or at least I am) feeling more guilty about what our Western countries are doing to them in the long term rather than purchasing a product from them.

Obviously it's more complex than that...
 

ace0001a

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Hey, I buy whatever is decent to good quality and well priced...if that means a flashlight that is made somewhere else besides here, then so be it. With that said, I do own many Maglites which are made here in the good old US of A....
 

mtbkndad

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I buy lights or tools based on my needs and what will fill my needs the best regardless of country of origin. I am not so concerned with price but what I consider the price/quality/design/performance balance.

I think two companies that are at the top of this balance for me right now are Lumapower and Huntlight. I have a personal preference for the Lumapower and plan on getting as many of their models as I can.

I got my first Lumapower light from Ricky and even emailed him and told him that now that a company I regularly do business with is carrying his lights I will support that company in the future.

I do lots of business with Amondotech so I am waiting for Wayne to get his Lumapower lights. Once he gets them I will get whatever models he has and that way I am supporting a US business while still getting these Chinese lights.
There is also the advantage of having a dealer to deal with warranty issues.
My friend got his Mini-D from Batteryjunction and was very pleased with their service.

With Huntlights, I will probably get one from JS Burly's at some point, when I find one that suits my fancy, and once again will be supporting another US business while getting a fine Chinese light.

I do not just buy Chinese, as I have 6 Night-Ops lights, and also have a thing for big Elektrolumens LED lights and little Orb Raws.

As you can see, while there is an ecclectic mix of companies I deal with for my lights. I personally find the light that fits my needs most and then go for it. When I can support an American business I do, but I do not loose sleep if a product that suits my needs most is made in another country.

Like the Sterling Silver Orb Raw that I absolutely NEEDED :D :D :D .
Take Care,

mtbkndad :wave:
 

Brighteyez

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Yeah, the way that I look at it, if I spend $100 for a Streamlight or Surefire product, or even $15 for Mag product, I can get it repaired 10 years from now and they'll have the parts to repair it or they'll replace it. Even if I spend $20 for a Chinese light sold under the Brinkmann brand (e.g. Maxfire LX) I could get it repaired or replaced through Brinkmann. But if I spend $50 on a Chinese light from a Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwan manufacturer, and it dies on me 6 months or a year down the road, I'm out $50. It's as simple as that.

Badbeams3 said:
All very true. You pay less but you take a chance.
 

woodrow

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OK, I understand thad producing a product in America makes production costs highter. That being said, American companies (AND HONESTLY...I DO NOT MEAN SUREFIRE) need to do their job better. Inova (and I just bought their new T3) has no excuse to have a outdated website. My $100+ NICAD BATT SurvivorLED would have been better with at least a K2 led. You can't tell me firefighters don't need a bright light. The SL tl3 led needed to be improved when they did the tl2 upgrade.

My point is, I am no longer going to feel guilty for not buying American, when the American (SL,UK,PT) are not making it easy to stay loyal.
 

LED_Thrift

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I do wish China had a less repressive government. It would make buying goods from that country less angst ridden for me. Freedom of speech and religion are, as they say in the TV commercial, priceless!
 

x2x3x2

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y do these kinda threads keep being started?
it's just gonna add up a slander fest like the others before it anyway.

the world is going global now anyway, whereever products are manufactured doesnt matter.
innovation, rip offs, and everything in between occur in the US or China as they are in any other country.

the truth in American's (in general) do have superiority complex sometimes, sure cheap labour is bad and all that, or is it?
check out the current education standard is the US compared to others, even those in China. The US are lagging behind, so higher production cost doesnt mean higher quality if the people behind the products are getting dumber.

just cos something is stamped "Made in America" doesnt mean its of quality anymore like it was in the old , unlike for example Japan who have smart and super efficient workers or Germany which continue do well in engineering accoustic items.

i LOL at the idea of freedom in the US compared to china, check out the freedom u all got under Bush :p n all the other unvoiced social and racial problems which are over running the US social system. China has hardly any of this.
 
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speedemon

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I refuse to be made to feel guilty by ANY US manufacturer unless there product is made in the USA with USA parts.
You have to ask:
Who made the CNC Machinery used to manufacture?
Where did the Raw materials come from?
Where did the Electronics, switches, batteries and bulbs come from?
Do they do their finishing in the USA or send to Mexico to bypass OSHA/ EPA requirements?
Look at Ford and Chevy, they get parts from all over the world and push it as American made. Try to work on them without metric tools.
Go to Walmart and look at clothes made in the USA. The fabric was made in the USA but assembled in Vietnam.
Buy the best quailty you can be happy with, but don't buy out of guit, it is a globe economy wheither we like it or not.
And if you don't have a diversified investment portfolio, foreign stock funds, you are losing a lot of money.
 

flashy bazook

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mtbkndad said:
I buy lights or tools based on my needs and what will fill my needs the best regardless of country of origin. I am not so concerned with price but what I consider the price/quality/design/performance balance.

I think two companies that are at the top of this balance for me right now are Lumapower and Huntlight. I have a personal preference for the Lumapower and plan on getting as many of their models as I can.

I got my first Lumapower light from Ricky and even emailed him and told him that now that a company I regularly do business with is carrying his lights I will support that company in the future.

mtbkndad,

I agree with what you say and even how you say it!

I wanted to add one element, which is that it is a mistake to label China as a low quality, low cost producer and think that is the only reason they get sales away from superior quality American (or European, or whatever), companies.

I myself have been to Asia and to Hong Kong (where Lumapower resides), and know people who have been to China and visited factories there. What people here (ie., in the US) may not realize is that China is targeting, and achieving in many areas, high quality production based on superior manufacturing. They are, in other words, trying to follow in Japan's footsteps.

They are building the R&D infrastructure as well, by funding research institutes and universities - there have even been many articles in the (Western) press about the rapid rise in the number of patents the Chinese are securing (they are already one of the top countries in the world when ranked on that measure).

So, in our little flashaholic corner of the world, we see a little bit of that manufacturing and research and cost effectiveness prowess that the Chinese have been bringing to the world. Not surprisingly, many respond favorably, as well as they should, letting their dollars do the talking (and in CPF also their hands and keyboards!).

What should the US do? Put in more resources and effort to improve schools, and for companies to think long term and to foster R&D and put attention on manufacturing. That's the ticket, if consumers instead make allowances for shoddy or over-priced products it just encourages companies to continue thinking short-term and to ignore the hard long-term stuff.
 

Gaffle

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Like Speedemon said, I realize that most of the products we purchase, even if it is "Made in USA", will contain parts that were manufactured elsewhere. Then again, I am a small business owner in the US. I dig supporting other small businesses. I do not have a huge collection of flashlights. I only have a few. My latest purchase was a Streamlight ProPoly 4AA.

A. It had great reviews.
B. It was Made in USA.

Are all of the lights coming out of the US inferior to the lights that other countries produce? Naw. It just depends on what you want.

As an example, check out Elektro Lumens DeCree. I am very interested in this light. When you compare it to a large portion of the Cree lights available right now, it is smaller in size, it has more output with a 2 hour runtime, and a big one for me is has only 1 brightness level. Boom, it fits everything that I want.

If you want a light Made in USA then you can find one.

I tell you what, I bought a Petzl Myo XP. I really like the functions that it offers with the difuser, but if I would have looked harder I would have bought the Apex (Made in USA), and regulated.:ohgeez:
 

turbodog

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Because you know you're supporting a country that doesn't value human life, that doesn't pay living wages, and that would stomp on the US if we weren't their biggest export customer.

Because you know you're taking food out of someone's mouth here in the US. Because domestic mfgs offer great warranties and you're intentionally overlooking this in your pursuit of more lights and brighter lights.
 

KROMATICS

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x2x3x2 said:
i LOL at the idea of freedom in the US compared to china, check out the freedom u all got under Bush n all the other unvoiced social and racial problems which are over running the US social system. China has hardly any of this.

You don't think China has social problems? Whoa. There are distinct classes. You're either in or out and if you're out you suffer. Try looking beyond the big cities. It's a whole other world. Most of the workers living in dorms and being paid next to nothing come from there and use what little money they earn to support those left behind. Yeah, the Bush administration has run the US into the ground but at least we have the enough freedom to know it and the problems we face are far from unvoiced. Ask the average student in China about Tiananmen Square or who Tank Man was and you'll get a blank look. It's been erased from History. Every country has it's own unique set of problems.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah...

Personally I like to buy things that are "Made in USA" for two main reasons. 1) To support and protect American labor and while sending a message to the government about the excessive exportation of jobs and increasing reliance upon other countries for goods and services. 2) I don't like buying a flashlight from a country that hates our guts any more than I like to fill up my car with gas from a country that hates our guts. It's something to be avoided whenever possible. Sometimes you just don't have a choice. That doesn't mean I'll buy something just because it's made in the USA. I'm not going to buy something if it's inferior and brings us back to the topic at hand. Surefires are not inferior. They don't want to bring a product to market until its good and ready. They stand behind their warranty. You simply have a bunch of impatient people here stomping their feet crying now! now! now!
 

KROMATICS

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EngrPaul said:
Your government doesn't feel guilty about sending manufacturing (and design) jobs overseas, why should you?

Because we don't want to be apathetic towards the problem? Because we don't want to settle for the status quo? Because we don't want to be associated with corrupt polititians? Because we want to continue earning enough money to feed our families? Because...
 

Culhain

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From a very selfish view point, I have been considering boycoting American made products.

I'm over age 50 and recent studies indicate what I learned the hard way, that 60% of American companies admit to practicing illegal age discrimination against those over age 50. I see no rational reason to support those who diminish my earnings illegally.

Yet, as a former officer and manager, I'm proud of the young folks that I mentored both in the army and business. Yet, I have nagging doubts that perhaps I taught them the wrong values.

The real reason that I reluctantly continue to buy American is summed up in the following USDA finding:

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 38 million people in our nation – 13.9 million of them children – live in households that suffer from hunger or live on the edge of hunger.

For the record, I'm not a bleeding heart liberal, but the idea of sending America's jobs, food and money to those less fortunate while Americans go hungry is bothersome.

The flip side is, as a boxing fan, I hate to see a mismatched fight. If one fighter is taking a severe beating, I hope for a first round knock out. Today, America is taking a severe beating....................
 

KROMATICS

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flashy bazook said:
by the way - did you get any info. on pricing for these new CREE LED's that SF is going to be putting out?

I mean it is really great they are doing the work and innovating, just not so great if they then want $300 bucks (OK, $295) for one of them CREE's.

It was stated the prices would stay the same for the new versions. Contrast this with many other manufacturers who are charging anywhere from one third extra to twice as much for a Cree version of the same light. Is Surefire rewarded for maintaining the same price points? No, they get stomped upon in threads like this. Some people are only concerned with the bottom line and fail to see the big picture.
 
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