Why Checking the Warranty is Important when Buying a Moisture Meter

Posted by Tom Laurenzi on Aug 26, 2014 1:58:00 PM

Moisture meters are important tools for many professionals. But, with the sheer number of manufacturers out there, how can you find the right product? Checking the manufacturer's warranty is a good place to start.When we talk about moisture meters for wood, soil, restoration work, or any number of other applications, we usually tend to focus on how to use said meters and what their benefits are to you for any of the above jobs. Today, however, we wanted to talk to you about something else entirely: the importance of a moisture meter’s warranty.

Why a Warranty is Important

First off, a product’s warranty is a strong indicator of the manufacturer’s faith in their product. The longer the term of the warranty, and the more defects covered, the more confident the manufacturer is that those problems won’t occur in the time specified. If a wood moisture meter has a long warranty period, say one year or more, and covers any manufacturing defects over that time, you’ll know that the manufacturer is confident in their product.

On the other hand, a warranty can also tell you when the manufacturer is not very confident in their product. For example, if a warranty statement for a given moisture meter reads like a legal brief for someone looking to pass the bar exam (full of long, highly technical legal speech, loopholes, and outright double-talk), then you’ll know that the manufacturer of that piece of equipment expects defects on a large number of the moisture meters that they sell. The more a product has failed in the past, the more clauses that will be added to its warranty.

So, the primary reason why a warranty is important is that it can tell you a lot about how much the manufacturer is willing to stand behind the quality and reliability of their products. In any profession, when your reputation is on the line, knowing that your tools are going to be up to the task can be a huge relief.

What to Look for in a Warranty

So, when you’re looking at a moisture meter’s warranty, what should you look for? There are a few things that can serve as a strong indication of the quality of the final product, including:

  1. Brief Text in Plain English. An overly long-winded warranty with an enormous number of subsections is a potential problem. One, reading it takes too long, so many people skip it (which can be the intent behind making it so long). Two, an extraordinarily long warranty can hide innumerable loophole clauses that allow the manufacturer to back out of the warranty’s terms. A brief, clearly-worded warranty demonstrates that the product is expected to be rugged and reliable enough not to rely on loopholes to get out of having to make replacements or repairs.

  2. In most cases, a one-year warranty is ideal for a moisture meter product.Length of Warranty. As we said earlier, the longer a warranty lasts, the more confident the manufacturer is in their product. A simple, 90-day warranty for something as important as a moisture meter is too short to cover many major problems that take time to develop.

  3. Reasonableness of Claims. Truth be told, no moisture meter will be 100 percent proof against failure forever. Even the best tools wear out with repeated use, especially if they’re not maintained right. If a manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on an instrument with delicate electronic components, make sure to read the conditions of that “lifetime” warranty; you may be surprised at how many exceptions there are to such a warranty.

When are Warranty Exemptions Warranted?

Beyond the above items, you may also want to take a look at what a warranty exempts from coverage. Consider each exemption, and whether or not such an exemption is reasonable.

For example, items with a built-in limited useful life, such as batteries, are usually exempted from coverage under a warranty. This is because batteries, particularly ones designed to be removed and replaced, are only useful for so long before running out of energy to power the meter. After the first battery or set of batteries in your meter get replaced, you’re no longer using a product made by the manufacturer, so the manufacturer can’t make guarantees about the battery.

Another example of a common warranty exemption is when a manufacturer states that they will not cover products which have been tampered with. This is an exemption that you will find on almost any warranty by any manufacturer. The reason for this is if someone other than the manufacturer modifies the moisture meter in any way, its basic operation may change or the internal components may be exposed to foreign contaminants that can cause damage. Such mishandling is outside of the manufacturer’s control, and thus their ability to cover under a warranty.

Check How the Manufacturer Handles Warranty Claims

When it comes to examining how strong a manufacturer’s warranty is, the old saying that “actions speak louder than words” holds true.

For example, say you’ve read a manufacturer’s warranty that promises customers complete coverage for any defects from the workmanship or the materials used in the making of that moisture meter for a length of time that seems too good to be true. However, when you check their past customers, you find that little or no warranty claims have been honored. This can serve as a red flag, warning you of what to expect in the way of customer service once the manufacturer has your money.

On the other hand, say you find a manufacturer with a brief, clear warranty that plainly states what is and isn’t covered under said warranty and for how long. However, instead of putting off customers or giving them the runaround when a warranty claim is made, this manufacturer works with customers, sometimes even going above and beyond the basic terms of the warranty.

In short, when examining a warranty, check more than just the terms, check out how the manufacturer backs up their warranty in practice. In the end, you’ll have a better product and a lot less stress.

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