Investing in lake inflatables can be a daunting task. After a couple researches on the internet, you quickly find low-priced inflatables at a fraction of the price vs buying them through a reputable dealer.
Why is there such a big price difference? Is there a difference between buying direct from a Chinese factory rather than an American or European established manufacturer?
1) Quality of material is important
Beware of very low prices. Cheap inflatables are built using low quality materials including thin PVC vinyl, loose single-row stitching, single overlapped seams, and materials that contain unsafe levels of lead and lack any fire-retardant properties. Thickness of the material and quality of stitching is key to ensure maximal lifespan.
2) Beware of misleading certifications!
Although many overseas manufacturers may mention their inflatables are manufactured under world recognized EN ISO 25649 safety standards, many manufacturers only certify a handful of products. Make sure to ask your provider proof that 100% of the purchased products are certified EN ISO 25649 and are tested by a reputable independent test house.
3) Warranty, Shipping, Returns and Exchange
Other concerns worth mentioning include complications and delays with shipping, returns, and exchanges when dealing with overseas vendors. In many cases, shipping an unwanted item back to its origination port costs more than the item itself. Dealing with a local representative will ensure all warranty claims are delt professionally and in a timely manner.
4) Commercial vs residential grade
Frequently, the term “commercial grade” gets used by many vendors who sell inflatables over the internet. Many manufacturers misrepresent the phrase claiming they use good quality PVC. While heavy duty 32oz vinyl is a must feature for any commercial inflatable waterpark, it is not only factor to consider when making a buying decision. Other factors are:
- Entrapment hazards
- Certified safety standards
- Minimum water depth requirements
- Secure anchoring and tethering options
- Detailed installation and operation instructions
5) Safety and Liability
Inflatable water parks are for people all ages and of different fitness levels, so you want to make sure your product is always safe and durable. Unlike an overseas manufacturer who gets to relinquish all responsibility for the product has left their facility, US and European-based commercial waterpark manufacturers are held accountable for all defects and liabilities. It is also good practice to inform your insurer about your inflatables and their provenance. Be sure to share all relevant safety standards documentation with your insurer.
In conclusion, safety is not cheap. When shopping for commercial grade inflatables, make sure ask the right questions to your provider and investigate thoroughly,
Be sure to reach out to your Waterfront RS experts for any questions!