When the Best Deal is Not: Know Your Hose
Bottom Line: Be wary of online scuba resellers as what looks like the best deal available probably is not. What you think you are purchasing may not be what you get. Determine online resellers warranties before purchasing. Reputable resellers should cover products for one year or more.
Generic Kevlar Nylon Braided HP Hose vs. MIFLEX Carbon HD Braided HP Hose
Let’s be honest—the sport of scuba diving is not exactly cheap. If you’re like us at ATA/BAR DIVERS, you’re always on the hunt for great deals when it comes to equipment, training, and travel. Unfortunately, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is frequently far too accurate.
In January 2015 it was time to purchase a new high-pressure hose for one of our regulator set-ups. First stop—as it is with pretty much any purchase for anything these days—was Amazon.com. We found a “33-Inch Kevlar Nylon Braided HP High Pressure Hose for 1st Stage Gauge.” At the time it retailed for $35.98 and was the best deal we could find.
Now the bad news: In August 2015 a leak formed near the SPG connection. We contacted the Amazon resellerfor details on the warranty for this product. Their response:
“We are sorry to inform you that the item is no longer covered under our 30-day return policy. Best regards, **** Team”
Best regards, indeed. With that answer, it was off to the local dive shop to purchase the XS Scuba MIFLEX MHP36-CN for $52.00. (This same product is available from Scuba.com for $45.95.) We were familiar with the MIFLEX brand name. It was only upon returning home with the MIFLEX product that we discovered the hose purchased at through an Amazon.com reseller was a no-name brand.
After the purchase, we wondered what the MIFLEX warranty was. There was no information on (or in) their nifty packaging. Off to the Web we went.
As MIFLEX hoses are made in Italy, it should be no surprise that their website (miflex.com) is in Italian. Strike one. How about the XSScuba.com site? They seem to be the U.S. distributor for MIFLEX…) Negatory; and strike two. With one pitch to go, we reached out to online retailer Scuba.com for warranty information. Within a day, their response was: “It comes with a one year warranty.” …Just as it should be.
There is no reason why equipment of this type comes with anything less than a full-year warranty against defects. With only 43 dives on the hose purchased from this undisclosed Amazon.com reseller, it is pretty clear the workmanship on their no-name product is far less than what can be reasonably expected.
Lesson learned. Sometimes the best deal is not. We highly recommend you fully understand who the manufacturer is for your scuba equipment, and don’t assume that every Kevlar- or carbon-braided hose comes from a reputable source. And when dealing with online retailers, ask what their warranty is on equipment up front. We didn’t, and that was a mistake we won’t make again.