Monday, October 4, 2010

How Do Generic Aftermarket Batteries Compare with Name Brand Batteries?

Do aftermarket batteries have the same capability and longevity as their branded counterparts? In a simple word - yes - but what aftermarket batteries bring to customers (in addition to long life performance and similar technical ratings and components) is affordability.

Big brand companies get big in terms of sales and number of units sold for four reasons - product availability and reliability, marketing and advertising on a mass scale, and the ability to fulfill their product to customers. Overtime these four components will turn any company into a Big Brand - but at a price. There is a direct association between the price of product and the company's cost. The lower the costs the lower the price - the higher the costs the higher the price you will have to pay.

As a customer of batteries what is mission critical is that your device (whether it is a laptop, PDA, two-way radio, power tool, or flashlight) works on battery power. Your device does not care whether you have a big brand battery name on it or a generic aftermarket battery!
What is important to your device is that your voltage, capacity, chemistry, and all the internal and external components meet the specific design needs of your device. For example take Apple's EC003 (the iPod Mini). The iPod Mini requires the following technical requirements:

  • The exact physical dimensions for the battery compartment

  • Lithium Ion Chemistry

  • 3.7 volts

  • a minimum of 400 mAh

  • the necessary hardware (connector, fuse, charge and discharge FETs, cell pack, sense resistor, primary and secondary protection ICs, fuel-gauge IC, thermistor, PC board, and the EEPROM or firmware for the fuel-gauge IC)

Now outside of the above technical requirements the iPod Mini does not care if the battery comes from Apple or any other third party just as long as it is "100% OEM Compatible and Guaranteed to meet or exceed OEM specifications".

So if aftermarket replacement batteries are "100% OEM Compatible and Guaranteed to meet or exceed OEM specifications" AND if aftermarket batteries are considerably lower in price why do people opt to buy OEM or branded batteries? Because consumers have been conditioned to buy the big brands because of the clever marketing and advertising that marketers pour over and over consumers.

Now I'm sure one may come with the argument that aftermarket batteries have a higher failure rate then branded batteries - but I can tell you that having been a direct part of the aftermarket and BIG brand market for 13 years (with various companies) - every manufacture and company has defects. It is a part of manufacturing regardless of the manufacturer's name. Acceptable defect rates float between 1-2% of all units shipped. In manufacturing there is no such thing as 0% defect rate. That is why you have a product warranty with parts (money back periods and extended warranty periods).

So now since the aftermarket or NON-OEM batteries have a low defect rate, low product cost, and the exact same specs as the OEMs the only thing that would stop you from buying aftermarket batteries is your marketing condition and the size of your wallet!

By: Dan Hagopian
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