The growing popularity of online shopping has made it easier than ever for customers to purchase Unistrut channel, fittings, and hardware, but this boom has come at a price.
Some retailers are misrepresenting imitation parts as genuine Unistrut brand. If you purchase material from an authorized Unistrut service center, you have nothing to worry about…but how can you ensure the authenticity of parts purchased online?
This post isn’t meant to suggest that every part you see listed on sites like Amazon is a fake. We have our own Amazon storefront and some customers love this service for small quantity orders. That said, a handful of online retailers take advantage of folks by passing off poorly made knock-off parts as genuine Unistrut materials. We could bury our heads in the sand and ignore the issue, but it’s not going away anytime soon. So….how do you spot imitation Unistrut parts?
Genuine Unistrut channel is stamped with a serial number, and you’ll see the words “Unistrut” and the corresponding part number stamped on the surface inside the channel as shown below:
Genuine fittings and specialty items like trolleys are stamped with the name “Unistrut” and the corresponding part number. The finish, shape, and dimensions of imitation parts often closely match Unistrut materials, but the lack of proper markings makes counterfeit parts easy to spot.The trolleys shown below illustrate our point. The trolley on the left resembles the P2949 Trolley shown on the right, but the markings are different. If you spin the wheels of both, you’ll also feel a difference since the imitation uses poor quality bearings.
In addition to the potential pitfalls associated with some online materials purchases, we also see occasional problems when we repair or modify support structures installed by other contractors. To the untrained eye, and from a distance, channel MAY exhibit similar size, finish, and hole patterns of genuine Unistrut, but if the material is an inexpensive knock-off product, it will lack the structural integrity of our strut. The photo of the crushed P1000T channel below illustrates our point:
We’ve done a prior post on this topic titled “Secret Other Strut Manufacturer’s Don’t Want You To Know,” but our point here is simple–beware of imitation strut, especially with mission-critical applications.
Unistrut has been the market leader for over 90 years, and we’ve earned this position by supplying a quality product at a fair price. There will always be a handful of folks looking to profit from sales of imitation product to unsuspecting buyers, but if you know what to look for, you’ll easily spot knock-off products. We hope this helps, and as always, if you have Unistrut related questions, require pricing information, or need a hand getting started with a project, don’t hesitate to call or send us an e-mail and we’ll be glad to assist you.