Are Generic Pool Parts Better Than OEM?

Written By Timothy Te

15th December 2020

If there’s one thing that’s positive about having a lot of online pool shops is that we’re now never at a lack for choices. There are two trains of thought when it comes to generic pool parts vs OEM parts. One camp will say that nothing beats genuine parts for the manufacturers, and another camp will say that OEM parts are overpriced and you’re better off spending your money elsewhere.

What are OEM Pool Parts?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This basically means that these are pool parts and components that are made by the original vendor or as many people call it, “branded” pool parts. Many years ago, before the advent of the internet and e-commerce, pool owners were stuck with just purchasing parts from the original vendors.

For example, if you had an Onga filter, your only choice for filter elements would be from Onga themselves, which of course would be priced the way Onga wants to price them, which is higher than what most people would like. This is the way it was with all of the major manufacturers, if you had a Polaris cleaner, then all parts would have to come from Polaris, so on and so forth.

What are “Generic” Pool Parts

To borrow a popular term from the automotive industry, generic pool parts can be considered the “aftermarket” parts and accessories in the pool world. Other terms to take note of are “replacement” and “replacement for”.

One very important thing to consider when looking at generic pool parts is if the reseller is actually transparent about the product he or she is selling. If the reseller is trying to pass it off as an original part and is just slipping in keywords like “replacement” without making it obvious that these are generic parts then you have to be really careful.

Another thing to consider is to never buy anything that’s being passed off as original. These aren’t handbags where knockoffs are popular just to impress people. When it comes to pool parts and accessories, it’s not about the brand, it’s about the performance. And if you buy obviously fake pool parts, then you’re spending money for the “Brand” which doesn’t contribute anything to the performance of the part. I.e. the dirt and debris in your pool doesn’t care what brand name is stamped on your cartridge filter elements, what matters is that your filter elements are constructed to deal with the dirt and debris in the water.

Can generic or aftermarket pool parts be better?

Absolutely yes! But before you go out and buy some nameless parts from eBay or some other online pool shop, we’d like to say that they can be absolutely bad as well! The main reason why you’re guaranteed to get good quality parts when you’re buying OEM parts is that the original manufacturers are staking their name and their reputation on their products. Resellers of generic parts however aren’t really risking anything when selling generic products, sure, maybe a few bad reviews online, but nothing really damaging on their part. I mean, if things get really bad for these nameless sellers, they can just pack up, change name, and start off under some other name again.

Aftermarket Parts, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Don’t let the horror stories that you see all over the internet turn you off from purchasing non-OEM parts. In fact, many manufacturers try their best in manufacturing aftermarket products that at least meet the performance levels of their OEM counterparts, or in some cases, they’re going to exceed it. One of the reasons why these manufacturers can offer good quality aftermarket pool parts is that they don’t have to spend millions of dollars in advertising costs and in incentivizing resellers to carry their products.

Note: With the increase in third party manufacturers, OEMs are spending millions of dollars in "Use only original" advertising campaigns, which only increases the cost of OEM parts, which is making aftermarket pool parts even more attractive.

Common aftermarket pool parts

From experience, the largest segment of the aftermarket pool part market is focused on three areas which are: Pool Filter Cartridges, Automatic Pool Cleaner Parts, and Generic Salt Water Chlorinator Cells. These three categories are the most purchased parts since they’re the most likely to get replaced over time.

The Water TechniX Advantage

Mr Pool Man carries its own line of aftermarket pool parts under the Water TechniX brand. Unlike other aftermarket vendors or retailers that just get the cheapest generic parts out there, slap a sticker on it, and call it a day, here at Mr Pool Man, we work directly with the manufacturers to ensure that the products meet our standards before we call them our own. What does this mean?

  • We are so confident about the aftermarket products that we label as Water TechniX that we have warranties on all of our Water TechniX products that match or even exceed those of OEM parts.
  • Very few aftermarket vendors and resellers can offer warranties on their parts so be sure to check the warranties on any aftermarket pool part that you buy online. You don’t have to worry about Water TechniX products because they’re covered both by Water TechniX warranties and Mr Pool Man Guarantees.
  • Mr Pool Man will always be there for support. As long as people are still building and using pools in Australia, then Mr Pool Man will be there to back all of the products that we carry, especially the Water TechniX branded parts. Unlike brandless parts where you don’t know where to get support for your product or you’ll get passed around to look for support, all Water TechniX products have their support channel through Mr Pool Man!
  • As good as, or even better than OEM parts! With over 20 years of experience in the pool industry, we know what goes into parts that make them good so we will never risk our name and reputation on substandard (and super cheap!) replacement parts.

Conclusion

So there you have it, aftermarket pool part have their own advantages or disadvantages, but now that we think about it, Water TechniX isn’t your typical generic aftermarket pool parts because it passes through our in-house inspections and testings before we give it our seal of approval. If there was anything that can be considered as near-OEM as possible, then it would be the Water TechniX line of pool parts and accessories from Mr Pool Man.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Written By

Timothy Te

Pool Guru at Mr Pool Man

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