Warranty as a warning?

I was wandering around the electronic landscape looking at vacuum tubes and came across an interesting pricing option.

Tube was $150 with 30 day warranty or $200 with one year warranty.

I thought a 33% markup for an extended warranty kind of high. Would people consider this to be an indication of higher rate of tube failure given this markup or would you consider this just par for the course? Just more curious than anything.

Extended warranties, insurance plans with low deductibles, and cocktails / desserts in restaurants are huge profit centers. They all prey on emotion to drive the sale. Be it fear or indulgence. Tubes are fragile and tubes are luxury items, and they get abused by newbies who don’t know how to take care of them. The cheap guitar amp brand Bugera (a marketing label by Behringer) invented tube protection circuitry (aka Infinium) because newbies were routinely destroying tubes.

So, it’s par for the industry. An accountant/risk manager would put the $50 into savings, but a Nervous Nellie would buy the warranty. Take your pick.


I agree that extended warranty is seldom ever a benefit to the purchaser and as a general rule I avoid it; however, what I was questioning was whether the amount charged for an extended warranty could be indicative of the quality of the product.

If a $500 product charges $50 for a five year warranty than could you surmise they have confidence in the longevity of their product? Where what we have here is charging over 30% more for only a one year warranty. Could this suggest a lack of confidence in their product, or perhaps you are correct in that the upcharge is more indicative of the rate of user error. I was just a little surprised about the amount charged for this but maybe I shouldn’t be.

Anyways it probably doesnt matter as I wouldnt pay an extra fee, if it breaks I just dont buy from them again.

Just as a point of reference, and not to comment on the value of extended warranties or the particular example @perogie mentions at the outset, Schiit Audio provides a three-month warranty for the tubes it includes with its amps. Schiit strikes me as consistently offering excellent warranty policies (5 yrs for the $200 Asgard, for instance), and three months for tubes seems similarly generous.

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What type of tube?
. NOS or New?

If the tube is bad it should announce itself right away. On an NOS tube, it may be used (otherwise known as a pull). A marginal tube may only last six months, since its been partially spent by prior use.

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It was for a new production tube.

Ive seen vendors offer better extended warranties on NOS tubes of equivalent pricing for less than what was offered on this one, which is why I created a post as I thought it was out of keeping with what I have seen elsewhere and general experience re these warranty offerings.

Standard tube guarantees are at most a few months, haven’t seen any that offer anything beyond 3. Mostly due to the nature of tubes as @generic already commented.

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From a purely actuarial point of view you should only insure items that would cause hardship should you incur the expense of replacing it, like your income (a la life insurance), the risk of large hospital bills etc.

For example, pretty sure Bill Gates doesn’t have health insurance. Why? Because he doesn’t need protection from large medical bills. A million dollar medical bill wouldn’t impact him at all. He is essentially covering himself.

So if I buy a toaster at Best Buy for $50 why should I buy an extended warranty for $10? The Andrew Insurance Group will cover it instead, meaning if it breaks I will just buy another. Otherwise, over a lifetime all the extended warranties will add up to waaaaayyyyy more than I save.

I tried to explain this math to the warranty sales guy the last time I bought a car but he wasn’t having it. “I buy the extended service on everything I buy,” he said proudly, “like the DVD player I bought last week!” He went on to explain that the peace of mind was worth it.

Peace of mind over a $40 DVD player…:roll_eyes:


Humans often make absolutely horrible financial decisions, and tend to focus much more on negatives/dangers than positives. If one has ever watched Storage Wars, consider that the monthly cost of a unit ranges from $60 to $225. Not to mention those who pay interest on a credit card…so some may spend $2,000 a year to store old appliances, furniture, and clothes that are worth $1,000…


I agree with @Andrew_Davis re warranty purchases as a hedge against future hardship.

The only time in recent memory that I purchased an extended warranty was for a rather expensive set of appliances that would require expensive repairs, like an induction range for instance. I did some research and the reliability of some of the items was good but not stellar. I purchased them anyway as they had features I wanted and they could be repaired locally with good access to parts. The extended warranty cost wasnt too crazy relative to the price I was paying for the appliances so I said screw it and purchased it.

Wouldnt you know it that I had a couple of issues outside of the original manufacturers warranty and I ended up actually saving money. However, I still refuse pretty much all extended warranty offers.

I wonder if we are too accepting of short product lifespans, planned obsolescence, and a forced inability for us to repair some of the products we buy.

I liked storage wars, at least until I realized that it had to be rigged.


If these are new tubes, I would only take the standard warranty. NOS tubes if truly new, should last more than a year too.

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Here’s a query that’s a variation on a theme: the Campfire Audio Andromeda is ordinarily $1099 and comes with a 2-year warranty; when on periodic b-stock sale, the Andromeda goes for ca. $850 and has just a 90-day warranty (b-stock is defined in cosmetic terms). Is the risk worth it for the discount?

For context, let’s say this would be a purchase costly enough that you’d not be able to repeat for 2-3 years (assuming the economy doesn’t collapse and you don’t turn to using the Andromeda as a bolas for hunting and gathering). Additionally, I should mention that, after having read the many forum posts about the Andros over the years, I’ve not seen complaints about them failing; they seem to be very, very reliable.


I’m not afraid of purchasing B-stock items. My experience on most such things is that if it’s gonna break, it does so quickly. eg, infant mortality. I like longer warranties, but normally speaking, most things you buy never need them. If something has a flakey quality control reputation, warranties are nice, but I often find a product with fewer repair problems. One exception on QC I’ve had has been PS Audio components. I’ve had a few failures (all within the three year warranty period). They make good stuff, but some QC issues. They stand behind their stuff and have exception customer service, Another brand I favor is Wyred4Sound, which comes with five year warranties. I have never have a W4S product failure in the five components I’ve owned (oldest being purchased in 2011.)


For a purely cosmetic defect I would wonder why such a reduction in warranty? I could only surmise that the cause of the defect is the issue - some kind of force directed towards the IEM that resulted in exterior damage. Not knowing how the force translates to the inner components I guess the manufacturer doesnt want to take chances??

I know Schiit backs up their B stock with the full warranty (sales are final though). To be honest I really havent looked into this much, I would have assumed the same warranty would apply for simply cosmetic defects.

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Thats a fine balance: QC v service. Hopefully both are excellent, I think Id favour QC over service simply to limit the aggravation factor of having to get something serviced.


Agreed. I posted a few gripes PS at PS Audio’s forum about QC and cc’ed Paul in the thread. I had a dead Direct Stream Jr, a dead Power Plant Premier, a bad cable on a P12 regenerator, and a screen failure on a PerfectWave Transport. Lots of software issues with the Bridge in player. I beta tested a LANRover and never could get it to work right. My eight year old P5 regenerator has never had an issue. They cheerfully fix stuff but improved QC would be better.

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