If you're in the process of looking for a fan kit or replacement blower for your fireplace, you've likely already searched through the variety of choices on Amazon, eBay and Google. You may have also been surprised at the sheer number of retailers selling similar looking kits, often times at significantly differing prices. But what truly sets some fireplace blower kits apart from the next? What are the differences between OEM and aftermarket? And why does there seem to be such a wide price range of options available?
OEM vs Aftermarket. Is There a Difference?
Let's cut to the chase. Fireplace manufacturers rarely if ever build their own fireplace blowers and fan kits. Most popular manufacturers work directly with a manufacturer who specializes in fireplace blowers and air movement. Blowers and kits are designed to the specifications of the manufacturer and then sold through retail dealer outlets and online stores. Seems pretty simple, and for the most part, original equipment fan kits are often very well made. But OEM typically comes at a cost, often times exceeding aftermarket costs by more than 100%. But is there a noteworthy difference in quality to justify the sometimes outrageous dealer prices on OEM blowers and kits? The short answer is NO, but the longer answer requires some additional context around the aftermarket options available to you.
The aftermarket fireplace blower industry can be split into two groups. On one side, you have overseas manufacturers who build and sell their products to a handful of private label retailers. You may have already seen some of these retailers on eBay and Amazon. They simply rebrand or private label cheaply made fan kits from one of the handful of overseas manufacturers. Private label sellers can buy these products cheap and can therefore resell them as inexpensive alternatives to the more pricey OEM kits.
On the other hand, you have a small group of aftermarket manufacturers and retailers like FireplaceBlowersOnline.com, who do NOT simply buy and resell blower kits. As in our case, we do a majority of the manufacturing and assembly ourselves here in Racine, Wisconsin. Now that certainly doesn't mean we manufacturer every part we sell. We rely on a handful of trusted suppliers like anyone else, but the aftermarket kits we stick on our name on are all hand-built, assembled and tested right here in our shop. This gives us a competitive advantage in several ways. First, we actually know fireplace blowers and fan kits! We don't call ourselves experts accidentally. Secondly, it lets us provide uncompromising customer service to our clients. Have a question on installation, wiring or fitment? No problem, just give us a call and speak with one of those experts. And lastly, controlling the manufacturing, assembly and testing of our own products has allowed us not only to become thought leaders in the industry, but it also provides us an opportunity to improve on the design and construction of our kits. And we do this for a cost that's typically less than OEM, yet rivals or exceeds the quality of anything you'll find available. So yes, we're sometimes more expensive than our competitors. But we're confident, while our products sometimes look the same, that you'll experience the FireplaceBlowersOnline.com difference for yourself.
Here's a quick video of Terry Baker going over a few of the subtle differences on one of our blower kits. But as always, don't hesitate to contact us directly if you have any additional questions on fitment or installation.