We've been proudly saying for years that our pet tags are "high quality". But everyone else says the same thing and so those words become meaningless in helping decide which ID tag to trust to protect your pet. Certainly everyone would agree that there is a range of quality among all the pet tags you can choose from. When new, even a cheap pet tag is the functional equivalent of the best tag out there. But very soon, the quality difference will start to become apparent.
The primary, most important job of any tag is to contain readable information. The material the tag is made from and how it is marked are two key factors in how long the writing will remain readable. Tags made from quality materials marked with expensive equipment will greatly outlast lesser materials marked with lesser equipment. You don’t want to find this out after your pet is lost.
Pet ID tags tend to be made out of aluminum, plastic, stainless steel, brass or some alloy of metals.
Aluminum tags are lightweight, colorful, easy to make and very readable when new. Most dog license tags are aluminum. The downside is that very quickly the color wears off and shortly after, the writing will be unreadable. We don’t sell aluminum tags.
Plastic tags share all of the good traits of aluminum but they are much, much tougher so it takes quite a bit to wear them out. As a bonus feature, our plastic pet tags have a seamless vinyl reflective coating, matching the color of the tag, of Scotchlite by 3M on the blank side. This is the same reflective on STOP signs and firetrucks- the smallest amount of light gets reflected back as a bright flash as the tag dangles, making your pet’s tag, and your pet, very noticeable in low light conditions.
Our reflective tags in daylight. Imagine how they shine in the dark!
Stainless steel tags come in a few varieties. First is the traditional ID tag that you immediately picture when someone says pet tag. Stainless steel is much tougher than aluminum. We use stainless steel that is a bit thicker than most others. It feels solid but not too heavy or bulky. Thirty years ago, when we first started making ID tags, we marked stainless tags by “diamond tip drag engraving”. It’s the same way they do fine jewelry and it looks nice. But it’s a bit hard to read and it does wear off. Later, we switched over to stamping the letters into the metal. It was deeper and lasted longer but it wasn't ... well it's not very pretty at all. Eventually, we made the huge jump to buy a YAG laser. It was very, very expensive but it does a great job of marking black letters on metal tags and since it blackens several layers deep into the metal, the mark is very readable and very durable. Everything about the stainless tags applies to our polished brass tags as well.
Compare our old stamped tags to our laser marked tags today;
looks better, lasts longer!
Stainless Jewelry Tags- These are flashier looking pet tags made from stainless steel. We also call them enamel tags. Enameled tags look like enameled jewelry of years past but are now coated with a much tougher, colorful, shiny, high-tech resin. These tags are our most expensive tags and feel very solid and a bit heavy.
Today's version of stainless steel tags.
Enamel Jewelry tags are very similar to the stainless version but they are made out of a zinc/nickel alloy that is less expensive than stainless steel. They look very similar and hold up well. Available in the widest range of styles and colors, they have become our most popular style.
Durable = High Quality
Many years ago, we decided that we needed a way to test how durable our tags were. We knew that using good materials and good marking methods should make a good pet tag but we didn’t want to rely on theory alone. And we didn’t want our customers to ever have to tell us that our tags didn’t last; that they didn't meet their expectations of a high quality tag.
We all know what makes a tag wear out and you’ve heard it countless times. The pet tag jingle as your pet moves around is the sound of the tags rubbing against each other, the sound of pet tags wearing out! We needed a way to simulate days, months and even years of rubbing and jingling to see which tags survive and which don’t. We invented Robo-Dog, our super shaker made to wear tags out.
A whole lotta shaking going on!
It's not pretty but boy does it work to abuse pet tags! It sounds like the biggest key ring in the world being shaken by a jackhammer. We have to run it in a back room tucked away in our warehouse! You would think that you could just run it on full speed to get the most vicious jangling but oddly, some speeds set up a nice harmonic where a clump of tags all will synch up and move together. We needed a special speed controller (called a varistat) to fine tune the speed depending on the tags we loaded, to adjust the shaking to its most frenetic and destructive. We purposefully place tags perpendicular to each other so that the edge of one tag crashes straight into the writing on another tag. And then we let it run, sometimes for days at a time.
One of our brass tags after going several rounds with Robo-Dog. Battered and worn smooth and yet still readable!
Whenever we make a new type of tag or try a new marking method, we test it. We also test our competitors so we have a pretty good idea where the quality of our tags fit into the range of the tags that are being sold.
We sell high quality tags. I hope that now those words mean a little bit more. And maybe they'll even conjure up an image of Robo-Dog separating high quality tags from the rest.