Posted by Karen Twombly on 31st Mar 2015
Many of you have done a lot of research trying to make the right buying decision for your dog's new id tag. It's hard to know whose website to believe when it comes to engraving durability, tag durability, tag material, customer service, and quality of product.
Addressing these one at a time, tag durability has to do with thickness and composition of material. Whatever you do, stay away from soft metals (aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, pewter) and plated metals. They do not last. The use of thick stainless steel or titanium, and by that I mean an 1/8" (or two quarters stuck together) with a loop that is just as thick, translates into a lifetime (yours and theirs) tag. Red Dingo, Silver Paw Pet Tags, Dog ID's, Mega Tags, Boomerang Tags, and The Sterling Pet are the major companies offering tags using these metals. Red Dingo, Silver Paw, and Mega Tags have the greatest thicknesses.
Not all stainless steels are created equal. Silver Paw uses something called Duplex 2205 which was developed in the 1960's for the offshore oil industry. It has TWICE the hardness and non corrosive properties as 316, 304, etc. stainless steels. It is also very close to the hardness of titanium. Silver Paw is the ONLY company using this stainless alloy. That means that our tags hold onto the engraving lines routed into them, instead of fading after your tag has been worn awhile, more than any other company's stainless tag.
We manufacture our own tags here in Maine, USA. Red Dingo tags are manufactured in China and thus can offer a lower price on their tags, which aren't made of stainless that is as tough as ours. The Sterling Pet and Dog Id's offer very ordinary blanks of metal which are very inexpensive to produce. They also can't be re-engraved if your address or phone changes.
Engraving is a tricky thing, especially engraving into a VERY hard metal. Most companies use stamping, rotary engraving, or laser engraving on their tags. Stamping has a more primitive look to it. It holds, but is not terribly attractive, usually done on a blank of metal coming out of China, with no adornment or design incorporated.
Engraving can also be done using a rotary machine that routes out metal in the lines of engraving. If it is done deeply, it will last for a while. Red Dingo, Boomerang, and many other tag companies use this method. Dogs who are really active and wear other tags with their id tag, can eventually wear out their engraving, NO MATTER HOW DEEP or by WHAT METHOD it is done. Tag companies offering a "lifetime guarantee" on their product, should agree to take a tag back and re-engrave it, or replace it free of charge. Usually these tags are thin and cheaply made in China, so it's easy for them to just issue you another tag, if they are reputable.
Laser engraving is being done by Dog Id's, The Sterling Pet, Silver Paw, and others. Purchasing a DEEP laser engraving machine is VERY expensive. It is a good engraving solution when it is deep, however, most laser machines only mark the surface lightly and will not last on a dog. The type of laser used must be a "fiber pulse" with at least 20W to get really deep on hard metal. Deep fiber laser engraving actually removes metal by vaporizing it leaving deeply, hardened, black lines embedded into a metal surface. Carbon is raised during the process which makes the lines black. This type of engraving gives the sharpest and most crisp detail.
Lastly, pay close attention to reviews on customer service. The more reviews, the better. You need a company with good, fast communication and delivery, as well as one that stands behind their lifetime guarantee with a smile!
When making your buying decision, be well informed, knowledgeable, and weigh out costs. Will you be replacing your dog's tag four, five, six or more times during their life span? An inexpensive tag at $10 will eventually lead to several at a total cost of up to $50-$60 dollars or more and will look rather jaded very quickly after the purchase! Spend $30 and get a tag you will have for the life of your dog that looks as good as when you bought it, so much so, that you will want to adopt is as a keychain or memorial piece of jewelry for yourself. Silver Paw tags offer extreme value for your dollar. They are an investment in your dog's good looks and safety. Time and time again our customers say they are worth the cost and then some.