When it comes to warranties, 20 years may be better than a lifetime


We replaced our shower heads recently, and the new ones came with a “Lifetime warranty”. What does that mean, exactly? Is the warranty good for my whole life, or just as long as I live in the same residence? Is it transferable to a new owner? What about normal wear and tear?

I’m sure all the details are in the fine print. But from a marketing and sales perspective, is it possible that a simpler approach would actually sell more? For example, would a 20 year warranty actually be more enticing to buyers? I think so. The benefit is a lot more tangible, and doesn’t leave any loose ends about how a lifetime might be measured.

On the balance, there should be a fixed warranty length that outperforms the lifetime option when it comes to selling the product. Maybe it’s 25 or 30 years instead of 20. It might even be as short as 10 years. Either way, I’d be very curious to see someone run a test where the same product was marketed with a variety of warranty options.

Very few people keep anything long enough to worry about it lasting a lifetime. Thus, I’m guessing that a fixed-length warranty in the 20 year range will end up generating the most sales, while cutting down on the rare but costly scenario where someone tries to return, say, a shower head that the previous owner bought 50 years ago.