Opinions on a few Unique fixtures:

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by GreenLight, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Unique isn't a heavily pushed brand down here, but they seem to have a really good reputation for quality so I recently had my distributor price some out for me to see if they would fall into my future offerings. The brass & copper knights series are definitely more in line with my current pricing structure and I just wanted opinions on people who have used the following fixtures.

    Guardian (Copper)

    Intrepid (Brass)- Most curious about this one. Very similar to what I use now and would probably be most popular offering if I switch.

    Valor (Brass)

    Probe (Brass) - Price point on this one jumps quite a bit, different family of fixtures, but I do like the lock and load shroud and the ball and joint swivel.
  2. lirjc1

    lirjc1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    I have used a ton of unique fixtures so i'll bite.

    Guardian - Never used any fixture from they're copper line but this light is just a copper version of the brass Intrepid, which is a pretty basic up light and very affordable for lower end jobs. Very simple and the brass version holds up just fine.

    Intrepid - Just see above, very simple design never had any issues.

    Valor - Sorry but I have yet to use this fixture, it's in the same line of fixtures as the intrepid so I'm sure it's built fairly similar.

    Probe - This is one of the up lights we use the most, lock and load shroud works great and I find to be easier than the simple O-ring of the intrepid. Also sits flush so looks slightly more sleek. The ball swivel is the best part about this fixture and works great but I be careful if you're planning to use them as a down light as the ball can restrict the movement of the light depending on how you mount it. We used to use the Pulsar fixture quite often but eventually switched to the probe because of the 360 degree ball and it's also smaller.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I've used/installed pretty much all of the Odyssey series by Unique. That was the main brand I sold for years. For spot/accent lights the 'Pulsar' is usually my go-to light. It's similar to the 'Intrepid' you mentioned except that it's a solid cast brass instead of being two pieces. A little cleaner look. A little pricier too. But it's a great fixture.

    The 'Probe' is a problem and should be discontinued, IMO. Because there is really no way to totally lock that in, like you can with the Pulsar, they are constantly being knocked over, moved out of adjustment, etc. I had several of the pulsar and probe in my front yard for years. I friggin' HATED the probes. Only for this reason. No real good way to lock them in place.

    I never used the 'Valor' fixture. That's not an Odyssey fixture. I always figured if I was going to sell something, I'd rather sell the product that looks the best, has the best function and best warranty. The Brass Knights is just a cheaper version of the nicer Odyssey series. So I never used any of them.

    The 'Guardian' is the copper version of the Intrepid. Again, never used it, just because the Pulsar is better.

    My advice is talk your customers into using the Pulsars. Sure, they're a little more. But well worth the extra money, IMO.

    This is telling: When I took out all my Unique Odyssey series light fixtures earlier this year, I was able to sell them all for about what I paid for them. They still looked great and worked really well, after a good 7 years or so that I had them out there. The biggest reason I even changed them was because I don't sell that brand much anymore. And I like to use what I sell. It's sort of disingenuous to have one brand at my house and then be pushing my customers on another brand. So I felt they had to go. But I still love Unique Odyssey series lights. Friggin bullet proof in terms of wear and tear. And fantastic warranty.
  4. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    It's funny how things have changed since Joey left Unique.

    I have used Unique extensively in the past and would agree with most of the posts here. The orbital mount is a difficult mount to get securely fastened. It tends to move with little bumps.
  5. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    Tommy, I completely agree. With Joey's exit and selling to Toro, the company has been very quiet. Our local rep rarely calls and the local distributor really isn't pushing the brand much anymore. Not to mention that Nate seems to have moved underground (possibly due to a non-compete clause).
    In all fairness to Unique, they still produce a quality product and I continue to use their items.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  6. TJLinc

    TJLinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I have used the valor extensively. It is great. I also use the nova star quite a bit. Also great. Another great light to look into is the stellar. I think this is one of the best little lights on the market. I have used many of the various path lights and they are all top quality.

    I use unique almost exclusively. Their rep is top notch even though her area is entirely too large for one person. Debbie is a great rep for them and will come to job sites for you and do up to 80 light demos. I have used her for this on multiple occasions.

    Here's the truth. Pick up their fixture in one hand and anyone else's in the other. You will feel the difference. I wish I would have known about them from the beginning.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Just 80??? Honestly, if my rep. isn't willing to do at least 90, I'm just not interested.


  8. TJLinc

    TJLinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I had heard of 40 light demos before... When she told me 80 I thought she was insane, but the first time she came and did a demo for me my customer had a budget for about 25 fixtures. When she left they had increased their budget to allow for 42 fixtures, and a second phase on top of that. The best thing... She never pushed them a single time to buy more, she just showed them their options.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Ok. I gotcha now. I read that wrong. I read it as you were saying she would come do up to 80 separate demos for you for 80 separate customers. But after 80, you had to do your own lighting demos. That's why I was like, huh?? Only 80??? Sarcastically.

    Yah, that's a nice demo kit. One of the local Ewing stores in my area has a guy working for them who used to be the FXL rep. He has a TON of FXL fixtures. We used to go out and do demos together years ago with his kit, since he had so many. But eventually I got enough of my own to do my own demos. These days I don't even do demos anymore. I actually hate doing demos. Huge waste of time, IMO. I understand why people do them. Until you have a good repertoire of jobs to show people, it's probably the best sales tool you have. But these days we're able to sell lighting jobs just by our website, portfolio books and if necessary, there's usually a home close by I can send them to drive by at night time to see a job we did. Night time demos can take a lot of time. And it usually means more time away from my family, since it's done at night. So that's why I hate doing them.
  10. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    I appreciate the feedback from everyone, great breakdown of all the fixtures. I gave the Intrepid a run on a recent medium size (18 light job, used a different company for downlighting 4 other fixtures). It was middle of the road between the higher end and the lower end directional uplights.

    On a 5 star scale of how did this fixture impress me, I would give it a 3.

    1) Nice heavy grade weathered brass body.

    2) I have always been a fan of a tool free maintenance on fixtures or worst case scenario, a single tool. This fixture provides that. There a few things that annoy me more in outdoor lighting that an uplight that requires two different screwdrivers or a micro alan wrench and a screw driver.

    1) The very first thing stood out to me was the socket wires being connected to the lead wire outsides of the fixture. It does have a clear heat shrink of some type that appears to waterproof it, but I have never been a big fan of socket wires exiting the fixture. They generally have far less insulation, protection and are more susceptible to becoming brittle than a thicker lead wire.

    2) The shroud is secure, but not rock solid on the fixture. Obviously I knew that a slide on shroud could be risky, so I am really the one to blame here.

    Would I spec this fixture in as a go to? Probably not. It didn't really separate itself from some other competitors with the same or lower price level and I would have to special order it a lot.

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