This swimming pool season, as has been the case over the past few, we’ve received numerous emails and phone calls from consumers telling us that the mounting brackets and handrails of their swimming pool steps split this past winter or during setting into the pool.
We have found that in almost all of those cases, it’s not our product. A few years ago a competitor — Asia Connection — copied our model Step-1X’s look and product design (except for the sole patented item on the treads). It’s their products that are failing.
Their steps are produced overseas and do not mirror the rigid quality standards that we use here at Confer Plastics, where we make our products in the good ol’ US of A.
How do we (and you) tell them apart?
If your pool step has WHITE treads, it is not a Confer Plastics pool step —our treads are not compatible as replacements. We’ve always made ours with a different means of assembly.
But in 2016, just to add to the confusion and rip-off of our line, Asia Connection has also introduced grey treads and blue treads (the latter being a special color that we’ve manufactured for one of our suppliers).
Related to these treads, you can also tell them apart by how they attach to the side panel. Our treads are inserted into a rectangular slot in the side panel and held in place with a patented wedge system. Our competitor’s treads are popped into a circular hole in the side panel, which is then finished off with a circular cover to dress it up.
There is another way to tell them apart…you will notice in the photos below that their step has a more-circular, spindle look in the side panels, another tell-tale sign. Ours side panels’ vertical design slots are straight-edged. (note, all slots have been filled in since 2018. Your Confer Step-1X may still have open sidewalls)
We apologize for any inconvenience these nearly identical products may cause. We never expected to have our product copied. We do look at it this way, though: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We just wish the competitor had better quality standards, as we don’t like being confused with such a low-quality product.
If there is any question whatsoever, please email pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you determine which step you have and which parts you need.
Our parts ARE NOT compatible with the knock-off step!
The Confer Step-1: Proudly made in the USA — unlike our competitor’s step
Our treads fit into rectangular slots on our side panels
Our competitor’s treads fit into circular slots on their side panels, which are then dressed-up with a white plug
The verticals on the competitor’s side panels are circular and spindle-like
The verticals on our pool steps are straight-edged and not circular
Failure on the knock-off treads are common due to inferior oversees manufacturing and a weak UV package
Our parts are much more robust than the knock-offs parts and are therefore incompatible. Here is an example where a customer jammed our handrails into their inferior side panels which lead to the sidewall cracking.