For the standard shopper, it's actually hard to make a difference between the "bad reflective" reflector and good quality reflector. Also, the media doesn't help as they often spread wrong information how the correct product should look or how to use it.
Still there are few things which help you to choose the correct one. Here are some hints for you to make the right choice:
- If the item at the store looks like a reflector but it's named differently (reflective accessory, reflective toy etc.) you must note that these items don't have such a names for nothing - it means that these items don't protect you in the dark. You can use them but with a real certified product.
- Always check the top layer of the safety product because only white (silver) or fluorescent/lime yellow materials can be certified, highly reflective materials! There might be some cases when from the distance, the certified reflective products look some other colour but when taking the closer look, you should notice that actually the top material is white or fluorescent yellow. This means the colourful printing is inside the product and this way the reflection doesn't suffer.
- The final tip we could give you is to be aware of the reflector's size. There are lots of requirements for the producer to fulfil to get the EN13356:2001 certificate (only producers can get the certificate, not distributors). The first thing on the certificate is the allowed minimum and maximum size for the product. Note that this is very important issue as the reflective materials have different quality so producers get different requirements for the product size. The total minimum reflectivity for the certified product is 15cm2, maximum 50cm2, maximum thickness is 10mm.
So as you see, the size doesn't always matter - the reflector might be big because the material is not so good. Still, do not always trust small reflector either as un-moral producer might make the reflectors smaller from allowed minimum - just to save the production cost ( good reflecting material costs quite a lot ). These reflectors might still get you killed.
We suggest checking the manufacturer or material producer logos on the packing - if it's high quality product, the material- and product producer's info should be on the packing too. With our products, it's the 3M Scotchlite and Softreflector - Leader in the dark! - they are always there!
So as you see from the above, this theme is very hard to explain and probably impossible for the end consumer to understand fully, still we hope our hints will help you even a bit to get one step closer to a "real deal" safety product!