It's my own stupid fault. I see cheap lamps and I get excited. Every single one I bring home is disappointing. I don't know why I even bother. If I get one that's clear, the flow is crap (well, they all flow like crap). Residue on the bottom. Residue on the inside of the glass. Horrible flow. Cloudy. Hazy. Overheats quickly.
They're all getting returned...except one I'm keeping to test out pinholes on the base.
My very first "new" China Lava Lite. Got this summer of 2010. It didn't flow. Returned it the next day.
Next up, my China blue/white. Sent the base to Mike (blindfaith) this week. Globe is clear, flow is boring:
I think we all remember this one. I wrote up a huge thread about it. What a shame. Returned for full refund to Lava Lite.
Exchanged for this:
^^ This one is clear, but has gunk in the coil/wax, which I just discovered this week:
Bought five of these for $8/each. The blue/white wouldn't stick to the coil, the purple/red was so cloudy you couldn't see through it. I returned those two. I might keep the remaining three for experiments or glitter, but they are pretty depressing to look at (pretty awful flow):
Lastly, I purchased this at Target last week. A little hazy, residue on the inside and the flow, well, you know the story...
I know I'm an idiot for even buying them, and it's weird how I try and justify keeping them ("well, they're not THAT bad" or "I could use this for parts") but that's a pretty sad reason to keep something that you don't like.
I've been running these off and on all weekend and each time I look at them, they just disappoint me.
No point to this thread...just wanted to share my thoughts. Friends don't let friends buy Lava Lite, right? ;)
MMM Midnight Century lamps :)
One of my favorite Series. I only have a gold Century, but I haven't been aggressively expanding as much lately. Very nice find though. Definitely worth whatever you paid for it!
See, I can't buy into the whole "they got futzed in shipping" thing. I've received over 30 older US-made lava lamps in the mail from USPS, Fedex and UPS and they all cleared if they arrived even slightly cloudy.
But I do think, for some reason, many of the lamps at Spencer's are clearer.
And yes, I wouldn't only buy from a store if buying new Lava Lite lamps. Easier to return if you have problems. I made the mistake of buying a red Designer from Lava Lite directly and ended up returning it to their Chicago location.
They have indeed (re)introduced some new colors in the last few years, but it's hard to know what to get where. Spencer's seems to have some color combos no one else does and Lava Lite's website has some Spencer's doesn't have, etc.
Thats exactly my point. I have also purchased quite a few American lava lamps and the one in particular was a 32oz white lava in blue liquid and arrived in horrible condition and honestly from a former seller as myself in dealing with the china lamps I thought I was screwed but surprisingly it cleared. But there's a huge quality difference between the American and China lamps both in their function, quality, and durability.
So if I see and color combo that I like I would much rather purchase the lamp from our local spencers where I can actually pop off the lid and check out the globe. If I purchase a China lamp on-line there's a huge risk factor that I honestly don't want to deal with. If I have an issue I can take it straight back to spencers.
Buy your lamps at Spencers, if you must buy new Lava Lites. Their display lamps always get screwed with, and yet for the past six months or so, they always have clear liquid. Employees at my local Spencers tell me that they have gotten a drastic reduction in the number of returns, and get few cloudy bottles these days. The flow still isn't what it was in the 90s, but they do flow.
At the closest store, they have the following 52oz. lamps on display (I'm not counting the 32s with decorated bases)--
Pink/yellow, white/blue, white/purple, yellow/blue, yellow/purple, red/purple, red/clear, green/clear and black/orange. The red/clear and green/clear have hazy liquid and very murky lava; the manager says these two haven't improved much. He says he's disappointed in how dark the black/orange is. But the rest have pretty clear liquid and, though as stated the flow is mostly round balls, they do flow. I asked about the pink/yellow appearing to have red lava, and he said, "Yeah, it's not pink, it's totally just red. I don't like it." I DO like it, since I grew up with red/yellow.
Again, if you must by Lava Lite - and that white/purple is quite pretty, with its translucent lava - buy at Spencers. Theirs seem to be doing well.