Quality Exhibits vs Cheap Exhibits

Categories: Trade Show Displays on a Budget, Trade Show Tips

Trade show displays overall are not a cheap investment, but within that what separates quality exhibits from “cheap” exhibits?

There’s several differences but the key differences are definitely noticeable when you have them in hand and used them for a while.

Either category (cheap vs. quality) can have their frames manufactured in the USA, but have the printing done in China or have the whole setup manufactured and printed in the states.

Others may be fully custom using extruded metal frames or framed out of wood($$$). Others might be 100% ready from the manufacturer and no customization is available.

And where you have to be especially careful is buying into cheap frame systems that haven’t been 100% vetted yet. That scenario is fairly risky because the chance of getting “burned” and ruining your trade show is high.

When Do You Choose Between a Quality Exhibit vs a Cheaper Exhibit?

There’s 3 questions you need to ask yourself before making this decision.

  • How long do you plan on using it?
  • How many shows do you do a year?
  • How does this tie into your budget?

One of the bigger questions there is the one regarding how often you’re going to use that display.

Do you do a couple shows a year? Or are you a heavy trade show circuit exhibitor? Figuring out your trade show strategy before investing in your display is one of the best things you can do to your budget.

While you can certainly swing a cheap exhibit for a show or two, you might start to spend more on that exhibit than if you went with a quality exhibit to begin with.

Here’s why:

When people come to us and tell us about their cheapo no-name display from other companies, a lot of the problems that they have with them is associated with setup time, fix and repair times, and that they have to replace their main display before their trade show season is over.

When you start to invest more into quality exhibits all the issues above are addressed.

You’ll have an easier time with the booth setup, and it will be much less likely to need repairs or break at all.

A tried and true SEG display frame
A tried and true SEG Display frame. Notice the use of hardware (bolts), wiring, thicker aluminum tubes for the frames, and, of course, the SEG frame extrusions for the top sections.

This is because with a quality exhibit you’ll be getting a better frame, better product design, better graphics quality, etc.

The next best tip that we can give to exhibitors is to look for a reputable supplier.

The last think you want is that supplier going out of business leaving you with no way to get support for your display.

A reputable supplier would also be able to give you the ins and outs of different displays and where they rank in terms of quality and longevity.

Remember, you can go with a cheaper exhibit. If it fits your criteria and your usage requirements are low then it would probably work OK for those couple of shows that you go to. However, as soon as you start using that display heavily, you might find that you’ll need to invest in a quality exhibit.

The last thing you want is to be stranded at one of your shows with a booth that isn’t functioning at all.

It can and does happen, so make sure you keep those 3 questions in mind.


As consumers, we can all relate to wanting to know “how much”.

However, we still need to remember the value-to-price scenario in order to make sure that all your current and future needs are being met.

Even if it means paying a little more upfront now.

Spending a little more now can save you a considerable amount of time and money and the last thing you want is a failed trade show because of a failed display.

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