Drive down any main shopping district in any American city these days and you’ll find Dollar Trees, Walmarts, Targets, and dozens of other discount “big box” stores offering cheaply made goods at inexpensive price points. 

But whatever happened to quality? Is it even possible to buy things that last these days? The answer is yes, but you have to know what to look for (and where).

5 Tips for Buying Better Quality Products

Most of today’s products are intentionally designed not to last. In other words, manufacturers may have the ability to make a product that lasts 10 or 15 years, but they instead make choices that render it useful for maybe two or three years. 

They do this for a couple of reasons – including lowering the cost of goods sold and shortening the amount of time between repurchases – but it’s ultimately a negative for consumers.

The good news is that there are still quality products on the market. You simply have to know where/how to look for them. Here are several tips:

  • Use the 10-Year Rule

The “10-Year Rule” is a simple test you can use to determine how much time and effort should be invested into vetting the quality of the product you’re buying. Just ask yourself this question: “Will I still need this product in 10 years?” If the answer is yes, then you should take the time to find the highest quality option on the market. If the answer is no, then you can be a little less discerning. 

Here are some random examples of products you’ll (probably) still be using in 10 years:

  • Vehicle
  • Frying pan
  • Shoes
  • Sofa

But then there are certain things that you definitely won’t need in 10 years. For example, you might need a toy for your two-year-old today, but that two-year-old will quickly outgrow the toy and probably won’t be interested one year from now (let alone 10 years from now). In this case, quality isn’t the most important thing to look for. 

  • Do Plenty of Research

Research is your friend when looking for durable goods. Thankfully, the internet has made this much easier. With a few keystrokes and clicks of your mouse, you can instantly gather opinions, insights, and feedback from thousands of customers who have purchased and interacted with the products. 

If you’re going to use customer reviews in your research process, make sure you’re doing it correctly. The key to evaluating reviews is to look for the common threads. Don’t get too hung up on any one review, good or bad. Instead, read multiple reviews and look for trends.


If you’re buying something on Amazon, pay close attention to the one-star reviews and five-star reviews. This will give you a good feel for what people love and hate. 

Teenage girl shopping online with credit card and laptop

  • Look for Guarantees

Companies that make durable products know they make durable products – and they’ll use it as a competitive advantage. One way they do this is by offering guarantees.

Take the leather footwear company, Patina, for example. For the past three generations, their family has made quality boots and shoes that are crafted using the finest materials and sturdiest manufacturing processes. Since they know their shoes last for years, they stand behind their products.

  • Be Willing to Spend Extra

If you’re truly interested in durable products, now is not the time to be cheap or look for massive discounts. You typically get what you pay for. Budget to spend a little more upfront, with the knowledge that you’ll ultimately spend less over your lifetime.

  • Don’t Be Afraid of Buying Secondhand

Want to know a secret? Durable, high-quality items often outlast their owners. Not only that, but the percentage of high-quality products that were on the market 10, 20, or 30 years ago is much higher than the percentage of durable products on the market today. So if you want to buy something that’s made to last, consider purchasing secondhand.

You can often find very durable products at estate sales, garage sales, thrift shops, or even online on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Best of all, this is one case where you won’t have to spend extra. You can usually get a pretty good deal. 

Quality Over Quantity

We live in a consumer marketplace where people seem to prefer quality over quantity. People would rather opt for a buy one get one free deal than spend a little extra for something that lasts. 

But if you can break through the mentality that more is better, you can start to change the way you approach buying decisions. Hopefully, this article has given you some useful insights to shift your mindset.

Image Source: BigStockPhoto.com (Licensed)

 

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