Reduce This: How can you tell when something is good quality?

Over on my new frugal living/growing/cooking blog The Really Good Life today, I’ve asked a Reduce This related question: How can you tell when something is good quality?

The first stage of the recycling triangle is Reduce – reduce the amount of things you buy/use and buy items that’ll last and can be repaired rather than ones that need replacing frequently — but how can you tell what will last?

What cues tell you when something is worth the extra money? And when it definitely isn’t?

Do you have a particular area of expertise? If so, tell us all about it on The Really Good Life!

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7 Responses to “Reduce This: How can you tell when something is good quality?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Check out online reviews, that definitely helps!

  2. Alice says:

    Wow that’s a great question!

    One tip I have is that if you break something and have to replace it, pay attention to where it broke and buy a replacement on which that particular bit looks sturdier than your old one.

    For example, when I break bags with straps it’s always either the strap itself that wears badly or the part that attaches the strap to the bag, so I always look for bags with especially strong and well-attached straps.

  3. Brenda Sue says:

    For appliances, do some research and figure out which ones have metal parts (rather than plastic)… metal is more durable and will wear more slowly.

    I also like to see which options have a warranty. If the company trusts their product enough to say that they will replace it if it breaks in the next 25 years, then it probably won’t break in the next 25 years.

  4. Pet says:

    I check a website which says that they only sell quality products that will last, because they were themselves annoyed by all this stuff that gets broken after a while. (
    I don’t buy the products from their website, because they are quite expensive, but at least I know what they think is good quality.

  5. The BBB and other regulatory agencies list names of companies that are good and bad. Online reviews helps too. With stores, just try to notice what they sell. Keep an eye on the new products they are stocking and the ingredients they use. Know naturally occurring chemicals and man made.

  6. Cipollina says:

    Well-established, independent consumer reviewers, the kind that is officially recognized by a country’s authorities. They test and try and compare virtually everything before it’s let out on the market, from toys to hygien products to clothes to electric appliances to food to services. They usually have their own magazine and website, and some have their own legal staff that work on behalf of displeased customers.

  7. Alice says:

    I guess that one central principle is a basic knowledge of common materials and their properties. Then you can choose things which are made from materials that are more durable and best suited to their purpose.

    For example, if a magnet sticks to something metal then that metal has iron in it – the more the magnet sticks, the higher the iron content.

    Iron is very strong so will last a long time without bending, breaking or burning through. But it does rust, so may not be the most durable choice for things that are going to get damp a lot or go outside. It’s also very heavy and dense.

    So, something high in iron is the good quality, durable choice for SOME things (good in pots and pans) but not others (makes strong but heavy steel bike frames and will rust out of doors).

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