high level of quality management

How To Find ‘Buy It For Life’ (BIFL) Products

How many times do you want to buy a product? Think about it. Do you want to buy it over and over, or do you want to buy it (ideally) only once?

Now, I am not talking about disposable objects (though there are great reusable alternatives on the market). I am talking about those products which last us for a long time, but we end up replacing at some point — products like kitchen appliances and power tools, for example.

A lot of today’s products are built with planned obsolesce in mind, but there are still companies out there that are thinking beyond profits. They are aware that producing high-quality and durable products helps to save the environment, promotes sustainable living, and lowers the pressure on natural resources.

This is why many of these companies are on a mission to create so-called ‘buy if for life’ products.

So, how do you find these elusive ‘BIFL’ products? Read on to find out.

Check The Manufacturing Quality Standards

This information is, of course, not always possible to find for all products. Still, most well-organized companies have at least some information about how they manufacture their products, and what quality standards they utilize.

For example, when I was buying a rubber floor mat for my treadmill, I knew that the quality of these mats varied greatly, and they produce various levels of VOC emissions. That’s why I wanted to purchase a product that was not only durable but safe, too.

After doing some research, I found a company called Kraiburg Relastec, which produces high-quality rubber products from recycled rubber. Their rubber flooring division is called SPORTEC, and they produce the SPORTEC® color rubber mats that I bought.

If you check the website, you’ll notice that there is a lot of product data available. You can learn all about the materials used, tolerances, VOC emissions, product testing methods, manufacturing standards, and more.

Close-up of the black SPORTEC rubber floor mat
Close-up of the SPORTEC® color rubber floor mat

When I read all of this information, I knew that I was buying a durable, safe, and long-lasting product. In fact, this was probably a ‘BIFL’ purchase, which meant that, in the long run, I would be saving a lot of money, too.

You can do the exact same thing. Next time you’re buying something, check the product’s website and see what kind of ANSI, ISO, and other standards the company has. The more they have, the better.

Check The ‘Made In’ Label

Products that are made in highly developed countries, like the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, and similar countries, have, according to their customers and Visual Capitalist, an outstanding reputation for quality.

My The Hohner Marine Band Deluxe harmonica - Made in Germany
The Hohner Marine Band Deluxe harmonica – Made in Germany

Products made in less-developed countries, like China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, for example, evoke perceptions of low quality among consumers.

The reality is that, if needed, most countries can produce high-quality products, but undeveloped countries are charging a lot less than developed countries. This is why so many manufacturers are deciding to move production away from home. Apple, for example, has many of its products made or assembled in China precisely for this reason, yet we all know that Apple products have a reputation for superior quality.

If the product you’re buying was made in a developed country, there’s a good chance that the quality is excellent. But, if the ‘Made In’ label shows that it was made in a less-developed country, then make sure that the manufacturer has a global presence. More prominent companies have full-time employees or hire agencies that are responsible for quality control in foreign countries. A small or unknown brand probably won’t have the budget to do this.

What often happens is that the production quality will fade over time, and the seller of the product won’t even know it until they start hearing from unhappy customers.

If you’re buying smart, you won’t need to be one of those customers.

Check The Warranty

An extended warranty implies that the manufacturers have a great deal of confidence in the quality of their products.

Some companies are so sure of their products that they offer a lifetime warranty on them. If you want a buy it for life product, then this can extend the life of your product even if it breaks or wears down. If you can return a product when it is broken and receive a new one, then it really is going to last a lifetime.

Lifetime Warranty seal

The great thing about lifetime warranties is that the company has trust in their own product. It can be a hassle to have to return something to be repaired or replaced but, with a lifetime warranty, you have some guarantee that your product is going to last.

When you are buying a product, be sure to read the small print in the contract to know what you are getting. You may need to keep your receipt for the lifetime of the product so that you do not leave yourself short if you need to get a replacement.

Check The Product Reviews

A great place to start is to check out online reviews written by the customers. When it comes to reviews, people are motivated to write a review when the product is really good or really bad. Always check the reviews of a product before buying it. No reviews? This might be because the product is new, or it isn’t attracting buyers.

On sites like Amazon, you can also go back through a person’s reviews and see what they have bought and reviewed. This is a great way to see which reviewers are potentially paid reviewers.

Another way to find product reviews is to browse through sites that specialize in product reviews.

Some of the biggest product review sites are:

I’d love to add our site to that list, but that would be a bit of a stretch. However, unlike most other review sites, we don’t do sponsored reviews. We either buy the products, or we get them for free in exchange for an honest review. No other compensations are made. This is something that most other review websites can’t claim. Also, if we do not feel comfortable recommending the received product, we simply send our feedback back to the manufacturer, without endorsing it on our website.

Check The Websites That Curate BIFL Products

Probably the largest community of people, who appreciate quality products, can be found on the ‘Buy it for life’ subreddit (r/BuyItForLife). This subreddit was created back in 2011, but it has gained momentum rapidly in the last few years. At the time of writing, it had 728,000 members. These ‘Redditors’ routinely write (and publish pictures) about the products that they’ve been using for months, years, or even decades. They can also post requests for ‘BIFL’ products (they are usually made for clothes, power tools, backpacks, kitchen appliances, etc.). Not surprisingly, this is one of my favorite subreddits.

Another great resource is the website, Buy For Life, which was created by a member of the r/BuyItForLife community. The site is a significant list of the best ‘BIFL’ brands and products out there, which you can filter by categories, lifetime warranty, shipping locations, and where the product is manufactured. It’s a pretty neat site.

Last but not least is, of course, our Durability Matters website. Not to toot our own horn (toot, toot!), but as far as I can tell, Durability Matters is the most comprehensive site that’s entirely focused on finding, reviewing, and presenting the most durable products and brands. Because we know that just buying a quality or BIFL product is not enough, we also write about how to take care of your prized belongings. Properly caring for and maintaining your products will genuinely make them possibly last a lifetime.

Talk To People With Experience

Most people like to recommend the products that they buy, and there can be some bias here, but it does give you the chance to ask about real-life experiences. Are you looking to buy a vacuum? Ask your friends and family what they recommend. Does the product still work? Have they had to repair it or replace it over time? What are their negative opinions about the product? Do they feel the same way after owning it for 2, 5, or 7 years? Would they repurchase it? Do they need to repurchase it?

You can also gain valuable insight from experts and repair people. Are you buying a vacuum? Talk to an expert or someone who repairs vacuums. If there are products which will last, then they are the ones who will know about them.

Wrapping Up

There’s no good reason to buy cheap and low-quality products. As the saying goes, “Buy cheap, buy twice.

With your newfound knowledge, you can make better buying decisions than ever before. By buying quality and ‘BIFL’ products, you’re not only saving time and money down the road, but you’re also doing something good for our planet.

My feeling is that more and more people are starting to cherish durable products. If you check the growth stats for the r/BuyItForLife subreddit, you’ll see that the number of subscribers is growing faster than ever. There are also new trends forming like sustainable living, zero-waste production, clean energy production, and more.

The future looks bright.

Henrik Soke

Henrik has over 20 years of experience in various IT fields. Durability Matters is his passion project born out of his love for minimalism and high-quality products that last. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker, and outdoor enthusiast.