Most products these days are designed to fail. High-tech goods may become obsolete in a few years. Poorly made plastic gadgets often break.

But there still are some items available that can last for a decade…a lifetime…or even for generations. These 12 products are truly built to last…


Lodge cast-iron skillets can last for generations if properly maintained. Lodge is the only major domestic manufacturer of cast-iron cookware, and it remains true to its heritage of high quality. The Lodge family, which founded the Tennessee-based company in 1896, still owns it today. What’s more, the company, originally named The Blackrock Foundry, has an excellent reputation for customer service, so if you (or your descendants) ever have a problem, the company will likely be there to help. Price:* $19 for a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

Krups F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder looks and works just like any other small kitchen grinder—the difference is that it works much, much longer. The small electric motors used in kitchen gadgets such as this are notorious for failing within a few years. But customer feedback suggests that in many cases this inexpensive Krups grinder, which can grind nuts and herbs in addition to spices and coffee beans, still is going strong after a decade or more of use. Price: $17.

Paderno World Cuisine 4-Blade ­Spiralizer Pro is a hand-cranked device that turns vegetables and fruits into thin spaghetti-like ­spirals. That might sound a bit gimmicky, but it actually is good for your health—it’s an easy and tasty way to replace potentially fattening pasta with vegetables or fruits in many recipes. Yes, this is a plastic kitchen gadget, which sounds like the sort of thing that tends to break quickly, but it’s made from a high-quality, impact-resistant plastic. The Spiralizer Pro is the rare plastic gadget that’s actually built to last. If you hold it in your hands, you can feel how solid it is compared with other kitchen gadgets. Price: $42.


Bissell SpotClean Pro 3624 is an extremely durable, effective and easy-to-use carpet and upholstery spot-cleaning machine. It likely will pay for itself several times over if just once it saves you from having to replace a carpet or piece of upholstered furniture after a spill or pet accident. And it probably won’t save your carpets just once—it’s built so well that it’s likely to provide decades of stain-removal service. Bissell makes durable products in general, and its SpotClean Pros have proved especially long-lasting. Price: $129.

Eureka EasyClean 71B is a handheld vacuum that’s likely to still be sucking up dirt long after other hand vacs are pushing up daisies. The typical handheld vac works poorly and fails often in just a year or two. This powerful little vacuum not only does its job well, it often remains on the job for a decade or longer. While most hand vacs are powered by rechargeable batteries, this one is electric and plugs into the wall. That makes the EasyClean slightly less convenient at times, but its effectiveness and durability more than make up for any inconvenience—and its 20-foot cord gives the EasyClean an extensive reach. Price: $38.


Fellowes Powershred 79Ci is a durable cross-cut 16-sheet paper shredder that can survive the challenges that often destroy lesser shredders. Accidentally feed it papers containing staples or paper clips? The ­Powershred will chew right through the metal. Shred promotional mail that contains a credit card or DVD? Powershred will shred those, too. Feed it too many sheets of paper at one time? You can easily back those papers out because unlike most shredders, the Fellowes promises that it is “100% jam free,” and consumer feedback suggests that the shredder lives up to this claim. It can operate for up to 20 minutes before requiring a 30-minute cool-down period. Fellowes has been making jam-proof shredders for nearly a decade now, and its record of durability has been excellent. Price: $198.

Varidesk Pro turns a conventional desk into one that can be used in either a seated or standing position. Varidesk lets you switch from one position to the other in just three seconds. It’s solidly built and should provide decades of service. No assembly or installation is required—just set it on top of your desk. The spring-assist system makes it easy to switch from the seated to standing position and back. Varidesk products have shown an ability to stand up well to even daily up-and-down use. Price: $375 to $495. The sizes range from 30 inches to 36 inches to 48 inches wide. All are about 30 inches deep.


Vortex Viper HD 8×42 binoculars are built to last a lifetime. And if anything does go wrong, the company will repair or replace them at no charge—even if you were at fault for the damage. A lifetime warranty is especially useful with binoculars because they often are carried on hikes or other adventures where they might be dropped, their lenses scratched or other damage might occur. These lightweight binoculars (they weigh just 24.2 ounces) are not inexpensive, but they provide high-end resolution on par with binoculars that cost four times as much. Price: Around $590.

Brother CS6000i is a versatile, lightweight, computerized sewing machine that is so well-made it could easily last a lifetime. The CS6000i is very easy to use—even for sewing novices—and is programmed with an impressive selection of 60 stitches. Historically, Brother and Kenmore have been neck-in-neck in terms of making the most durable, reliable sewing machines—but Kenmore recently dropped its sewing machine business, leaving Brother as the clear choice, especially this model that receives excellent reviews from satisfied owners. Price: $154.


TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 21-inch Expandable Spinner is the most durable rolling luggage on the market. This carry-on bag is made from high-­density ballistic nylon. And its zippers and wheels—the two parts of rolling luggage most likely to fail—are of extremely high quality. If the wheels eventually do fail, they can easily be replaced (new wheels can be ordered from the company)—something not possible with most rolling luggage. One downside: It does not fit in the overhead compartments of some small regional jets, although that’s the case with most roller luggage these days. Price: $180.

North Face Base Camp Duffel is a duffel bag that’s rugged enough to survive a mountaineering expedition, a jungle trek or even an airline baggage handler. It’s a duffel that your great-grandkids still might be using long after you have stopped mountaineering—it’s been on the market since the 1970s, so there’s nearly 40 years of history to prove how well it lasts. The duffel is made from a thick waterproof polyester fabric and has been called “virtually indestructible” by Backpacker magazine. Price: $90 to $145, depending on size and style selected.


Omron BP652N digital blood pressure monitor looks much like the other wrist blood pressure cuffs on the market, but there is a reason Omron has been the leader in blood pressure–monitoring devices for decades. Unlike many small digital devices, the BP652N is accurate, easy to use and likely to provide decades of service. Omron’s blood pressure monitors have a long history of durability—and dependability means a lot when your health is on the line. Price: $56.

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