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Old 01-20-2014, 10:10 AM
 
176 posts, read 562,336 times
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There is a recent thread:
Things you choose to buy in Quantity while sacrificing Quality?

I have a very major problem in that I don't know what products are high quality. While I can see which products have a higher price, I have no idea if this translates into higher quality or not.

Not only do I seldom have enough personal experience with a brand to determine if it is high quality, there have also been numerous instances of brands dramatically cheapening the quality of their products in recent years. Tools are a classic example where the tools manufactured a few decades ago were high quality while recent manufactures are junk. I believe the latest instance I recall reading about this is the Sears Craftsman brand.

So how do you tell if a product is high quality?
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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I go with brands I know, have used and been happy with, or that a family member has used and been happy with. For larger purchases, I always do my research before buying and read as many reviews as I can find. So when I end up making the purchase, I already know all the pros and cons of the product.

I do agree that products in general are becoming less and less well made over the years. Many products, my mom still has the same one she had in college 30 years ago, while I'm on my 3rd or 4th one of the same brand in 10 years. Small household appliances, especially, like clothes irons, vacuums, and the like.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Florida -
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With the internet, "Product Reviews" are available for most products. Otherwise, if equivalent products are selling at higher prices, you have either found a low-priced bargain ... or the higher priced product is better in some way. Of course, one can also buy the same product at slightly varied prices, if they are willing to shop around a bit.

As we all know, 'Price' and 'Value' are not the same thing. For example, one could buy the 'lowest priced vehicle' on the market, but, would be foolish to expect it to last as long or hold its value ... as well as a significantly higher priced vehicle. A simple buying truth to keep in mind is that 'nobody is giving anything away.'

Of greater importance than the price, is the value and intended use of the product to you! -- Per your example, one can buy highly inexpensive flea-market tools for a fraction of Sears Craftsman tool prices. And, if they only expect to occasionally use the tool a few times in their home, they could save a lot of money. However, if one expects to use the tool daily as part of their work, they will have a much better chance of 'getting their money's worth' by buying a higher priced, better quality tool.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
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I feel like this is something you become more aware of as you get older. In clothing usually natural fibers indicate quality... wool, silk, fur, leather, etc.. synthetic is cheaper to produce and in my experience synthetic doesn't stand the test of time.

Appliances have been hit or miss. I have three or four really cheap, grocery store-purchased appliances.. a toaster, hand mixer and spice grinder and they have all held up fine these past 15 years. They are ugly and cheap, but they're working...

SHOES! Shoes should be sturdy and not have a chemical smell to them (synthetics off gas a lot). I hate spending a lot on any product, but I stuck it up and buy a pair of high quality shoes once a year or so. My UGG boots have been a seasonal staple since 2008 (they are finally getting old). I only own and wear 2-3 different pairs of shoes each season... I don't own any heals or colorful shoes and they are all high quality. If I were the kind of individual to wear trendy or stylish shoes I probably would go for the cheapest, most disposable sort.

FOOD! That is simple: Fresh is best and highest in quality, especially if it is locally produced.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 9,197,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense01 View Post
So how do you tell if a product is high quality?
As the saying goes, "Google is your friend".

You can find reviews for (and comments on) just about any product out there in the marketplace.

Whenever I decide to make a more significant purchase on something I know very little about, I hop on line and start doing my research. For example, last year I decided it was time to upgrade our camera (which gets used very frequently) so I spent some time here and there, over the course of a few weeks, researching the various cameras that had the type of specs I was interested in, looking at on-line consumer reviews, reviews in tech magazines, etc.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: DFW
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Experience and product reviews..

A more expensive product may not necessarily be a good fit for your needs.. find out if the extra money you're spending is being best used on features that you really need.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:37 PM
 
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From reading online, I know that there have been a lot of complaints that the quality of certain items are not the same anymore. I hear people complain about Kenmore and Craftsman a lot and that their quality is not the same as it once was.

From people I know and their experiences, it seems that appliances/electronics are not built to last like they use to. For example, my brother's fancy LG front loader broke down 1.5 yrs into owning it. Way too many options and features that seem to be breaking down. Keep it simple, less things to break down. I guess that's why I haven't upgrade my 14 yr old washer/dryer. My step-brother spent almost $2,000 on large screen TV (forgot which brand it was) didn't last either, broke down after 3 yrs of use, while his old tube tv lasted for over a decade.

I like to buy electronics and even trusted names like Onkyo and Harman Kardon are no longer living up to their reputation from their past.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:23 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Some of it is just experience. My fingertips can tell me whether that wood or leather is good quality.

For clothing, I know what good stitching looks like and what decent fabric feels like. Cheap shoes and cheap clothing will often have some mis-stitching and the fabric is poor quality or there will be glue showing at the seams.

A cheap price means you should look at the item very carefully. Quality takes money to produce and so it doesn't sell dirt cheap.

For a lot of items, I ask my friends what they use and how happy they are with it. You get on someplace like C-D and ask and there are hundreds of people who will see your question and some will have an answer for you.

There are on-line reviews of products. I particularly like to check on Amazon for smaller purchases because there are customer reviews for almost every product.

One thing about quality, though, is that sometimes you don't need the very best, so you must also evaluate what you are going to use the product for.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:41 PM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
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You learn a lot about quality from experience but you also learn from reading and from other people's experiences.

I recently bought a new camera and I read everything I could online about cameras. Then I checked out at lot of camera reviews online. Then I made my decision.

I did the same thing last year for my laptop.

For furniture, like most things, the quality just isn't there anymore but you can look at how it's made. For instance, drawers should be dovetailed, not just glued or even stapled together. With upholstered furniture you need to know about the springs and how they are tied and also if the construction is flimsy. With furniture you can often find better quality in used items rather than new. You can find great furniture that's quality made with real wood for the same price as some cheap fake wood stapled together piece of new junk. (You can tell how biased I am against poorly made furniture.)

For clothing, is it a natural fabric or at least a good blend. Is the garment cheaply cut (flimsy) and are the seams pressed apart. Is the stitching straight and are there threads hanging off.
Men's shirts seem to be associated with top brands, women's not so much. Learn the better brand names for shirts and jackets and pants. Cheap clothing will look cheap when you wear it. A few quick tips--pima cotton is high quality cotton, merino wool is a great kind of wool that doesn't itch and lambswool is known for its softness.

For shoes look for full grain leather, not top grain. The shoes should be well made and neatly stitched.

Same with cars--read everything you can and decide what is important to you. Then read the reviews and check Consumer Reports. Ask around and get opinions. Gather information and learn which car is the best quality for the money and also meets your needs as to what you are looking for.

You can often go according to brand name but not always. Also, brands often have a top of the line brand which will be good and then lower level brands and some of the lower level can be pretty bad.

So, in general, I'd say to read and study your product and educate yourself as to what constitutes quality. Ask other people too. Then study the reviews if you are going to make a purchase. You don't always have to have top of the line quality but decent quality usually pays off and you save money in the long run.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:02 PM
 
Location: roaming about Allegheny City
655 posts, read 889,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense01 View Post
There is a recent thread:
Things you choose to buy in Quantity while sacrificing Quality?

I have a very major problem in that I don't know what products are high quality. While I can see which products have a higher price, I have no idea if this translates into higher quality or not.

Not only do I seldom have enough personal experience with a brand to determine if it is high quality, there have also been numerous instances of brands dramatically cheapening the quality of their products in recent years. Tools are a classic example where the tools manufactured a few decades ago were high quality while recent manufactures are junk. I believe the latest instance I recall reading about this is the Sears Craftsman brand.

So how do you tell if a product is high quality?
The best way to determine if a product is of quality, obviously, is to be familiar with it. If you're not, you can always ask those you know who are like-minded, frugal people who might be acquainted with the product if they think it's of quality. Also, there's always Google; there are myriad product review websites. If you consistently read reviews, written by different people, touting the quality of the product, then the product is probably at least decent and worth a try. But whatever you do, don't assume that just because one product of the same kind is more expensive than another, that is it necessarily better or of higher quality.
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