It’s worth it to splurge on a new pair of shoes or a set of good knives if you know they'll last forever—or if they don't, that their maker will repair or replace them for free. Here’s a round-up of seven useful everyday items that come with a manufacturer's lifetime guarantee.
1. LE CREUSET COOKWARE
$320 is a steep price to pay for a 5 ½ quart Dutch Oven. However, plenty of cooking enthusiasts are willing to shell out top dollar for iconic French cookware manufacturer Le Creuset’s enamel cast-iron pots, casserole dishes, and skillets.
The colorful kitchen tools are attractive and durable, plus they distribute heat evenly. An added bonus? Each item comes with a lifetime limited warranty. "Defective cookware will be replaced free of charge, or replaced by a similar product or one of equivalent value if the product is no longer in production," Le Creuset’s website states.
Of course, you can’t just swap your grandmother’s ancient Le Creuset casserole dish (or the one you bought on eBay) for a new model if it chips or breaks. You have to be the item’s original owner. The warranty also "does not cover damage from abuse, commercial use or other non-consumer use, neglect, abnormal wear or tear, overheating, or any use not in accordance with the cookware instructions provided with the utensil." In other words, it needs to be obvious that the cookware has worn down with consistent use (and that you didn't accidentally scorch it in a kitchen fire).
2. L.L. BEAN BOOTS
If you own a pair of L.L. Bean boots, chances are they’ve outlasted every other pair of footwear in your closet. The durable rubber-and-leather shoes are hand-stitched in the company’s Brunswick, Maine factory. They’re designed to survive every single camping trip, rainy day, or hiking excursion—but if they don’t, L.L. Bean will let you trade them in for a new pair, no questions asked. In fact, this policy is extended to every single store purchase.
"We make pieces that last, and if they don’t, we want to know about it. So if it’s not working or fitting or standing up to its task, we’ll take it back," L.L. Bean writes on its website. "[Company founder Leon Leonwood Bean] always said that he didn’t consider a sale complete until goods are worn out and the customer still satisfied."
No receipt? No problem. L.L. Bean will still replace the item or reimburse you for its cost, so long as you made the purchase directly from them.
3. ZIPPO LIGHTERS
We’re not endorsing smoking, but portable butane lighters can be useful if you’re camping and need a quick and easy fire source. Plus, many people find flicking a lighter’s tiny switch to be less intimidating than lighting a match.
If you do plan on purchasing a lighter for household or outdoor use, make it a Zippo. Founded in 1932, the iconic company’s trademarked slogan is “It works or we fix it for free." No matter how old or damaged your lighter, you can ship it to Zippo. They’ll promptly repair or replace it—but keep in mind that this warranty only extends to real Zippos, and not toward counterfeits. (Factories in China reportedly make around 12 million fake Zippos a year.) Wondering if you own the real thing? The Wall Street Journal produced a handy video that teaches you how to distinguish a genuine Zippo from a fake.
4. JANSPORT BACKPACK
If the trusty JanSport backpack you purchased in high school is starting to look a little threadbare, you can send it—or for that matter, any one of the brand’s packs, bags, or luggage items—back to its warranty center in Alameda, California. Depending on the damage, JanSport will repair it, replace it, or refund it.
Repairs will take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the season, and while you pay the initial shipping charges, JanSport absorbs the bag’s return costs. However, JanSport doesn’t claim responsibility for “direct, incidental or consequential damages." Your pack's wear and tear should stem from good old-fashioned use—not because, say, it got shredded by a luggage carousel.
5. CRAFTSMAN TOOLS
Craftsman makes work clothing and lawn and garden equipment, but the brand is most famous for its hand tools. Most of them are advertised as having an unlimited lifetime warranty, meaning they'll be repaired or replaced free of charge if they're no longer in tip-top shape. (For a full list of which tools qualify, visit Craftsman’s website.)
Stores take Craftsman's warranty pretty seriously. In 2009, Consumer Reports’s website, the Consumerist, wrote that a California man was refused a full warranty when he visited Sears and tried to trade in some of his grandfather’s old Craftsman tools. (Craftsman is controlled by Sears Holdings.) The man was reportedly denied replacements because some of the tools had rusty sockets. He sent an angry letter to Sears, and one of the corporation’s vice presidents, David Figler, replied by issuing a statement to the Consumerist: "Craftsman tools have a heritage of performance and trust,” Figler wrote. “I want to assure you and your readers we stand behind the warranty—complete satisfaction—period.” He assured the website that he had communicated with Sears's sale associates to rectify the error.
6. HARTFORD DENIM COMPANY JEANS
Founded in 2010, Hartford Denim Co. is a small, old-school clothing manufacturer that produces raw denim jeans. Made by hand on antique sewing machines, they're designed to last forever. However, since all jeans rip and fray, the company's clothing also comes with a lifetime of free repairs. (On their website, Hartford Denim Co. explains that they get the chance to “improve our work and get to know our customers a little better" by mending your pants gratis.) And if you own a pair of worn jeans that weren't made by Hartford Denim Co., they'll still fix them up for you for $10 or more.
7. CUTCO KNIVES
Cutco knives have a “Forever Guarantee,” which allows owners to send their blades to the company’s headquarters in Olean, New York, for free sharpening or repair. If you’re still not satisfied with your knife, Cutco will replace it—no receipt or registration required. And if you do damage your Cutco through misuse or abuse (meaning, essentially, that it’s your fault the product’s damaged), Cutco will still replace the item for half of its current sales price, along with sales tax.