The concept of “buy it for life” is a valuable one. By investing more now in a reliable item that simply does the job you need it to do over and over and over without failure, you save yourself replacement costs later on. You also save time – the time you won’t waste dealing with a failing item, and the time you won’t spend shopping and buying a replacement.
Here are nine items where “buying it for life” makes sense. Although some of these items are expensive, they will do their job well for a long time.

Cooking pots, even the cheap ones, last quite a while, but eventually the poorly made ones get tarnished, scratched and bent. In terms of a long-lasting cooking pot, the enameled cast iron pots with lids from Lodge (about $70) or Le Creuset (which can cost hundreds of dollars, but offer a lifetime warranty) will last awhile without even showing a dent. You can cook almost anything in enameled cast iron and move it straight from stovetop to oven to dinner table with ease.

Skillets often come with a nonstick surface, which is great, but when the Teflon starts to come off – and it will in a few years – the skillet needs to be tossed immediately. A better approach is to buy a cast iron skillet and coat it with ingredients like butter, giving it a natural coating that drastically reduces sticking and will hep it last. I recommend Lodge cast iron skillets for this purpose. They range in price from $18 for an 8-inch or $105 for a 17-inch skillet.

Kitchen knives mostly fail due to the breakdown of metal, which means frequent sharpening is necessary for use. Eventually, out of frustration, you’ll replace them. Victorinox Fibrox is one of the lowest-cost knife brands that will last in your kitchen. There are many more expensive higher-end knives that will also last, but these cost about $240 for a 13-piece set and have the staying power you’ll want.

Water bottles go through a lot of wear and tear, and lesser water bottles can sometimes develop cracks and get damaged from the most surprising situations. In my experience, Nalgene water bottles are indestructible. I’ve personally witnessed such bottles survive multiple story falls and a Midwestern winter in the back of a pickup truck partially filled with water (surviving countless bumps and repeated freezing and thawing). You can find a standard 32-ounce bottle for under $11. 

Food storage containers come in a lot of varieties, but some containers are poorly made and eventually warp while others don’t survive when you move them from the microwave to the freezer to the oven and vice versa. Pyrex dishes survive well in all those environments and are made of treated glass so they won’t wear or warp. They also handle being dropped surprisingly well, as this occasionally klutzy person has witnessed.

The goal in each of these cases is to simply find items that have a strong reputation for quality or a guarantee of that quality for a reasonable price. They might end up saving you hundreds of dollars, besides lasting a long time.

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