YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
We don't always advocate buying things on the cheap, especially something you'll use daily or potentially have for years. There are plenty of companies churning out products that their owners say are better than the rest – you just have to be willing to overlook the sticker shock. Many of them last a lifetime, while others are just a cut above when it comes to function and style. Here are 30 products that are simply worth the splurge.
Note: Prices and availability subject to change.
ORIGINAL L.L.BEAN BOOTS
Price: $135 | Buy them from L.L.Bean
Also known as duck boots, these water-resistant L.L.Bean classics are triple-stitched and made from full-grain leather. Despite their polarizing appearance, they've frequently sold out in years past, and customers say that boots they've had for years still look and feel like new.
Sample reviewer rave: "My two pairs of Bean Boots are about 30 years old and still going strong. I was quite happy when my teenage daughter asked for a pair for Christmas — they are very in once again. What a great opportunity to both give a gift that will last a lifetime, and to gloat about things I've worn for decades being in style."
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Est. Price: $349 | Buy them from Amazon
Bose is passionate about its self-described "world-class noise cancellation," and most people who've sprung for their QuietComfort headphones say they're a must for top-notch listening in any noisy environment. They also include Alexa voice controls, so keep those hands in your pockets on a cold day.
Sample reviewer rave: "OK, these are amazing! I can't hear a single thing when I turn these on. I was looking for headphones that canceled out noise in the background even when I wasn't listening to music (I'm a med student and need constant quiet while studying), and these work really well."
WUSTHOF 8-INCH CLASSIC CHEF'S KNIFE
Est. Price: $150 | Buy it from Amazon
Chefs say that even amateur cooks need at least one quality knife in their kitchen to make quicker work of food prep. This German-made Wusthof is hand-buffed and precision-forged from a single piece of stainless steel; it's also backed by a lifetime warranty and plenty of rave reviews from owners who insist they won't chop, slice, or dice with anything else.
Sample reviewer rave: "This knife cuts beautifully and feels great in your hand. It retains its sharpness and looks good too. In fact, everyone who came to visit during the holidays and spent some time in the kitchen for meal prep, exclaimed (unprompted) how great these knives were."
EDDIE BAUER LODGE DOWN PARKA
Est. Price: $249 | Buy it from Eddie Bauer
This best-selling parka is built to retain serious warmth — you'll stay comfortable in temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit during moderate activity. The down fill locks in heat without bulk, and there are plenty of other premium details like a fleece-lined collar and water-repellent fabric.
Sample reviewer rave: "The sleeves have a cold lock out feature that surrounds your wrists in fleece. AMAZING! No cold air up your sleeves! The hood is roomy. It is removable, as is the faux fur ruffle. The ruffle looks really quite realistic for being faux. In fact, I took it off and had it on my bed. I walked away for 30 minutes, came back, and thought an animal was in the house."
YETI ROADIE 20 COOLER
Price: $200 | Buy it from REI
The perfect size for chilling a dozen beers for your weekend adventures at the beach, lake, or campsite, this hard-side Yeti Roadie is noted for its ability to keep things ice-cold for up to a couple of days, even in the hottest weather. It's also impact-resistant and even certified bear-proof when used with padlocks.
Sample reviewer rave: "This is by far the best cooler I have ever used, you can tell the quality as soon as you open the box. On top of that, you don't have to worry about breaking the handle off or cracking it."
DR. BRONNER'S PURE LIQUID CASTILE SOAP
Est. Price: $16 | Buy it from Amazon
Devotees say there's no other soap on the market that makes them feel quite as clean and invigorated as Dr. Bronner's — even after days tinkering in a greasy garage or working in a muddy yard. They also use it as a household cleaner and minty-fresh dog shampoo and say the high price isn't quite so bad since a little goes a long way.
Sample reviewer rave: "Use it as a face wash and let it sit on your face for a moment before washing it off, and it's comparable to being slapped in the face with an icicle."
CHACO ZX/2 CLASSIC SANDALS
Est. Price: $105 | Buy them from Chaco
Buyers say these podiatrist-recommended sandals are a must for anyone who needs extra support. They're ultra-adjustable with double straps and a distinctive toe loop. The grippy rubber outsole makes them ideal for both outdoorsy activities or casual days around town.
Sample reviewer rave: "I have multiple pairs of Chacos and I love them all, but these ones may be the most comfortable ones I own. ... The first day I wore these, they were like clouds on my feet. I can't wait until the weather stays warm to wear them more often!"
HERMAN MILLER AERON OFFICE CHAIR
Price: Starting at $820 | Buy it from Herman Miller
Office furniture doesn't reach the Aeron's iconic status without being as comfortable as possible, and owners say a splurge is warranted when you'll be sitting in the same chair for hours a day. Upgrade options include adjustable lumbar support, fully adjustable arms, and leather arm pads.
Sample reviewer rave: "With due respect to its competitors, this is a chair you can work with comfortably all day. Of course, you should get up and stretch every 20 minutes, the only thing the Aeron won't do for you!"
DAVEK SOLO UMBRELLA
Est. Price: $99 | Buy it from Davek
When is an umbrella worth $100? When it's the only one you'll have to buy in your life, Davek owners say. Not only does it open and close with a button, but it also has a nearly indestructible frame and comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
Sample reviewer rave: "I have not seen an umbrella of this quality since the '60s. ... This one will last. I love this umbrella. It will not turn inside out in the wind. It will also keep me dry. Plenty large, yet not heavy. I could not be more pleased."
VITAMIX 5200 BLENDER
Est. Price: $436 | Buy it from Amazon
There's nothing more frustrating than a blender that won't blend, or worse, one that overheats and quits mid-use. Vitamix devotees say you don't have to worry about that with the variable-speed 5200 and its aircraft-grade blades. It's even self-cleaning — just put in a little dish soap and warm water.
Sample reviewer rave: "There are a lot of copycats out there, but the Vitamix is the Rolex of blenders. I use mine daily, if not multiple times daily. ... I use my Vitamix for making soups, ice cream, smoothies of all kinds, sauces, batters and so much more."
PATAGONIA BETTER SWEATER
Est. Price: $99 | Buy it from Patagonia
One of Patagonia's best-selling garments, the Better Sweater really is, well, better, buyers say. The knitted polyester fleece is lightweight but warm, the slim silhouette is flattering, and it's backed by Patagonia's hassle-free "Ironclad Guarantee." You can find the equally loved men's version here.
Sample reviewer rave: "I bought this three weeks ago right before I left on safari. I've been traveling in cities, the bush, had fluctuating temperatures and gone from fine dining to eating at camp. I haven't had the ability to wash it yet and amazing it looks brand new somehow doesn't smell awful and fit nearly every occasion."
BRIGGS & RILEY BASELINE CARRY-ON
Est. Price: $549 | Buy it from Amazon
If you can get over paying more for a single carry-on than you'd normally shell out for an entire luggage set, Briggs & Riley Baseline buyers say you won't be disappointed. The nylon fabric is super tough, the bag is deceptively expandable, and the lifetime warranty covers even normal wear and tear, no questions asked.
Sample reviewer rave: "This is a great suitcase. Quality is second to none. Can't beat the lifetime warranty. You can get more stuff in this thing than you could ever imagine. I can leave for the week on a business trip and pack everything I need."
LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN
Est. Price: $380 | Buy it from Amazon
Though it has spawned more than a few knockoffs, the iconic Le Creuset Dutch oven still has a large following among home cooks who swear by its ability to evenly warm and cook food. They also trumpet how easy to clean it is, and many say it's so durable that it can be passed down to kids or grandkids.
Sample reviewer rave: "I have used this a couple of times now, and it is everything I hoped it would be when I shelled out big bucks to buy it. It's amazing in its ability to heat up and to hold onto the heat, yet it has a glaze that retards sticking of the browned bits. I wish all my cookware were of such a high quality."
JANSPORT SUPERBREAK BACKPACK
Est. Price: $36 | Buy it from Jansport
Though relatively cheap compared with other items on our list, the JanSport SuperBreak is still double the price of other basic backpacks. But owners say the modest splurge is more than worthwhile because the SuperBreak is far more durable than its competitors. It also comes in so many colors and patterns that there's one to please even the pickiest schoolkid.
Sample reviewer rave: "As a parent, I look for backpacks that will last a while. These backpacks are perfect. I know because I've had mine for 21 years. Yes, YEARS. ... It's indestructible. I've washed it in the washing machine, too, without any issues. You will not regret buying this backpack."
DYSON SUPERSONIC HAIR DRYER
Est. Price: $400 | Buy it from Dyson
This futuristic-looking hair dryer has an eye-popping price tag, but buyers say its performance justifies the spend. A built-in air multiplier cuts way down on drying time, magnetic attachments are easy to click on and off, and a heat sensor constantly measures temperature to prevent heat damage and keep hair shiny.
Sample reviewer rave: "I'm now able to blow dry my hair into a professional looking style and do it in a fraction of the time. ... The Dyson is so quiet I don't need earplugs like I'd use with all my other blow dryers. This dryer is well worth every penny I spent on it and I can't live without it now!"
ZOJIRUSHI STAINLESS STEEL TRAVEL MUG
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it from Amazon
Keep your coffee piping hot — and we mean piping — with this 20-ounce Zojirushi travel mug. Fans say temperature retention is the main reason they'll never go back to cheaper travel mugs. It also has a convenient flip-top lid with a safety lock that means you can toss it in your bag without worrying that it will spill.
Sample reviewer rave: "It is literally the world's best travel mug. I could put steaming hot coffee in it in the morning, and if I forgot it in my truck I would still have steaming hot coffee for the drive home. No kidding! It's incredible."
PHILOSOPHY PURITY MADE SIMPLE CLEANSER
Est. Price: $24 | Buy it from Sephora
This Philosophy cleanser may be four times the price of most drugstore competitors, but more than 10,000 Sephora reviewers swear it's a worthwhile splurge. Gentle enough for all skin types but relentless while removing makeup, dirt, oil or other grime, they say it also manages to leave skin moist, not dry and irritated.
Sample reviewer rave: "For real, the first time I used this facial cleaner I couldn't keep feeling my face, it was so smooth and nice. After a week I was thinking my age spots were lighter. After two weeks other people were asking what fountain of youth I'd found."
KITCHENAID ARTISAN STAND MIXER
Est. Price: $280 | Buy it from Amazon
There are few serious competitors to KitchenAid Artisan in the world of stand mixers. Beloved for its durability, bulletproof performance, and huge array of colors, the Artisan is about as iconic as it gets for small appliances. But you may want to pick a neutral color — chances are it will still be around once you decide to redecorate your kitchen.
Sample reviewer rave: "To the delight of family and friends alike, over the past decade, I've made thousands of bread loaves, muffins, cakes, cookies, and other scrumptious baked treats. Hundreds of pounds of meringue, whipped cream, bases, batters, and fillings. Countless sheets of fresh pasta. Endless bowls of dips, creams, frostings, and sauces. You name it, my mixer has done it and I still I love it to this day."
PENDLETON CAMP BLANKET
Est. Price: $149 | Buy it from Amazon
Anyone who thinks all wool blankets are itchy hasn't tried a Pendleton, owners say. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: They also excel at keeping you the perfect temperature, whether that's in a tent or in your own drafty bedroom, and are durable enough for a lifetime of use. Bonus: They're made in the U.S.
Sample reviewer rave: "For a blanket that will surely outlive me, the price is fantastic. Wool has that strange ability to keep you warm in the winter but never hot because of its ability to breathe. If you want a soft wool blanket look no farther."
ALL-CLAD D5 STAINLESS-STEEL ESSENTIAL PAN
Est. Price: Starting at $150 | Buy it from Williams Sonoma
This All-Clad pan's almost freakish ability to distribute heat evenly makes it worth the splurge, especially since it may be the only pan you want to use once you buy it. The durable stainless steel is also oven- and dishwasher-safe, and the pan is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Sample reviewer rave: "This is my 'go to' pan for most everything and I could not be happier. It heats and cooks evenly, and washes up easier than any non-stick I have ever used. Even though it can be put in the dishwasher, I can't think of a reason why you would even need to. This pan alone solidified my choice to switch to All Clad cookware. Hands down, it is the best pan I have ever used."
LANDS' END CANVAS TOTE BAG
Est. Price: Starting at $22 | Buy it from Lands' End
This simple canvas Land's End bag has long been a best-seller, having earned a reputation as a true workhorse. Tested to hold up to 500 pounds, it's also able to stand upright and has a water-resistant base that makes it especially great for toting beach or pool supplies. Consider personalizing it with a monogram — you're going to have it for a while.
Sample reviewer rave: "Our Lands' End bag was a wedding gift back in June '88. We've used it on countless day trips with our two kids and brought it along on almost 30 years' worth of vacations and I still don't need to replace it. My kids are all grown up now and I plan to buy each of them an identical copy of our bag for their weddings. New ones to fill with their own family memories."
RAY-BAN AVIATOR SUNGLASSES
Est. Price: Starting at $153 | Buy them from Ray-Ban
Yes, they're go-with-everything icons, but Ray-Ban enthusiasts say there's more to classic Aviators than style. For one, you can get them now with polarized lenses that keep your field of vision glare-free and crystal-clear. You can also customize everything from lens and frame color to temple tips, making them unlike any other pair.
Sample reviewer rave: "These sunglasses are one of the top five best purchases I've ever made! I have had them for over six years, and I am still just as in love with them as I was the day I bought them. They're great because I can dress them up with an outfit, or dress them down with a more casual outfit or athletic attire."
BREVILLE BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MACHINE
Est. Price: $550 | Buy it from Amazon
You could buy an entire oven for the price of this Breville Barista, but espresso lovers say it's an investment they've never regretted, especially since it cuts down on pricey coffeeshop splurges. Suitable for both beginning baristas and experts, it's made of sturdy stainless steel and comes with its own cleaning kit, tucked away in a hidden compartment for convenient storage.
Sample reviewer rave: "I love it — so much, that if a burglar broke into my house and stole it, I would order another one the same day. I have not been back to Starbucks since."
BABY BJORN BOUNCER BALANCE SOFT
Est. Price: $200 | Buy it from Amazon
Babies are expensive. So is this $200 bouncer, which lacks bells and whistles like built-in vibration, toys, and lullabies standard on cheaper models. But buyers say the Bjorn doesn't need any of that — or the batteries those other bouncers burn through. They rave about its high-quality fabric, portability, and ability to calm even the fussiest baby.
Sample reviewer rave: "Absolutely the best bouncer ever made (saying this as a father of four kids from newborn to a 16-year-old). We've seen them all, now we have the only one we'll ever need. This is perfect for traveling too. ... The actual wind even helps the bouncer keep bouncing. It's genius. And no batteries needed."
NORDIC WARE BAKING PANS
Est. Price: Starting at $14 | Buy them from Amazon
Cheap baking pans get the job done, right? Nordic Ware users sniff at that notion, saying their pure-aluminum pans mean baked goods that are evenly browned each and every time. Made in America, they're also impervious to rust and are likely to be in your kitchen arsenal for a lifetime.
Sample reviewer rave: "These baking sheets are great. I finally broke down and bought myself a good baking sheet and am so happy I did! These are very well made, sturdy, and totally worth the price. I'm never going back to my cheap baking sheets again. These don't warp and bend in the oven like my cheap ones, and they handle the freezer beautifully when I need to flash freeze items. I will definitely be buying a bunch more of these and throwing out my old cheap set."
HANNA ANDERSSON KIDS' LONG JOHN PAJAMAS
Est. Price: $48 | Buy them from Hanna Andersson
Hanna Andersson PJs have a cult following even among parents who are loathe to spend big on other kids' clothing. The organic cotton is soft enough for kids who seem to agonize over every seam, they come in a ton of colors and patterns, and they hold up to wash after wash without pilling or unraveling.
Sample reviewer rave: "I am obsessed with Hanna PJs! With three children I have definitely gone through my fair share! What I love about these is that they are super soft, the quality is amazing, and they last forever (but you'd never know by looking at them — they somehow always look brand new)."
VICTORINOX CHAMP SWISS ARMY KNIFE
Est. Price: $79 | Buy it from Amazon
All other multitools still bow to the venerable Swiss Army Knife, and this may well be the best of the bunch. The 3.5-inch, 6.5-ourightnce Champ still manages to pack in an astounding 33 tools, including wire cutters, tweezers, and a miniature screwdriver. It's also backed by a lifetime warranty.
Sample reviewer rave: "Simply the most useful Swiss Army Knife of all time. I've owned at least 25-plus other models and while I love them all, there just always seems to be a situation where you're missing 'that one extra tool' that would have gotten the job done. No such problem with the Swiss Champ. It's honestly like having a toolbox in your pocket."
STORMY KROMER ORIGINAL CAP
Est. Price: $45 | Buy it from Stormy Kromer
An icon of the north woods, American-made Stormy Kromer caps come in so many sizes that they're indistinguishable from custom-made. Owners rave about how warm and practical they are, and they love the built-in ear band that can be tugged down for added warmth.
Sample reviewer rave: "No shoddy merchandise here! I placed it on my head for the first time to see if it would fit, and I must have died and went to Heaven. WOW! It fit, it was warm, and I fell in love with it. It appears that there are only two kinds of people in this world. Those of us who wear Stormy Kromer and wannabes."
BROOKLINEN LUXE CORE SHEET SET
Est. Price: Starting at $129 | Buy it from Brooklinen
Sateen lovers say it's hard to do better than Brooklinen's super-soft, 480-thread count Luxe Core sheets. Made from long-staple cotton, they can fit mattresses up to 15 inches thick and instantly make any bed feel like it's in a pricey hotel, devotees say. Better yet, they're backed by a lifetime warranty.
Sample reviewer rave: "I must say that these are the best sheets I've ever put on my bed. They are lush and cool and for the price, I couldn't be happier. Everything down to the packaging, including the darling tote bag the sheets are shipped in, showcases a great attention to detail."
MASON PEARSON POPULAR MIXTURE HAIRBRUSH
Est. Price: $205 | Buy it from Amazon Who knew? Not only are people willing to pay more than $200 for a hairbrush that's handmade in England, but they also love every single premium-grade boar bristle. This brush is a great pick for anyone with breakage-prone hair because it's so gentle, and fans say it simply feels amazing to use.
Sample reviewer rave: "This is not a hair brush. It's the fingertips of God."