In our “Buy It For Life” posts we feature products that are built to last a lifetime. We also give preference to products that are very durable, are warrantied for life, and are made in the U.S.
Le Cruset French Ovens
Le Cruset are have been producing handcrafted French Ovens in their foundry in Northern France since 1925. Their cookware is made with enameled cast iron and is known for lasting decades. The Le Creuset foundry uses standard sand casting methods to produce their cookware. After hand finishing, items are sprayed with two coats of enamel, each fired at 800 °C. The enamel becomes resistant to damage during normal use.
Le Cruset cookware has a lifetime warranty that the products are free from defects in material and workmanship.
If you are looking for an equivalent American-made product, see Lodge Dutch Ovens. We choose to feature the Le Cruset French ovens because, based on our research, they have a edge in terms of quality.
Duralex Picardie Tumblers
Duralex has been manufacturing tempered glassware in France since 1929. Their Picardie Tumblers are known for lasting decades — they will bounce several times when dropped on the floor and survive without a crack. The tumblers can also withstand a sudden thermal shock — the temperate glass can go from -4° F to 212° F without breaking. This means they can be used to drink hot beverages. Owners say Duralex glasses are also lighter and more elegant than similar tempered glass products.
Duralex went into court-ordered liquidation bankruptcy in 2006 but has since partnered with Emile Henry, an old French manufacturer of cooking ware, to return to production.
Duralex doesn’t offer any warranty for their products, beyond a 21 day return policy. However, we were unable to find any tempered glass tumblers that come with an extended warranty.
Corelle dinnerware is made with Vitrelle, a laminated tempered glass product, which is very durable and stain-resistant. A Corelle plate is created like a sandwich — a glass core is thermally bonded to two layers of glass glaze. The bonded layers give Corelle its strength, allowing it to be much thinner than other dinnerware. Introduced by Corning Glass Works in 1970, it is now manufactured and sold by World Kitchen.
Corelle products are warrantied against cracking and chipping for three years (see this page for details).
Pyrex is another brand of tempered glass products that are renowned for their durability. Their glass bakeware products are to be found in an estimated 80% of American homes. The Pyrex brand was introduced by Corning Incorporated in 1915. Today, Pyrex is owned by World Kitchen, and Pyrex glass products are manufactured in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Recently, there has been lot of rumors circulating about Pyrex products. The rumors suggest the following: Pyrex products made with inferior materials and are prone to breakage, and the Pyrex products now manufactured in China. However, this long article on the myth-busting website Snopes.Com, concludes that the rumors are false. Here is an excerpt from the article:
While it is literally true that the material used in manufacturing Pyrex brand glass bakeware has changed from borosilicate glass to soda lime glass, the brand’s current owner, World Kitchen, claims that changeover began back in the 1940s and long antedates Corning’s 1998 sale of the brand, stating that “The Charleroi [Pennsylvania] plant has produced PYREX glass products out of a heat-strengthened (tempered) soda lime glass for about 60 years, first by our predecessor Corning Incorporated, and since 1998 by World Kitchen. In fact, since the 1980′s, most, if not all consumer glass bakeware manufactured in the U.S. for consumers has been made of soda lime glass. Consumers should know that soda lime glass, such as that used to make PYREX glass bakeware, is significantly more resistant to breaking on impact than borosilicate glass and comparably resistant to breakage caused by severe temperature changes.”
World Kitchen itself states that it has received complaints from only “a very small number of consumers” about unexpected breakage, and notes that the Consumer Safety Product Commission has in fact found no safety issue with Pyrex glass bakeware:
PYREX® glass bakeware is used in an estimated 80 percent of U.S. homes. Since 1998 World Kitchen has manufactured nearly 370 million PYREX® glass products for sale in the marketplace. A very small number of consumers have reported to World Kitchen that their PYREX® glass bakeware unexpectedly broke.