20 Highly Rated Home Goods Made In The U.S.A.

Very few products are still made in the U.S., but we managed to track down some American-made products that get high ratings from buyers.

 

KitchenAid Artisan Mixers

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 2037+ reviewers)

Since 1919, KitchenAid classic mixer have been assembled by hand in Greenville, Ohio. The KitchenAid mixer is one of a few consumer appliances trademarked specifically for its unique shape!

Buy on Amazon for about $267.

 

Lodge Logic Skillet

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 901+ reviewers)

Lodge Cast Iron remains a family owned, family operated business in Tennessee. Lodge’s cast iron pans are known for their extreme durability. There are 100-year-old Lodge pans still in use in kitchens today!

Buy on Amazon for about $21.

 

Groom Mate Noise Hair Trimmer

Groom mate platinum xl nose hair trimmer 2

Average Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 578+ reviewers)

The Groom Mate Nose Hair Trimmer is made with brushed stainless steel. The trimmer doesn’t require any batteries — instead you twist the bottom with a gentle motion, and the rotary blades cut ear or nose hair without the risk of injury. It comes with a lifetime “no questioned asked” guarantee.

Priced at $18.88 from Amazon.

 

Wahl Clipper

Average Rating: 4.1 out of 5 (from 335+ reviewers)

Wahl has been making hair clippers since 1919, and they are still making their clippers in Sterling, Illinois.

Buy on Amazon for about $30.

 

Weber Kettle Grill

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (from 178+ reviewers)

Weber, founded in 1893, still manufactures their classic grills in Palatine, Illinois.

Buy on Amazon for about $100.

 

Kahtoola Microspike Ice Cleats

 

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 126+ reviewers)

Made by Kahtoola, a small company in Arizona, these Microspikes are ice cleats that attach firmly to your shoes, and require no special buckles or straps. The spikes constructed of hardened stainless steel. The Kahtoola company founders say:

Nearly every one of our products is designed and developed in-house, but we take it one step further – a large portion of our production is also kept in-house as well.

The Kahtoola MICROspikes are available from Amazon for $55.

 

1888 Mills 100% Organic Cotton Towel Set

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 80+ reviewers)

Made by the last operating terry producing mill in the United States, these bath towels are made with 100% organic cotton.

Buy on Amazon for about $60.

 

Correlle Dinnerware

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 75+ reviewers)


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.

Correlle Dinnerware is available from Amazon for about $46 per set.

 

Fischer Space Pen

fisher space pen Master List Of Well Designed, American Made Products

Average Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (from 77+ reviewers)

A classic American product, the Space Pen can write at any angle, in outer space, and in temperatures ranging from -30F to 250F.  Each Fisher Space Pen is precision assembled, hand tested, and carries an lifetime guarantee.

Buy on Amazon for about $16.

 

Pyrex Bowls

Pyrex bowl

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 50+ reviewers)

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.

Pyrex Bowls are available from Amazon. $15 for a set of 3.

 

Granite Ware Oven Roaster

Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (from 44+ reviewers)

Granite Ware roasters are rated a “Best Buy” by Cooks Illustrated. Granite Ware has been made in Illinois since the 1870s. The company was created by Frederick G. and William Niedringhaus — they discovered an enamelware process whereby metal utensils could be coated with enamel to make them lighter and more resistant to oxidation.

Buy on Amazon for about $18.

 

Microplane Professional Grater

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 36+ reviewers)

The Microplane rasp was invented in 1990 by brothers Richard and Jeff Grace in Russellville, Arkansas. They originally produced the rasp as a woodworking tool, and it took four years before people started using it in the kitchen as a grater (you can read the whole story in this New York Times article).

The Microplane Grate is made with surgical grade stainless steel. The microplane teeth are particularly sharp because the edges are created with ferric chloride instead of stamping.

The Microplane Professional Grater is available at Amazon for about $14.

 

American Kitchen Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 35+ reviewers)

This cookware set from American Kitchen is made in Regal Ware’s West Bend, Wisconsin facility. The dinnerware features a biodegradable “eco-satin” nonstick surface (PFOA-free). The dinnerware is guarantee for life.

Buy on Amazon for about $170.

 

Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (from 29+ reviewers)

The Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop was invented by Sherman Kelly in Florida in 1935, and the design has remained virtually unchanged since then. Kelly’s innovation was simple but effective — the scoop contains liquid freon inside, which is warmed by the user’s hand, allowing the scoop to slice through ice cream like butter. The one-piece, die-cast aluminum scoop is still made in Fort Pierce, Florida, and it is known for lasting decades. Just don’t wash it in a dishwasher — the high heat causes the freon to leak out.

The Zeroll Ice Cream Dipper is available from Amazon for about $17.

 

The Complete First Aid Kit

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (from 29+ reviewers)

It’s a complete first aid kit made in the U.S. in a FDA approved facility.

Buy on Amazon for about $25.

 

Rada Cutlery Set

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 25+ reviewers)

Rada Cutlery is a small company in Iowa that has been making knives since 1948. Their knives are constructed with a high carbon surgical stainless steel, and they feature dual serrations and hollow-ground blades. This construction is aimed to ensure a sharp cutting edge for years. Rada offers a lifetime warranty on all their cutlery.

Buy on Amazon for about $37.

 

Le Creuset Spatula Set

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (from 22+ reviewers)

Despite the French name, these spatulas are made in the U.S. They are made with silicone, and are pthalate-free.

Buy on Amazon for about $25.

 

Estwing Hammer

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 16+ reviewers)

Estwing is a company in Rockford, Illinois that has been forging tools since 1923. It was the first company to make an all-steel hammer that is forged in one piece, according to the manufacturing manager Dan Eisman. Before this time, hammer heads were forged separately, and attached to a handle. The hammer’s leather grip was added in 1930, and has remain popular due to its classical good looks and durability.

The Estwing Hammer is available from Amazon for around $28.

 

New Balance Classic Heritage Running Shoes

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 25+ reviewers)

New Balance is one of the few companies still manufacturing running shoes in the U.S.

The company says:

One out of every four pair of shoes sold in the U.S. is made or assembled in the U.S. by our U.S. workforce using U.S. and imported materials. When possible, we obtain materials from domestic suppliers. At times, due to availability, economic or quality reasons, there is a need to import components from foreign sources.

Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe “Made in the USA.” Where it falls below 70%, we have qualified the label referencing domestic and imported materials

You can see their full “American-Made” line here.

Buy the New Balance Classic Heritage Running Shoes on Amazon for $25 – $84.

 

Other good sources of American-Made products: Need Supply, REI (Made In USA products), Filson, Carhartt, Orvis.

Cheatsheet: The Top Rated Home Theater Equipment Of 2011

Sometimes you just need the facts — here is our cheatsheet listing all the top rated home theater equipment of 2011. This list is based on reviews we found on CNET, Amazon and Home Theater Review:

A/V Receivers

Home Theatre Systems and Speakers

Blu-Ray & DVD Players

Televisions / Monitors

The Best Stereo Receiver Under $250: Harmon Kardon 3390

Harmon Kardon, founded in 1953, helped create the high-fidelity audio industry, and today the company continues to produce great audio gear. Featured here is Harmon Kardon’s 3390 receiver, which has a clean, minimalist design. Selling for about $210, this receiver is really a high-end device at a budget price. Like all Harman Kardon stereo and A/V receivers, it incorporates the company’s long-standing high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier designs with discrete output transistors. As a result, the HK 3390’s sound is clear and detailed, and the receiver can easily drive most loudspeakers to generous volume levels without strain.

The HK 3390 received 4.5 out of 5 stars from CNET, and it’s the highest rated stereo receiver on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from 72 reviewers.

Note that the HK 3390 is designed for stereo sound reproduction. It can, however, accommodate home theatre devices such as a cable box or gaming system, albeit only via composite video connections. If you are looking for a budget home theatre receiver, the top rated recevier is Onkyo’s  TX-NR509 receiver.

You can get Harmon Kardon’s 3390 receiver on Amazon for about $210.

Buy It For Life: Bialetti Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker

The Bialetti Moka Espresso Maker, has a polished-aluminum octagonal design has been available in Italy since 1933. In the 30s, Italy was in an economically difficult time, which made making coffee at home appealing. This simple little device crafted from aluminum was extremely popular and is still crafted by Bialetti, the same firm that produced it in the 1930s.

Moka Pot stovetop brewers produce a dense concentrated cup that’s something between espresso and Turkish coffee. Coffee is placed into a filter between the lower chamber (that you fill with water) and the upper chamber that will contain the finished beverage after brewing.

It works by passing hot water that has been pressurized by steam through ground coffee beans and produces a hot beverage similar to espresso.

Over 200 Amazon reviewers rated this espresso maker an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

The Bialetti Moka Espresso Maker is available on Amazon for $25.

Bulletproof Mac Backup Solutions For 2012

We store more photographs, videos, music and documents on our computers today than ever before. Many of those files are irreplaceable. It makes sense to have a comprehensive backup strategy in place, so you’ll never be surprised by an unfortunate event.

In this article, I will present some bulletproof Mac backup techniques which will work quietly in the background without your intervention. While researching this strategy, I gleaned many ideas from Joe Kissell’s excellent book, Take Control Of Backing-Up Your Mac.

A Simple, Comprehensive Backup Method

Here’s a easy and bulletproof way to backup all your Macs — install the Crashplan application on all the notebooks and desktops you own, and have it continuously backup you data to their online storage, or a friend’s computer. See Step 3 (below) for more details.

An Industrial-Strength Backup Method

Using this backup strategy, you can create fault-tolerant backups that run without any intervention. The steps are:

  1. Buy an Mirrored (Raid 1) External Drive for each Mac you own, and Use Apple’s free Time Machine to perform automatic versioned backups every hour
  2. Install the free Carbon Copy Cloner software on each Mac you own, and set up automated bootable backups that are refreshed twice a week
  3. Install the Crashplan application on each Mac you own, and use their service to perform off-site backups twice a week

Step 1: Use Apple’s Time Machine To Perform Versioned Backups

Apple’s Time Machine first appeared with the Leopard OS X in 2007. It’s good tool to backup your Mac. It runs automatically, creating versioned backups of you data every hour. It keeps hourly backups for 24 hours, it keeps daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. This is useful because if, for example, you accidentally delete a file you want, and you don’t notice for a week, you’ll still be able to restore that file from a weekly backup. Time Machine won’t create bootable backups, but you can restore a fully bootable version of your entire home drive from your Time Machine backup.

My recommendation is to use Time Machine to backup to an external drive. External drives are the best choice for backups today — they are now inexpensive and convenient. By using an external drive, your backup is portable, which is handy, because you can unplug the drive and restore data to another computer. Also, if your computer is destroyed by a coffee spill or power surge, the external drive will probably survive.

I recommend getting an external drive that supports mirroring (or Raid 1). Mirrored volumes actually have two separate hard drives housed in a single case, and the drives work in tandem. When you save a file to the external volume, the file is copied to each of the two separate drives. If one of those drives fails, your data will still be available on the remaining drive. After ordering a replacement drive, you insert that new drive into the external drive case, the data will automatically be copied from the working drive.

Note, though, that it is still possible to lose data on mirrored drive. If you accidentally delete a file on the mirrored volume, that deletion will be mirrored on both drives immediately! Also, mechanical failure can occur — such as a drive controller becoming faulty and writing bad data on both drives. Nevertheless, mirrored drives do offer a layer of protection against mechanical failures.

I recommend getting an mirrored external drive with a 5 year warranty, because drive failures are quite common. I’ll be publishing a follow-up article with recommendations on purchasing an external drive. Sneak preview: my two top choices are the Western Digital My Book Studio II and the ioSafe Solo.

If you have more than two Mac desktops or several Mac notebooks, you might consider backup them with a Time Capsule from Apple. This device allows you to backup multiple computers over a home wireless network. Note though, that Time Capsules cannot be used to create a bootable backups, so you’ll have to buy an additional hard drive do this.

Step 2: Use Carbon Copy Cloner To Make Bootable Backups

Bootable backups are quite useful to have on hand. If your Mac hard drive fails, you can send it in for repair immediately. You can then boot up from your duplicate copy using another computer. Bootable backups are also handy if an OS X upgrade goes wrong — you can easily restore your data from your bootable backup. Also, if you need to upgrade your hard drive, you can simply copy the bootable backup to your new hard drive.

SuperDuper Main

To create bootable backups, you need a dedicated application. It’s not good enough to use Finder to copy all your data from your computer’s hard drive, because your copy won’t be bootable. I recommend using a dedicated application like SuperDuper ($27.95) or Carbon Copy Cloner (free). These applications allow you to make bootable copies of your home drive quite easily. These applications can be configured to automatically update your backups on a schedule basis. The application will have to update the files that have changed, so the process will be relatively quick (it takes about 5 minutes on my computer). Mac backup expert Joe Kissell recommends updating your bootable backups at least once a week, or nightly if you want your backups to be very fresh.

To sum up,  bootable backups are certainly handy to have, but they are not essential. If you have another way to boot your Mac in case of failure, and you already have a backup of all your important files, you might not want to bother with mirrored backups.

Step 3: Use An Online Backup Service To Make Off-Site Backups

Let’s now turn to a type of backup that few people consider, the off-site backup, or the backup that physically exists outside your home. With an off-site backup, you’ll be safe against disasters that destroy both your Mac and any backup drives you might own. Disasters of this sort would include a house fire, a flood, theft, an extreme power surge, or perhaps a extreme coffee spill!

To protect against this, I recommend using a online backup service. There are many competing services available, but the highest rated service for Macs is the Crashplan service. It has many sophisticated backup features, and it’s also one of the least expensive out there. Macworld U.K. gave it an Editors’ Choice award, and it was a top pick for backup software in Macworld, Mac Format Magazine and Digital Inspiration.

Getting started

Crashplan is a backup application that stores your data online, on a local hard drive, on a remote computer, or on friend’s home. The initial backup will probably take multiple days or even weeks to complete (as a background process) — like all online backup services, your data needs to be uploaded via your internet connection. However, after that initial upload, Crashplan works in the background quietly updating the backup with only your new or changed files. Crashplan is quite smart about what it updates — it will only copy what’s absolutely necessary and it will compress the file before storing it. Crashplan uses a process called “sub-file updating”, where only part of a file gets updated. For example, if you have a 10GB file on you computer and only a only a few bytes have changed within that file, Crashplan would only upload the portion of the file that has changed, rather than the whole 10GB file. As you might expert, this greatly reduces overall upload time when refreshing your backups. Also, Crashplan encrypts you data files with the very secure 448-bit Blowfish .

The Crashplan application is free — it is supported by ads that appear in the application’s interface (although during my tests I did not see any). The online storage rate are: $24.99 per year for 10GB of space, $49.99 per year for unlimited storage space (data must backed up from one computer), and $119.99 per year for unlimited storage space (data can be backed up from 2-10 computers).

You can also elect to backup your data to a friend’s computer. To do this, your friend must also have the Crashplan application installed. Your files are sent over the internet to your friend’s computer. They are encrypted on the friend’s system, so they won’t be able to read the contents or even see the filename. You can, however, enter your password on their system to restore the backup. If you are hosting somebody’s backup on your computer, you can set a storage limit and blackout times for backup activity. You can also use Crashplan to backup to another computer or external drive you own.

If you live in the U.S., Crashplan also offers a “seed” service where the company sends you an 1 TB hard drive, and you can copy your data to the hard drive where it will be encrypted. You then send the hard drive back to Crashplan, and they will copy all your data into your online storage space. This service costs $129-$165, and it includes shipping both ways. If you don’t mind the cost, this a great way to get your data online quickly.

Yocan attach one or more external USB 2.0 drives to the Time Capsule to increase its storage capacity, as well as a shared USB printer (though you’ll need a USB hub to attach more than one USB device). As I write this, two models are available— one with a 2 TB drive ($299) and the other with a 3 TB drive ($499).