6 Brands With the Best Warranties

By Brittany Lyte on 19 August 2016 0 comments

It's a huge letdown that we've all faced: You've invested in a reputedly quality-made product and it breaks, malfunctions, or otherwise falls eons short of your humble expectations. (Cue the sad trombone.)

Fortunately, if you're shopping the right brands, there's a way out of this situation. There are a handful of companies that not only make durable gear, but also back those claims of durability with warranty programs to facilitate repairs, returns, exchanges, or money-back guarantees and are fair and easy. Okay, some of these warranties aren't exactly fair. But rest assured that with these brands any unfairness is rigged in favor of the consumer, bar none. (See also: 7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service)

1. Sears Craftsman

In 2016, the Sears Craftsman brand of hand tools for lawn and garden maintenance was named America's brand of the year for power tools by The Harris Poll, a respected and academically vetted index of superior brand quality. And with a warranty program like the one offered by Craftsman, it's not hard to see why the company ranks so high.

When Craftsman hand tools hit the market in 1927, the company instituted an unlimited lifetime warranty under which any Craftsman item can be returned, replaced, or repaired, free of charge, for any reason — no proof of purchase necessary. "We stand behind the warranty — complete satisfaction — period," says David Figler, vice president of Craftsman tools. Of course, complete satisfaction is hard to define. In fact, it's really quite subjective. But Craftsman vows to leave it up to the consumer to gauge his or her own satisfaction. This generous guarantee is all about keeping the customer content.

2. LL Bean

Catalog retailer LL Bean will take anything back, for any reason, in any condition, and replace it. It's unbelievable what people will send back: a 40-year-old T-shirt that has worn a small hole, muddy and rain-soaked camping gear, or perfectly good bedding that's no longer needed because the consumer upgraded to a king-size bed. The list goes on and on and on. The folks who staff the LL Bean returns department are under strict orders to refrain from passing any judgement on the people who bring back things with which they were clearly satisfied — so satisfied, in fact, that they wore the items out over a lifetime of heavy use. Alas, LL Bean vows not to play the moral police. If you say you're unsatisfied with an LL Bean product, no employee will question you. Rather, they will bestow upon you a new version of the thing you wore out, or full store credit.

3. Aldi

Discount grocer Aldi doesn't just guarantee its products — it double guarantees them. If you're not fully satisfied with an item, the store will both replace the item and refund your money. This uber-generous warranty simply requires that consumers return the product packaging and any unused product to a local store manager. It's as easy as that!

4. Cutco

Probably the least exciting household item you'll ever have to replace is your cutlery. Here's how to avoid it: Invest in Cutco knives, which are backed by a forever guarantee. Like heirloom jewelry, Cutco knives are intended to be passed down within families for generations. To that end, the company will sharpen or repair its products, a service that costs $9 in shipping and handling, and vows to return them to you in like-new condition — no receipt or registration required. If you're not satisfied with a product's performance, the company will correct the problem or replace the product. All you have to do is mail the product back to the company with an explanatory note. And should you damage your Cutco knives through misuse, the company will replace the item for half of its current retail price plus any applicable sales tax.

5. Dr. Martens

Ranging from the whimsical to the industrial, there's a Dr. Martens boot style for just about everyone. In fact, that's one reason why the brand's combat boot, available in a huge range of colors and patterns, has been named one of celebrity stylist June Ambrose's top must-haves for back-to-school. And while Dr. Martens aren't exactly inexpensive, parents can rest assured that a Dr. Martens purchase is money well spent. That's because the brand's footwear is backed by a lifetime guarantee. The company promises to continually repair or replace any pair of shoes for the rest of its wearer's life.

6. Jansport

The popular backpack and luggage company asserts that its products are durable. Of course, tears and zipper malfunctions sometimes happen. If the company can't fix a flaw in one of its products, it vows to replace or refund it. It doesn't matter what adventurous trek you've tested it on or how long ago you bought it. This lifetime guarantee comes with no strings attached.

What other brands have great warranties? Share with us!

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