BIFL – What is ‘Buy it for Life’ and is it worth it?

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Why is BIFL a trend? Pros & Cons.

If you’re not one of the 922,000+ members of the Reddit ‘buy it for life’ community, you may not have heard of the term BIFL, or the movement it represents.

What is BIFL?

BIFL (‘Buy it for Life’) is the consumer philosophy of mindfully choosing to purchase high-quality products that are built with durability and longevity in mind over cheaper items that are prone to breakdown.

The BIFL community proposes that adopting a strict durability and longevity-minded mentality when making most, if not all of your purchase decisions, is not only better for you, but also the global community at large.

Rebel against disposable tech culture.

They might be right (we certainly think so), but the movement is also subject to criticism. Some argue that a BIFL represents a certain amount of financial privilege, and perhaps even forces consumers into paying too much for certain items.

So, does the buy it for life community and philosophy achieve what it promises to achieve? Do you actually save money and/or the environment when you choose BIFL products? And what defines whether or not a product is truly BIFL?

Read on for our expert answers and opinions on all of the above.

It is more of a mindset…

Product Longevity Mindset - Rugged Ratings

The first thing you may have noticed is that BIFL products technically don’t need to last an actual lifetime (though it’s great if they do).

The idea is to select products with certain features relating to their build quality or post-purchase servicing that will mean the product is likely to last significantly longer than other products within the same category.

…Ok, but why?

Why choose BIFL products?

‘Take lots of time to research products and spend more money on every purchase you make’ doesn’t sound all too enticing, but the core principles behind it are pretty convincing.

Adopting a BIFL policy allows you to do the following –

Save money

Simply put, buying higher-quality goods means you will save money over time due to not having to continually repurchase the same products that easily break or wear.

Terry Pratchett framed this principle beautifully in his novel ‘Men at Arms’, wherein a character explains that a good pair of boots will cost $50 and last years and years, but an affordable pair would break and leak over the course of one or two seasons. 

terry pratchet men at arms
(Image Source)

This is now known as the ‘boots theory of socioeconomic unfairness’, and it’s a perfect demonstration of the value that BIFL products can offer.

Reduce your impact on the environment

Is Sustainability a factor in your buying decisions?

In today’s extremely value-oriented, disposable convenience-goods environment, it’s all too easy to pick the quickest or cheapest option when making purchase decisions.

But as we can plainly see, this is coming at a great cost to the environment.

Affordability is great, who doesn’t love a bargain? But when prices seem suspiciously low, that’s a cause for concern. It usually means that the product uses low-grade materials, is poorly constructed, or sourced via unethical means.

And that means that it won’t be long before your product either start showing troubling signs of wear and no longer works to its full abilities, or completely breaks down and becomes useless.

Then, it joins the endless piles of trash that are filling landfills across the globe.

BIFL products try to avoid this fate, hopefully lasting for years and years with great care, helping you to reduce the overall demand for cheap, throwaway goods.

The problems with BIFL

"Buy less, choose well, make it last" - Vivienne Westwood

The BIFL concept is not without its flaws, however.

The core promise of BIFL is to save money, but these effects can only be experienced over time.

To someone with limited disposable income, spending the ‘correct’ amount of money that the BIFL community suggests for a certain product to last a lifetime may be impossible.

Additionally, how can you ensure that a product will give you back in value what you paid for it?

As passionate members of the BIFL movement and community, we can recommend a few different strategies to minimize these issues.

Firstly, it’s our suggestion that not all products need to be BIFL.

There are some ­– perhaps even many products that are both affordable and long-lasting by design. These are typically medium-to-low value items or items that are not used with much regularity.  

So, you can save the BIFL analysis for only the products that you know you will use and abuse very regularly, products that exist to protect you in dangerous environments, or products you need for your industrial, military, or defense job.

Examples of these items include pocket knives, external hard drives, protective eyewear, and tents.

As for how to determine whether products are BIFL? Well, we’ve spent the last year perfecting a system for just that.

How do you spot BIFL quality?

#BIFL - Rugged Ratings: Ruggedness, Reparability, Upgradability, Multi-Purposeness

There are a set of common features you can look for in BIFL goods that can give you a good indication as to how long the product will last, and whether the price might represent good value over time.

Some well-known examples of these features include rugged build materials, extended warranties, high IP or NEMA ratings, and industrial or military specification and grading.  

Our sole mission is to perform deep-dives into these rugged product categories, identify a selection of the best-performing ones, and rank and compare them all for your convenience.

To do this, we’ve developed a system that can be applied to any and all rugged gear and tech in order to produce a robust rating that you as a consumer can trust as an indication of the BIFL value.

Our Rugged Ratings BIFL system ensures each product we include is one or many of the following:

#BIFL
  • Rugged – products built to industrial or military standards like MIL-STD-810G or IP68, and products that use high-quality, durable materials.
  • Repairable – products with longer than average or lifetime warranty, warranty repairs included, satisfaction guarantees, extended servicing, or replaceable components.
  • Upgradable – products with modular components that can be upgraded or products that offer the option of a rugged version.
  • Multipurpose – products that can perform one or multiple different functions and therefore could replace the need for other products.

By identifying to what extent a certain product features all of the above qualities, we can give each one we review an accurate and consistent BIFL score.

It’s our hope that by performing these rugged product reviews and comparisons, you as a consumer can be armed with reliable and independently verified information and data relating to product value and longevity.  

This way, you can make the most informed decisions when buying durable gear and tech from a BIFL brand that offers the most value for your money and reduces the environmental effects of product wastage.

We love to review products for police and military officers, defense personnel, industrial and manufacturing workers, adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, extreme sports aficionados, and the average consumer who wants their tech and gear to last a lifetime.

#BIFL

So, we hope you’ll join us in our journey in highlighting all the incredible gadgets, tools, and military gear that are built with extreme ruggedness, longevity, and durability in mind.

We update the site with new articles regularly, covering a huge range of product categories and niches. The Discounts and Offers page might be also interesting for you.

You can subscribe to our email list (check our homepage) to be the first to receive new product reviews, announcements, and exclusive discounts.

We can’t wait to bring you more of the best military-graded durable tech & gear that will last a lifetime. #BIFL.


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