Is it better to buy one amazing thing? Or is it better to buy a lot of cheap and disposable things? People often choose one or the other and then swear by it for life. My take is that some things will be ruined eventually no matter how high quality they are and I may as well not waste my money buying the high end product. Some other things, though, you need to depend on and therefore should not be expected to break and be replaced.

Deciding which path to take really depends on what you do and how you do it. There are a few guidelines I follow when I choose between high end and budget items.

The first thing I take into consideration is how will the item disfuntioning affect me? If it is a major inconvenience to replace the item I usually skip the cheap stuff and go straight to the high quality side of the scale.

The next factor I consider is the discrepancy between the high and low quality versions of what I’m getting. If the difference in quality is large, but the difference in price is not I always get the better product. If the difference in price is large and the difference in quality is not it isn’t so clear cut.

And finally, a consideration I didn’t think about until a few years ago is whether or not I will use the item as intended. If not, even the highest quality product is likely to fail and I usually stay within the cheaper range of products.

The real secret to the decision is that you can have both. Some things you won’t want both, but most of the time you will.

To give you an example my daily carry knife is a Benchmade Barrage. It’s definitely at the lower end of high end. Even though I use it all the time I rarely have to sharpen it. It opens and closes just as smooth as the day I bought it. But I would never use it to pry anything apart. That’s what my cheap Gerbers and Kershaws are for. I really don’t mind breaking the tip on a $20 knife if it means that my $130 knife stays in good condition. That being said I like that Benchmade has higher quality standards than the aforementioned brands because it makes it one heck of a reliable knife.