One of the most difficult areas to buy American always has been the electrical/electronics category. A typical rule is that if you have to plug it in, it’s going to be difficult to find American made.
But the good news is you actually can buy electrical products for the home in certain areas; you just have to know where to look. Before we talk about those areas, let’s first start with where not to look so you don’t end up wasting your time looking for something made in the USA in areas where it doesn’t exist.
Unless you can surprise me, you won’t find an American-made clock radio, VCR, DVD player (except as part of a Bose DVD home entertainment system), cell phone, cordless phone, television, computer printer, copier, fax machine, or toaster oven. This, of course, isn’t a complete list, but it represents areas that are the subject of most e-mails I receive that start with “Can you tell me how to find an American-made…?”
Now let’s get to the good stuff: where you can buy American-made electronics products for your home.
If you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner, you can scratch Hoover off your list. Hoover was acquired by Hong Kong-based Techtronics Industries in 2007 which promptly closed the Ohio production facility. (see what happens when American companies are bought by foreign-based companies controlled by distant owners?) I own an American-made Oreck, but you might also check out Riccar and Simplicity vacuum cleaners. Riccar and Simplicity are owned by the Tacony Corp., which brought production from Taiwan to Missouri in 2000. Craftsman wet-dry vacs are made in America, too.
As stated above, you won’t find an American-made computer printer, but you can find a good American-made computer. The laptop on which I write this article was built by Union Built PC, and it’s been working fine since 2007. At UnionBuiltPC.com, they use as many American parts as possible that usually are imported by other computer makers, such as the power supplies, RAM, and even the computer shell. And their customer service and tech support is all U.S. based as well.
For air circulation and filtration, try Lasko fans (available at most home improvement and department stores) and Sun Aire air purifiers at BetterAir.com. Most Lasko fans are “assembled in USA” and all Sun Aire products are “made in USA.”
If you’re looking for American-made stereo electronics, try B&K Components, Ltd. According to their website, B&K’s products are designed, engineered, manufactured, supported and serviced from their headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. If you want to add a new, high quality turntable to your American-made B&K stereo amplifiers, try Sota turntables at SotaTurntables.com. Then you can add American-made JBL speakers (I have a pair in my home) to listen to all that high-quality sound. JBL also produces American-made speakers for the car. Bose Wave radios are also made in America, as well as some of their DVD home entertainment systems.
For the kitchen, many KitchenAid products are American made, including their 3-speed blenders, along with their Pro 405, Ultra Power, and Classic Plus stand mixers. WaringPro (a brand of American-owned Conair Corp.) also offers a professional quality bar blender that features a big “Made in USA” logo right on the box. The blender I saw also had a “Made in USA” sticker on it just in case of the unlikely event you missed seeing it on the box. Nesco coffee roasters are also American made. The Nesco brand is made by the American-based, privately owned Metal Ware Co.
Sure, it isn’t always easy to buy American-made electrical and electronics products for the home, but it’s good to know that it’s definitely possible, depending on what you’re looking for.