Made in the USA: gadgets built in our own backyard

Mike Wehner
Yahoo! News

Consumers looking to buy American merchandise have fewer options these days when it comes to electronic devices and equipment Cheap labor overseas incentivized many companies, especially in technology, to close U.S. assembly plants. Still, among the reliable and affordable products made in the U.S., the following stand out.


Maglite flashlights are used by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. because of their powerful functionality and durable construction. Maglite has been praised for years when it comes to flashlight technology, and the company's official website collects stories from individuals who claim their flashlights have been life-savers. The company took a firm stance against outsourcing, and while it would be fairly easy to find cheaper manufacturing abroad, all Maglite tools are made in factories located in the U.S

"Mag Instrument is the only flashlight company with significant market share that still manufacturers its entire line of flashlights in the United States," according to the company website. "Unlike its competitors, Mag Instrument has chosen not to outsource the manufacturing of its flashlights to foreign countries in order to take advantage of cheap labor and less stringent environmental standards, which may also result in inferior quality."

Oreck vacuum cleaners
Vacuum cleaner manufacturing used to be an American staple, but its become more and more difficult to find vacuums made in U.S. Oreck is one of the last holdouts that still manufactures in America. David Oreck founded the company in 1963 and quickly made a name for himself by designing some of the highest quality cleaning products on the market.

A half century after its inception, Oreck's manufacturing facilities are still located in the U.S., primarily in Cookeville, Tenn.

Union-made PCs
When it comes to computers, all of the big brands base their assembly plants overseas. Of course you can assemble your own PC yourself. But if you prefer to outsource your computer assembly, the Americans at Union Built PC can help.

The company offers several desktop and notebook models to choose from, equipped with the latest Intel chips, NVIDIA graphics cards, and other options. It also offers its own Android tablet, complete with a 9.7-inch HD screen, dual cameras, and a speedy dual-core processor. It may not be an iPad or Google Nexus tablet, but for a relatively affordable $329 price tag, it's great if you're looking for the "Made in USA" stamp.

Triad speakers

American company Triad relies on U.S. employees to manufacture its speaker systems.

Triad offers various configurations of its home theater products to fit just about any setup, and with options for in-wall and satellite speakers, as well as ultra-compact "Mini" units, you'd be hard pressed to find a size or style of speaker that the company doesn't offer. All Triad speaker products are built-to-order in Portland, Ore.

Big Chill

If you're looking for some new kitchen appliances, Big Chill may be for you. The company offers retro-style ovens, refrigerators, microwave ovens, dishwashers, and other kitchen gear with a unique 1950s flair. The classic designs are attractive, and the company's products are American-assembled in Reading, Penn.

Big names reconsider U.S. manufacturing
Other, bigger brands have pledged to hire American workers too.

In 2012, Google decided to assemble its Nexus Q home-streaming media player in the U.S. Though the product had several setbacks and was ultimately cancelled, it signaled Google's willingness to hire American manufactures.

Apple also pledged to return some of its building operations to the U.S. CEO Tim Cook recently promised to invest more than $100 million to move one of the company's Mac production lines to the US.

This shift in approach from Google and Apple is a fraction of the total manufacturing footprint of both companies, but hiring American workers for the job is a sign that the broader technology industry may be poised for a Made in the USA makeover.