1. Never buy electronics on impulse. Electronics require a lot of engineering and it's essential that we take our time with the decision.
2. No logo, no deal. If we can't figure out who the manufacturer (or brand) is, then nobody is backing up the product, which should be a huge red flag about quality, safety, security, privacy, and more.
3. Check warranty. A long warranty is a good proxy for quality.
4. Check manufacturer’s website to see if there is a manual, replacement parts, support articles, etc.
5. Check iFixit repairability score. Even without the score, it's helpful if the manuals are online.
6. Check the reviews on Amazon or other retail site. It can't hurt, although there are many reports of suspicious reviews.
7. Check for ioXt security certification.
8. Check for Climate Neutral, 1% For the Planet, ENERGY STAR, or other environmental certs.
1. Use it or lose it. Try to use the devices you have on a regular basis so that you know they are operating well and that you remember how to use them. If it's a "once every 5 years" kind of thing, consider renting/borrowing instead of owning.
2. Repair or replace broken devices. Keeping broken things around can have a negative impact on your mood.
3. Check manufacturer’s support pages for troubleshooting tips.
4. If manufacturer's site isn't enough, look up how to fix it more generally in a search engine or iFixit. Model numbers are our friends.
5. Search the map for electronics repair. The category was left for dead but it’s coming back.
6. Can’t affordably be fixed? Check e-stewards for a recycling drop off site nearby. - http://e-stewards.org/. E-stewards is part of Basel Action Network (BAN), the group that hides trackers inside of recycled electronics to actually verify that the devices are being safely recycled instead of dumped.
7. Batteries have their own treatment (someone please invent a compostable battery!). In San Francisco, Recology will collect them in a clear plastic bag atop a black bin.