Made in Germany
July 29, 2012 11:14 PM   Subscribe

What awesome German engineered products have I yet to discover?

I have been living in Germany for about a year and am moving back (probably) back to the US in 3 months. In that time my life has improved by all sorts of German engineered products:
* Ceramic knife sharpener
* children's waterproof pants
* soft pretzels

What German made products that make your life even better have I yet to encounter?
posted by mutt.cyberspace to Shopping (32 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
small pencil sharpeners...only the german ones work...
scissors...specifically, Griffin brand scissors (if they still make them) (in fact, if you can find a pair of 6" model#9117, I will buy them from you...I have been using my current pair for 34 years(!) and they have never needed sharpening(!!)...I would be lost without them and would love a back-up just in case)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:23 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nail clippers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 PM on July 29, 2012

Haribo gummi bears.
posted by matlock expressway at 11:42 PM on July 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've been pushing this store several times over the years on mefi, but Manufactum, seriously.
posted by ouke at 12:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [13 favorites]

Google translator, beta version, 1940 - was just reading about today.
posted by rongorongo at 12:05 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if they're better or worse but German washing machines are different.
posted by rdr at 12:19 AM on July 30, 2012

rdr, they're better, according to Steve Jobs.
posted by Sfving at 12:27 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lamy pens.
posted by neushoorn at 12:34 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Public transport.
But in terms of things you can take back, personalCOUGHmassagers from FunFactory
Duckstein beer
Kulmbacher, NOT Krombacher
Dr Hauschka Naturkosmetik
Seeberger hats
And seconding Manufactum.
posted by runincircles at 1:07 AM on July 30, 2012

nthing Sfving & rdr.

After replacing lesser brands every 2–3 years, we bit the bullet and bought a Miele washer and dryer. They are not cheap, but they work well and are very durable.

I'd also add Sennheiser headphones and microphones to the list
posted by quidividi at 1:22 AM on July 30, 2012

Ergon cycling products
Jack Wolfskin jackets (their sports sandals don't hold up well though, in my experience)
It's Swiss engineering, but Mammut makes some very good snow boots
Börner applies German engineering to devices to chop vegetables, amongst other kitchen tasks.
posted by cmonkey at 1:57 AM on July 30, 2012

I was going to write about the Zack milk foamer, which has served me for years now, while other brands always seem to go fizz-dead two days after the warranty expires, but googling for some test results gives a bit of an uneven picture. I do love mine.

There's a company that's been making replacement kits with high-quality coreless electro motors for model trains of all gauges. The amazing and Very German thing about it is that they've been in business since 1983: people actually do buy their stuff for quite some money, pick apart their factory-made models, take their soldering iron, Dremel tool, and whatnot, mill, fiddle and swear, in order to replace the original motors with something that runs - sorta marginally, in the great scheme of things - better.
posted by Namlit at 2:35 AM on July 30, 2012

Vistoe shelves designed by Dieter Rams.
posted by dydecker at 2:50 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kitchen knives e.g. Wusthof or Henckels.
Watches e.g. A. Lange & Söhne (stupendously expensive), Nomos or Junghans.
posted by milkb0at at 2:52 AM on July 30, 2012

Ortlieb panniers and Tubus bike racks.
posted by rockindata at 5:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Hermetus bottle opener.
posted by ciaron at 5:11 AM on July 30, 2012

Persil is the best detergent.
posted by Nomyte at 5:37 AM on July 30, 2012

An Eierstecher (aka Eierpiekser) - a simple, small device for poking a hole in an egg before boiling so it doesn't crack. To go with it, you might as well pick up a set of egg cups and spoons for eating soft boiled eggs.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:01 AM on July 30, 2012

German tissue packs ("Taschentücher") are great—the tissues are much thicker and heavier duty than American ones.

I also remember their notebooks being pretty nice.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 7:26 AM on July 30, 2012

Falke socks - without doubt the best socks ever made.
posted by pandabearjohnson at 7:39 AM on July 30, 2012

Seconding Lamy pens, especially the Pico and Scribble models. WMF Besteck would probably be a good "forever investment".
posted by vkxmai at 8:07 AM on July 30, 2012

Big ticket items:
Volkswagen GTI: one of the best hot hatchbacks on the market

Prijon Pure: perhaps the best whitewater creekboat on the market, and definitely one of the toughest due to the use of blow-molded plastic, rather than a rotomolding procedure.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:22 AM on July 30, 2012

seconding Ortlieb bike panniers and Sennheiser headphones. as far a i am aware, Sennheiser makes the only wireless headphones that transmit on 802.11 instead of Bluetooth frequency (whatever freq that is) and can deliver audiophile sound quality wirelessly.

i would also add that Vaude makes one of the very few (possibly only?) affordable cycling rain capes that is available in the US.

oh, and even Panasonic uses fantastic Leica lenses for their cameras.

i dream of owning a Rohloff bike hub someday.
posted by moss free at 1:15 PM on July 30, 2012

Steve Jobs' washing machine of choice, the Miele. My Nanna is currently using a 35 year old Miele dishwasher every day, just as a heads up.
posted by Augenblick at 1:26 PM on July 30, 2012

The German bicycle light products are so far ahead of what's easily available in NA it's really staggering.... especially generator lights.
posted by glip at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2012

I love German stationery in general, pencil cases, colouring pens, writing pens, pencils, erasers. Very functional, no-nonsense. Growing up in the Seventies and Eighties I recall German brands Staedtler and Rotring being the choice of architects. Just walk into a well-stocked stationery shop and go nuts.
posted by Dragonness at 1:58 PM on July 30, 2012

Merkur safety razors are some damn fine shaving for much less money than you'd expect.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:10 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think Miele vacuum cleaners are pretty amazing and wonderful in that this-just-works-right way that German engineering can do.
posted by spbmp at 2:21 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I saw Blazecock Pileon's answer and thought he beat me to the punch, but apparently there are at least two really nice German nail clippers.

I also really like the Knirps X1 travel umbrella.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:00 PM on July 30, 2012

Second the Miele vacuum cleaners!
posted by dirtron at 12:11 AM on July 31, 2012

Speick natural Deo You hate it or you love it.

Fritxbox Router

One Drop Only for travelling.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:27 PM on August 2, 2012

small pencil sharpeners...only the german ones work...
Wow. I am German and I brought them to the US but I would have never thought that other people like them too.

Miele? Yes, but it comes at a price.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:32 PM on August 2, 2012

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