10 Cheap and Mass-Produced Items That Are Stupendously Well Engineered

A woman looking with focus at a model structure of something.

While browsing one of my favorite corners of the internet, I encountered a fun question with interesting answers. Which cheap and mass-produced item is stupendously well-engineered? Here are some of the best responses.

1. The Cardboard Box

The first and most popular thing on this list that all users praise is the Cardboard box. Its flawless basic design has existed for over a century, and today it represents one of the foundations that keep the shipping industry alive.

Some of the features the cardboard box poses are that it’s lightweight, strong, splash resistant, and it doesn’t break in hot and cold temperatures.

2. The Famous Zipper

According to one user, in addition to clothing, the zipper is so reliable that it is used for all objects that need to be opened and closed, for example, luggage, purses, camping gear, and many other items.

3. The Lighter

According to many users, one of the best inventions ever is the lighter. It allows you to ignite a fire whenever you want. Its incredible engineering is based on being practical and reliable.

Several called out the Zippo models as being the best in class. However, one argued, “Specifically, Bic lighters are incredibly reliable. You can find one on the ground that’s been outside for months, and they still work.”

4. Zip Ties

Zip ties are such a simple piece of plastic yet so versatile.

One user confessed they have one of those old-fashioned chain link fences. Some of the fasteners on the middle poles broke, and in high winds, the fence swayed like crazy.

“A half dozen zip ties on the three posts, and it doesn’t budge, and nobody even knows they’re there.”


The so-called Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor is one of the number one produced things on the planet.

Someone explained how the MOSFETs are little electronic devices used to switch or amplify voltages in circuits, in other words, every hardware equipment used.

The average central processing unit (CPU) in a modern-day desktop computer has multiple billions of MOSFETs.

Another mentioned, “Yeah, I feel like the average person has no idea how different the world would be without transistors.” I tend to agree.

6. LEDs

LED lights are one of the most significant inventions for changing how the planet consumes electricity and illuminates darkness. One clarified, “Blue LEDs are a Nobel Prize-winning invention for how revolutionary they have been in lighting.”

7. Toilets

Let’s all stop and pause to pay our respect to one of the most used and necessary inventions ever. Every home has it, and we can’t live without it -the toilet.

A plumber confirmed that toilets haven’t changed much over the years, are cheap, reasonably easy to repair, and require minimal upkeep.

8. Aluminum Cans

The aluminum can is a mass-produced and well-engineered item. After someone noted a serious upgrade when they engineered the pop top to remain with the can, one shared, “I remember with the zip top cans, a lot of people would put the sharp metal zip piece back into the full can. Some people accidentally swallowed those and needed to be rushed to the ER.

9. Batteries

According to one user, batteries represent one of the marvels of engineering. Everyone uses them daily, but no one ever stops to think about their incredibly sophisticated internal parts.

The battery stores chemical energy. Once the terminals are connected, the circuit creates a continuous flow of electrons to convert chemical energy into electricity.

10. Hard Drives

Have you ever thought about hard drives and their role in our lives? We don’t think about it much but we use storage devices for all our electronics. All our photos, videos, games, and documents rely on storage drives.

A user described them as spinning glass disks that hold enormous amounts of our data. This is already obsolete.

These days, solid-state drives have replaced old-school spinning drives. It is amazing how much data can be stored on a memory chip with no moving parts involved.

This thread inspired this post.

Featured Image Credit: AllaSerebrina /Depositphotos.com.

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Vuk Jovanovic