Skip to content

Never Buy the Generic Versions of These 8 Items, Experts Say

When shopping for these things, name brand is really the best option.

If you're trying to save money, going with the generic brand of a product might seem like the best option. However, if quality and safety is your concern, it's a good idea to stick with the name brand of certain items. Even if they cost a little more, it might be worth it in the long run. Keep reading to hear from retail experts on which items you should never buy generic.

READ THIS NEXT: T.J. Maxx and Marshalls Shoppers Can't Get Enough of This "Super Cute" Product.

Toilet Paper

Person's Hand on a Roll of Toilet Paper

Public restrooms often have cheap toilet paper at the ready because it's affordable and easy to buy in bulk, but your home is worthy of a splurge. "Avoid the stuff that basically feels like sandpaper," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with says. She adds that since the inexpensive stuff is so thin, you'll end up using more, which is just flushing money away, literally.

READ THIS NEXT: The 7 Worst Things to Buy at Dollar Tree.

Baby Products

Baby Products
Mouse family/Shutterstock

When it comes to buying baby products, keeping your child safe and healthy is essential. Erring on the side of caution is highly recommended. "Generic baby products may not be made with the same high-quality materials as name-brand products, and they may not meet the same safety standards," Jen Stark, the founder of Happy DIY Home shares. The ingredients are sub-par and buying generic brings can have a higher risk of an allergic reaction or health hazard.


Variety of Sneakers

"If you're looking for a specific style or need a certain level of support, branded shoes are always the way to go," Luke Lee, the CEO of Palaleather says. Cheaper, universal shoes will wear out so much sooner, which can lead to aches and pains from lack of support. It's easy to shop clearance or find a name brand that's on saleyour body will thank you in the long haul.


Aisle of Batteries

Batteries are available at all kinds of retailers, but name brands will perform better in the long run. "You might think that all batteries are created equal, but that's not the case," Stark tells Best Life. Generic options are often made with lower quality materials. If you're using batteries for life-saving devices such as pacemakers or hearing aids, it's crucial to make sure you're getting the most out of the product. The cheaper batteries could also damage your electronics if they start to leak acid.


Tools Set Out on a Wood Board

Tools like small screwdrivers or items meant for quick fixes are perfectly fine to purchase at a cheaper price. However, bigger things like power tools or a whole kit are better to buy from a name brand. "While they might be cheaper up front, odds are good these items won't last and you'll end up having to replace them sooner," Ramhold says. Quality brands are more likely to last, plus these will have higher safety ratings which can ultimately prevent injuries and malfunctions.


Various Cans of Paint
Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock

Buying generic paint may seem like a good idea when you look at the price tag, but your finished project might not look the best. You may not achieve that coveted smooth finish and you'll have to use multiple coats to fill in all the gaps and bumps. "This goes for pretty much any paint, whether it's meant for painting houses, spray paint for small projects, or even craft paint," says Ramhold. Spring for the good stuff right off the bat for the best experience.

For more shopping advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Workout Gear

Pink Workout Gear
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Exercising in a t-shirt and shorts is fine, but if you're looking for certain fabric or clothing that's made for a workout, then generic is not the best option. Regular clothes can be uncomfortable and "name brands often have innovative fabrics and design features that improve comfort and performance," Lee says. It's all about the quality, and the brands you splurge on will last through all the sweat!

Plastic Wrap

Kirkland Plastic Wrap
Brian Lam/Shutterstock

Known as cling wrap, you would think any sort of plastic wrap would do its job and stick. "If you've ever used bargain plastic wrap, you know that somehow it doesn't stick to anything, not even itself," says Ramhold. She does say there is one exception, though: Costco's Kirkland Signature brand. "You can buy a huge amount of plastic wrap that works as great as any name-brand I've ever used."

Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •