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5 Worst Things to Buy at Joann, Retail Experts Say

Don’t go on your next shopping trip without reading this first.

The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Joann is a treasure trove for hobbyists and generalists alike. If you love crafts like sewing, knitting, or quilting, you're sure the find everything you need at this retailer. But even if you don't, you can find lots of holiday decor, DIYs, and simple crafts to help you occupy a rainy Sunday. However, while the prices and selection are typically fair, there are some items that pros avoid shopping for here. Keep reading to learn the worst things to buy at Joann—and where to find them instead.

RELATED: 5 Best Things to Buy at Joann.

Specialty baking supplies

A woman using an electric mixer while baking cupcakes in her kitchen

Joann might have a large selection of niche items like unique cake pans, colorful icing, and pretty sprinkles. However, Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with the shopping comparison site, says you should compare the prices to other retailers, like Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

"For instance, Joann has Wilton icing colors in 1oz containers for $2.49 each, which isn't an awful price, but if you want to buy several, it can add up quickly," she explains. "However, if you shop at Walmart, you may be able to pick up the same items for as little as $2.08 per container, depending on the color, or $2.12 per container otherwise."


White women’s cotton T-shirt mockup with blue jeans, pink flower and gray striped blazer. Design t shirt template, tee print presentation mock up

You could probably find better-quality ones elsewhere. "Joann's carries Gildan T-shirts, and they are not the softest or most comfortable," says Teajai Kimsey, maker and founder of the handcrafted goods retailer Cheerdocious. "When I have the time to order, I'll order Bella + Canvas because of the color selection and quality of the fabric—they are much softer than the brand that Joann's carries."

RELATED: 7 Worst Things to Buy at Hobby Lobby.

Rolling storage units

art cart with craft supplies

If you're big on crafting—or any other hobby that requires lots of odds and ends—then you know how convenient a rolling storage cart can be. Joann has many options, but Ramhold says they may not be worth it.

"Some items in the Top Notch brand, which is only available at Joann, have high ratings, while others seem like they should be avoided," she explains. "Rather than leaning into a cart made for crafters that may or may not have the quality you need, consider looking at stores like IKEA, Target, or Walmart to find affordable options that will serve your needs without necessarily being labeled as for crafters."

For example, IKEA sells the RÅSHULT utility cart for $27.99, with 4.8 stars from 400 reviews.

Picture frames

picture frames against wall / Shutterstock

You could probably find more picture frame options at a different retailer. "The ready-made frame selection at Joann's isn't that great," says Kimsey. "I defer to Hobby Lobby for wall hangings to customize." They have lots of pre-made pieces, and there's a framing expert at every store who can help you create something new.

RELATED: 8 Best Things to Buy at Hobby Lobby.

Bakery boxes

Woman holding box with Valentine's cookies

The price and level of selection of these at Joann is OK for the occasional baker, but if you're passing out goodies every weekend, you could do better.

"If you need many of these boxes, you're actually much better off going to a true restaurant supply store or something like that in order to get a better unit price, but also for a better selection in general," says Ramhold. "Even if you're looking at reusable food storage options like cake plates or collapsible carriers, you're much better off looking at what's available at big-box stores like Target and Walmart to find something reasonably priced."

A little extra digging could pay off big.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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