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The 17 Worst Things to Buy at Walmart

These Walmart purchases may seem like deals, but they're bad buys in the long run.

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.

Walmart offers a few main selling points. First, you can find a nearby location practically anywhere you live. Then, there are the prices: Not only are they incredibly affordable, but there are sales and promotions galore. And lastly, there's the selection. Whether you're shopping in-store or online, you can grab everything from cookies to curtains to clothing. But despite all these check marks in the pro-column, this big-box retailer is not immune to some negatives. That's why we consulted the pros to find out the worst things to buy at Walmart. Keep reading for the items that aren't what you've been bargaining for.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Get Things for Free at Walmart.

Large appliances

Washing machines, dryer and other domestic appliance equipment in the house

For appliances, you'd be better off shopping in a place that specializes in them.

"Walmart doesn't have a large selection of large appliances, and even if they did, you'd be more likely to find a better price at stores like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Lowe's," says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with "Not only do those stores regularly offer up to 35 percent off a variety of large appliances—they tend to also have decent delivery services, so you don't have to haul that new fridge home by yourself."


New clean folded bed linens on table indoors.

When it comes to bedding, the low price point isn't worth it, according to Rousseau Vestal, former Walmart cashier and founder of Find The Aisle.

"You won't want to get anything less than the greatest bed linens given that you spend anywhere between six and eight hours a night in your bed," Vestal tells Best Life. "Although Walmart's prices are tempting, the price for the quality is not excellent."

Jen Stark, founder of the gardening and home improvement blog Happy DIY Home, agrees that linens and sheets from Walmart aren't a great investment.

"Ideally, a set of sheets should be able to last for over a year or two, even if you use them every night and wash them two or three times a month," she explains. "Walmart's sheets tend to wear out and fray with normal use, and this sends you back to buy another set far sooner than you would like."

This is likely because of their thread count, which should ideally be between 300 and 500 for sheets.

"A lot of Walmart's budget-friendly sheet sets (under $30) are missing the thread count, and this means they're usually below 300," Stark adds.


woman pressing down on mattress, easy home tips

Speaking of bedding, experts advise skipping Walmart's mattresses, too. "While they are cheap, they aren't very comfortable," says Tess Robison of the personal finance website Money Done Right.

She shares that her Walmart mattress only lasted her a year: "If we had invested the money in a good one from the start, we probably would've gotten better sleep, less back pain, and saved money in the long run."

Plus, Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, medical toxicologist and co-medical director of the National Capital Poison Center, says some Walmart mattresses can be dangerous.

"Some foam mattresses (including at least one that I found for sale on Walmart's website) contain fiberglass as a fire retardant to meet federal standards," she tells Best Life.

In addition to irritating your skin, eyes, and lungs, fiberglass can also "cause skin rashes, lung disease (after long-term exposure), and even eye scarring if the fibers enter the eye," Johnson-Arbor explains.

RELATED: How to Shop Walmart Online Like a Pro: 16 Tips From Retail Experts.

Organic produce

produce section at walmart
Tada Images / Shutterstock

In 2014, Walmart entered the organic food market and has been expanding its offerings since. However, Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae, says, "They are not known for their pricing on organic foods."

She suggests you might get better prices at Trader Joe's or Aldi. Amazon Prime members should also check Whole Foods since membership qualifies shoppers for exclusive discounts on select items.

However, shoppers say it's also a matter of quality.

In 2021, food-based news outlet Mashed surveyed nearly 600 U.S. adults to find out which grocery store has the worst-quality produce. The respondents were able to choose from eight different grocery stores: Aldi, Costco, H.E.B., Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Target, and Walmart. According to Mashed, the highest percentage of customers picked Walmart, with 33.39 percent saying they consider this retailer to have the lowest quality produce.

Sushi and seafood

Walmart seafood department
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock

Another 2021 survey from Mashed surveyed nearly 700 adults in the U.S. to find out their thoughts on the worst sushi sold at major grocery stores. According to their responses, Walmart was the worst place to satisfy your sushi craving, with nearly 55 percent of the votes.

In a Reddit thread on the topic, one shopper said, "It's not really sushi, like tuna or salmon, it's that fake crabmeat."

"Avoid it like the plague, even if you have the slightest craving for it," wrote another.

A third commenter said Kroger's sushi "is way better and it's almost the same price."

Likewise, a separate Mashed survey of nearly 600 U.S. adults found that around 33 percent of customers think the grocery store chain sells the worst quality seafood.

Gift cards

Freestanding gift card display at Walmart
Billy F Blume Jr / Shutterstock

Savings expert Andrea Woroch recommends avoiding the gift card display at Walmart due to scams.

"You don't want to pick up gift cards that are easily accessible to other shoppers because they can steal barcode data and access funds from the card once it's activated," she explains. "It's better to buy from a grocery store where they keep those locked up behind a cashier stand."

"You can even find deals on gift cards from warehouse club stores like Costco and Sam's Club that offer between 10 to 30 percent off gift cards," she shares. "For example, you can get $50 off a $500 gift card to Southwest Airlines and $20 off $100 worth of gift cards to California Pizza kitchen."

"Otherwise, consider looking at gift card resale sites like Raise or GiftCardGranny, where you can save up to 25 percent off gift cards to hundreds of retailers, available as either physical gift cards that are sent in the mail or e-gift cards that are sent to you via email," she adds. "These sites buy people's unwanted gift cards at a discount and pass those savings onto other shoppers."

RELATED: 5 Walmart Items You Should Always Buy on Sale, Retail Experts Say.


tv set on display at walmart
Dr. Victor Wong / Shutterstock

Brandon Hartman, a retail professional, e-commerce entrepreneur, and founder of BeyWarehouse, says you're better off shopping for these items at specialized electronic stores.

"Sometimes, [Walmart] has lower-tier models that do not endure well over time. In addition to this, the store's electronics return policy is sometimes more strict causing inconvenience when there are concerns," he points out.

A store like Best Buy, however, offers "more reliable customer support and a broader range of trustworthy brands," he says.

If you are going to purchase an electronic from Walmart, Bodge recommends doing your pricing research.

"While Walmart is very competitive when it comes to pricing of electronics, they don't always have the lowest price," she says. "Prior to investing in a 4K TV or a Google Home device, take a look at the same item at competitors, like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or Newegg. You just might find a lower price elsewhere."


Walmart and Amazon apps on phone
Koshiro K / Shutterstock

Not only does Walmart typically not have the best deals on smartphones, but other retailers might also offer perks along with the purchase.

"If consumers can wait, I recommend buying [smartphones] on Amazon, particularly during Amazon Prime Day when users can avail more significant discounts and receive freebies with some purchases as well," says Yaniv Masjedi, chief marketing officer of business phone system Nextiva. "Walmart only has competitive prices than more prominent brands because their electronics have a lower quality. If the urgency to buy is high, Costco is a better choice, and I recommend buying from a reputable brand rather than an unknown brand."

Product care plans

Walmart entrance in cherry hill NJ 4/20/20.

It's fairly well known that extended warranties offered in stores for electronics aren't typically a good bet, and Walmart is no exception.

"Skip Walmart's Product Care Plans, which they try to sell on high-ticket electronics and smartphones," says Shane Dutka, the founder of Review Home Warranties. "These additional protection plans tend to sound nice on paper but never crunch out to be worth the costs. Plus, the majority of electronics and smartphones come with a manufacturer's warranty plus the option of an extended warranty as well. At that point, Walmart's becomes unnecessary fluff."

Cables and chargers

walmart electronics section
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

"I find that many tech accessories, like cables and chargers, are priced better on Amazon," Bodge says.

Woroch shares the sentiment: "Although you can find great deals on various electronics such as video game consoles and cameras at Walmart, skip the accessory section. Items like HDMI cables, phone chargers, and even phone cases can be found for much less online via sites like Amazon or eBay."

RELATED: Walmart and Target Have a Secret Hiding Spot for Clearance Items.

Items that aren't actually from Walmart

Walmart Website on laptop

If you shop through, you might expect to be shopping Walmart merchandise exclusively—but you're not.

"Not everything sold on Walmart's website is sold through the big box store directly," Woroch warns. "Some are sold and shipped by third-party retailers, always detailed in the fine print. However, if you're not looking out for this, you could be overpaying since you may have to pay a separate shipping fee. Making returns to these third-party retailers can be a hassle, too."

Dog food

pet aisle at walmart
QualityHD / Shutterstock

According to shopping experts, dog food is overpriced at Walmart.

Samantha Landau, consumer expert at TopCashback, previously told Best Life that she's found the same dry dog food bags for less at Chewy—and they're even cheaper if you buy them on Autoship.

"This is especially cost-efficient if your pet goes through their food supply fairly quickly," Landau said. "In general, Chewy typically has lower prices on many pet products and is a great place to compare prices on your pet essentials."

Large furniture

Walmart furniture aisle
Patrick Hatt / Shutterstock

It can be worth investing in better pieces of large furniture than what Walmart offers.

"While I think Walmart is a reliable resource for inexpensive pieces, like a side table for a dorm room or home office, I wouldn't recommend buying an important staple piece, like a bed, dresser, or dining room table there. The quality just won't be up to snuff," says Bodge.

"My suggestion would be to consider those larger, staple items as more of an investment," she explains. "If you invest upfront, you can rest assured that the item will last for a long time, rather than having to be re-purchased in a year's time."

RELATED: 6 Best Things to Buy From Walmart's Garden Center.

Greeting cards

Valentine's Day greeting cards at Walmart
RYO Alexandre / Shutterstock

Greeting cards are one of those sneaky budget busters: They seem insignificant but can really add up—even at Walmart.

"Greeting cards are cheaper at the dollar store compared to Walmart, where you can snag two for $1," Woroch says.

Party supplies and wrapping paper

display of Christmas gift bags at Walmart
JoanneStrell / Shutterstock

"Walmart's party supply section is certainly a much better deal than a speciality retailer like Party City, but you're still overpaying," Woroch points out. "You can get a much better deal on balloons, gift cards, gift bags, party favors, and tissue paper from the dollar store."


towels on a shelf at Walmart
ZikG / Shutterstock

In many cases, the old adage is true: You get what you pay for. So, if you want high-quality towels, don't buy them at Walmart.

"Although the price is great, the quality is not," Woroch says. "You can get much more for your money without breaking the bank by shopping at a discounter like Marshalls or HomeGoods instead, where they carry top brands at up to 60 percent off regular retail."

Custom cakes

Bread display at a Walmart bakery
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

This isn't to say you should never buy a custom cake from Walmart, but if you're looking for something freshly baked, then you'll want to avoid it.

As Best Life previously reported, a former Walmart bakery employee shared on TikTok that these cakes have been previously frozen.

"The reason you have to give so much notice before getting a cake that's like custom decorated is not because that's how long it takes them to bake the cake, it's because that's how long it takes the frozen sheet cake to thaw out. Nothing is actually baked in the bakery; it's warmed up from frozen," they shared.

Dana Schulz
Dana Schulz is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Best Life. She was previously the managing editor of 6sqft, where she oversaw all content related to real estate, apartment living, and the best local things to do. Read more
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