5 Items You Should Never Buy Generic

One great way for consumers to save money on everyday items is by buying generic. After all, many generic products can hold their own against their branded counterparts. However, this isn’t always the case. Some generic products are significantly poorer in quality, and will actually just cost you more in the long run. Here are some generic items you should avoid:

1) Toilet paper and paper towels

Toilet paper and paper towels are two items you don’t want to scrimp on. Generic brands of these paper products have fewer fibers, resulting in less absorbency. Sure it will cost you less, but you’ll likely use up more sheets than you would with a branded counterpart. If you want to save on these two paper products, purchase them with coupons from your favorite grocery store.

2) Garbage bags

Generic garbage bags may be inexpensive, but they are also of much poorer quality. They are often thinner and with less capacity, and are a lot more likely to leave you with a huge mess to clean up when they break open. Shop for branded garbage bags with patented materials, and opt for the black industrial strength bags over those marketed for the home for your big jobs.

3) Diapers

Every parent knows how easily a baby can go through hundreds and hundreds of diapers (I had 5 in diapers at the same time – ouch!). Although your first instinct may be to save with generic diapers, you may want to think again. Generic diapers just aren’t as high quality as branded ones. By going generic, you’re more likely to deal with a lot more messes, leaks and even diaper rashes. If you’re really looking to save money in this department, you might want to look into cloth diapers.

4) Electronics

Generic electronics may be available everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you should purchase them. They’re often made from older parts or pre-used items, and are unlikely to work over the long haul. Generic electronics have a tendency to break more often than their brand name counterparts, and will rarely come with a warranty. If you’re looking to purchase a gadget you can use for hours (and days and months) on end, then go with a respectable brand instead.

5) Paint

Are you about to give your home a facelift? A generic bucket of paint may cost a lot less than brand-name paint, but it’s not worth the possible headaches. Generic paint is often watered down or thinner, requiring more coats to cover the same area. It’s also more prone to chipping and fading. The one-time premium you pay for branded paint is definitely worth it.


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  1. This is a fantastic post! I just learned some things today! We are thinking of repainting some rooms, and now I will definitely be buying the “real” deal and not the cheap paints. Thank you for this information!

  2. I agree on some generic diapers. But I have found that Walmart’s Parent’s Choice diapers and Target’s Up and Up diapers are awesome generics. With some kids I wouldn’t suggest using them for overnight because they could still leak. But for regular day time use they work great.

  3. Thanks Eliza – love those tips! When my quads were born we used the Member’s Mark diapers from Sam’s Club during the daytime 😉

  4. Great post!!! Thanks!

  5. You know, I used to be completely anti generic paper goods but Target and even Walmart, now, have super awesome toilet paper and paper towels. They’ve really gotten better in the past year, it seems, so that’s all we buy. I still do have to have my Kleenex brand tissues though!

  6. LOL – I hear ya on the tissues! I’ll be happy to give those generic brands a try, thanks Gena!

  7. I’ve had pretty good luck with the lawn & leaf garbage bags, but I totally agree with you about the toilet paper. That is one thing I absolutely refuse to buy generic – no matter how cheap it is!

  8. While I do agree with the basic premise of your post, I am going to respectfully disagree with #’s 1-3 in your list. (love you, Denise!!!). 🙂 Aldi is one of my favorite stores. I shop there for the majority of my household needs. I can get a 3-pack of premium paper towel for $1.89 and the quality is good. Toilet paper: 12-pack double rolls, $4.99. Works great and lasts a looooong time even in my family of five. Garbage bags: off-hand I “think” they are $5.99 for a large box of Tall Kitchen bags but I haven’t needed to buy one in a while. Diapers: same deal (no pun intended)…LOL). When I had all three kids in diapers, I would only buy the name brand if it was on sale and I had a coupon (making it cheaper than any of the store brands), which was pretty rare.

  9. Thanks Adelina (love you too girl!) – I’m not lucky enough to have an Aldi near me so I haven’t tried their stuff and I really appreciate the input! I’m definitely not averse to generics, just wanna get what I pay for 😉

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