March 19, 2024 | Allison Robertson

Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Most brand name products are priced high simply due to marketing costs. But consumers are swayed into believing that products associated with a highly-advertised brand are somehow better.

While this is generally not the case—there are some products that you should actually avoid the generic version. Here’s why.

man looking at tvs and woman looking at laundry soap split image

What is a generic brand?

Generic brands refer to “a type of consumer product on the market that lacks a widely recognized name or logo because it isn’t advertised.”

These brands are designed as substitutes for more expensive brand name goods.

Young man looking at bottle of wine in supermarketHryshchyshen Serhii, Shutterstock

How does marketing affect the cost?

The biggest reason that brand names cost more than generic is due to marketing expenses. The brand names spend so much money marketing their products that they have to increase prices in order to make any profit.

Festive Facts About ChristmasFlickr, Mike Mozart

What else affects the cost?

Generic brand products also cost less because they are often filled with unnecessary ingredients known as “fillers”, which add quantity but lower quality, or cheaper parts which shorten the overall life of your product and can affects functionality.

Woman grocery shoppingAnton, Adobe Stock


Generic Products You Should Avoid

Here are 14 generic products you should actually avoid, if you can.

Woman in supermarketGustavo Fring, Pexels

Laundry Detergent

Now-a-days there are dozens of ways to make your own laundry detergent that can’t be comparable to store-bought.

But if you prefer to buy it—stick with the brand names.

A Woman Pouring DetergentRDNE Stock project, Pexels

Laundry Detergent: Why Choose Brand Name

The Spruce recently did a study comparing laundry detergents—both brand-name and generic. Each of their top 10 recommendations were brand-name products.

Woman choosing laundry detergent.M-Production, Shutterstock

Laundry Detergent: Stain Remover

Also, premium laundry soap doubles as stain remover. A Consumer Reports test compared two brand-name detergents—Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil ProClean Stain Fighter—to six spray-on laundry stain removers.

The results were astounding.

Beautiful young woman is choosing household products and smiling while doing shopping at the supermarketGeorge Rudy, Shutterstock

Laundry Detergent: The Results

The report found that pre-treating stains with brand-name detergents was more effective than using five of the six stain remover products.

Man Taking Laundry out of the Washing Machinecottonbro studio, Pexels

Electric Toothbrush Head Replacements

Although generic electric toothbrush replacements fit just fine, it’s the feel that is apparently different.

electric toothbrush and a lot of different multi-colored replaceable nozzlesTShaKop, Shutterstock


Electric Toothbrush Head Replacements: Why Choose Brand Name

The heads of electric toothbrushes are supposed to be soft enough to avoid irritating your gum tissue.

The Wirecutter, a product comparison site, did a six-month study testing both generic and brand-name heads and found that Oral-B and Philips Sonicare were the best choice for your sensitive oral health.

woman hold professional sonic electric toothbrushbrizmaker, Shutterstock

Peanut Butter

With the cost of peanut butter continuously rising, its understandable why most turn to a generic version. But generic peanut butter isn’t actually made the same as its brand name counterparts.

Bread with peanut butter.The Design Lady, Pexels

Peanut Butter: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic peanut butter is packed with unhealthy ingredients.

According to McDaniel Nutrition, “Some generic peanut butters have unhealthy, unnecessary additives such as added sugars or extra fat from non-sustainable resources like palm oil.”

Jar with Peanut Butter on TableROMAN ODINTSOV, Pexels

Peanut Butter: Best Choice

The healthiest peanut butters are the ones that are 100% peanuts, and free from added sugar. One or two ingredients should be the goal.

According to Healthline, the best overall peanut butter brand is Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts! Natural Peanut Butter.

Beautiful woman licking peanut butter off her fingerPalmer Kane LLC, Shutterstock

Liquid Dish Soap

People who wash a lot of dishes may already know that suds matter, and not every soap performs the same.

A Person Washing a PlateLiliana Drew, Pexels

Liquid Dish Soap: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic dish soaps are watered down, which is what lowers the cost. Brand name soaps are much more concentrated, which means you get more suds with less soap.

woman in latex gloves washing dishesDragon Images, Shutterstock


Liquid Dish Soap: Best Choice

Good Housekeeping recently tested several brand name and generic dish soaps and found Dawn Platinum Dishwashing Soap as the best one overall.

Portrait of adult woman choosing dishwashing liquid at the supermarketBearFotos, Shutterstock

Ice Cream

Generic ice creams are definitely a money-saver, and sometimes even a calorie-saver. But they lack in something else that makes ice cream one of America’s favorite desserts.

Chocolate Coated Ice CreamsMin An, Pexels

Ice Cream: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic brand ice creams often skimp out on flavor, and add in extra ingredients.

When choosing a quality ice cream, look at the ingredients. There shouldn’t be much more than milk, cream, sugar, sometimes eggs, and natural flavoring.

Person Holding Two Ice CreamsBekir Donmez, Pexels

House Paint

The best paints are the ones that require fewer coats to cover. Good quality paints will last longer and even look better than cheaper paints.

Man Painting the WallTima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

House Paint: Why Choose Brand Name

Lower-quality paints contain a lower percentage of essential pigments and binders. The Spruce tested several interior paints and found the best quality paints are from Behr, Valspar and Kilz.

Wooden Box and Painting MaterialsIvan Samkov, Pexels

House Paint: The Best Choice

The Wirecutter did a study using eight different brands of paint, and the top scorers were all brand name. The best choice being Benjamin Moore Regal Select.

Young cheerful worker selling tins of paint in hardware shopBearFotos, Shutterstock


Tomato Sauce

Generic Tomato sauce is another food product that is filled with unnecessary sugars and preservatives. If you can’t make your own sauce, it is advised to purchase good quality brands.

A Person Putting Tomato Sauce in a PastaGreta Hoffman, Pexels

Tomato Sauce: Why Choose Brand Name

A good quality tomato sauce will require less additives in the kitchen, like salt or sugar.

According to McDanial Nutrition, “plain tomato sauces that use high-quality tomatoes and spices with good olive oil tend to taste better and require less added sugar and sodium.”

Glass jar of canned vegetables in the hands of the buyer.Sergey Ryzhov, Shutterstock


Although eggs don’t look much different, they are certainly not all created equal. Good quality eggs depend on what the chickens were fed.

Slice of Eggs on CakesJane Doan, Pexels

Eggs: Why Choose Brand Name

Depending on what the chickens that laid the eggs were fed, some will have more nutrients that others, such as Vitamin D.

Chickens who are primarily fed fillers will not produce nutritional eggs.

Six Brown Eggs With TrayEstudio Gourmet, Pexels

Eggs: The Best Choice

The best choice would be local, farm fresh eggs that you can trust.

But if that’s not an option for you, the next best choice would be Eggland’s Best, according to registered dietitian Keri Gans, which has six times more vitamin D than other brands, and less saturated fat.

Person Holding White Eggs on Brown Grasscottonbro studio, Pexels


Choosing a yogurt can be difficult, given that there are so many different brands available these days. And most consumers will gravitate toward whichever brand has the texture and flavor they like most.

Portrait of beautiful young woman eating yogurt at home.Josep Suria, Shutterstock

Yogurt: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic brand yogurts, like most other food products in this article, are packed with added sugars and additives.

Check the ingredients and choose a yogurt that has fewer ingredients, and natural flavors.

Stylish attractive woman holds yogurt in his hands and reads the, Shutterstock


Generic condiments should also be avoided, when possible. Though they may cost a fraction of the price of brand name, there is a reason why.

Smiling woman shopping in supermarket and reading product information.bbernard, Shutterstock

Condiments: Why Choose Brand Name

Aside from being packed with unhealthy ingredients, added sugars and preservatives, generic brands also lack flavor.

Family Doing Shopping in the Grocery StoreGustavo Fring, Pexels

Condiments: Best Choice

For example, Hellman’s Mayonnaise has a much different flavor than generic mayonnaise—the two should not be compared as the same product.

Woman in Black Coat Holding Product BottleJJ Jordan, Pexels


In specific to TVs and computers, generic brands can often come with more problems than their worth, which will eat up the money you thought you saved in the beginning when avoiding brand names.

Young couple in consumer electronics store looking at television and to buy.dotshock, Shutterstock

Electronics: Why Choose Brand Name

Home built computers are best, if you know what you’re doing. But if you can’t do that, studies say sticking to brand names will save you more money down the line as generic brands skimp out on quality parts.

A Person Touching the Laptop HardwareIT services EU, Pexels

Electronics: Best Choices

Consumer Reports did a study on both TVs and Computers and found that the best brand names include: Samsung, LG and Sony, and Apple, Vaio, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Samsung.

Smart modern male customer choosing laptop in the computer store.Kardasov Films, Shutterstock


According to the Journal of Food Science, “packaged coffee is one of the top seven more commonly adulterated foods.”

But its important to note that in America, a lot of coffee is imported—and ingredients vary greatly.

Coffee packed in White and Black Plastic Packcottonbro studio, Pexels

Coffee: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic brand coffee grounds are often bulked up with fillers such as soybeans, corn, and even twigs. When choosing a brand name coffee it is also suggested to choose whole bean to reduce the risk that it has been compromised.

Person with bag full of coffee beans.bacho nadiradze, Pexels

Pet Food

If you can’t make your own dog food, you should probably stick to brand name choices you can trust. Even though pet food is regulated for safety, there are many things that slip through the cracks.

Dog Eating FoodMART PRODUCTION, Pexels

Pet Food: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic brand pet foods, particularly those that are imported from overseas, often include a long list of ingredients that can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Portrait of positive woman with dog during shopping dry food in petshop,BearFotos, Shutterstock

Pet Food: Recalls

There have been numerous recalls on pet food in the U.S. over the years. One, in fact, included pet food that was contaminated by melamine—a chemical waste product linked to fatal illness in animals.

friendly smiling guy chooses dry food for chihuahua dog.BearFotos, Shutterstock

Garbage Bags

If you’ve ever had to skimp out on garbage bags it will likely be a mistake you only make once. Generic garbage bags simply do not hold the same quality as brand names—and it’s evident almost every time.

hand holding garbage black bag putting in to trashlovelyday12, Shutterstock

Garbage Bags: Why Choose Brand Name

Generic brand garbage bags are made with fewer layers, and thinner materials—which is how the cheaper price is justified.

In this case, almost any industry leading brands are worth the extra buck.

A view of several shelves dedicated to trash bag packages, on display at a local retail store.The Image Party, Shutterstock

Sources: 1, 2, 3


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